A Shameful Act: the Execution of Marvin Wilson

There are few times when I am ashamed of the United States. Today is one of them. The State of Texas executed a mentally retarded man despite the fact that he should have been protected by the Eighth Amendment. What is worse, the Supreme Court of the United States stood by and let it happen. Just shameful.

From an article in The Atlantic:

At 6:26 p.m local time last night, an hour or so after the last appeal was denied, Texas executed a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child, could not match his socks, tie his shoes or button his clothes, a 54-year-old man with an IQ of 61* which, his attorneys were quick to point out, is “below the first percentile of human intelligence.”

I am well aware that many people support the idea of “an eye for an eye”. I used to be one of them. As a deterrent capital punishment does not work.[1] Justice can be served other ways. We must find other ways. We must join the list of countries who have abolished capital punishment. A country founded on the principles of freedom and equality should not be allowing the State to take the life of a man who clearly can have no awareness of the seriousness of his actions.


  1. We also cannot forget the innocent who have been put to death or who narrowly escaped the death penalty.  ↩

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