I can still remember when I heard the news about a man who went through a newspaper business killing fellow workers then putting the gun in his mouth and committing suicide. I feel sorrow for the innocents that were killed and maimed, but not for the person who did the killing. If he did not kill himself and was caught, sent to trial, convicted and sentenced to death and was put to death, would I feel much compassion or sympathy for him, perhaps no. But, do I think that his execution would be correct? No – period! No…..
One problem that I have is, if someone who is truly innocent is put to death – where is the justice there? I heard that a prison guard who was leading someone to the gas chamber and the question of whether the soon to be disposed of prisoner was innocent, the guard said, “Let God sort it out!”, but that is not the humane, Christian or civilized way of doing things. A life in prison without parole in an isolated jail cell in solitaire could be worse than death for some people and could be the better sentence in the mind of the one in jail, perhaps.
This poem is somewhat dated by the way the execution is performed. Instead of “The Chair” we now have imperfect chemicals to do the job. One state is bringing back the firing squad, I heard, but the way is not the question, the reasoning behind the executions is the question.
The man finished his steak, eggs and potatoes,
Agreeing that his last meal was – just right.
Years spent on appeals were at an end,
Today was final judgment day for him.
They shaved his head, wrists and ankles,
For the contact points attached to “The Chair.”
He stood while manacles were clapped to limbs,
A Priest started to read from a well thumbed Bible.
The walk toward “The Room” was short; too short,
As at the door, he stopped, took a breath and entered.
Inside, starkness, the white walls, dark chair, contrasted,
He was seated, manacles off and straps attached.
Thoughts of the trial, the appeals, the actual facts,
Surged through his brain, like time and time again.
Accusations, evidence, verdict and sentence; now history,
Came to mind as if they occurred only yesterday.
That fateful night, so long ago; police at the door,
No alibi, no defense, no knowledge of the act.
So logical, but circumstantial, at best,
Hints of a look alike cousin being there.
His cousins death from an accident soon after,
A pleading of further investigation for naught.
All past, no more recourse, no more appeal,
Dark musty leather hood, over his head.
Reality sets in, the waiting, torment, anxiety, over,
Final words spoken to him, so far away.
Its going to happen, “No God; please no! It wasn’t me,
I really didn’t do \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/- – – – – – – – – – –
How sad, scary and terrible of a thought that a person can be executed that was truly innocent. It HAS happened in the past and will in the future when there is a death sentence in force. but does that mean that we should not have the death penalty? Not for me to decide thankfully. What should be done with a human that commits the worst sin of all, the taking of a human life on purpose? A ward of the state for life seems like an inappropriate sentence, especially when the victim is not able to enjoy life. A complex issue……
I think of this especially during Lent and the thoughts of Jesus Christ and His crucifixion come up. I will not go into His trial and the ramifications of it now, but reflect on it in general. I just think how horrible it was for His mother, brother, Disciples, friends and people who loved and knew Him and how they thought of this action. Reacting now, I can truly say, “I am more than glad it happened and/or that He knew it was to be. Why? The trial and the execution on the Cross were one thing, but the Resurrection is the reason I feel this way.
The chance of eternal life of the soul, once we die here on Earth, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, is beyond understanding and appreciation. This act by a dying and rising god as a deity, that gives us ALL this chance of eternal life is a gift that goes beyond belief.
The fact that the murderer today, who truly repents, has this chance is such a wonderful thing to contemplate. It gives all of us a time to ponder our lives and beliefs and to realize the ramifications of the act by Jesus Christ………………’
According to the Apostle Paul, the entire Christian faith hinges upon the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus and the hope for a life after death. The Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
1 Corinthians 15:19-20