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Home > Culture and Society

WAWIBF... Clarence Ray Allen

21 January 2006

Clarence Ray Allen was executed this week, a day after his 76th birthday. He was blind and partially deaf. He also used a wheelchair. But this was California, so appeals for clemency fell on deaf Austrian ears. Allen was guilty - he had killed a couple of people around 25 years ago - so if you believe in the death penalty, an eye for an eye, mutually assured destruction, that sort of thing, there was no doubt - he had it coming. Some might argue that keeping him on death row for 23 years and refusing him medical treatment when he needed it, as alleged by his lawyers, was punishment enough for his crimes. Whilst others might suggest that he should have been kept alive in neglect and maltreatment till right at the last moment of his life, when he should have been tortured and killed.

The appeal was launched on the grounds that Allen was too frail to face the death penalty. So really, you can understand why it failed. It's like saying that someone is too hungry to eat. Fuck it, the frailer the better. If he was that frail, they could administer death with just a couple of Chinese burns. Arnie could have killed him himself just by shouting.

It's hardly surprising that Arnie found no mercy for Allen. If he couldn't dredge any up for Nobel Prize nominee Tookie, he was hardly going to be swayed by a frail, insensate old cripple. What makes the whole thing slightly more ludicrous is that in September last year, Allen suffered a heart attack. It should have been fatal - his heart actually stopped. Refusing however to be nudged out of the action by nature, or God, the state kept him alive. Till Tuesday.



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