Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Third Bob Herbert Column:

Bob Herbert, columnist for the New York Times, responded to Mississippi governor Haley Barbour's "quid pro quo" release of the Scott sisters by delineating the governor as a conservative without conscience:
"I was happy for the Scott sisters and deeply moved as Gladys spoke of how desperately she wanted to “just hold” her two children and her mother, who live in Florida. But I couldn’t help thinking that right up until the present moment she and Jamie have been treated coldly and disrespectfully by the governor and other state officials. It’s as if the authorities have found it impossible to hide their disdain, their contempt, for the two women."

"The prison terms were suspended — not commuted — on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie, who is seriously ill with diabetes and high blood pressure and receives dialysis at least three times a week. Gladys had long expressed a desire to donate a kidney to her sister, but to make that a condition of her release was unnecessary, mean-spirited, inhumane and potentially coercive. It was a low thing to do."
"What is likely to get lost in the story of the Scott sisters finally being freed is just how hideous and how outlandish their experience really was. How can it be possible for individuals with no prior criminal record to be sentenced to two consecutive life terms for a crime in which no one was hurt and $11 was taken? Who had it in for them, and why was that allowed to happen?
The Scott sisters may go free, but they will never receive justice."

 Barbour rather obviously looks for the quid pro quo.  He doesn't cite human decency as his reason for releasing the sisters - he says that the savings to the state at having the kidney transplant done outside the prison was what what made him do it. Another chance to cut government expense!

Thousands of letters from dozens of civil rights organizations was what made him do it.

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