Final Statements of Death Row Inmates

This post poses a lot of questions. I would love to know what you think about this. Please share your thoughts, but let’s be civil to one another.

Would you like to read something creepy? The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has kept a record of the final statements of those they’ve executed since the 1980’s. They include pictures and the stories behind most of the criminals as well. Many of these people claimed innocence up to the very end. Whether they were innocent or not, we will never know. Because, you know, death is final, after all. But why do they claim innocence when they know there’s no hope for freedom? Do they truly believe they are innocent? Are they really innocent and a major injustice is occurring?

I find it interesting that one of the most (if not the most) “Christian” states in the Union has also executed most inmates than any other state. Why do these people, who claim forgiveness is possible when one turns to god, kill in the name of justice? I know there are a million arguments both for and against the death penalty, and I’m not really writing this to hash all of that out. I just wanted to share this link because it’s a reminder that these people on death row, though they committed violent crimes, are still people. They still have cares and concerns. They still love. They feel regret (many of them). Most of them have converted to Christianity out of some final grasp for hope that god will have mercy on them, I’m sure. Whether you’re for or against the death penalty, you can’t deny that these statements are profoundly sad, especially the ones that claim innocence. I began to cry about about 10 of them. Some of them count down because they know death is seconds away, and they kept talking until the end.

This one asked for forgiveness and told the victim’s family that they must forgive him to “gain the kingdom of heaven.” Then he says, “I don’t require your forgiveness, because God has forgiven me.” But then asks for forgiveness again. Death for killing a man over his wallet. Why would he justify stealing a wallet as reason to kill? It’s hard to understand.

Another interesting thing is that some of these murders occurred during robberies, and usually for no more than $500 or so, maybe a car stereo. Why are people willing to kill for such small amounts of cash? Where have they failed or who has failed them? Does it all being with parenting? Or does it go beyond that, like the whole “it takes a village to raise a child” thing? Are our cities, communities, and governments failing people? Are they just inherently evil? Do you believe people can change, even murderers?

One more interesting fact, which I hope doesn’t spark a massive debate: most of these crimes were committed with firearms.

I know this post was a little odd, but I stumbled upon that site this morning and wanted to share. It caused human feeling to well up inside me for these people, even though I know they took human life themselves. It’s such a difficult thing, to care for people who do harm to others. I think we need more of that – just caring for others and their problems and their humanity.


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