Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality, by Thomas Lynch
For as long as I can remember, I have been uneasy around undertakers. Part of it, I am sure, is because I do not look forward to requiring their professional services. Accepting the inevitability of death is one thing, but handling the details is another. I dread deciding between burial and cremation, steel coffin and pine box, for myself or for anyone I love. My appointment with some undertaker somewhere is only a matter of time, but until then I am trying to keep my distance.
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).