Last week Oregon was in the international news because of the police crackdown on the Occupy Portland protesters. I thought that was fairly remarkable because the number of times I’ve seen my home state featured in international media is minuscule.
And today — here it is again! This time for a much better reason:
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced today he will not allow the execution of Gary Haugen — or any death row inmate — to take place while he is in office.
The death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered, Kitzhaber said.
“In my mind it is a perversion of justice,” he said at an emotional news conference in Salem.
I read this in my Oregonian newsfeed yesterday. Today I received an email from a Spanish friend, saying she’d heard about it on Spain’s national TV news and that it was also in the newspapers. I checked El País and sure enough, it’s front page news in the International section.
So I checked Público, one of Portugal’s largest national papers. It’s there.
Also in the South African news.
The United Kingdom.
And probably many others. Congratulations to Governor Kitzhaber, who made a tough and gutsy decision. I hope he knows that it has been received all over the world with applause.