Law of contradictions.

When is a table is not a table?

This past week the law of contradictions reared its ugly head in the nation’s death penalty arena.

Stephen West was put to death in Tennessee’s electric chair for the double murder of a mother and her 15-year-old daughter in 1986.

During his 33-year stay on death row, West became a man of faith and a model of rehabilitation.

Dexter Johnson was scheduled to die by lethal injection in the Texas death house but was granted a stay of execution by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals because the condemned man may be intellectually disabled.

Johnson was sentenced to death for the murder of two teenagers in Houston in 2006. That double murder came on the heels of a 25 day crime spree in which Johnson (just days after turning 18) and four other teens killed three other people and pulled off a string of robberies.

The public record does not disclose what Johnson may have accomplished during his stay on death row.

The contradiction?

West, an intellectually capable person, was put to death because he had the mental capacity to understand all the ramifications of his execution.

Johnson, an intellectually incapable person, was spared execution because his mental capacity to understand all the ramifications of his execution was in doubt.

Intellectual comprehension put to death.

Intellectual incomprehension spared execution.

The logic in this death penalty scenario defies normal reasoning.

It is a table that is not a table.

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