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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vacation Over

I just got back from a week’s vacation in Hawaii. During that time I didn’t read a single newspaper, in print or on line. When I returned, seven days of the LA Times were delivered at once. And I find that some disturbing things occurred in my absence.

Barry Bonds was indicted, Ira Levin (author of "Rosemary’s Baby") died, the stock market went down and then up again. The housing market stayed down.

Maybe the most disturbing news was the suicide by hanging of Lisa McCalmont, a 49 year old lawyer from Oklahoma who was actively involved in challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection as a means of capital punishment. She had worked for the federal public defender and had won reversal of at least one other death verdict on appeal, resulting in a life sentence. She lectured across the country to defense lawyers on the subject and was lead counsel on cases that forced Oklahoma to suspend its lethal injection procedures.

According to the Times Obit, she left no note, and friends were unable to explain why she killed herself. I showed the article to Greg, thinking it "ironic." He said it wasn’t irony, but I don’t know.

I can’t help wondering why she chose hanging, a particularly painful form of execution, which had been rejected as "cruel" in favor of more humane forms, like lethal injection, which she crusaded against.

Was she sending a message?

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