Oct. 3, 2013

In Memory of It All

by Chuck Thompson (author's profile)



The execution of another friend, yet again in a seemingly endless rift, has tarnished, faded and utterly crushed my
objective for the past few weeks. I’ve not had the inspiration or motivation to rekindle the flame and keep the passio
and plight of my convictions, and our very uphill fight on going.

First off with all due respect to the Victims of murder and the lives lost, family forever torn and hurt, I by all means
and with much self analysis and considerations always take first and foremost their feelings into consideration.
Before I write anything encroach on the very sensitive subjects and the Death Penalty.
Secondly I’d like to share with you that from this side of the razor wire fences, it’s very hard. I speak for myself
when I say it is a foreign world I never imagined existed. One of the hands challenges personally was, believing I
could change, finding in inner strength and courage to think and act differently from the way I had in the past. I
needed to realize that I was locked into a repeating cycle, of mistakes, self esteem long ago hit bottom (all time low)
without a doubt to change I had to let go consciously of the past and understand my dilemma.
The turning Point was after a year on death row, I'd also but given up on life. It was a couple of friends (both
executed who stirred my awakening and shed light on my self despair and who stirred my awakening and shed light
on my self despair. I had run up against the proverbial brick wall of this all. My memories, beliefs, lack of education,
trials and tribulations the key meaning of life. It’s safe to say I felt unwanted. And so it began, I started re-teaching
myself and to this day I am learning, consider me learned.

To try and remain detached is impossible. Our lives in here are an open book to all. The gripping stories told daily, of
past conflicts, errors, poor choices and life’s roads, indeed even the war story like tales of men’s ventures as they
traveled down the wrong road after crossing the crossroads in their lives. It’s relived, retold and resold daily.
intellectually most don’t brag or glorify any wrongs or bad acts, most of the public would be utterly surprised by the
true nature and manner of Texas Death Row. The fact is it’s laid back and non confrontational most of the time. It is
different world than the general prison population. Not to say it’s easy, its NOT. What death row is, can be summed
up as a segregated, isolated, repressive, deprived environment that's devoid of any major human contact, interaction
or normally, the concrete cages were designed to break and mask will and spirit, compile that with the immeasurable
stress of immanent death, lack of activity, a will to be active or exercise. It’s discouraging to hear or watch a man
express his lack of will to live.

I often reflect on the experiences of the past years, especially when I’ve felt impatient abut another’s slowness to
response to a direction that seemed obvious to me. It’s been helpful to ask am I forging ahead in a way that leaves
other people behind. Or am I willing to support them as they take their steps forward? Indeed it’s the later, as was
shown me when I arrived here.

An amazing legacy, an unrenowned vision of our plight resides inside the walls of death row. It’s been said that the
best leaders are the best servants. A leader — or the spirit of leading serves in a fusion of educating others about the
vision valuing to contribute and put forth effort. I’m talking about what comes from - for instance, an older death row
prisoner who knows his final years arrived and watching the continuing cycle, as a new kid arrives, the exchange, the
student teacher relations begin, questions flow and it becomes all to clear the vision, the new guy receives: in a way a
torch passed to him. The origin of every good idea, remains in the charge of the idea as it gradually unfolds, refolds
and matures in life, and you just fight to survive, don’t give up, and put your best forward.
The issues are complex, the cases heinous, but every single one of them is human. It’s our nature to error, yet do we
all not pick up the pieces and correct our errors? Don't we all eventually learn from our mistakes? It’s amazing
witnessing the transformations that happen in here. It also pains me to see a new prisoner, what I once knew in a good
friend whose been executed, it’s a vicious cycle, I have to pause often, as I do, realize, see, witness, and know beyond
a shadow of doubt, that executing them is not the answer. Rehabilitating them can be a reality, its going on to this
day, behind these walls.

What I have learned from it all? That’s easy, what I’ve lived through, helped and contributed and endured, what we
all live, is the product and by product of humanity at its worst. The throwing away to Gods greatest gift to man,
mankind itself, the execution of a human life!

For the sake of the future, in the spirit of peace and forgiveness, understanding and closure could we not reach out to
understand instead of acting on the deep emotional division, hurt, anger and pain, you can maintain civility only of
your adversary as human, most portray death row as monsters.

By dehumanizing your adversary (the death row prisoner), through derogatory labels it makes it easier to hate, or kill,
and in the case execute, its destructive to the common good.

Violence begets violence, incivility begets incivility, when getting even (In justice?) or a legal argument, it may seem
justified, we must look at the bigger picture, look stop and ask ourselves, remind ourselves that we are called
to a better way of living, to a place of common humanity.

Lastly Id like to reference to the questionable practice of predicting the future dangerousness of a man, in order to
take his life. It’s just a legal psychological junk science, it's been disproved, by the studies in the field of psychology,
by the Texas defenders office study “False Predictions of fixture Danger”, and by peers in the test study and it’s been
in the courts since. I have read countless cases debunking it. It is just another form of legal dehumanizing our
criminal justice system uses, that our courts elected prosecutors use it to dehumanize these human beings. After the
last person to testify in a death penalty case is the psychologist who makes a bogus, unsupported claim.

This expert witness, a psychologist, uses a personality test used in prisons, mental hospitals, its outdated, imaginative
at best, very misleading at the very least and often, incorrect. Its roots and founders were each used in stereotypical
labeling, not only by race and ethnic stereotypes but geographical to. The MMPI test (which Texas uses) a test said to
gauge human nature, was originally developed for the mentally ill. It’s now administered to 15 million Americans a
year. In spite of the fact, that it features invasive questions about persons sea life bathroom habits and is full of
misleading questions with multiple choice questions that defy common sense. It’s not a test of reasoning with
factually correct and incorrect replies.

In a courtroom, its use is unquestionably sound. In the often questionable practice of predicting the future, also
referred to as a psalm reading, the use is a gross injustice and a front to our judicial system, with important outcome‘
let in the wake of the MMPI test. Often child custody cases, the sentencing of a criminal in our case, the sentence of
death, this is just one of the many inaccurate and dangerously disingenuous practices used to cleanse state approved
and dehumanization of the human life they will ask a jury I2 average people to condemn a person to die.

A lot get lost, misinterpreted, censored and white washed in translation of these complex controversial struggles,
some remain silent, while others respond. Our world is not exactly simplistic, suffice to say, given how complex our
world is. The quest is for survival, its basic instinct.

In our voyeuristic society, it appears people believe what they see, hear and as the movies and books sell, violence
pain, suffering and persecution sells. Guess the question is how long will we buy it, or into it. I reflect on these pro
death penalty justice groups silence during the Green execution as, well , you be the judge. You, the society.
Victim’s rights justice for? The victims family pleads he is spared, the DA appellate division said its all folks, in
quoting Roe Wilson “legally it doesn’t matter”.

I dissent, it did matter, it does matter, Mr. Green was a classic example of a young man reformed and he made a
difference in our plight and his case shows exactly what is wrong with the system.

Disappointed and disturbed

I urge you to read the book about mr . Green "A Saint on Death Row" .

Charles Thompson
Polunsky Unit
Death Row


Replies (9) Replies feed

arthurlutz Posted 4 years, 10 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
Thanks for writing! I finished the transcription for your post.

From France, where the death penalty has been abolished many years ago. I hope it will soon be abolished in the US too.

JT Posted 4 years, 10 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 9 months ago   Favorite
The MMPI is indeed a discredited piece of psychobabble.

But, it is a validated psychometric instrument that psychologists love - it's in all the text books.

I am sorry to say, it's not going anywhere.

Anyway, I just wanted to add my 2cents - since I've written a psychometric instrument (it's all junk science).

You are right.
And right about the DP, too.

Chuck Thompson Posted 4 years, 8 months ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

RoseDubh Posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 6 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
I realize this is post is several years old but your points remain relevant. I’ve recently been thinking about the pro-life movement recently, even more so than usual. We are currently in the annual 40 Days for Life that occurs in the same month that Roe V’s Wade was entered into American law. Some 58 million lives lost since, and counting... One can safely assume that about half of them were female. You want to see a war on women? Look no further. Abortion doesn’t prevent you from having a child, it just makes you the parent of a dead baby. I could go on for quite some time on how the abortion industry actually hurts women. There’s nothing empowering about killing your children.

But one of the tenets of the prolife movement is that “All life is precious, all life has intrinsic value, all life is sacred. It’s easy for prolifers to reconcile those beliefs with the tiniest and most helpless of humans. You lose quite a bit of that support when you apply those same tenets to bigger, less fragile humans- namely people sentenced to capital punishment. Then out trot the ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘they deserve to get what they gave’ and any number of other platitudes.

One sentence you wrote jumped out at me;

“By dehumanizing your adversary (the death row prisoner), through derogatory labels it makes it easier to hate, or kill, and in the case execute, its destructive to the common good.”

It is that very dehumanizing language that the pro choice crowd uses when discussing abortion- “Just a clump of tissue” “zygote”, “embryo” or “fetus” “potential life”, anything but a baby. Same with those facing capital punishment. It becomes much harder for self proclaimed moral people to cut short the life of a ‘person’. A person is something that they can identify with and to kill a person would be murder- not something they would ever be capable of promoting! So they distance themselves, where they can support their positions and maintain a clear conscience. This is why it’s so hard to sway them. To admit you have been complicit in the death of another person is farther than they are willing to go. All the arguments on the actual cost of capital punishment as opposed to life without parole means nothing. Same as to it’s effect (or lack of) on deterring future crime. No argument will be able to convince someone who willfully refuses to acknowledge the humanity of the lives they are willing to eliminate.

Christians, especially, are fond of quoting the Old Testament passages to prop up their positions. Yet the scripture they often cite was written for the Israelites who were wandering the desert without jails or any significant means of protecting the community from criminals. We have modern ways of protecting the public from dangerous individuals. We are a far cry from the society for which the text was written for.

RoseDubh Posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 6 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
But if these biblical passages are to be used in support of capital punishment, then we should be willing to insist on capital punishment for every offense which is listed there. Kidnapping, blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery, worshipping other gods, premarital sex and not keeping the sabbath; just to touch on a few.
Of course, if we applied capital punishment according to the Old Testament, there wouldn’t be anybody left to do the executing...

Now if these Christians turned their eyes towards the New Testament they’d see that Jesus came with a new message, which was repentance and forgiveness. A message that said no one was too bad or too far gone, that they couldn’t be saved. As a matter of fact, the Bible is filled with less than ideal men and women that God called upon. He didn’t call the popular, rich or successful to further his ministry, but rather, the poor, broken and sinful. Abraham was old but he obeyed. Elijah was suicidal, Joseph was abused and betrayed by his family. Job went bankrupt , Moses had a speech problem and he murdered an Egyptian, Gideon was afraid, Samson was vain and a womanizer, Rahab was a pagan and a prostitute, The Samaritan Woman at the well, was divorced and living with a man she had not married, Noah was a drunk, Jacob was a liar a cheater, David an adulterer and a murderer, Jonah ran from God, Peter denied Christ three times, Martha worried about everything, Zacchaeus was small and money hungry, The Disciples couldn’t even stay awake for Jesus, and Paul, arguably the worst– A Pharisee who relentlessly persecuted Christians, killing them in horrific ways.
They were a team of reluctant misfits with apparently nothing much to offer but gained everything with their faith. He didn’t call the qualified, He qualified the called.

If you ever feel like you aren’t worthy enough to be used by God, let alone loved by him, just remember that Jesus used a bunch of flawed people to share Hope to a flawed and broken world. In God, we find renewal, mending, and purpose. And no matter what you’ve been through in life, remember that the same power that conquered the grave lives within you. You are worthy of life. You are worthy of God's love. You are worthy of joy. You are worthy of a fulfilling purpose that will take you places you never imagined reaching.

You are worthy.

Chuck Thompson Posted 6 months ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

scientist Posted 4 months, 1 week ago. ✓ Mailed 3 months, 3 weeks ago   Favorite
Hi there from NYC. It's interesting to find myself here on this web site. I highly oppose death penalty because I don't see any way it makes our society better. It also creates an awful unwanted option to execute innocent person. Whoever kills innocent person commits another first degree murder and also should be sentenced to death using the same logic. More then 150 people exonerated after receiving death sentence in US. Is it applicable? Of course no.

At the same time I am a progressive liberal. The base of my views is anti-conservatism. I am PRO abortions. I am sure nobody can tell woman what to do with her body. I strongly stand against the religion. I see the religion as the way to control minds. Civil rights should be always the top priority. If somebody is religious it is fine as long he/she doesn't engage others into this activity. Science is the only hope for humanity. This is my sincere opinion.

Anyway I wish you all the best in your attempts to appeal your sentence.

Chuck Thompson Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago.     1 Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

FatherJohn Posted 2 months ago. ✓ Mailed 1 month, 4 weeks ago   Favorite
Chuck, I'm so sorry to read your pain at having a child terminated without your opportunity to parent that child, or offer that child a life. Your pain is palpable and my heart is moved by your words. I know a woman from my childhood who as a 10th grade child made the same decision without input from her lover. You know it is odd Chuck, but that woman never had a child even though she had multiple happy marriages. What could have been? No one will ever know. But had she brought forth that child, and if that child had survived to date, he or she would be forty years old and perhaps even had children themselves, making my friend a grandma. Instead, my friend grows old alone and may very well pass this life without ever feeling the love only a child could give. I say that with all fairness and for complete transparency, I too never had a child. Perhaps this is why I have adopted many prisoners as spiritual sons, but again...who knows what might have been. Me and her's approach to being childless has been quite different, but I can't help but think that child may have brought joy to someone's life. Tis a mystery. God bless you Chuck, Father John (PS. Yes, that Father John)

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