Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Monday, August 25, 2014

RACHEL KING (JULY 2, 1963 TO AUGUST 25, 2008)

            On this date, August 25, 2008, one of the ACLU Demons, Rachel King, passed away. We will post some information about her before giving our thoughts. 

Don’t Kill In Our Names

p. B06
Washington Post, Friday Sept. 5, 2008

Rachel C. King, 45; Lawyer for 

House Judiciary Subcommittee

Rachel Carol King, 45, a lawyer for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on crime and homeland security, died Aug. 25 of breast cancer at her summer home in Wayne, Maine. She lived in Washington.

Ms. King moved to Washington in 1998 and was a legislative counsel and lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked on limiting the scope of the USA Patriot Act. She joined the House subcommittee in 2007.

Ms. King, a longtime activist against the death penalty, was a founding member of Takoma Village Cohousing in Northwest Washington, where she lived.

She was born in Enid, Okla., and moved to Wayne as a child. She graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts and then worked for the Girl Scouts of America in Massachusetts while volunteering in the sanctuary movement, a religious and political movement that sheltered Central American refugees.

She received a law degree in 1990 from Northeastern University in Boston and received a master's degree in law in 1998 from Temple University in Philadelphia.

At the time of her death, she was in a master's degree program in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University.

During the 1990s, she worked as a public defender in Alaska and became the first executive director of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty.

She was also executive director of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union and was active in the state's Green Party.

Ms. King, a Quaker, was chairwoman of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which announced in July that it planned to give her its lifetime achievement award.

She was a photographer and a long-distance runner, and she competed in more than a dozen marathons, including the Boston Marathon. She also taught law classes at Howard University.

She wrote "Don't Kill in Our Names: Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty" (2003) and "Capital Consequences: Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories" (2005). 

She self-published a novel, "Tales of the District," last year.

Survivors include her husband of three years, Richard G. McAlee of Washington; three stepdaughters, Lauren McAlee of Washington, Julia McAlee of Olympia, Wash., and Livia McAlee of Crofton; her mother and stepfather, Jill Howes and David Rogers of Wayne; her father, Charles H. King of Wayne; and two brothers.

-- Patricia Sullivan

“When I think of all the sweet, innocent people who suffer extreme pain and who die every day in this country, then the outpouring of sympathy for cold-blooded killers enrages me. Where is your (expletive deleted) sympathy for the good, the kind and the innocent? This fixation on murderers is a sickness, a putrefaction of the soul. It's the equivalent of someone spending all day mooning and cooing over a handful of human feces. Sick and abnormal.” (Syndicated columnist Charley Reese made an interesting analogy while criticizing the way abolitionists typically behave)
ACLU Capital Punishment Project, Aug. 26

It is with sadness that we report the passing of Rachel King. Rachel was the former State Strategies Coordinator and later the Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project.

Rachel passed away in Wayne, Maine where she was raised and later she and her husband, Richard McAlee, built a vacation home. Her last moments were spent surrounded by family and friends.

Although Rachel was a staunch abolitionist, her career took her in many directions, always where she could be of service to her fellow person. At the time of her death Rachel was on the staff of the US House Committee of the Judiciary where she covered issues of crime, terrorism and homeland security. Rachel also taught at the Howard University School of Law.

Her service to the ACLU was not solely in the Capital Punishment Project. In fact, she served as Legislative Counsel for the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office and Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska. Rachel’s dedication to the cause of death penalty abolition could be seen in not only her ACLU work but she was also the Director of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty and Chair of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Rachel’s public service career started early. Prior to law school she was a human rights monitor in Guatemala with the Sanctuary Movement. An internship during her studies at Northeastern Law School took her to Alaska and upon receiving her Juris Doctor degree she returned to work as counsel for the Alaska Public Defender Agency. She earned a Masters from Temple University School of Law.

She wrote and lectured tirelessly to abolish capital punishment. Her first book, Don’t Kill In Our Names: Families Of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty was published in 2003. The book told the stories of family members of murder victims who believed that revenge through the death penalty was not the way to honor their loved ones. In 2005, Rachel authored one of the first investigations on the experiences of the families of the executed, Capital Consequences: Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories.

While teaching us all how to live a full life with cancer she wrote her first novel, Tales Of The District: Life In The Nation’s Capital In A Time Of Terror which was published in late 2007. www.rachelkingbooks.com Rachel was also the primary author of Broken Justice: The Death Penalty in Virginia (2003), Broken Justice: The Death Penalty in Alabama (2005), Not in Our Name (1997), and The Forgotten Population: A Look at Death Row in the United States Through the Experiences of Women (2004) and many similar publications for organizations such as the ACLU, the American Friends Service Committee and Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation.

Those of us who were privileged to work with Rachel know that she rarely took credit for her endeavors, was patient with those who failed to keep up with her pace, and was an excellent colleague as well as a good friend.

It is typical of Rachel that in lieu of flowers she asked that those wishing to send a memorial please make a donation to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (www.NCADP.org). She may be gone but her spirit lives on in all those who continue to advance her work of abolition of the death penalty and social justice. As they say in Guatemala on the passing of a friend, Rachel King, Presenté!

“Do-gooders are more dangerous than a sow grizzly with cubs or a coiled rattlesnake, as do-gooders champion and sanction legalized barbarism.”
- Ted Nugent
Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, Aug. 26

We are sad to announce that long-time anti-death penalty activist Rachel King died August 25 after a long battle with cancer. Rachel died far too young (age 45) but accomplished a great deal in her lifetime. As acting director of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty, Rachel helped to defeat a death penalty reinstatement bill in 1994. As part of that effort, Rachel and her colleague Barbara Hood had invited Marietta Jaeger, whose 7-year-old daughter had been murdered years before, to speak to Alaskan lawmakers about her opposition to the death penatly.  Many of those lawmakers later said that listening to Marietta conviced them to change their minds and vote against the death penalty. 

Recognizing the power of victims’ voices against the death penalty, Rachel and Barbara collaborated to produce the first edition of "Not in Our Name: Murder Victims’ Families Speak Out Against the Death Penalty," and Rachel subsequently wrote and published the book "Don’t Kill in Our Names" and its companion volume "Capital Consequences: Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories," which was one of the first investigations into the experience of families of the executed. 

Rachel worked as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, lobbying on many criminal justice issues including the death penalty, served as chair of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and taught law school classes (Howard University). When she attended Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights’ founding ceremony on December 10, 2004, Rachel offered these public remarks:

"I first learned about the power of murder victims to talk about this sisue when I was working in Alaska back in 1994. The leader of the Senate had a bill to introduce the death penalty. He had the votes to pass it, and it looked like it was a foregone conclusion that Alaska, like a lot of other states, was going to have the death penalty. And then we brought some murder victims’ families to Alaska. We brought Marietta Jaeger, whose 7-year-old daughter Susie had been kidnapped and murdered, and she changed peoples hearts and minds. Leiglsators told us later that she had changed their position on this issue. Im proud to say that Alaska does not have the death penalty. We fought it back that year, we fought it back two years after that. We kept bringing back the murder victims’ family members, and even got one of them, Bill Pelke, to move up there, and now they just don’t have a prayer of bringing the death penalty back. The momentum has totally shifted.

"I'm personally interested in Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights because before I went to law school I was a human rights monitor in Guatemala, and I have a lot of feeling for that country and for the people there who suffered greatly. I got involved in going to Guatemala when I met people in the Sanctuary movement here in the U.S.  who were fleeing from political persecution in Guatemala. When I was in Guatemala I worked with a woman named Annette de Garcia who had started a group for families and friends of the disappeared. One time I was in her home watching, guarding, her 4-year-old daughter, and I was looking through this closet, and there were volumes of books, literally dozens of them, and they were all photographs of family members who had been diappeared.

"Now this is another kind of death penalty; it's not the kind we think about in the U.S. but its state- sponored execution. Really its the same issue of the state sponsoring violence, and how we need to move away from that. There really isn't any other group out there making that kind of linkage between the issues, and I think MVFHR is going to do it. So the ACLU really looks forward to working with you all and Im really glad to be here...."

We remain grateful for all of Rachel’s work on behalf of a better world. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. 

Interview with the Author, Rachel King

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: This project began in 1996 while I was working on a campaign to oppose legislation to re-instate the death penalty in Alaska. During that campaign, a fellow campaigner and attorney, Barbara Hood, learned about a woman named Marietta Jaeger whose daughter had been murdered, but yet she had opposed the death penalty for her killer. We invited Marietta to Alaska to share her experience.

Marietta spoke to many people during her Alaskan trip including several members of the legislature many of whom later told us that her story convinced them to change their mind and vote against the death penalty bill. The bill never passed and Alaska still does not have the death penalty.

Because Marietta’s story was so compelling, Barbara had the idea to produce a booklet of stories of people like Marietta – people who had lost family members to murder and opposed the death penalty. She enlisted my help and over the course of the next few years I interviewed and photographed more than fifty people who were willing to publicly state their opposition to the death penalty.

Barbara edited and self-published the stories in a publication called Not in Our Name. Not in Our Name has now gone through several editions and was turned into a traveling photo-text exhibit, which has been displayed at various venues across the country.
Although I was proud of our final product, I felt that the stories needed to be told to a much wider audience, hence the idea for a “real” book. Barbara and I talked about writing a book together, but ultimately she decided against it. Although Barbara did not participate in writing this book, it was her idea and creativity that first gave the project life.

Q: How, when, and why was Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) founded? Can anyone who opposes the death penalty be a member? How many members does the group have? What does MVFR do?

A: Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation was founded in 1976 by Marie Deans of Richmond, Virginia, after the murder of her mother-in-law, Penny. Marie did not want the killer to receive the death penalty and when she advocated against it, was treated badly by some. She wondered if other people felt the way she did and decided to research to see if others felt as she did. She found that they did. The result was that the group decided to form an organization and MVFR was born.

Since that time, MVFR has become a leader in the abolition movement, both nationally and internationally. MVFR has members and associate members – they welcome anyone who wants to be an associate member and members are people who have had family members murdered or executed. MVFR has several thousand associate members and several thousand members.

The mission of MVFR is to abolish the death penalty but it also supports programs that reduce homicide and promote crime prevention and alternatives to violence. MVFR has also sponsored several “Journeys of Hope” where members have gone on weeks long tours sharing their experiences with communities across the country and world. Members also frequently testify before state legislatures considering death penalty legislation.

Q: In the book, you write that MVFR members "are often treated as either saints or lunatics, but the truth is that they are neither." Who are they? What commonalties do they share? What differences did you find? How big of a role does religious faith play?

A: MVFR members are people who have experienced horrible, life-changing events where someone in their family was murdered. Having experienced first-hand the devastation that violence wreaks, they have come to the conclusion that the death penalty is not wise a social policy. For some members, religion and spiritual faith played an important role in their healing process, but this is not true for everyone. Also, many members have discovered that forgiveness is a very important part of their recovery process. Some have even sought reconciliation with the person who killed their family member. However, this is also not universally true.

Q: You've interviewed dozens of people in researching this book. How and why did you select the ten who are featured?

A: Deciding which people to feature was very difficult, because all of the stories are powerful and inspiring. I ultimately decided to choose stories that illustrated well particular aspects of the death penalty such as innocence, racial bias, mental retardation, juvenile executions, forgiveness and reconciliation. In this way, readers will learn about systemic problems with the death penalty through the stories.

Q: Did any of the people you feature in the book support the death penalty before their own personal tragedies?

A: Yes, two people were strong supporters of the death penalty and four others had not formed a strong opinion on the subject.

Q: Were families of the people you interviewed united in their opposition to the death penalty?

A: No. It is common for family members to be divided on this issue. Usually, families are able to function with the disagreement, but in at least two cases the issue completely tore families apart and the two sides are not in contact with each other.

Q: What surprised you as you did the interviews for this book? What did you learn?

A: What is surprising to me about the book is that it a hopeful book. The participants have experienced a traumatic event that those of us who have not lost someone to murder cannot imagine. I was constantly surprised and inspired by the ability of people to heal from horrible traumas and to integrate their tragedies into their lives in a way that strengthens them and enables them to work for a more just society. It is very life affirming and optimistic.

Q: What is your goal in publishing Don't Kill in Our Names? What do you most want people to learn from reading it? Do you expect to change the minds of people who support the death penalty?

A: Within the death penalty debate, we hear a lot about family members who support the death penalty. In fact, one of the reasons most frequently given for the continued use of the death penalty is that it helps the victims. It is important that people hear about the fact that many victims do not believe this to be true. In fact, they believe that supporting the death penalty harms victims and society at large. I don’t know if the book will change people’s minds about the death penalty, although of course I would like to think that is a possibility. In any event, the voices of the victims who oppose the death penalty have not been sufficiently heard and I’d like the book to be a vehicle to getting those voices out. Also, some of the royalties from the book will go to organizations that support families of murder victims so I would like the book to raise money for those causes.

Q: You've devoted much of your career, and your personal time, to opposing the death penalty. Why is this cause so important to you?

A: I have worked within the criminal justice system throughout my legal career and have seen the many ways that it is unfair. The death penalty represents the worst aspects of the criminal justice system. Instead of punishing the people who commit the worse crimes, the death penalty is used against people who are the most vulnerable – the poor, mentally retarded, mentally ill, youths and people of color. Our society has tried to administer the system “fairly” and that experiment has failed. Ending the death penalty will mark an evolutionary change when we acknowledge that government sponsored killing is not the answer to violence. I want to be part of bringing about this change. 

Thomas Mann Quote [PHOTO SOURCE: http://izquotes.com/quote/249780]
                As usual, we, the comrades of Unit 1012, advises the public to ignore Rachel King, please be aware that she only made used of Victims’ Families Against The Death Penalty for her work in ending capital punishment. She worked for the ACLU Demons, who enjoy lying and lying non-stop, you can see why we disagree with the ACLU Demons in ending the death penalty. If she was alive today, she would most probably be happy to learn that LWOP is now unconstitutional for juveniles.

            Please enjoy our Unit 1012 Blog to hear from more victims’ families who are for the death penalty. Rachel King is no different from the late Roy Jenkins and Henry Schwarzschild. Marcus Fabius Quintilianus has a quote for them all:

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (PHOTO SOURCE: http://izquotes.com/quote/386146)
            Even Marc Klaas, the father of Polly Klaas (Died: October 1, 1993) has a quote that suits the ACLU Demons well:

"It diminishes the victims when people burn candles and mourn someone who has committed a heinous crime; People on death row are some of the worst individuals that appear on the face of the earth. The abolitionists refuse to acknowledge that evil exists and evil has to be put down."
- Marc Klaas

                He is right! The problem with the capital punishment system in the United States are the ACLU Demons themselves, not the system. Since Rachel King, can select ten victims’ families against the death penalty for her book, we can name more than ten victims’ families who still supported the death penalty years after the killer was executed.

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