Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chapter 8 Footnotes

There are few footnotes for Chapter 8, although I should mention that the news article at the beginning has a lot of relevance for the sequel, The Background Noise of Souls. The story concerns the death house at a Texas prison and the fact that shortly after execution prisoners show up online. In a sense, those prisoners are now free to leave the prison and enjoy the same access to the AfterNet as anyone.

But of course this does not have to be case. It could be possible to record the AfterNet fingerprint of condemned prisoners before they die and then deny them access to the AfterNet after death. Or even prevent the disembodied from leaving the prison. So essentially you would pay for your crimes even after death. In future stories about the AfterNet, you’ll see several states that propose laws that would do just that.

In the sequel, an even more complex issue will arise of how to punish the disembodied who commit crime. Of course it would be very difficult to catch a soul, making imprisonment an unrealistic punishment. You could punish the disembodied by preventing them access to the AfterNet, but only if a field fingerprint had been recorded before death, and that’s unlikely to have happened for anyone who died before the discovery of the afterlife (unless that person’s identity had been certified after death).

And of course the ultimate punishment — death — would not be available for the disembodied.

He’s the senior warden of the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice — the man in charge of the death house.

You can visit the Death Row Facts at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

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