It seems to me we killed a dead man last month (11-19, A8, “Appeals rejected for man convicted of area slaying”). When the state executed Leon Taylor, the one who died wasn’t Leon Taylor the murderer. He died years ago.
The Leon Taylor we killed was the reborn Christian who regretted taking a life and tried to atone by bettering himself and the lives of others in prison — where he might rightly have spent his remaining years had we not snuffed out his humanity.
So many aspects of this case were unclear, yet we passed an absolute judgment. We judged the condemned as beyond any possibility of reform. We judged our court system to be beyond error or reproach. We used violent means toward a supposedly non-violent end in a vain attempt to teach non-killing by killing.
I find myself increasingly distressed by such assumptions, wanting to say to a state government that has executed 11 persons since November 2013, ‘Not in my name!”
Jim Hannah of Independence is a retired magazine editor and minister with the Community of Christ. He has lived in the Kansas City area 25 years.