Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Death Penalty, Mental Illness, and Parenthood

I did a paper on the death penalty and mental illness recently. It is nice to focus on something far removed from babies and household chores, so I got a big kick out of it. Did anyone know that many people on death row are mentally challenged? Imagine that! I thought the insanity plea was the surest way to escape the slammer and the pleasantries associated with it (Figured that out from John Grisham's 'A Time to Kill'). But apparently there are dozens of cases where offenders who have been executed or are going to be executed suffer from some sort of mental illness.

Reading their case histories, my stomach literally started churning (And I have a cast – iron stomach and am a horror – movie aficionado) . Most of these poor schmucks have a history of abuse – sexual, emotional, and what have you. One poor fella had a monster mommy who would tie him up in a sack and hang him over the fireplace or she would request the neighbors to beat up her son. (Talk about the neighborhood from hell! )Once she even buried him in the ground claiming it was a cure for asthma! This fella (Freddie Lee Hall) was convicted for the murder of a young, pregnant woman (prpbably mistook her for his mother). Another of these mommies from hell used to beat up her son, taking it in turns with his stepfather to whip him with cords and belts. They even made his siblings hold him down while they beat the crap out of him. The boy (Robert Anthony Carter) was convicted for a murder he committed at seventeen. Small wonder that these guys turned out the way they did!

Perhaps we should start handing out licenses for parenthood- decide if people are up for the task before giving them permission to go forth and procreate or whatever. It makes sense does it not? Remember that bugger named Josef Fritzl who kept his daughter captive in a basement andd fathered 7 children with her? If we had the licensing thing in place unspeakable tragedies like that one could have been averted. We have licenses for everything elso so why not for parenthood? Perhaps I'll make like Reese Witherspoon and do a 'Legally Brunette' to get the needed legislation passed.

Funny how I always come back to mommyhood, even when I am doing intensive research on hardened criminals and their fate.


  1. Your post reminds of this post. .Interesting short story...

    I always wondered how people who arent mature for their age will handle something as complex as a parenthood. And you came up with this solution of parental license, excellent idea I should say although near impossible to execute!!

  2. I agree with BAdri. It is impossible to execute.

  3. Bet they could do it in China :)

  4. While it sounds so temptingly obvious - to control who gives birth and who does not - the problem comes when one has to decide on who decides that ! And on what basis !

    But that does not obviously stop us from wishing that some people are never allowed to have children !