When I sit with the Washington Post and my morning coffee, I have a sense that I’m hovering on a threshold; like many Americans, I remember September 11 and feel as if I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. It often seems as if ours is the most anxious time in history, at least from our selfish perspective in a remarkably affluent and outwardly secure corner of God’s world. We Americans have been shaken. We live with heightened awareness of the unease, the shakiness and uncertainty, the sense of foreboding that is part of the human condition.
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).