“Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” by Andrew Cohen (OMM#8)

Tonight, please read the article “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” by Andrew Cohen, in The Atlantic, August 8, 2012, at least TWICE or as many times as it takes for you to get a fair  understanding of the meaning of the content and context.  (It took me twice to begin to get a grasp, and the article is only seven pages of large print with a picture, so I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.  Remember, reading non-fiction is very different from reading fiction.  It takes time to get a real hold on and understand the context.)

Once you have read the article twice, write a blog here where you explain what Mr. Cohen’s opinion is and how he supports that opinion.   This is fairly tricky!  The author may not have a clear claim or thesis provided within the first paragraph.  You may need to infer his overall claim, and then please think carefully about the methods Mr. Cohen uses to convey his opinion.  Does he use facts?  What other methods does he use?  Is his argument convincing?  Why or why not?  (Be careful!  You are not asked to give your opinion here.  Rather, you should give Mr. Cohen’s opinion and explain how he supports it.)

OMM Blog #8

33 thoughts on ““Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” by Andrew Cohen (OMM#8)

  1. In the article of “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” Mr. Andrew Cohen is clearly outraged for many specific reasons, taking specific shots at the states of Texas, Georgia, and the Supreme Court itself. He seems to be saying that if certain states can create rules and exceptions to the ruling of Atkins v. Virginia, why even have a ruling at all. He does this in many ways saying first about the Supreme Court, “Without dissent or comment, the Supreme Court just rejected last minute appeal by Wilson’s lawyers on Tuesday.” In this case, Cohen only sees the Supreme Court as pointless. It’s not doing its job if it can’t protect the fairness of its laws or the Amendments. He further puts emphasis on his rage by taking it out on the states of Georgia, and Texas specifically. Because Texas created an act known as the “Briseno factors,” it was able to skirt the law and get away with killing mentally retarded criminals. By pointing out the fact that Texas can get away with something like this, he not only takes on the state, but once again takes it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has no power if it can’t enforce its beliefs. Besides this fact, is even more clear that the author is against this law because of his use of certain words, namely things like, “Boy were we wrong,” and, “Got all that? In those sentences, Texas blew off Atkins.” In summation, Cohen feels as many do, agreeing that mentally retarded people should not be executed, but feeling Atkins case did very minimal to make this happen, if anything.

  2. After reading this article, it is evident that Andrew Cohen is completely against the execution. To convey this, he uses lots of evidence about the Atkins case and what the state of Texas had to say. One thing he included was how Wilson clearly has a mental disability. He says how he sucks his thumb, can’t read a phone book, handle money, or even tell the difference between right and left sometimes. In the first paragraph he also includes how his IQ is only a 61, very much below normal. He opens the article with this information so there is no dispute in the reader’s head whether he is mentally handicap. This is a good way to open because it leaves the reader feeling bad for Wilson. He then goes into say how the Supreme Court ignores the appeal by Wilson’s lawyers that this is like the Atkins case. He says how it was as if there was no correlation between the two cases, even though there clearly is. He also mentions how it seems the Atkins case doesn’t even matter if they executed him anyway.He then argues that the Eighth Amendment says a man with an IQ of 59 can’t be executed, but one with an IQ of 61 can. An IQ difference of 2 points means they are capable of that much more? As you can see, Cohen has convinced me. He then talks about how Texas uses Lennie as an example. They said that Lennie is an example of someone who would be exempt from execution. An issue is, Lennie is a fiction character. And Steinbeck is not a professional in mental health disabilities. Cohen made it clear that Texas undermined the rules of the Supreme Court and unlawfully executed Wilson. One more thing I noticed was that Cohen never mentions what Wilson did. He may have done this because if what he did was really bad, the reader would lose sympathy for Wilson. This is smart because after reading about the Atkins case and what he had done, I had less sympathy for him. Andrew Cohen does an excellent job at using key points to show us that this was an unlawful execution.

    • Great Job, Abyy! I agree with your terrific, analysis-filled, and organized blog. You did a great job highlighting the important arguments that Cohen made. Keep up the great work!

  3. Andrew Cohen, the author of this article about the Marvin Wilson execution by Texas, clearly disagrees with the decision to put Wilson to death. He says that since the Supreme Court stated that states are allowed to make their own judgement on the executions of mentally disabled people, there is no point in even having a ruling at all. If states will just ignore the steps that were taken in the Atkins case, the ruling has no purpose. He also states that because Marvin Wilson was a disadvantaged, black man in Texas, that he had no chance to escape the axe. He offers the example of Daryl Atkins being exempt from the death penalty, while Marvin Wilson was not. Atkins was just as mentally disabled as Wilson, and yet he was allowed to live and Wilson was killed. He also states that Texas evaded the Court’s ruling by creating an act called the Briseno factors. Since the Court said that states could make their own decision, that is exactly what Texas did to be able to ignore the Atkin’s case and execute Wilson. This is obviously not fair and makes the Court pointless. The Court has no reason to do it’s job if it’s work will not be relished and followed.

    • Great job! I agree with all of the points you made. I like how you said that the Court, “has no reason to do it’s job if it’s work will not be relished and followed.” Keep up the good work! 🙂

  4. The article Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson displays Andrew Cohen’s views on a case concerning a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson. Although not expressly stated, Cohen claims that Marvin Wilson should have never been executed. He believes that Texas has undermined the precedent set by Atkins v. Virginia, and carried out an execution that was ruled as prohibited. In order to convey his opinion, Cohen uses a certain tone and subtle words/sentences that allow the reader to infer his beliefs. Take the first paragraph, for instance. He writes:

    “Texas executed a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child could not match his shoes, tie his shoes or button his clothes, a 54 year old man with an IQ of 61.”

    Clearly, Cohen is not in favor of Texas’s decision. He brings to light the reality of how illogical Wilson’s execution was by giving examples that suggest his mental retardation. If Wilson cannot handle money, navigate a phone book, and sucks his thumb then he should be exempt from the death sentence. Cohen shows his opinion here, but not with a clear and direct statement. Additionally, the first line of the very next paragraph also displays his strategy of conveying his opinion. Referring to Texas’s execution of Wilson, Cohen says,

    “Texas accomplished this unrepentant bit of business despite a 2002 decision of the United States Supreme Court styled Atkins v. Virginia, a ruling which many of us at the time believed meant the end of executions for men, like Wilson, whose simple minds could not fathom the concept of the act. Boy were we wrong.”

    What’s striking about this portion of the article is his word choice. Using the word “accomplished,” suggests that he believes Texas achieved this end that should not have occurred in a regular case. The word “unrepentant” also proposes that the state of Texas had committed wrongdoing. The phrase, “Boy were we wrong,” also somehow leaves a tone of indignation a bit of resentment. Finally in the following text:

    “How can it be possible that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of a mentally retarded man with a IQ of 59 but not a mentally retarded man with a IQ of 61?”

    Cohen’s pure disbelief at Texas’s disregard for both the 8th Amendment and the Atkins verdict betrays his opinion on the matter. He believes that Wilson shouldn’t have been executed, and uses methods like word choice and tone to support it.

  5. Mr. Cohen’s opinion about the execution of Wilson is that Wilson should not have suffered the toll of the death penalty. He believes that since Atkins did not suffer the death penalty and that Wilson and Atkins are both similar, Wilson should not have been killed. He supports this by first saying, “Texas accomplished this unrepentant bit of business despite a 2002 decision of the
    United States Supreme court styled Atkins v. Virginia, a ruling which many of us at the time believed meant to end executions for men, like Wilson…” Cohen believes that because the Supreme Court allowed Atkins to live, Wilson should have the same fate. Cohen uses several pieces of evidence to support how Atkins is like Wilson by stating their IQ levels, Atkins case majority rule and quoting Justice John Paul Stevens when he says that, “Construing and applying the Eighth Amendment in the light of our ‘evolving standards of decency,’ we therefore conclude that such punishment is excessive and that the Constitution ‘places a substantive restriction on the State’s power to take the life’ of a mentally retarded offender.” Another way he supports his opinion is when he says that Texas made a law to protect mentally retarded people because of the Atkins case. Cohen thought that the case would have gone differently, but ““Boy were we wrong.” Cohen loathes the decision Texas made and the fact that it disregarded the eighth amendment and the Atkins case and expresses this with several pieces of evidence and word play.

  6. In the article by Andrew Cohen, it is clear that Cohen was completely against the idea of executing the mentally retarded. He was upset that Atkins was exempt from the death penalty when his IQ was 59, but Wilson was put to death when his IQ was 61. Cohen was mad at Texas for ignoring what the Eighth Amendment stated, and going against what the Supreme Court decided in the case with Atkins. He felt that if the Supreme Court’s decision with Atkins was not going to affect other State’s decisions to execute the mentally retarded, then what was the point of the case anyway? In the article, Cohen uses a very casual approach to the reader. He asks the reader questions such as, “Got all that?” and “Can you explain that? I cannot.”. He was asking the reader for their opinion on the matter, which made the writing more interesting. His writing is very convincing, but I still do not know which side to choose.

    • Great job! I agree with your points and I find it interesting how you mentioned the words he used such as “Can you explain that” because when I read it I thought the words he used were appropriate since it led others to see what he was talking about. I also think it made the text more interesting instead of him just presenting facts. Keep up the great work.

  7. Tonight we had to read an article published the Atlantic titled, “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” by Andrew Cohen.
    Andrew Cohen made it clear from the start how opposed he was to Marvin’s execution. However his writing is extremely biased and is written in a way to force the reader to a certain side. And if I recall correctly, Cohen never actually mentioned what Wilson did that landed him on death row. For all the reader knows, he committed an unforgivable and heinous crime. As a reader I felt like I was being cheated of very crucial information. However, Cohen makes it very clear why he believes what Texas did is wrong and backs it up very well. He mentions how Texas using a fictional character, Lennie, as an example when he’s a fictional character. Therefore not real and most likely not 100% accurate to a real mentally challenged individual. Also he mentions how he mentions Texas uses no actually scientific information when outlining their qualifications of the mentally retarded. Most are based on witness and family testimonies. I definitely think I can’t come to a conclusion on who is in the right. With Atkins I was most definitely on Scalia’s side but with this, I’m not sure. I can’t support Wilson because I don’t know what he did and I cannot support Texas because they clearly evaded the law in a very scummy way. But maybe they did so because they felt so strongly about having Wilson executed. For all I know the State of Texas did what they did because they felt so strongly about executing this man because he is so horrible. This is also why I strongly believe execution of the mentally disabled should be on case by case basis.

  8. Upon completing the article,”Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson,” by Andrew Cohen, it seems very clear the Cohen is fully against the execution of the “mentally retarded.” First and foremost, Cohen points out that the case of Wilson is very similar to that of Atkins. This similarity is important when discussing the outcomes of both cases. Cohen is explicitly saying that if states, such as Texas, are just creating their own rules regarding the landmark case of Atkins vs. Virginia, there is no point in that ruling or future rulings at all. In other words, if there is a very important and significant case that set many precedents(Atkins vs. Virginia), and there is a similar case that is present (Wilson) with the same problem but different solution. Cohen voiced his opinions paired with facts to persuade his readers the wrongs of the execution of Marvin Wilson. He brings up that Wilson has an IQ of 61 compared to Atkins’ 59, with two separate rulings. An IQ difference of 2 points isn’t much when discussing intelligence and it is unfair that Atkins wasn’t executed but Wilson was. Finally, Cohen includes John Steinbeck’s son’s input after the state of Texas used his father’s novella, Of Mice and Men, to make a decision in court. John Steinbeck’s son, Thomas, says he had had no clue that Texas was using Lennie from the novella as a model to identify whether defendants with intellectual disabilities should live or die. A fictional character should not be used in a real-life court case, as stated by Thomas Steinbeck. As you can see, Cohen believes that mentally retarded people should be executed, and their ruling in court should correlate to the case of Atkins.

  9. I believe that Andrew Cohen, despite the fact that he never states it, clearly expresses his true feelings about the Wilson case throughout the article. He starts off the article talking about Marvin Wilson’s mental retardation. “At 6:26 p.m local time last night, an hour or so after the last appeal was denied, Texas executed a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child, could not match his socks, tie his shoes or button his clothes, a 54-year-old man with an IQ of 61* which, his attorneys were quick to point out, is ‘below the first percentile of human intelligence.’ ” At the bottom of the page, the asterisk (*) next to the IQ of 61 is explained: “*Anticipating some responses, there were only two full-scale IQ tests ever conducted upon Wilson. One, when he was 13 years old in 1971, yielded a score of 73. The other, conducted while Wilson was in prison in 2004, yielded a score of 61. In some states, a score of 70 is considered evidence of mental retardation. In other states, the score may be up to 75. The IQ is significant as a contrast with Atkins. But it was the complete diagnosis, by the court-ordered expert, which confirmed Wilson’s retardation.” Already, in the beginning of the article, he is conveying the idea that Wilson is very mentally retarded, by saying that he “sucked his thumb” and “couldn’t always tell the difference between left and right.” And later in the article, he says that “Texas can execute a mentally retarded man simply by labeling him as ‘mildly retarded…’ ” when, according to Cohen’s original description of Wilson, he clearly wasn’t just mildly retarded, and “Wilson’s mental retardation was undisputed.” Moreover, he states that “The fact that Texas was able to overcome this — was able to execute him without ever having to dispute the findings of that expert — shows how empty is the promise of Atkins. A mentally retarded black man in Texas: What chance did Wilson ever have? Evidently, none. What Texas did to Wilson last night — what the Supreme Court allowed it to do to Wilson — is beneath the dignity of the rule of law.” Mr. Cohen’s language clearly expresses his bitterness toward the final decision, by saying that it is “beneath the dignity of law.” And, in the end, I agree with him. If you can’t keep a promise, then you never should have made it in the first place.

  10. After reading the article Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson, it is evident that Andrew Cohen did not at all agree with the execution of Wilson. Andrew Cohen most definitely had a problem with the verdict that they came to in Wilson’s case and he proved that in many ways. He stated, that Marvin Wilson’s IQ was a 61 and compared that to Atkins which was a 59, he wanted help understanding why a mere difference of two points made one made get away with a crime and the other not, even though they were both mentally challenged and had mental health problems. Cohen brought up a point that Thomas, John Steinbeck’s son commented on when he found out that they were using the facts and theories of Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men, a fiction novella to help them come to a decision. Both Thomas and Andrew were not pleased when they found out that Steinbeck’s book was being used this way because they both know that John Steinbeck was not a scientist and did not intend to pass it off as though he was. All that Steinbeck intended for was to write a novella that highlighted the sometimes hidden problems of mental health disabilities and minorities. What Steinbeck wrote was only to teach the narrow minded and uneducated that although people are different, they are still important and capable of doing good things, although they may need our help sometimes. Cohen took almost a personal offence to this Marvin Wilson case and really did not agree with the points that were made by other people and he was really unhappy with the ideas that texas brought to the table. Understandably, Cohen got involved and voiced the opinions and how he felt about the choices made.

  11. After reading the article, “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson”, it is crystal clear that Andrew Cohen does not agree with the ruling of the court to kill Marvin Wilson. Mr. Cohen opens his article saying, “… Texas executed a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child, could not match his socks, tie his shoes or button his clothes…” This man, who had the characteristics and behavior of a five year old was put to death for being a killer. Wilson probably could not even comprehend the idea of death. He does not have the brain capacity to intentionally murder someone. We had just read a case of Atkins, in which he had a IQ score of 59, whereas, Wilson had an IQ score of 61, a mere difference of two points. Surprisingly, Atkins was exempt from the death penalty and Wilson was not. The ruling reads, “as was our approach in Fordv. Wainwright, with regard to insanity, we leave to the State[s] the task of developing appropriate ways to enforce the constitutional restriction upon its execution of sentences.” This last sentence as Cohen says seals the death of Marvin Wilson. They made a statement that Atkins was exempt, there was no difference in the case of Mr. Wilson. They shouldn’t have gone back on their word. Marvin Wilson was a black, mentally retarded man who lived in Texas, and received an unfair hearing.

    • I enjoyed reading your blog. I liked how you quickly cut to the point of the blog and provided evidence to support your position further. I completely agree with your points and hope to enjoy reading your blogs in the future.

  12. It is clear that Andrew Cohen does not believe that mentally retarded people should be executed, and I most definitely agree. Marvin Wilson, a man with an IQ of 61, was executed, while Atkins, with an IQ of 59, was not. Just 2 numbers apart. Just 2. It seems insane to be that they would execute one guy, and let the other one go. They are both lack in judgement, and they both have mental and learning disabilities, yet, one is executed while the other is not. The text states,

    ..why the precedent created by the Atkins case wasn’t somehow relevant to the Wilson case. After all, wasn’t the defendant in the Atkins case, Daryl Renard Atkins, a man with an IQ of 59, just two points above Wilson?

    I think that Atkins case should be used in other cases, such as the execution of Marvin Wilson. However, the judges in Texas ignore what happened with Atkins and the decisions made. Marvin Wilson gets executed. It is completely unfair, and Andrew Cohen describes this in the article. He says that the IQ “standards” might be different for each state, but Wilson was diagnosed as mentally disabled. No matter his IQ score, he has diabilities, and that is the only thing that should matter. If Wilson had a slightly higher IQ score, would he still be alive? The IQ score should not determine whether someone lives or dies, it should be the diagnosis. If it was about the diagnosis, Wilson would have lived, because he was mentally retarded, like Atkins.

    • You provided very good evidence, Ellie, and answered the blog prompt nicely. However, I think you wrote too much about your own opinion, rather than Andrew Cohen’s text. Great work though!

  13. Andrew Cohen, the author of the article, “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson,” made his opinion on the matter evident in his article. Cohen’s article is about how a man with with mental retardation and an IQ of 61 was given the death penalty. Cohen compared this case to Atkins v. Virginia because Atkins had an IQ of 59 and ha mental retardation, but he was not sentenced to death like Wilson was. Cohen’s opinion is that Wilson should not have been put to death for his crime. It was clear in the first paragraph with how Cohen described Wilson’s life with mental retardation, how he can’t always tell his right from his left, or how he could not handle money. Although he did not clearly state the claim, the evidence with the Atkins case and the way he would address the reader with the words he chose. On page two he says, “Can you explain that? I cannot. How can it be that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of a mentally retarded man with an IQ of 59 but not a mentally retarded man with an IQ of 61?” He states the facts, but makes it so that they appeal to his opinion. I think that he is a very persuasive writer because he directly addresses the reader on the topic, as if you were having a conversation with the writer on the topic. I am very excited to look into more cases.

    • I like how you saw him addressing the reader as a conversation. I personally saw it as informality but I see your point. Great job!

  14. Andrew Cohen, the author of “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson”, is very clearly against Marvin Wilson suffering the from the death penalty. He supports his claim by saying how Wilson shouldn’t have been punished when Atkins wasn’t punished for a similar situation. Cohen begins by saying how Wilson couldn’t perform simple, everyday tasks. He made it clear that Wilson was disabled before going into his argument. The point that Cohen made that interested me the most was how Atkins had an IQ of a 59, and was excused, but Wilson had an IQ of 61 but was executed. He made the point that a two point difference was the line between jail and death. I’m not saying that I disagree with Cohen, because I really don’t know where to stand on this, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere between mentally retarded and not. It just didn’t work out for Wilson where it was drawn. I personally don’t think that mental issues should be defined by IQ since all mental issues are different and each person is affected differently. Another thing I noticed Cohen did was he put a lot of personality into his writing (I’m not sure if personality is the right word but you will see what I mean if you keep reading). He would ask the reader questions like, “Got all that?” and “Can you explain that?” I think that this made the writing more informal, which I don’t mind because I was able to understand it. It just might not make his case as believable since he seems to be informal. All in all Cohen got his point across for sure and made some good claims to back it up.

  15. In the very opinionated article, “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson”, by Andrew Cohen, Cohen argued how the man Marvin Wilson got the wrong punishment when he was sentenced to his death. Mr. Cohen believes that Wilson didn’t deserve the death penalty. One of the first reasons that he argued was, “How can it be possible that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of a mentally retarded man with a IQ of 59 but not a mentally retarded man with a IQ of 61?” By saying this he is saying that it makes no sense to him that a guy with a higher IQ is considered mentally retarded and would be exempt from the death penalty but a guy with an IQ of 59 who doesn’t even know left from right sometimes is sentenced to the death penalty. He also says, “It’s little wonder then why John Steinbeck’s son, Thomas, was so disgusted Tuesday at the thought of having his father’s work associated with a legal standard that could send a man like Wilson to the gurney and a needle in the wake of Atkins.” He is agreeing with Thomas that it is unreasonable and wild to judge a man’s fate based on fictional characters. The last reason that Mr. Cohen argues was that Texas didn’t give WIlson a chance. He stated, “A mentally retarded black man in Texas: What chance did Wilson ever have?” By saying this I think he wanted to show how people are judge differently because of the color of their skin and racism plays a role in this case because he thinks why would a white man get off the hook while a black one isn’t? Whether disagree or agree Mr. Cohen thinks very strongly that Wilson shouldn’t have had the death penalty. This argument is convincing because he uses many different pieces of evidence instead of circling back to the same one. I find that by choosing specific words that allow the listener/reader to think about one thing and see only one side, he made his argument more persuasive.

  16. After reading “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” by Andrew Cohen, I see there is a severe problem with the acts of Texas. When Texas executed a mentally disabled man named Marvin Wilson in spite of the Supreme Court verdict in Atkins v. Virginia, Cohen believes they went against a Supreme Court ruling. As a brief review, In Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court ” concluded that death is not a suitable punishment for a mentally retarded criminal.” The Supreme Court also stated, ” we leave the State[s] the task of developing appropriate ways to enforce the constitutional restriction upon its execution of sentences.” In other words, the state decides how mentally disabled a defendant has to be to avoid the death penalty and decides what to do with the mentally handicapped individual. This sections of the text, according to Cohen, are what allowed the Texan court to circumvent the Supreme Court’s decision. Even though Wilson and Atkins have about the same level of intelligence and Atkins was spared, “Texas made it clear that there would be no such relief for other borderline cases.” Cohen clearly believes Texas made the wrong choice. His language used throughout the text shows the immorality of Texas’ actions. Cohen also chooses to emphasize the mistakes Texas made repeatedly. If the above evidence doesn’t convince you of Cohen’s opinions, the final sentence of this article should. “What Texas did to Wilson last night — what the Supreme Court allowed it to do to Wilson — is beneath the dignity of the law.” The meaning of this sentence is quickly apparent. Texas made an unethical decision, and so did the Supreme court in not stopping Texas. Cohen uses a variety of facts to support his opinion, and his evidence and explanations of the evidence make his claim convincing. I enjoyed reading and rereading this article and am surprised at how the novella “Of Mice and Men” could tie into Texan law.

  17. Right from the start, I can tell the author is pretty biased against the capital punishment on the mentally retarded. In the first paragraph, he emphasizes how the person was not able to take care of himself because of his mental condition. “…a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right…” He even goes on to site how his IQ was proven to be 61. Those are two of the things that this author uses to convey their point: emphasis and legal citations. His stance is strongly against the capital punishment of mentally disabled individuals. He goes on to make one more significant point from there. This is that the supreme court’s ruling of letting each state declare what is mental retardation serves no purpose. In a racially tensioned state like Texas, Marvin Wilson’s African descent gives him a huge disadvantage and more chance he’ll be convicted. Texas is not progressive on the autism awareness side either, so they can easily define mental retardation as having one’s IQ to be proved to be less than 10, or something dramatic of the sort, so they can kill pretty much anyone they want. To convey this, the author cited texts written by the Texas judge, emphasized the lack of Wilson’s mental power, and emphasizing the poor decisions and irrational mindset displayed by the judges.

  18. Andrew Cohen”s article, Of Mice And Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson s very obviously a one sided argument. It is very clear that Andrew Cohen did not support the killing of mentally retarded people and was very angry that Texas sentenced a mentally retarded black man to death.

    Although Cohen never comes out and says that he doesn’t agree with Texas, he does come pretty close, writing “What Texas did to Wilson last night — what the Supreme Court allowed it to do to Wilson — is beneath the dignity of the rule of law.” –last sentence of second to last paragraph.
    Wilson is very angry with Texas, and even the supreme court as shown when he says, “Without dissent or comment, the Supreme Court just rejected a last-minute appeal by Wilson’s lawyers on Tuesday.” –first sentence of third paragraph.
    Here Cohen is saying that what the courts did was wrong. This is clearly his opinion, because when he addresses the Texas decision, or the court that made the decision, Cohen says that what Texas did was not dignified. Cohen does a great job of putting more emphasis into his words by first saying that Texas was a great state, but now, after the ruling of one court case, Texas has fallen behind and needs to be better.

    Another thing that Cohen is constantly doing, is describing the courts of Texas and Georgia in a bad way. Or he is asking questions that would lead someone to agree with him (Cohen) and support his idea that the courts are making the wrong decisions. In the first line of the article, Cohen says, “How the State of Texas blew off a Supreme Court decision so it could execute a mentally retarded man.” What I find important here, is that Cohen uses a relatively unprofessional word(s) in this sentence. Cohen says that that the State of Texas “blew off” the Supreme Court’s ruling from Atkins, just so they could execute one mentally retarded man. If that doesn’t make someone who is just beginning to read your article angry with Texas, I’m not quite sure what will. Cohen continues using unsophisticated words and writing when he is writing about the Supreme Court and Georgia/Texas. He says things like just, and blew off, and asks questions that would lead someone to come up with an answer against Texas’s and the Supreme Court’s decision in Wilson v. Texas.

    I also just feel an overall dislike of Texas and the Supreme Court while reading Cohen’s article. And I get the feeling that this was something that an experienced writer and thinker quickly ranted about to himself, then wrote an article, re-wrote it once or twice so that he wasn’t blatant just saying that he disagrees, but so that there is actually some evidence, and some educational details. And then published it. As someone who can rant about things they find wrong in today’s society just as easily as they can gather breath to do so, I can almost recognize the same writing style of an angered person trying to convey there opinion without sounding dumb.
    (this may not actually mean what you think it does, look it! I couldn’t think of another word to use, and so I used it in context to how it is commonly used now, to describing someone who is not smart. But, if you look it up, you will see that the first three definitions of dumb are actually something different, and when they come to dumb meaning that someone is stupid, they say that it is North American and informal.) https://www.google.com/search?q=dumb&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS768US769&oq=dumb&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j0l5.1078j1j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  19. In the article by Andrew Cohen, he expresses his view on the execution of Marvin Wilson. He seems to think of it unfair “that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of a mentally retarded man with a IQ of 59 but not a mentally retarded man with a IQ of 61.” He goes on about the statements given throughout the case files. He talks of how unfair it seems. To back himself up, he even shows a quote taken from John Steinbeck’s son on the topic of his book being used in a political case. Thomas seemed to think that the court did not get the whole point of the story. In the whole article, he expressed his opinion while still stating facts. I think that Andrew Cohen was pretty convincing. Compared to the case article, his article is much more simpler and therefore more appealing to the people. People would be able to read this more efficiently than the case itself. Also, he has shown Thomas Steinbeck’s quote and quotes from the case as evidence. I think he made a very appealing essay.

  20. What Cohen is expressing here is his utter and total disgust and disapproval for the decision during the Wilson case. There is clearly a strong bias here, implemented when Cohnan describes how Wilson could not even take care of himself on a day to day basis or how he could not even tell his right from his left. This bias can also be found throughout the rest of the article. Throughout this whole article there’s clear evidence of persuasion and an overarching theme. Although not at first clearly stated, I have found that Cohen is extremely opposed to the idea of assassinating people with mental disabilities, and sees the fact the Wilson was executed with outrage. In this article, one might also notice that Cohen uses words of a lower sophistication, as if at the time the very Idea of this execution had him in a fuming rage.

  21. The author who wrote the article “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson,” Andrew Cohen, is obviously not happy with the Texas justice system. This is because a mentally retarded man, Marvin Wilson, was just killed due to capital punishment, even though the supreme court ruled that mentally retarded felons shouldn’t receive the death penalty. We analyzed the case of Atkins vs. Virginia which ended with the rule that if a person is considered mentally retarded by law, they can’t be subject to capital punishment. Wilson was no doubt mentally retarded, no matter what his IQ test score was (which was still under a 70, classifying Wilson as mentally retarded). “Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child, could not match his socks, tie his shoes or button his clothes, a 54-year-old man with an IQ of 61* which, his attorneys were quick to point out, is ‘below the first percentile of human intelligence.’” Cohen is outraged that this man is dead even though he should be protected by the eighth amendment. Unfortunately, Texas blew off Atkins and didn’t accept this supreme court ruling. Also, one of the claims Texas made is they used Lennie from Of Mice and Men saying he should have been exempt, but is he less culpable then those who aren’t classified as mentally retarded. Steinbeck’s son was outraged and said is father’s fictional character shouldn’t be part of this horrible court decision to kill Wilson. I agree with both of these men in that they shouldn’t bring a fictional character into this case, and Wilson should have never been killed because he is mentally retarded and doesn’t have the same logical reasoning as a normal person.

  22. After reading the article it is obvious that Andrew Cohen disagrees the ruling of Marvin Wilson. He was put to death for the crime of murder just like the Atkins case except for the fact that Atkins was exempt from the death penalty and Wilson was not. Cohen makes it clear right away that Wilson, a mentally disabled black man, was only two point off of the IQ of 59 to be exempt from the death penalty. However he still shown sights of severe mental retardation. “Texas executed a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child, could not match his socks, tie his shoes or button his clothes” Cohen tries to persuade us that Wilson couldn’t have comprehend the extent of murder and what he did. He expresses how Atkins case and its ruling was relevant to Wilson’s case and that his punishment should be considered the same way. All in all Cohen explains the unjustified penalty Wilson experienced compared to Atkins.

  23. Tonight’s reading brings up a new court case involving the execution of Marvin Wilson. He was executed hastily by the state of Texas despite the previous ruling in the Atkins case. Therefor, it is important to look at the differences and realize whether or not the cases should be compared to each other.

    For starters, they only had an IQ difference of two: Atkins at 59, Wilson at 61, both considered mentally ill. Therefor, their case should be considered alike which would prevent Wilson from being executed. Also, both Atkins and Wilson were convicted of the same crimes: robbery and murder. Moreover, it could not have been anything involving race because they were both black males. Therefor, what led to Texas denying a last minute appeal and executing this Wilson?

    One difference may have been that there was confusion regarding who killed who in the Atkins case. Due to this, the judge may have felt it harsh to execute a man that still had a small chance of not committing murder. However, it was clear from the beginning that Wilson was the killer of Jerry Williams. This may have lead to Wilson being executed and Atkins being spared.

    Based on the information we have read about, Mr. Cohen believes that there should be a consistency in court rulings nationally. If a man with an IQ of 59 can be spared for murder, but another with an IQ of 61 will be executed, that really makes no sense. Ironically, this case wasn’t about what makes sense, even though that is the whole point of a court.

  24. When writing this article, the author used persuasion, and he compared the Wilson case to the Atkins V. Virginia. In this case, they used Of Mice And Men as an excuse to put Wilson to the death penalty. I do agree with the author that just because Wilson has two points of a higher IQ doesn’t mean that he is different from Atkins. The idea that just because his IQ is a little above the first standard is preposterous. The psychiatrist could have determined Wilson’s social ability, and could have had valuable information from there. In conclusion, I agree with the author and disagree with the decision of executing Wilson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *