Saxet Testa had been infamous in his neighborhood for belligerent, violent behavior for nearly his entire life.  Peers and acquaintances described him as an arrogant, selfish person with a short temper who was incapable of tolerating criticism or understanding (let alone benefiting from) others' attempts to help him.  He cultivated a tough guy image while spending most of his time bullying and robbing those weaker than himself, but always portrayed himself as a righteous victim seeking to turn the tables on the vast assortment of people he saw as persecuting him.  What followed would be unsurprising in hindsight.  

A vindictive and ruthless coward, Testa began plotting the murders of those he believed to have wronged him, and included a number of like-minded followers in his conspiracies who admired his brazenness and tough talk.  At first the killings were haphazard and usually involved knocking off other criminals he considered to be in his way, or whom he thought had stolen from him.  The violence was nothing new where he lived, and the victims rarely missed, so there was never any great impetus for authorities to intervene.  Such were the early days of his career as a serial killer.  

Sometimes, though, it would just be some random person he mistook for someone else, or just someone he felt like murdering for whatever reason.  He took great pride in his body count, and obvious pleasure in the act of cold-blooded murder.  A number of his victims were women, and no account of his actions at these times suggests the slightest hesitation on his part.  Mere rumors could bring about a death if they came to his ears.

Over time, Testa cultivated an elaborate set of ritual torments for his victims that he took great pride in acting out.  He killed less often as his M.O. matured, but put increasing effort and relish into the process of acting out his fantasies on victims.  Rather than killing immediately, he had victims dragged to a special dungeon he maintained for the purpose where they would be tormented with threats of impending death interspersed with cruel taunts and false promises.  When he had had his fun, an elaborate ritual would then be acted out to increase his sense of power and importance while intensifying his pleasure and the victim's terror.  The ultimate murder and disposal of the body were merely punctuation to these rituals.

A number of others were like him, but he stood head and shoulders among his ilk as the most cruel, ruthless, and bloodthirsty.  And like most highly organized serial killers, when he had satisfied his urge to kill, he would put on a mask of normality and go about the same kind of business as any other person.  But always with an unmistakable sense of malice peeking out at the sides, and a creeping sense in his presence that something was very, very wrong with him - especially in the rare instances where anyone was rude enough to confront him with some minor flaw in his behavior, however gently.  Then a brief glimpse of the horrors behind the mask would peek out, and most people would quickly turn their heads and hasten to mind their own business.

As such things tend to go, it's not entirely certain exactly how many people Saxet Testa murdered: His bloodlust went well beyond those he invested effort in torturing and killing, and appears to have involved a number of purely haphazard acts of spasmodic violence in addition to his murders of convenience and pleasure killings.  Most estimates, however, place the number of likely victims at well over 500 in his more organized (and more sadistic) maturity as a serial killer.

Now, in case you haven't guessed, what I've just written is a brief biography of the State of Texas, of which "Saxet Testa" is an anagram.  Re-read what I've written knowing that I'm talking about the Texan penchant for cold-bloodedly murdering prisoners, and tell me if anything I've said is an exaggeration of the truth.  Texas is the worst serial killer in US history by far, and remains unrepentant and proud of being psychotic and evil.  Maybe that will change over time if, as we hope, the state blue-shifts, but there is hope and then there is wishful thinking.  Poison is not neutralized by mixing it with health food.

But as to the more central point of this, I hope I've illustrated to some extent the fundamental evil of capital "punishment."  The fact is it violates every imaginable facet of morality, because if described without the implicit moral infallibility of a sovereign state, it would be nothing more legitimate than a mob hit: A murder sanctioned by a Commission of 12, overseen by some consiglieris in robes, and carried out by corrupt prison guards acting as contract killers in the same way that actual organized crime might carry out its murders.  

The arrogance and self-righteous blindness that hides the ugly truth of it from so many is all that divides it from any old revenge murder, and the fact that no one goes to prison when an innocent is executed proves the inherent hypocrisy of the revenge principle.  It's simply a statement that the State - particularly of Texas - holds the power of life and death over all who enter its domain, and will never be held accountable to anyone for it.  This inhumanity must be broken once and for all, and the unflushed toilet that is Texas "justice" finally plungered into some semblance of human decency.

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