The state of Texas executed Jose Medellin yesterday in defiance of international treaties signed by the United States and over the objection of the death penalty friendly Bush Administration. Medellin was part of a horrible gang rape and strangulation murder of two teenage girls fifteen years ago. The only member of the gang to be executed so far (two others remain under sentences of death while two others were sentenced to death but were commuted to life in prison). Medellin was 19 at the time (a year younger and he could no longer face execution).
The international law issue arose because the United States is party to a treaty that requires signatory nations to provide access to counselors from their home nation after being arrested. Medellin was never provided this counselor assistance. Since Mexico is strongly opposed to the death penalty, and advocates for its citizens caught up in the US justice system, and since obtaining good legal assistance as early as possible is the most crucial factor in any capital case, there is good reason to believe Medellin might not have been sentenced to death had Texas followed US law (treaties have superiority to any state law).
This counselor access treaty operates to protect Americans when they get arrested in a foreign nation, which is why the Bush Administration has sought repeatedly to get Texas to remove Medellin from death row. But protecting Americans is not a priority for the state of Texas which apparently puts its rituals of vengeance above any other consideration. Texas has long put itself apart from the rest of the nation in its practice of execution. With 26 executions in 2007 (down from as many as 50 per year in the 1990s), Texas executed more people then all the other states in the union combined.
There are a lot of good people in Texas, including some of my loved ones, and many of them despise the state's reputation as blood thirsty state. But as much as I'd miss the art and the barbecue in Houston, and the music in Austin, its time to face the truth. Texas belongs in some other union. So I'm personally appealing to Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature to secede from the union.
As Phil Och's once wrote of Mississippi, "find yourself another country to be part of." I would suggest China, Iran, Nigeria, or some other country that better fits your moral values.