Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

7/31/08

Death and the Free Man: Death Be Not Proud

Whatever merit the death penalty has, it misses in perfection. Because death is permanent, and excecution involves the willful killing of a man unable to fight for life, the State has the grave responsibility of being certain the man strapped to the gurney is the one guilty of the crime he was accused of.

Incarcerated murderer Bobby Ray Gilbert claims he did the deed.

Do I know whether this is true: Another inmate's confession halts execution -- of course not. I read this, "State Attorney General Troy King called the stay a serious setback for the prosecution," and see that blood thirsty Troy King is interested in a quick killing, not long justice.
Death be not proud.
King is the one bound, and not free. He longs too much to kill a man, even a man he might legitimately believe is guilty.

While condemned man, Thomas Arthur, is not exactly free, it is King who seems to long to kill him, bound by vengeance.

If Arthur is guilty, why is King so afraid he'll live? Maybe because of his own insecurity. Maybe if Arthur goes free, after exoneration through testimony and evidence, King will know the guilt bourne by encouraging his death. There is no freedom in guilt. None.

If Arthur is innocent, King, if he is at all a decent man, be forced to rethink every case.

He's not free. Arthur is held captive by, if not his own guilt, by another man's shame.

Ironically, Judy Wicker, the woman who hired someone to murder Troy Wicker merely received only a life sentence. What if her claim, "I hired and paid money to Thomas Arthur, not Bobby Gilbert, to kill Troy Wicker," turns out to be a lie? If so, should she receive death because she was willing to let a free man die? No, execution is still murder.

Sure, few free men have likely died in the last 10 years by the State's hand, but the mistake cannot happen, no matter how eager the prosecutor.

Chew on the poem below. It has more going on than State Attorney General Troy King's hunger for a state-sponsored death party.

Death Be Not Proud
by John Donne

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
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