Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 

what do ya do w/kids i ask ya...

so yesterday, monday the 20th, i went to spring hill high school outside columbia, tn (and outside the saturn auto plant) and spoke with a class of 25 sophomores, juniors, and seniors ...

their teacher, a great guy named david huebner, told me they had been studying the death penalty for a coupla weeks and that overall this buncha' semi-rural tennessee teenagers was pro-death penalty ...

so whaddya do w/kids like that -- to make an impression, a dent on their psyche, to stimulate a little bit of thought here...

on the advise of the lil' jesuit dude i started out with the story of paul house and down the issue road of innocence ... this led to 2 more examples -- truncated versions of the stories of juan melendez and ray krone ... each time i brought the point home by asking "who wants to go tell mama house, mama melendez, mama krone, that their innocent son had to die because we need the death penalty???" -- i never got a single volunteer - point made ...

where to next??? -- so i began to use alex's rhetorical device ("but does it work???") to some effect - i'm certainly not as good at it as he is but we walked through some of the arguments for the death penalty that way and it was, i think effective ... for those who weren't sleeping ...

but i wanted a closer, a sort of mariano rivera of death penalty presentations, and i came back to a discussion of "what about the victims..." - and it was effective ...

i walked them through distinguishing healing from closure, walked them through the delay in healing caused by the death penalty system, walked them through how we let down the families of brenda blanton lane for example, and then went to the family of robert glen coe ... their family history of abuse against all four of the coe siblings, robert's severe mental illness, and how his sister sat down, and watched through a glass window, their brother strapped down, his body filled with poisons, and the life sucked right out of him by the state of tennessee ...

i did it slowly, dramatically, in detail, and with effect ...

i think that's at least one way you approach seemingly pro-death penalty teenagers...

peace out - <3
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