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Seattle News Bites!
seattlenewsbites@hotmail.com
May 2, 2001

In today's edition, we thought we would provide you with some commentary instead of the customary comparison of local and network news stories.

We hope you'll find this a refreshing and interesting change.

Issue 1: NPR's airing of the Georgia execution recordings

We're not even sure you know about this story because most of the local news media has not covered it; however, we feel that discussion of this is important.

In these recordings, which were made over a period of 15 years and played recently on National Public Radio, you hear the actual sounds and voices of prison officials, witnesses, and the executed prisoners themselves.

Putting aside the usual debate over whether or not you agree with the death penalty, and which form of execution, these tapes are relatively boring and consist mainly of comments made by the prisoners.

However, the most chilling moment comes with one incident in which an electrocution goes HORRIBLY WRONG!

Normally, the prisoner would be strapped to the chair and jolted with 2000 volts of electricity 3 times, after which there would be a 5 minute grace period for the body to cool. At that point, doctors would check for any lifesigns.

In this case, everything at first seemed to be proceeding along perfectly normal: the prisoner was jolted 3 times, he was left to cool for 5 minutes, and the doctors checked him afterwards, BUT something was wrong!

You hear witnesses and prison officials saying there seems to be lots of blood coming from somewhere: HE WAS STILL ALIVE!

So, what did the prison do? They executed him again, and in exactly the same fashion as before, however, the 2nd time was successful.

So we ask you: Should NPR have aired these tapes in the first place? The only reason we can think of for airing these is to give people a sense of exactly what happens during an execution, and to show that they normally proceed smoothly and routinely. Other than that, we don't feel they serve any real purpose.
Issue 2: Why watch Timothy McVeigh die?
Quite frankly, we don't understand what's to see! He gets some IV's and then falls asleep--done! No different that someone in a hospital.

While we feel the pain and anguish of the victim's families, and understand their need for closure, we also believe they should realize there just won't be anything to see here. LET HIM DIE ALONE! and DON'T TURN HIM INTO A MARTER by televising it and watching.

Issue 3: Should the US Military use Chinese-made black berrets?
What difference does it make in which country they're made? The US Military buying berrets from China manufacturers has absolutely nothing to do with recent events--it was a simple business decision--they cost less!

Just because something is made by a Chinese manufacturer doesn't mean they agree with their government's policies. That's like saying Lockheed or Boeing must agree with Bush's plans for a missle defense because they're both a part of the project.

Who knows whether they do or not. But even if they don't, is that any reason they shouldn't be involved in it? No, and why? Because it's business! not politics!

Fact is, people everywhere: "joe public," corporate, and government look for a bargain and an opportunity to make money! In this case, China came in with the best price for their product--and what's more American than that!