Something We Cannot Accept

After the sentencing, a black bystander outside the courthouse in Jasper, Texas, told a reporter, "I am not in favor of the death penalty. But in this case, I will make an exception."

There are any number of Americans who would make an exception for John William King, the feral white man who chained a black man, James Byrd Jr., to a pickup truck last year and dragged him along a rough country road that skinned him alive and dismembered him. To object to putting King to death for the deed requires a saintliness I do not possess. In one sense,...

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