When images matters more
by: Dominique Jerome Green

Governor Rick Perry just recently signed into law a bill banning Texas death row prisoners the right to sell any of their artwork, poetry, and writings.

In light of the brutal mauling Texas lawmakers took during the presidential campaign, one would surmise he'd have been smart enough to leave a hot button issue like that alone.

Obviously, with sights set on this years statewide and gubernatorial races, he's desperately trying to take every step possible to shore up his voter base of support.

In doing something so callous and brash to appease the select few, however critical their vote may be, he has opened himself up to a variety of others and may possibly even go so far as to unite liberals and conservatives against him alike.

Pointing to the few - short of a handful - death row prisoners cases, that have gained international attention and have allowed their names alone to reap profits. He has undertaken the mantra vicariously echoed out by fellow state lawmakers who feel ... all death row prisoners work is trash; and, the only reason they are able to peddle their wares is because of who, what, and where they are.

Beneath the rhetorical smokescreen that has been used to cloud the issue one should look to find the real reason such actions have been taken, because seriously -- out of 450 plus death row prisoners -- are 3 possibly 4 actually worth passing a law behind?

It is -- if lawmakers still stinging from embarrassment, who's careers could possibly be in limbo this year, see the issue as a way to shield themself from the onslaught that is almost sure to have them as the butt of their opponents jokes.

What isn't funny however, is that by denying all prisoners the right to earn money from selling their products, lawmakers are stopping many innocent people from being able to raise the kind of funding it takes to hire competent lawyers and investigators to help them prove it.

The recent string of executions also makes the case for prisoners who are mentally retarted and culpably incompetent; whose family, friends, and loved ones depend on the small crafts they make to help them in their attempts to cover the enormous cost of specialist; whose job is to examine them psychologically and determine whether or not the prisoner is mentally fit and should not be executed.

Adding to the troubling aspects of the above mentioned arguments, is that the law even hurts victims families, particularly those where death row prisoners seeking atonement and forgiveness give them the proceeds from the products they sell as a form of restitution.

Why go through all this trouble and hurt so many people ?

State lawmakers are desperate to rebuild their public image which during the presidential elections took a serious beating. Not merely from other countries or other states, but also from its own citizens which branded Texas politics as renegade to their own personal interest.

This attempt at damage control is to stem the flow of public scrutiny. If innocent prisoners don't have the finances to hire their own attorney. Then who's going to protect their lives and speak out for them? Surely not their court appointed attorney, who as recent events have more than proven, is on the side of the courts -- not their clients.

Coupled with the fact that Governor Perry just recently vetoed legislation banning the execution of the mentally retarted. Its clear he's hoped to have also nipped in the bud the political upheavel that forced the bill onto his desk and allowed it to become an issue.

Then there are those victims families, whose face his actions have purposely kicked dirt in. Apparently he and other lawmakers feel people should not be allowed to forgive the crimes that were committed. Nor should prisoners have the chance to have or seek redemption and be able to de-monsterize themself before the eyes of the public.

With polls statewide showing that support for the death penalty has dramatically slipped; while calls for a moratorium has increased. The reason no punches are being pulled by elected officials in their hopes to regain the bullypit and control over what information to the public is leaked --- speaks for itself.

It is very unforunate that many who don't deserve to die will start being killed until either righteous leaders come to power or good hearted people put them there to fix Texas broken judicial system, as a first on the long list of political necessities. Because the current concoction has the ability to silence so many voices, I have begun to ask myself; what want they do to kill me? Before ultimately shaking my head as I answer my own question. The answer is quite obvious.