Many Catholics and others against capital punishment have often suggested life in prison without parole as an alternative for dangerous criminals such as murderers. Some, however, have noted that life without parole is problematic as well. I have had "lifers" write to me about how they are merely warehoused, without any sense of hope or meaning or purpose.
Another incident of police use of deadly force has grabbed national (and international) attention. It happened just outside Saint Louis, the city where my family and I live. To say it’s been a bad week for Ferguson, Missouri, residents is an understatement. Michael Brown is dead, a young man gone before he could start college and begin life as an adult.
Once when I was playing darts with some locals in a tavern, I scored a bull’s-eye, and another player shouted, “Tobias, you’re pure evil!” Immediately tapping my inner Augustine, I responded, “Does evil really exist or is it the absence of good?”
"For God and country,” said the SEAL team commander. But if the God that Augustine had in mind were to shape how we think about war, there wouldn’t be much room to celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Karl Barth once asked a poignant question about capital punishment: “Now that Jesus Christ has been nailed to the cross for the sins of the world, how can we still use the thought of expiation to establish the death penalty?” With that in mind, I eagerly anticipated reading this book by Mark Osler, a professo
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).