Should baby killers be executed?


Gregory Kane

There are baby killers among us. At least one, possibly three, of them killed little Carter Scott.

Carter was only 16-months-old. He was sitting in a red Chevy with his father, Rashaw Scott, at Cherry Hill’s Cherrydale Apartments around 7 p.m. the evening of May 25, 2013.

According to police and news reports, at least two gunmen, possibly three, riddled the car with at least 16 bullets. Both Carter and his father were hit.

The little boy died of his wounds. If those who committed this heinous act were indeed guilty, what would be the problem with executing them, these baby killers?

Well, our governor and most of our state legislators apparently have a big problem with it. The Legislature passed a bill to abolish capital punishment earlier this year, and Gov. Martin O’Malley was only too eager to sign the bill into law.

Oh, they felt quite noble about themselves. When the bill was passed, legislators cheered and clapped and patted themselves on the back.

NAACP head honcho Benjamin Todd Jealous could be seen in the throng, helping to lead the cheering. Abolishing the death penalty in Maryland was high on the NAACP’s agenda this year.

A question for Jealous: what are you going to do for little Carter Scott and his surviving relatives?

There’s no need for him to answer, because you know, I know and HE knows he’s going to do exactly jack diddly. So are those legislators. So is O’Malley.

Have you noticed the lack of outrage, the eerie silence coming from the abolish-the-death-penalty crowd about the death of little Carter?

Back when they were whooping and hollering to deep six the death penalty— in other words, back when they were all celebrating “Be Kind to the Homicidal Month”— we couldn’t get these people to shut the hell up.

Now a 16-month-old baby has been gunned down on Baltimore’s streets and all we get from these folks is their best Harpo Marx routine.

Perhaps that’s because they’re at their most eloquent when they’re advocating FOR criminals, instead of condemning them.

While our legislators have spent the last couple of years figuring out how to prevent murderers from getting their just desserts, two suspects in little Carter’s murder were running up quite the arrest record.

The two suspects that have been arrested and charged so far are 26-year-old Cornell Harvey and 20-year-old Eddie Tarver.

A visit to the website: reveals the arrest record for each.

It appears Harvey was the busier of the two, racking up arrests on charges of drug possession, robbery, armed robbery, second-degree assault, possession of a firearm with a felony conviction, illegal carrying of a handgun.

In May of 2011, Harvey was charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder but found not guilty.

Tarver’s record includes arrests for second-degree assault, drug possession and a handgun violation.

Both Harvey and Tarver are entitled to a presumption of innocence in the death of little Carter. But, if they’re convicted, given their criminal history and the nature of the crime— baby killing— what would be the reason why they SHOULDN’T be executed?

The death penalty isn’t a deterrent— opponents of it love to argue. But the argument has several flaws.

First, the death penalty is meant to be a PUNISHMENT, not a deterrent. That’s why it’s called the “death PENALTY,” not the “death DETERRENT.”

Second, the death penalty most certainly deters murderers from murdering again. Some of those on death row aren’t there for their first murders, but for, at the very least, their second.

The death penalty for career criminals who’ve committed more than one murder is justice, not, as opponents of capital punishment love to proclaim, “revenge.”

If Harvey and Tarver did indeed kill little Carter, then justice will elude them, courtesy of our governor and our Legislature.

Class of 2013: Courage, Choice and Compassion

“Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are…for all the land that you see I will give to you.” —Genesis 13: 14-15

University commencement season is a time of high hopes and great celebration. I was again reminded of that when I delivered the commencement address at Huston-Tillotson (HT) University in Austin, Texas. This coming weekend, I will also speak during graduation ceremonies at Tuskegee University and Alcorn State.

Perhaps best known as the university where Jackie Robinson served as athletic director and basketball coach before he set out to break the color barrier in baseball, Huston-Tillotson is the oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) west of the Mississippi. For 137 years, it has opened doors of educational opportunity that might have otherwise been closed to many African American students. The enthusiasm and optimism I saw in the faces of this year’s HT graduates— and that I expect to see at Tuskegee and Alcorn— reaffirmed my belief that the future is indeed in good hands.

My message to the graduates was simply to make sure that in addition to emerging from college academically prepared, they should also embrace their obligation to pave the way for the next generation and leave this world better than they found it. I am all too aware that this is easier said than done. So, I also shared three key observations, or better yet life lessons, to help them navigate this next phase of their journey. I call them the three Cs: courage, choice and compassion.

The class of 2013 is graduating at a pivotal moment in American history. Fifty years ago, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his passionate dream that America live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all. That same year, four little black girls were killed by a terrorist bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan at Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, and civil rights hero Medgar Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Mississippi. Now 50 years later, we have witnessed the second inauguration of the nation’s first black president. As I told the HT graduates we’ve come a long way baby, but we still have a long way to go.

While many of the legal impediments to equal opportunity have been eliminated over the past half-century, new challenges including voter suppression, criminal justice abuses, economic inequality and opposition to common sense gun safety legislation, have risen to take their place. All of these problems will require this generation of graduates to muster the kind of courage shown by people like Jackie Robinson, Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and National Urban Leaguer Heman Sweatt, who fought the battle to integrate the University of Texas in 1950. They each found the courage and made the choice to devote themselves to a cause greater than themselves. They each demonstrated the kind of compassion required to act beyond individual interests and clear obstacle-laden paths so that those who followed could have better opportunities. The baton is now passing to a new generation, and I have no doubt they will rise to the challenge.

The National Urban League has always engaged young people in our empowerment movement. For more than 40 years, our Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) has been cultivating new leaders and inspiring achievement by enabling African American students to interface and network with African American business professionals to prepare for careers in corporate America. In addition, the National Urban League Young Professionals (NULYP) engages young professionals ages 21-40 in voluntarism and philanthropy to empower their communities and change lives.

Many of today’s HBCU graduates have been touched by those and similar efforts. We expect that they will use the blueprint of courage, choice and compassion summoned and shown by so many before them. We expect that they will pass it on and choose to serve.

Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League.