Recently we folks here in Pinellas County were in the center of another whirlwind of controversy regarding the Schiavo case. I don’t want to get side tracked but just wanted to point out that many of our state and federal officials were highly vocal about the “culture of life”.


Laura Bush during her recent visit at Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial for the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust of World War II is reported to have written in the visitor’s book at the site: "Each life is precious”. Well maybe all these folks should go to Indiana and tell that to the Indiana Parole Board.

They recently reviewed a request for clemency for convicted murderer Gregory Scott Johnson who is scheduled to die by lethal injection next week. There are some legal issues regarding the case but what I’d like to specifically bring to your attention is his request for a 90 day reprieve so he could donate a portion of his liver to his ailing sister Debra Otis.

His request was turned down. The Board’s vice chair, Valerie Parker said the request was posed as a show of compassion and was quoted as saying “How much compassion was shown to Ruby Hutslar?” She was the victim.

I truly don’t know the answer to that question but I would also question Valerie Parker’s level of compassion to Mrs. Otis. Why does she think Mrs. Otis should she be punished? Is it because she had the bad luck to be born the sister of a convicted murderer? Is there some statute in Indiana I’m unaware of? Or is it that some lives are more precious than others?