Peter Cantu Executed

Houston and the world at large are a better place following Tuesday’s execution of Peter Cantu, the 3rd gangbanger to be euthanized for the horrific north Houston gang rape and murder of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena in 1993.

Cantu was found to have exhorted the other ‘bangers to kill the girls after the sexual assaults and was turned in by his own brother after bragging about the murders.

I understand from a recent commenter that the Ertman family has no other children. Their family died 17 years ago while Cantu, the literal scum of the Earth, lived on. His execution is, I’m sure, meager recompense for their loss.

This small justice is, nonetheless, needed by society as a whole as evidence of law in a lawless world, the hard-won triumph of civilized people over brute animals such as Peter Cantu, and the painful, necessary excision of cancerous cells from the human body.

Rest in peace, girls. Millions of Houstonians will remember your names and faces until we too are buried in God’s ground.

This is Why the Death Penalty is a Good Idea

The Houston Chronicle’s Anita Hassan writes:

A 4-year-old girl was shot to death in the parking lot of a north Houston apartment complex in an apparent carjacking Sunday afternoon, police said.

Police are still investigating the killing at 1351 Greens Parkway.

A suspect armed with a semiautomatic weapon approached the father, demanding the car keys, which were in the ignition, police said. Before the father could get his family out of the vehicle, the suspect began firing shots, police said.

Regardless of his race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or political affiliation, this creature does not deserve to be part of human society, period.

Leftist Relativism Inconsistent, Childish

At TalkLeft, TChris provides a textbook case of all that’s wrong with the far left’s moral relativism in this post about Saudi Arabia’s new death penalty crime – showing Turkish soap operas during Ramadan.

[Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Judicial Council, Sheikh Saleh al-] Lohaidan advised the station owners that “those who promote corruption in belief and actions … can be put to death through the judicial process.” Like death penalty advocates in the United States, Lohaidan subscribes to a deterrent theory: if lesser penalties don’t get the attention of offenders, death surely will.

Note Chris’ ham-handed use of liberals’ favorite tactic, the moral equivalency tar brush.  In this misguided view, the death penalty for murderers in the U.S. is equivalent to handing it out in Saudi over a television show.

Chris goes on to humorously mock the Saudis’ provincial narrow mindedness and justifiably so.  But readers are expected to follow along and paint the U.S.’s use of the death penalty with the same brush.

It’s nothing more than Ideological Slander 101.  There is no equivalency whatever between the two.  Chris undoubtedly knows this, although judging from the early comments many of his readers lack the capacity to understand the difference.

Murder is one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit.  It ends the existence of another human being, often brutally and painfully and always without the victim’s consent.  Saudi TV producers’ sole crime, should any be bold enough to challenge the law, would be providing a service desired by Saudi citizens.  Where is the correlation?  It’s MIA, my friends.

The fundamental problem is that the left is uncomfortable with making value judgments based on absolute moral standards.  It’s all relative according to the left’s dogmatic script, even when it’s not.  One need look no farther than liberals’ undying support for abortion of the innocent to see an illustration of the childishly inconsistent thinking that defines their ideology.

Guns and Grief

The thick, bittersweet irony of the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down Washington D.C.’s ban on "live" guns is that is has the left-wing, anti-gun gang completely up in arms.  Robert Stein calls the mind set behind the decision "our national schizophrenia", then proceeds to demonstrate how utterly clueless an obviously intelligent man can be once liberal dogma seizes the reigns of his mind.

What’s got Mr. Stein so confused is that he can’t reconcile polls that reveal that a majority of Americans support the right to own guns with statistics indicating that only 1/3 of Americans actually own a gun. 

There’s no inherent contradiction in these data points.  On the contrary, this result is exactly what I would expect – a majority of people who acknowledge the fundamental right of self-defense and a fair number of those who choose not to avail themselves of that right based on their individual situations.

The "disconnection" Stein sees is a figment of his imagination, a product, perhaps, of looking for a problem where none exists in response to a personal distaste for weapons and their use, even in the cause of good.

Stein’s ideological position bleeds through quite clearly in this statement:

How do we reconcile the apparent contradiction that many of those who believe in preserving the life of fetuses are just as passionate about the right to own weapons that kill human beings after birth?

Once again there is no contradiction in these positions.  What Mr. Stein fails to recognize is that the right to own a gun is not the right to kill one’s fellow man outright.  Instead it simply provides a means to do so as a last resort when confronted with the necessity of defending one’s life and property against a criminal attack. 

By contrast, a baby killed in an abortion is terminated by the parents’ disregard for the value of his or her life.  The baby has no voice, no choice, and no ability whatever to act in self-preservation.  Abortion is the direct, brute-force ending of a human life in its most vulnerable, most innocent state.  Viler acts can be committed; however, none are more absolute in terms of the disparity of power between killer and victim.

In fact, the real disconnect here is that leftist thinkers like Mr. Stein espouse abortion as a method of birth control while refusing to accept the fact that a criminal killed during the commission of a felony – say invading a family’s home under cover of darkness – quite literally chooses his fate by disregarding both the law and others’ rights to life and property. 

Similarly, liberals who oppose the death penalty refuse to accept the logical conclusion that murderers and child rapists choose and accept their ultimate punishment by committing their heinous crimes with full knowledge of the consequences.

If there is a national schizophrenia it is this:  the fundamental self-deception that lies at the core of liberalism’s measure of life and its value.


(NOTE:  Although I’ve directing some of my remarks at Robert in response to his article, his beliefs are in many ways representative of the anti-gun, anti-death penalty, pro-abortion American left.  This not a personal attack on Mr. Stein; rather, it is directed at all who espouse these values, ones that I consider highly illogical, misguided, and unworthy.)

5 Blind Mice, See How They Vote

The Supreme Court botched another important case today by disallowing the Louisiana law that allowed the death penalty to be administered to child rapists.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said there was “a distinction between intentional first-degree murder on the one hand and non-homicide crimes against individual persons,” even such “devastating” crimes as the rape of a child, on the other.

Justice Kennedy said Wednesday that while the court’s death penalty jurisprudence “remains sound,” it should not be expanded to cover a crime for which no one has been executed in the United States for the past 44 years.

Given the polarization of the court on death penalty issues it’s right that Kennedy author the opinion:  effectively he is the Supreme Court on this and other divisive issues.  Sadly he wasn’t up to the task of doing justice in this case.

Andy McCarthy responds to Kennedy’s twisted mess of logic with cutting clarity:

I think it’s silly on its face — read the almost unreadable (because it’s so excruciating) account of the rape and ask yourself whether it is really "disproportionate" to administer lethal-objection execution to a man who committed this type of barbaric a sexual assault on a child.

But let’s give him that one for argument’s sake.  The Eighth Amendment talks about punishment that is cruel.  First, punishment does not become cruel just because it’s disproportionate.  And second, are we really striving here for proportionality?  If a crime is cruel — as it clearly was in this case — wouldn’t a proportionate punishment also have to be cruel, and thus in violation of the Eighth Amendment?

Wouldn’t it be refreshingly honest if activist justices just bluntly us:  "We don’t like the death penalty and we can stop it because there are five of us."  Sure, it would be tyrannical, but at least it would be accurate, and not nearly as nauseating as what passes for reasoning in these cases.

(My emphasis…)

What else is there to say?

Ertman & Pena’s Killer To Finally Die

The horrifying murder of Jenny Ertman and Elizabeth Pena was my welcome home to Houston after living in Oregon for several years.  I remember the case like it was yesterday because their brutal, gang-related rape and strangulation happened only a short distance from where I worked at the time.  Now, after nearly 15 years of legal wrangling and international intrigue, justice will finally be served on the illegal immigrant who, along with the other animals in the Black and White gang, brutalized these two beautiful young girls.



On a summer night in 1993, Jennifer Ertman and her friend Elizabeth Pena, both students at Houston’s Waltrip High School, took a shortcut home through a park from another friend’s house when they encountered Medellin and seven other members of the Black and Whites gang.

Raul Villareal, 17, was being initiated into the gang, which required him to fight other gang members for several minutes. Following the ritual, the teens sat in the park drinking beer.

Around 11:30 p.m., as Ertman and Pena passed the young men, Medellin grabbed Pena and dragged her down a hill.

According to court testimony, Ertman was able to run away but heard Pena’s cries and returned to help. The other boys grabbed Ertman, and for the next hour proceeded to rape, sodomize and beat the girls before strangling them.

The final act of brutality came when the girl’s bodies were stomped on to make sure they were dead, court testimony shows.

The boys’ were so brazen about their actions that one of them, Derrick Sean O’Brien, even turned up smiling on videotape taken by local news crews reporting at the scene.

Happily O’Brien has already been executed for his crimes.  Now Medellin, who is no longer able to hide behind his status as an illegal immigrant and therefore, some said, not subject to the death penalty, will follow.

Medellin, who was born in Mexico but lived most of his life in Houston, had exhausted his appeals, but a legal struggle over international law had kept his case on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Even President Bush had said Texas should reconsider the case, based on the 1963 Vienna Convention. That international agreement established ground rules under which countries must treat the citizens of other nations that signed it, including contacting the embassies of foreign nationals without delay.

But the high court ruled in March that President Bush had overstepped his bounds in 2005 when he ordered Texas and other states to conduct hearings for 51 Mexican nationals on death row, including Medellin, who claimed their rights were violated when local consulates were not notified of their arrests.

Susan Gzesh, director of the human rights program at the University of Chicago believes that President Bush was obligated to follow international law:

If the U.S. is going to disobey the obligations we’ve undertaken under the Vienna Convention, then other countries could retaliate," Gzesh said.

Jennifer Ertman’s father disagreed, saying that then-Governor Bush shook his hand and promised to keep his daughter’s killers on death row, only to later wrote the memo that might have spared Medellin’s life.

But that injustice was not to be as the U.S. Supreme Court thought otherwise.

By a 6-3 vote, the court said that a memo by Bush instructing states to comply with the World Court decision for new hearings was not sufficient to require states to act.

Another defendant in the case is on death row pending an execution date while two more had their sentences reduced to life in prison because of a Supreme Court ban on executing those who were juveniles at the time of their crime.

Now, having been held in prison for nearly the entire length of Jenny Ertman and Elizabeth Pena’s too-short lives, Medellin’s will make this world a better place by leaving it, courtesy of the state of Texas.

Texas Killer’s Death Sentence Upheld

In 1991, Kenneth Wayne Morris, a 9th grade dropout who is now 37, killed James Moody Adams, co-founder of the Northwest Academy while while his wife, Marcene, hid in a closet.  Yesterday Morris’ attempt to have himself declared too mentally retarded to be executed was rejected by the Supreme Court.  This ruling, coupled with the court’s earlier decision that lethal injection is not cruel and unusual punishment, may finally allow justice to be done in Adams’ case.

Morris was twice tested by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice before the 2002 Supreme Court ruling [Atkins v. Virginia]. He received a score of 97 both times, court filings said.

After the ruling, he scored 53 and 64, which the state later called "thoroughly discredited."

A new execution date could be set as soon as a month from the day prosecutors go to court to request one.

After watching Barack Obama try to bowl a game, one thing is clear:  It’s pretty darn easy to act dumber than you are.  The most likely explanation for Morris’ loss of IQ points is that his lawyers told him to play the fool on the test after the Atkins decision. 

By ruling 7-2 that lethal injection is constitutional, the Supreme Court seems to have stated in no uncertain terms that the death penalty will remain part of the criminal justice landscape for decades to come.  Clearly this is the right decision.   

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the main opinion, said the Kentucky inmates had failed to show that the three-drug method poses an unconstitutional risk of pain. He said prisoners who challenge a method as unconstitutional would have to show that it presented a "substantial risk" of harm to the prisoner. "Simply because an execution method may result in pain," Roberts wrote, "does not establish the sort of objectively intolerable risk of harm that qualifies as cruel and unusual."

That Morris might suffer a few moments of pain is inconsequential when compared to the agony Marcene Adams suffered watching her husband being gunned down by Morris and his murderous cohorts, to say nothing of the emotional pain she has undoubtedly suffered in the years since.

Justice Roberts again:

We begin with the principle, settled by Gregg, that capital punishment is constitutional. See 428 U. S., at 177 (joint opinion of Stewart, Powell, and Stevens, JJ.). It necessarily follows that there must be a means of carrying it out. Some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution—no matter how humane—if only from the prospect of error in following the required procedure. It is clear, then, that the Constitution does not demand the avoidance of all risk of pain in carrying out executions.

As a result, America is that much better a place to call home today.

(h/t Ann Althouse)

SCOTUS to Halt Executions?

The NY Times says:

Moments before a Mississippi prisoner was scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday evening, the Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution and thus gave a nearly indisputable indication that a majority intends to block all executions until the court decides a lethal injection case from Kentucky next spring.

The issue in that case is not the constitutionality of lethal injection as such, but rather a more procedural question: how judges should evaluate claims that the particular combination of drugs used to bring about death causes suffering that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Even without a written opinion, the Supreme Court’s action Tuesday night clarified a situation that had become increasingly confusing as state courts and the lower federal courts, without further guidance from the justices, wrestled with claims from a growing number of death-row inmates that their imminent executions should be put on hold.

I imagine anti-death penalty activists are dancing in the streets tonight at the thought of the Supreme Court denying the states the ability to mete out justice according to their own standards.

We need, after all, the federal government to define each and every standard for states because they are too small, too insignificant, and therefore unable to make such determinations for themselves. 

Yet Texas, the state that performs the vast majority of executions in the U.S. is larger than France in terms of area and has a population that’s more than twice as large as Belgium and 50% larger than the Netherlands.  All of the generally accepted forms of republican government are followed here and, despite the disdain in which liberal east and west coasters hold the state, 3 of the last 8 presidents were Texans.  If the Supreme Court decided to permanently restrain its enthusiasm for interfering in the state’s business Texas would make out just fine.

The only reason that state courts have become “confused” is because of the federales’ meddling and the latest excuse – the perceived need for a nationwide standard of cruel and unusual punishment – even is more contrived than usual.  Make no mistake, CaUP is all about obliquely challenging the right of the state to execute murders, nothing more and nothing less. 

As far as I’m concerned, arguments about cruel and unusual punishment should be restricted to the punishment phase of murders’ trials.  Being murdered, after all, is rather a cruel fate, though not so unusual as it should be.  Certainly it’s far cruel than a sanitary medical procedure preceded by a good meal and a chance to make one’s peace with God.  The entire discussion is ridiculous.

Yet in a perverse sort of way I hope the SCOTUS does involve itself in the morass.  If the high court does take on the CaUP question and/or the death penalty we can at least hope that they will make a definitive ruling on the subject, one that would clear the way for justice to be done without every death penalty case being litigated again and again for the better part of two decades.

There’s not 1 chance in 1000 that the SCOTUS will ban capital punishment nationally.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  So let’s have a final ruling on subject already.

Womb-theft Killer Guilty, Death Penalty Next?


The Houston Chronicle reports:

Jurors convicted Lisa Montgomery, 39, of kidnapping resulting in death in the 2004 attack on 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore.

The jury deliberated for about four hours before rejecting Montgomery’s insanity defense.

Defense attorneys claimed Montgomery was suffering from pseudocyesis, which causes a woman to falsely believe she is pregnant and exhibit outward signs of pregnancy.

They portrayed her as a victim of severe mental illness whose delusion of being pregnant was being threatened, causing her to enter a dreamlike state when the killing took place.

They also argued that she had post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by mental, physical and sexual abuse in her childhood.

[federal prosecutor Roseann] Ketchmark said Montgomery plotted the slaying and abduction and took pains to cover up that planning after she was caught.

“She knows she’s not pregnant,” the prosecutor said. “It’s no delusion. It’s deceit and manipulation.”

After initially denying the crime, Montgomery told investigators she had taken a knife, rope and umbilical cord clamp with her to Stinnett’s home.

Montgomery used a rope to choke Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant. But Stinnett was conscious and trying to defend herself as Montgomery used a kitchen knife to cut the baby girl from the womb, prosecutors said.

This woman committed a singularly heinous crime, one of the worst imaginable.  Is the death penalty in order?  Absolutely.


Imagine that you’re laid out on the floor, gasping for air, barely able to breathe, desperately trying to protect the baby that you’ve carried inside you for eight long, often exhausting months, months during which you imagined little else but holding that little life in your arms and rocking her to sleep while she snuggled at your breast.  Imagine trying to defend yourself with yourself against a murderous wretch with a butcher knife who’s cutting you to pieces, perhaps cutting your baby to pieces in the process, while you, frantic, choking, your strength fading, strain with all your might in a vain to save yourself and your child.  You lose.  After overpowering you, the killer cuts your stomach open, tears the love our of your womb, takes her into her bloody arms, and leaves you to die without any hope whatever for yourself or for your baby girl.

Reader, if you’ve made it this far and still disagree there’s nothing more I can say to you.

Newark Executions

Earlier this week in Newark, 3 college students were executed in a neighborhood schoolyard. Another student was shot was through the back of the head, escaping death by fractions of an inch.

Killed in the attack were Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20 and Iofemi Hightower, 20. Aeriel’s 19-year-old sister was wounded and is expected to recover. All four were shot in the head and found behind Mount Vernon School in Newark’s Ivy Hill section.

McCarthy said the victims – all current or entering students at Delaware State University – did not know their attackers, a group of at least five men.

James Harvey, Dashon’s father, joined Booker at the press conference and said he did not blame the mayor. Nearly sobbing, the father said the blame rests with parents who don’t teach their children right from wrong.

“Innocent kids are dying needlessly,” James Harvey said. “America, this has got to stop.”

Truer words were never spoken. But what will make animals stop killing? That is what animals do, after all.

There is a certain ideological group in America that I won’t name – one wouldn’t want to be overly direct by telling them how utterly wrong they are, after all – that believes that killers such as these deserve our mercy and possess the inalienable right to live at our expense for the remainder of their natural lives, regardless of the depravity of their crimes.

This view is utter nonsense. Many of America’s inner cities are insanely violent and no place that I, a white middle class male in the prime of his life, would go sober. Yet these urban neighborhoods are home to many good people, of which James Harvey and his late son are only two examples, people who need to be defended, not left to fight a low-level war with the packs of cold-blooded murderers that roam their streets.

What the unnamed ideology fails to understand is that framing their anti-death penalty rhetoric as a human rights issue is an oxymoron. Murderers in the first degree are not human by the most important measure of all. They fail to recognize and respect the sanctity of human life and thus descend to the level of a common beast. The death penalty issue really is a question of the victims’ human rights, not the rights the animal(s) who killed them forfeited as a result of their crime.

Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, and Iofemi Hightower were winners, good young people who had worked hard in difficult circumstances to better themselves, had gotten themselves in a position to do something more with their lives than those around them.


The schoolyard victims, [Newark mayor] Booker said, were “our success stories” — four young friends who had all blazed paths leading out of Newark, their families said.

Harvey and Natasha Aeriel, both entering their junior years at Delaware State University, were majoring in psychology and excelling in school. Terrance Aeriel and Hightower were about to enter their first year at the Dover, Del., school. She worked at an assisted-living facility, with an eye toward business, and he was an ordained minister and mentor in his community.

“He was really something special,” said James Harvey, Dashon’s father. “He was what a young man is supposed to be.”

Exactly. And yet he and his friends were killed for no good reason. Why? James Harvey doesn’t know.

“For him to be killed on the streets of Newark needlessly is very unacceptable,” he said at a news conference.

“They’re out here hurting innocent kids,” he added. “Innocent people are dying needlessly, unnecessarily and for what?”

These youngsters deserved to be protected against the skulking brood of hyenas who executed them.

The attackers, described as at least five young men, first shot a young woman, police said. They then marched the other three victims down an alley, lined them up against a wall and forced them to kneel, police said. Then they shot each one in the head.

“We are absolutely devastated and frustrated,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said, stressing that police regularly patrol in the area of the attack. “It’s not a lack of resources. It’s young people out there armed to the gills with no respect for human life.”

Fontoura is exactly right. Animals, of which murders are a particularly vicious sub-species, have neither respect for human lives or humanity. They understand only their malevolent will, fear, and punishment.

But where do they come from? This James Harvey does know.

“I blame you guys — the parents of America. If you raised your kids better this world would be a better place to live.”

Parents are, after all, where the buck finally must stop when looking for causes. Yes, there are other causes of bad behavior. But it all comes back to the parents. Kid hanging around bad people? Get her butt home after school. Neighborhood unsafe? Move. Kid disrespects elders? Wash his mouth out with soap. Whatever it takes, that’s parenting.

The weight of punishment, however, belongs entirely on the shoulders of the criminals. Victims don’t invite crime. Parents don’t force children to become murders, regardless of their (in)competence. Criminals choose to act and the punishment should fit the crime.

The murders of 3 young people whose little fingers have more value to society than the killers’ entire beings is particularly heinous. It is a crime that demands a response that both punishes the offenders and frightens those of like mind.

Only one thing frightens animals – the threat of death. Only one thing keeps them frightened – its implementation per the law.

Does that form of justice seem cruel? If so, imagine yourself as the fourth and final victim of the scum. Imagine the press of a hot, smoking gun barrel against the back of your head. Imagine the sound of the hammer cocking. Imagine the end of your every hope and dream at the hands of a brutal beast with a pistol.

Now, answer the question again.