Innocent Mentally Handicapped Man Released From Prison After 31 Years

Yesterday morning Henry Lee McCollum was released from prison in Raleigh, North Carolina after spending 31 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Henry McCollum Released From Prison

McCollum hugging his step mother, Priscilla McCollum, upon his release from Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C.
Source: New York Times

In 1983 Mr. McCollum and his half-brother, Leon Brown, were coerced by police into confessing to the rape and murder of an 11-year old girl. They quickly recanted, but the conviction stuck. It took 31 years for DNA evidence to exonerate the mentally disabled brothers. In the United States, an estimated 5% of all black adult males are currently incarcerated, while less than 1% of white adult males are locked up.

Had the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, a nonprofit legal group in North Carolina, failed to take his case, Mr. McCollum would have been executed. Many argue that executing a person with a mental disability violates the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution which states that a court cannot inflict “cruel and unusual punishment.” Mentally handicapped people in the United States are regularly subjected to the death penalty, often for crimes they’re not guilty of.

Henry McCollum Released From Prison Capital Punishment

According to Amnesty International 140 countries worldwide have abolished the death penalty.
Source: Wikipedia

How Do You Know You Exist?

Not to get too introspective, but have you ever wondered–under the influence or not–how you know for sure who you are? The good news is that if you have, you’re not alone. Educator James Zucker assesses these age-old questions and the various proposals of the West’s greatest philosophers.

Artist Highlights The Indonesian Child Smokers Problem Through Photos

Indonesian Child Smokers First Day

Source: Time

You can’t walk more than a few feet in the Republic of Indonesia without seeing a tobacco advertisement. The images are so prevalent and deeply ingrained within the culture that children as young as four are already addicted to smoking – sometimes going through multiple packs of cigarettes a day. They’re cheap, the lobbying is relentless, and virtually no information is made available about the dangers of addiction or smoking-related health risks (interestingly, some clinics in Indonesia claim that tobacco smoke is something of a panacea, able to cure everything from autism to certain kinds of cancer).

Indonesian Child Smokers Orange Chair

Source: Time

Indonesian Child Smokers Sun

Source: Time

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The History That Sits Atop Turkey’s Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut

Located in southeastern Turkey is Mount Nemrut, the 7,000 feet tall mountain that plays host to a number of centuries-old statues. For decades ancient kings flocked to the summit and erected numerous sanctuaries and tombs there, and given Turkey’s rocky past, it’s a wonder that the statues are still intact.

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