Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 2, 2012

Dear Sis~

Last week Gov. Scott issued a temporary stay of execution for John Ferguson, the Miami native who was scheduled to die on Oct. 16th.  The purpose is so that doctors can examine him and assess his sanity.  As I'd speculated in a previous letter this guy has a long history of mental illness which is one reason why he's been on death row for 34 years.  My understanding is that previous governors, being aware of his mental issues, bypassed him when deciding whose death warrant to sign.  At any rate being insane as a factual or medical matter, as opposed to a legal matter, does not guarantee he'll be spared.  You can be 100% Looney Tunes from a medical perspective and still be declared legally sane because they involve different standards.  More importantly it will be Simon simple for the state to find a doctor or two who will declare him sane no matter how profound his psychosis.  The state keeps on call a large battery of quack psychiatrists (their "expert witnesses") who will testify very predictably (and profitably) in the state's favor.  Here's the really peculiar thing, in my opinion.  The whole reason behind not executing a crazy person is the idea that it is "inhumane" to kill someone who is not aware of why he is being put to death.  Think about that.  Yeah, it's O.K. to cold-bloodedly and premeditatedly kill people, but only if they know why they're being killed.  In other words, the "bad" part is not the actual killing, it's the possibility that the about-to-be-killed guy may not grasp why he's being killed.  ("We want this guy to know why we're killing him!!!)  Is it just me or does this seem like an odd arrangement of priorities?  This is the kind of twisted reasoning you end up with here, where logic dives down the rabbit hole, when you try to parse the justifications for executing your fellow citizens... 

Here's an update on my friend Tom. When I last wrote he'd been taken away in an ambulance on the night of Sept. 11th after spending 14 or 15 post-seizure days futilely trying to convince the medical staff here that he was dying. Well, within hours of arriving at Shands Hospital in Gainesville surgeons performed emergency brain surgery and removed a golf ball-sized tumor which proved to be cancerous. An MRI also revealed a "large mass" in his chest which was also determined to be cancerous. Just 18 hours after his brain surgery prison officials (over the surgeon's objections) removed Tom from the hospital and returned him here to his cell. I stuck my mirror out, upon hearing the door roll, and saw Tom, a big bandage on his head, tottering slowly and unsteadily down the tier to his cell. That was on the 13th.  For the next 5 days he laid on his bunk, often moaning, while receiving no medication at all (despite the surgeons having prescribed many drugs). Finally, after 5 days he began getting some, but not all, of the prescribed meds (no pain meds, of course).  Importantly, he did not get the most crucial one, the one to stop his brain from swelling.  So he was suffering mightily until just 5 or 6 days ago when he finally saw a free-world oncologist who was shocked that he was not getting the brain swelling medication.  After another 3 days he finally began getting that one and he told me the relief was immediate.  I knew it was bad when he kept telling me he had fluid coming out of his ears.  He's been told he'll get chemo and radiation treatment but that remains to be seen.  If the prison has their way he'll get nothing.  (It kills me to read or hear about citizens crying about all the "great, free medical care" prisoners get.  They are so clueless about what really goes on in prisons and about the criminally negligent medical personnel who commonly work in jails and prisons, many of whom have been barred from treating free-world patients, but who get to work in prisons under special laws that permit such).  The only reason Tom is alive is because he managed to get to a real hospital, out of the grasp of FSP's quacks...

Ok, Sis, that's the news from here - some of it anyway - so I'll post this now and hit the hay.  Give yourself a big hug from me!


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