Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Kidney for Your Freedom

Governor Haley Barbour is in the news again today.  The New York Times reports that Barbour has granted "indefinite suspension of sentence" (not exactly a pardon...) to the Scott sisters; Jamie and Gladys Scott are each serving two life sentences in a Mississippi prison for armed robbery.

The condition?  Gladys has to give her sister one of her kidneys.

Can a governor require that!?  I guess he can. 

The Times reports that the original idea belonged to Gladys.  It seems that Jamie is in need of a transplant and her medical care is now costing the state a lot of money.  

Barbour has decided the women are no longer a threat to society and the NAACP (among others) has long protested the sentence they received, based in part it seems on the fact that they only got $11.00 in the attack.  In addition, the Scott sisters had no previous criminal conviction, so many decided the sentence was unfair.  (I'm not sure why they think the fact that they only got $11.00 means their sentence was too harsh, but there ya go; would it have been fair if they'd gotten $1,000?)   

Jamie Scott says they're innocent and didn't do it.  That could be true, I suppose.  One of their accomplices (after the robbery they left the scene with three young men) submitted an affadavit saying the sisters weren't involved.

It all sounds like a John Grisham novel.

At any rate - a kidney for your freedom is now the law of the land in Mississippi.


Anonymous said...

Seems the norm for a typical GOP-run state where armed robbery earns a life sentence for people of a certain skin tone.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Woah! I don't like this AT ALL.

MikeAT said... seem clueless so let me give you a hand.

Before you comment on it you may want to read the are the basic

...The sisters were convicted in 1994 of leading two men into an ambush in central Mississippi the year before. Three teenagers hit each man in the head with a shotgun and took their wallets — making off with only $11, court records said.

Jamie and Gladys Scott were each convicted of two counts of armed robbery and sentenced to two life sentences.

OK, it's not the fact they took money from someone that elevates the crime. It's the fact they threatened a man's life and injuried him with a deadly weapon that elevates it. If you don't think having two young women with a shotgun say "your money or your life" won't put you in fear for your life, try it.

Then again you hide under the Anonymous title so simple courage is not to be expected.

Tina said...

This quid pro quo business with organs is not good. And it is not good even in those feel-good inspirational accounts we usually get about it. There's a new gimmick that allows a non-matching friend to donate "on behalf of" a recipient, who then moves to the head of the line for the next real match. It sounds so generous until we look at the likely reality if it continues. I have decided I will never agree to being a an organ donor.

Sarah said...

Wow, Tina. I'm glad everyone is not so self-centered. What is this bad "reality" you speak of? Saving lives? I'm sure if it were one of your family members, you'd be singing a different tune.

Tina said...

Hi Sarah,

Well, let's think about it.

I believe it is wrong to coerce someone into donating organs, whether their own or those of the still-living, still-breathing person they love. What is "self centered" about that? It is in fact,coercive to offer someone their

freedom from prison in exchange for donating a kidney
. How far removed is that from offering money for a kidney?

I believe that my life span, and that of the people I love, and that of every one of us, is not dependent on harvesting the still-beating heart of another human being, in order to "meet a growing demand for organs" . How nice that they note that pain medication is never withheld from the patient whose organs are going to be taken.

Here's a reality known as "The Lazarus Syndrome", in which, thank God, the victim survived and recovered. Good thing they hadn't already disconnected his heart!

Here's one example of a bad reality, in Pennsylvania.

Here's the bad reality in China .

Would I give my kidney to my sister, or my child? I hope that I'd have the courage to give my life for them.

Will I tell the DMV to append a generic note to my drivers licence, and
trust that every person in the hospital is more committed to saving my life than getting that high priority donor heart they just got an alert for? Nope.

There's a yawning gulf between the free, unasked and uncoerced gift to a specific person, and coercive, media-powered insistence from the State, the Medical staff, or a PAC that we somehow owe our living bodies to a vague and undefined societal demand.