Gratuitous Insults

At the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog, Bruce Tomaso links to a commentary on the America blog by liberal Catholic writer Michael Sean Winters, who is adamantly opposed to the execution by Texas of murder and rapist Jose Ernesto Medellin.

Tomaso writes:

… Winters glosses over the facts of Medillin’s crime, saying only that it was “gruesome.”

Here’s a somewhat fuller description from the Supreme Court opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts:

Petitioner José Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national, has lived in the United States since preschool. A member of the “Black and Whites” gang, Medellin was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in Texas for the gang rape and brutal murders of two Houston teenagers.

On June 24, 1993, 14-year-old Jennifer Ertman and 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena were walking home when they encountered Medellin and several fellow gang members. Medellin attempted to engage Elizabeth in conversation. When she tried to run, petitioner threw her to the ground. Jennifer was grabbed by other gang members when she, in response to her friend’s cries, ran back to help. The gang members raped both girls for over an hour. Then, to prevent their victims from identifying them, Medellin and his fellow gang members murdered the girls and discarded their bodies in a wooded area. Medellin was personally responsible for strangling at least one of the girls with her own shoelace.

Tomaso expected that Winters would be opposed to the execution, because liberal Catholics tend to oppose executions for any reason, even in such a horrific case. But Tomaso says what got his were Winters’ “gratuitous insults, hurled from afar at Texas and Texans,” including:

Texas pride is a strange thing. National Guard troops take their oaths on the grounds of the Alamo where earlier Texans fought off foreign invaders. Everything in Texas has to be big, so, for example, their state capitol is the largest in the nation, even if it is also one of the ugliest. Signs everywhere beckon you to the “world’s best BBQ,” a title to which many restaurants lay claim but none fulfill. Memphis BBQ is a thousand times better.

But, whether they like or not (and whether the rest of us like it or not) Texans are part of the human race and citizens of the United States.

The item was posted on the America blog four days ago, and only three people have called Winter on his ad hominems directed at all Texans.

One thought on “Gratuitous Insults

  1. Thanks for paying attention to this issue.

    An even fuller description can be found at the memorial site I created for Jenny and Elizabeth.

    Jenny and Elizabeth would now be entering the “30-something” era of their lives. They would perhaps be married and have children of their own.

    Texas pride has a lot to do with the way individual citizens of our state have reacted to the World Court and Mexico’s demands. But the laws of our state and our country are the only thing that matters in this issue, and Medellin was found guilty of a terrible crime, has been heard and denied at every level of appeal afforded to him, and should now be punished according to the decision of the twelve jurors who recommended a death sentence that was handed down by a judge in October of 1994, whether Winters “likes it or not.”

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