On June 5, last Friday, Henry Lee McCollum was pardoned.
Not just pardoned, but because of new DNA evidence implicating another man and evidence that his confession was apparently coerced, Henry Lee McCollum and his half-brother were exonerated. They had spent over 30 years in prison for a crime they didn't commit.
And to Antonin Scalica, 21 years earlier, Henry Lee McCollum was the poster boy who justified the death penalty for everyone. To Justice Scalia -- a title of his profession he no doubt wears proudly -- Henry Lee McCollum should have long ago been put to death. For a crime it turns out he didn't commit. Along with everyone else sitting on death row just like him.
But now, thanks to science and DNA, along with revisiting the facts of the case, Henry Lee McCollum has been set free, exonerated.
How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared to that, indeed...
Note to Justice Scalia: the phrase, "justice is blind," is not meant to suggest closing one's eyes to block out the facts of the world around you.
Alas, while I know that protecting deeply-seated prejudices, in-grained biases and strictly personal beliefs can be so comforting for their long-held familiarity in a crazy, mixed-up world gone mad when life progresses in ways we're not used to, but remember, as the expression goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Just ask Henry Lee McCollum.
Fascinatingly, Henry Lee McCollum did indeed turn out to be the perfect example about the death penalty -- just not the one that Mr. Scalia intended. But the perfect example why it should not exist. Anyone who disagrees, ask yourself how you'd feel about the question if you were Henry Lee McCollum.
We are awaiting Justice Antonin Scalia's comment...
Just to be clear, we are also not holding our breath, nor putting aside other things to do while waiting, like checking the oceans each day to make sure they haven't yet evaporated, doing the math to find a last decimal in pi, and watching a pig very, very closely to see if it will fly, but we are waiting nonetheless.