A message from Betsey Wright; the former political adviser who now devotes much of her time to work against the death penalty:
It is worth noting that Governor Huckabee set the execution date of Eric Nance on the first working day after Thanksgiving last year. He has decided that the day to kill Don Davis is the first working day after the Fourth of July holiday.
The spokeswoman of the Department of Correction always points out that executions are hard on the staff who participate in them. (I agree with her on this.) Therefore, it seems particularly thoughtless of the Governor to cast a pall over the holiday celebrations of these state employees.
The execution of Don Davis will also be hard on those officers and staff who have worked with him, and the holiday will be much less happy than it should be for them even though they do not participate in the actual killing. I have already seen several get tears in their eyes while talking to him.
It will insert horrible memories into the Fourth of July activities of the friends and family of Don’s victim, and I know it will be horrible for those of us who are Don’s friends. Perhaps the attorneys in the Attorney General’s office who work on these matters, and attorneys for Don will have a miserable holiday too. Some Independence Day!
I can come up with only one theory about the dates chosen for the Nance and Davis executions. I think the governor is trying to minimize any media buildup and coverage of this operation of state government, since you will be covering holiday events and activities, and/or celebrating with your own friends and families. So will be your viewers and readers.
I think setting dates this way is contrary to the principle of opening the business of government. The taking of a human life as an act of government should never be minimized in the public’s awareness and attention.
I also think that those politicians who support the death penalty because they believe it is a deterrent (an erroneous belief), should be outraged at minimizing attention to this act of governmental murder.