It’s 9:16 am as I write this. I’m having some trouble coming up with today’s topic. I could write about the death of David Crosby, who just died at age 81 after a long illness. But if I did that, I wouldn’t have much to say… because although I enjoyed his music, I wasn’t a super fan. I need more exposure to his work.
Or maybe I could write about the awful story I read out of San Francisco, California. It involved an art gallery owner who sprayed a homeless woman with a hose. The story is extremely sad and infuriating. Here’s a link to the article, unlocked. Yes, I could write about that. But I’m not in the mood to tackle homeless people being abused by mean spirited jerks. I’m not even in the mood to write about the comments on this event.
Most people commenting seem to think the water sprayer, Shannon Collier Gwin, should go to jail for what he did. But there are also some people who think he was justified, as the homeless woman had parked herself in front of his business and was relieving herself on the sidewalk. I’m not sure what homeless people should do. It’s not like we have many places for them to go when they fall on hard times. San Francisco probably has more resources than most areas, but it’s also a very expensive place to be.
Maybe I’ll write about that situation later, if more comes out about what happened, or if something else about it inspires me. Perhaps if my comment section heats up, I’ll blog about it. I guess I can understand why Jacinda Ardern, soon to be the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, is resigning her post. Burnout is a real thing. It can strike even if all you do is write blog posts.
I know I wrote that Prince Harry’s Spare inspired me, and it did. But I can’t think of anything right now that is begging for a blog post. Maybe I need to watch some more of H.G. Tudor’s narcissism videos. I’m also getting tired of addressing narcissism, though. I feel like I’m in a rut.
I think I’ll write about the death penalty in Virginia. It’s a timely subject for me right now, because I am reading a book titled Anatomy of an Execution. The book– and it’s an honest to God book, not a Kindle download– was written in 2009. It’s about a 1990 double murder case out of Middlesex, Virginia. The perpetrators were teenagers– Chris Thomas, then aged 17, and his girlfriend, Jessica Wiseman, who was 14. They killed Jessica’s parents, J.B. and Kathy Wiseman, because Jessica’s parents had forbidden them to see each other. I previously mentioned them in this post.
Because she was so young when the murders occurred, Jessica Wiseman spent about seven years in juvenile hall. The authorities released Jessica on her 21st birthday. The state chose to try Chris Thomas as an adult for capital murder, first degree murder, and illegal use of a firearm during a felony. Virginia ultimately executed Thomas when he was just 26 years old. The case was controversial because of the differences in sentences, especially since Jessica reportedly talked Chris into carrying out the murders. Chris took responsibility for the crimes out of a misguided decision to protect his girlfriend. That poor judgment cost him his life.
You can expect a review of the book very soon. I anticipate getting through it quickly, even though it’s not easy to read due to the small print. The reading is fascinating to me on many levels. I grew up in neighboring Gloucester County. Many familiar local lawyers and judges were involved in this case. The death penalty also interests me. Capital punishment has been abolished in Virginia since 2021. Frankly, I never thought I’d see the day.
Anatomy of an Execution is well-written and researched. 2009 doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, either. However, a lot of things have changed since then, especially regarding Virginia’s death penalty. For many years, Virginia was a top death penalty state. Virginia is far and away the state that has executed the most people, dating back to the Colonial Era. The “modern” capital punishment era commenced after 1976, when the death penalty was once again legalized. After 1976, Virginia’s rate of executions was topped only by Texas, which is a much larger state with many more condemned people awaiting execution. How crazy is it, then, than as of 2021, Virginia became the first southern state to abolish executions? It is the 23rd state in the nation to abolish capital punishment.
My home state has evolved so much! It’s too bad that Chris Thomas was unable to benefit from the more enlightened attitudes of today’s Virginia. Of course, much of what the authors have written about Virginia’s death penalty in 2009 is now obsolete.
I was eager to leave Virginia in 2007, when I finally permanently moved away from there after years of trying. Now, I think I might be proud to move back “home” again, when the time comes. I don’t know when that will be, or even if I’ll live to see the day. As I mention in today’s title, things can change quickly.
There’s one other thing I’d like to mention before I review Anatomy of an Execution. Reading that book caused me to realize that I have a very curious mind. Yesterday, I found myself looking up the people involved in the Wiseman’s murder case. I was really into it. It just made me realize that maybe in a different life, I would have been a true crime writer. Maybe I would have studied law or criminal justice instead of English. Perhaps I wouldn’t be an “overeducated housewife” if I had done that.
I am excited about the prospect of reviewing Anatomy of an Execution. I hope some folks will want to read it. Jessica Wiseman is proving to be an interesting topic, even 32 years after she helped murder her parents.
I do find true crime stories very intriguing. The real stories surrounding crimes are often more interesting than any story dreamed up by a novelist. The case involving Chris Thomas and Jessica Wiseman is especially tragic on so many levels. I don’t believe Chris Thomas ever had a fair shot at life. He was failed and abandoned by so many people when he was a young boy. I’ll get more into my thoughts on that when I review the book.
Well, I suppose I should end this post so I can get back to reading my book and ending my writer’s block. Hope you have a fine Friday.