Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

it's black and white for him now...

one of the cool things about life itself is that you never know what a new day will bring to you...

for example the 14th of this month brought to me a retired navy captain who strongly opposes the death penalty...

in his e-mail follow-up to our phone conversation he writes, "I have never been for the death penalty but have gradually worked more and more to oppose it for over the past 10 years..."

but you can read in his words that his opposition has been passive, internalized, or static but not so much an active volunteer vocation...or at least he's been isolated from any form of strategic, collective action...

what has changed things for him is coming face-to-face with the death penalty in human flesh, blood, and spirit... you see, the son of a childhood friend of this 30 year naval veteran "Summary Court Martial Officer, Trial Counsel and Defense Counsel," has been charged with murder and it appears that the prosecutor and some of the community want to kill this young man, the son of his childhood friend...

i thought about that ... how one defines him or herself as a friend should a close friend face this tragic situation ... consider the pain and grief of this boy's mother and father - they have cried desperately over both what the victim's family is suffering but also what they may suffer as well...they wonder how much they are to blame, they love their son dearly even though he committed a horrible act in a moment of weakness ...

and so my new acquaintance, this retired naval captain writes, "The fact that this is a good friend's son make it personable and forces me to stop procrastinating...A few weeks a friend _______________, who has worked for years opposing the death penalty sent me an email with the words "thank you for trying to save the young man's life". This email changed my way of thinking. It is black and white with me now. A person either wants _______________ to live or they want him to be killed. Some even want him killed sooner to avoid the cost of 'all those appeals'."

somewhere in this small story lies a key for alex, myself, and all of tcask's volunteers ... how do we motivate and mobilize people like captain _________ to come on board sooner rather than later ... we believe in our strategy and the tactics we are employing to realize our goals but it sure would be nice to unlock this mystery...

peace out - <3
Comments :
dear tennessee dude,

i appreciate you sharing this story. it really touched home for me as i read it. early tonight i found myself in a conversation with a friend who spoke of the moral ambiguity in the death penalty. renny cushing said it best when he said, "anti-death penalty does not mean anti-victim." i, too, am concerned about victims of murder, not just liberal legislation. but the important thing, i think, for all of us to remember is the sanctity of EACH person's life. life is sacred at all stages of development and i fear that the death penalty institutionalizes revenge and gives an official sanction to the climate of violence. life is an absolute value that each of us deserves irrespective of one's merit or worthiness in the community's eyes.i am anti-vengence and anti-death penalty already, and 100% mind you,but empathetic enough to know that some people reach that point only after having gone through such difficult experiences such as the one in your story.
 
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