Thursday, November 5, 2020

WI has a new 'death penalty' that aims for the innocent

Wisconsin long-ago abolished the death penalty after a public execution in Kenosha in 1851 so shocked the public conscience that the state legislature said 'never again.'

On the scheduled day of execution approximately 3,000 spectators traveled from the countryside into the city of Kenosha to watch the hanging. Reporters’ accounts of the hanging claim that after [John] McCaffary was hoisted into the air by the neck, he struggled for roughly five minutes, after which doctors were called upon to examine his pulse. Another fifteen minutes later McCaffary was finally declared dead. This gruesome execution contributed to Wisconsin’s abolition of the death penalty two years later

And while that legal barrier which matched up conscience with state power has stood for more than a century-and-a-half, the same impulse is vanishing at absolutely the wrong time: a highly-communicable airborne disease is on a killing rampage statewide - and at rates nearly exceeding those in every other state - and for the second time in the face of known costs, a right-wing majority on the State Supreme Court has overturned the Governor's emergency order to slow the pace of the contagion.

There's no way to interpret Thursday's news (see links below) other than saying that the Wisconsin Supreme Court - in service to Republican ideologues as it did in the spring - again has enabled a death penalty of sorts which will indiscriminately enable fatal attacks on the innocent and further exposes everyone - from teachers to first responders to grandparents to grocery store workers to front-line medical staffers - to death and disease. 

This absurdly awful situation goes beyond real yet wordy notions of partisan privilege or divided government; it's the logically-illogical consequence of state-sanctioned disregard for public health which should be the #1 mission of the government for which we all are taxed.

Which means as long as this is the new normal here - 

Conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Wednesday ruled on Wednesday against reinstating Gov. Tony Evers’ order limiting capacity in bars, restaurants and other public spaces, even as COVID-19 case numbers had another record-breaking day.

- this will be continue to be the new normal's reality here, especially as the weather turns cold and COVID-19 joins up with the season flu:

At least 58 new coronavirus deaths and 6,138 new cases were reported in Wisconsin on Nov. 4. Over the past week, there has been an average of 5,112 cases per day, an increase of 44 percent from the average two weeks earlier. As of Thursday morning, there have been at least 257,365 cases and 2,237 deaths in Wisconsin since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database.

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