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Larry Flynt Has Principle Over Death Penalty

November 18, 2013

There is no doubt, in spite of all the things one can say about Larry Flynt, that many deep convictions reside within this complex man.  The latest example is his desire not to have the man executed who shot and disabled him.

I am not so sure how many others would find themselves in the same position of trying to stop a scheduled execution for the person who caused such personal pain and suffering.   Apart from the larger story about serial killer Josepha Paul Franklin (who killed to people at a mall in Madison, Wiscosnin) and wanted to start a race war based on his twisted assertion that interracial marriage was wrong comes the story of Flynt continuing to be the complicated and principled person we have come to know through the press and courtroom accounts.  From free speech to the latest example of being opposed to the death penalty the life and times of Flynt never stop appealing to the part of me who values the underpinning of democracy.

Larry Flynt is far from a perfect person, but when it comes to understanding bedrock constitutional issues I only wish we had more like him.

In a strange turn, Larry Flynt has filed a last-minute legal motion with the American Civil Liberties Union to halt Franklin’s impending execution.

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down by the 1978 assassination attempt.
Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down by the 1978 assassination attempt.

Do not confuse this with mercy, Flynt explained to me days before I would meet with Franklin. “The government has no business at all being in the business of killing people,” he said. Flynt is strongly anti-death penalty, pointing out the inmates on death row are “minorities and underprivileged people, not wealthy white kids.”

Flynt believes it’s “much more punishment to put somebody in prison for the rest of their lives than it is to snip their life out in a few seconds with a lethal injection.”

Flynt said he never thinks of Franklin or cares about him, it is merely on principle the publisher is fighting to spare his life.

When I bring up Flynt to Franklin, he breaks into a smile. “My old pal Larry!” he exclaims. “Tell him I appreciate that. Thanks.” He disagrees with Flynt, though, that the death penalty is less punishment than life in prison.

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