Sunday, March 20, 2005


Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy has reported that the nine-year old girl, missing three weeks, has been found. She is dead. The Sheriff apparently did a good job, and is to be commended; but it was unprofessional for him to say of the accused, as reported, "This guy is not a quality person, by any means . . . He's truly a piece of trash."

John Evander Couey, the accused, age 46, grew up during the Viet Nam War. He was an infant when we began sending "advisors" over there during the John F. Kennedy administration. Could the war have had some influence on him? We know he is capable of sexual assault of female children; and of murder (presumably to silence the witness). How did he get there? Where did his parents go wrong? All of these questions are irrelevant. He should be put to death promptly, as painlessly as possible, as a deterrent to others who have committed crimes which are punishable by long (in effect lifetime) prison sentences, and who are contemplating killing the witness.

Why should the government kill? Not because we hate Mr. Couey; not because we despise him; not because he is a piece of trash. We should kill him because to do so may save innocent lives. Mr. Couey is human, one of us. He is a product of his heredity and his environment. Things equal to the same things are equal to each other. If any one of us had his heredity and his environment, we would have made the same choice that he made, to take the little girl's life. The important thing is that his death (or whatever else happens to him) is part of the environment of each of the rest of us, and those yet of age to be tempted.

The way things are going now, with our criminal justice system, there may be problems. For example, was he given his Miranda warnings in an acceptable manner? Did he say, "I don't know; maybe I need a lawyer?" Was cajolery used? Was his request for a lawyer (someone to help him hide the truth by keeping his mouth shut) shunted aside, just temporarily, by some change of subject such as the officer calling for a sandwich or cigarette or coffee?

These officers must have been under great stress walking the tightrope, taking Couey into custody but avoiding calling him a suspect; questioning him but hoping he did not "lawyer up." If they did violate his Miranda rights, and his confession led to the body, the body and surrounding evidence (DNA perhaps; a weapon perhaps) must be suppressed, as well as the confession. These are the rules that we operate under. These are the Warren Court (1961 — 1966) rules that seem to have everyone, Congress, the Supreme Court, the President, the people, paralyzed. The idea that this case could end with Couey on death row for a decade should cause the public to rise up and shout, "Outrage!"

No, Sheriff. Mr. Couey is a human being; he should not be dehumanized by being called a "piece of trash" by the high Sheriff. Yours is a position of honor. It will be your duty to execute him at the appropriate time. No need to talk trash.

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