Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Death penalty

Twice last week and once just before that the nation's top news stories included the death penalty.

However, there came no (or at least little, for I didn't catch it) discussion on merits of death penalty.

These stories do not include the recent execution in Ohio of the man who raped a baby after a drunken night out, killing the baby in a horrific manner. That story was really a statewide story but it did cross the wires in Michigan and perhaps made it to sites like the Huffington Post. The man's own daughter still believed her father didn't do it or didn't mean to do it.

Last month, the bombings and terrorism in Boston prompted talk about the captured bomber receiving the death penalty, though more were interested in whether it was right to give him access to a lawyer and a reminder of the right to remain silent.

But the immediate news items with execution as a possibility included, of course, Jodi Arias, the darling bitch of cable news. Unlike Casey Anthony, she was found guilty and thus thoroughly reviled and unable to disappear. She reportedly said she preferred the death penalty instead of life in prison, prompting cable and social media debates about whether she was trying to use reverse psychology or deserved life to make her suffer more. The hatred, seemingly worse for her among many women than that sent to the Boston Marathon bombers but at least lasting longer in twitter trends, is interesting because all she did was kill a boyfriend.

"All she did," of course, is tongue in cheek in that domestic violence and killing a partner, though all too common, is a horrible act. I'm not against the death penalty, generally, but if domestic violence cases include it, we will be putting a whole lot of people to death.

Domestic violence is one of the more regular types of murders in our country, perhaps the most common. People hate her though because she is big news, due to her youth, her seeming prettiness, and the fact that she's tried to lie her way out of this. Oh, and there's sex.

She did not, though, kill a child, a group of people or terrorize the general public. She annoyed people.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, however, did kill many people, many babies, and he seemed a passive part of a horror story, running a filthy abortion clinic in a poor area and helping kill many unborn and just born babies. Many cried foul at the lack of coverage of this case, and they had a point; 'sexy' Jodi was on the cable news every night and the general media had a small Associated Press report on the complicated trial of the doctor and his practice. General news for the most part ignored both.

You can't say that the long trial was difficult to cover, as the Arias trial went on and on, and that was just great for cable news. But the murder of a boyfriend in a crazy relationship is less depressing than poverty, abortions and hopelessness. When Gosnell was convicted, though, the story turned, I thought, when it came out that he faced not just life in prison with the first-degree murder conviction, but he could face execution. That would be incredible, a professional who argued that he was doing legal abortions in tough circumstances now facing the worst penalty.

Quickly, though, the ruling came that he would not receive the death penalty. Cable news eagerly awaits Arias' fate, sidetracked by the tornado.

Again, interesting to me is the lack of debate about the death penalty, a regular news feature during the many Texas executions and even the Oklahoma City bomber's execution.

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