The Canadian Record (Canadian, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 10, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 8, 2001 Page: 2 of 28
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Cruel and unusual
MUSELMANNER: “non-men, the divine spark dead
within them, already too empty really to suffer. One
hesitates to call them living. One hesitates to call their
death death.”—PrimoLevi, “Survival in Auschwitz”
In AN ESSAY DESCRIBING the Holocaust, Jew-
lish philosopher Emil L. Fackenheim argues that the
Muselmann was created by the Third Reich. He sees
this “walking corpse or living dead” as utterly unique,
for “prior to the Holocaust no aspect of the human con-
dition could make so strong a claim to permanency as
the distinction between life and death, between
still-being-here and being-no-more.”
It may be a gross distortion to compare the inex-
pressible suffering of Hitler’s victims with any other
human situation. And yet, a similarity exists. For we
create Muselmanner—people without hope, without
expectation. Our method is called the death penalty.
Not every condemned prisoner passes beyond despair
into this unthinkable existence. Most resist death.
They retain hope of a last-minute reprieve, hope their
execution will be re-scheduled, hope they may live a
while longer. Some few greet death with yet another
kind of hope: for redemption in the next life. Most con-
tinue to hope.
Now hope is the impetus to action. Together, hope
and action form the very core of the human condition,
to strive for something better. Conversely, in the ab-
sence of hope, unable to act, we become Muselmanner,
I thought of the Muselmann when Timothy
McVeigh let his last deadline pass in silence. On Janu-
ary 16, McVeigh was sentenced to death for bombing
the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma
City. When a federal execution date is set, condemned
prisoners have one month to request clemency. On
Friday, Feb. 16, McVeigh’s month was up. During that
time, he did nothing.
His failure may be ultimately practical, utterly re-
alistic. Under George W. Bush’s leadership, Texas ex-
ecuted a record number of criminals. It’s unlikely that
President Bush would show mercy to McVeigh, argu-
ably the most hated man in America In this light,
McVeigh’s refusal to allow his lawyers to file the rou-
tine paperwork might be seen as continued defiance of
a government that McVeigh despises.
But his lawyer’s explanation defines McVeigh's
reasons as something entirely different. Attorney Rob
Nigh. J*--. said that “even if relief were granted, Mr.
McVeigh does not believe he would be in a better posi-
tion.” These words define an absence of hope. Without
hope and the action it engenders, life ends though the
body may continue. McVeigh has become a
And it is for this reason that I have reversed my
long-honored logic. I still believe that ordinary people
deserve to live without fear that Timothy McVeigh will
decide to target our place of business. Such crimes are
so heinous, such criminals so depraved, that justice de-
mands that they be permanently removed from soci-
ety. In a state like Texas, which cannot impose a
sentence of life-without-parole, the death penalty
seems an obvious alternative.
So I’ve always been a supporter. Death comes to us
all. Knowledge of the time and manner of death is no
more cruel, unusual, or unconstitutional than is illness.
I knew the manner of my mother’s death—from can-
cer—and the time well enough to be with her when her
body ceased to breathe. Death, in and of itself, is nei-
ther cruel nor unusual.
But the creation of a Muselmann—exceedingly
cruel. Dr. Fackenheim’s analysis defines it as grossly
unusual. To deprive a person of hope, to utterly de-
stroy his humanity, to hear him say that he “does not
believe that he would be in a better position” if he
lives—this is an act of utter depravity. On the part of
my government And of me, whom the executioner
EMTH’I Wit: Ana McDonald urges the Texas legisla-
ture to institute a penalty of life-without-parole, and with-
out the possibility of commutation to a lesser sentence.
She invites your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INCORPORATED FEBRUARY 1998
USPS 087 860
P.0. Box 898, Canadian (Hemphill) Texas 79014
Fax 9: (806)323-5738
Email address: email@example.com
125/Year in Hemphill County
830/Year in adjoining counties
PerioUkdi posuge pad >t the Put Office is
Canedn. Tun. PeHoM weekly
■ Canadian, Texet, fir Nancy M. In*.
POSTMASTER: Send eddrase changat to
The Conodwi Record. Bei 898. Camden. TX 79014
BEN EZZEIL Editor & Publisher 1948 1993
NANCY EZZELL Editor & Publisher
LAURIE EZZELL BROWN
Editor (and Food Critic)
E-mail addresi: firstname.lastname@example.org
AMBER CAMERON Advertising Manager
Mary Smithes, Cathy Ricketts, Kim McKinney
Tonya Finsterwald, Ruth Erickson
Gabriel Brown, Greta Bass
Laurie Enel Brown, Cathy Ricketts
by laurie ezzell brown
This is one of two lighted speed limit signs recently installed in the
school safety zone along Cedar Street at the intersections of Fourth
and Sixth Streets Our editorial thanks goes to City officials who
agreed to foot the bill for these signs, which are intended to discour-
age speeding along this well-travelled street, and to the Hemphill
County Sheriff's office, who we believe will rigorously enforce them.
VeS, THAT'S A TELEPHONE NUMBER. But it’s not just any
I phone number. This one is the well-guarded secret phone number to
the exclusive inner chamber of this City’s cable franchise holder: Classic
Write it down. Engrave it in stone. If you’re a dedicated couch potato,
tattoo it on the hand that operates the remote control. Because you are
not likely to find this number listed in your telephone directory any time
soon, in spite of the fact that its listing is an emphatic stipulation of the
City’s current franchise agreement with Classic Cable.
Classic Cable doesn't really want you to have this number, we can
only conclude, because it has not only steadfastly refused to maintain a
local office here, but has also consistently made no effort to publish this
phone number in any telephone directory. Classic Cable doesn’t really
want you to have this number, it seems, but City Manager Dean Looper,
who negotiated the franchise agreement with Classic, does.
At last month’s City Council meeting, during which Mr. Looper re-
ported that Classic had announced a substantial rate increase, he also re-
peated that telephone number several times. The City Manager
explained that a recent upgrade of the cable system—also a requirement
of the franchise agreement —has been completed. He also noted that if
any cable customer has noticed no improvement in the quality of his tele-
vision reception, it might be because no complaint has been registered
with Classic Cable.
That number is 1-800-926-5326, by the way.
If a cable customer has not registered a complaint with the company,
it is likely that his service line from the alley to the house was not re-
placed during the upgrade. Squeaky wheels, in this case, should get the
grease. If a complaint is registered by calling 1-800-926-5326, and no ac-
tion is taken to improve service, squeaky wheels should call the City
Manager next. Classic Cable is required to take action on all service
complaints by the end of the following business day, and to resolve all
complaints within three calendar days.
If those terms are not met, Dean Looper wants to know it. His num-
ber, which incidentally is listed in the local phone directory, is 323-6473.
Now we’ve done our part We’ve published, at no charge, Classic Ca-
ble's telephone number. We urge cable customers who are not pleased
with their service to call 1-800-926-5326 and register their complaints.
We also urge you to suggest that Classic Cable comply with the terms
of its franchise agreement, and list that telephone number in local
And if that doesn’t work, we urge you to call Mr. Looper at323-6473.
Tell him you’ve got Classic Cable’s number, but not their attention, and
he might just be able to do something about it
Here’s what’s next.
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Ezzell, Nancy & Brown, Laurie Ezzell. The Canadian Record (Canadian, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 10, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 8, 2001, newspaper, March 8, 2001; Canadian, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth519955/m1/2/: accessed January 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hemphill County Library.