In my death row cell I have a small T.V. and I watch way too much of it. Most of what I watch is for entertainment and serves no real purpose but to distract me from the reality of being condemned to death and the uncertainty of my fate. All too often many of those around me drown in the reality of their circumstance, slowly sinking beneath that surface of insanity until they’ve lost touch with reality.
Sometimes I wonder if perhaps my worst fate is that I cannot so conveniently detach from what we call “reality” and at least mentally escape my cruel fate. (Please read text of www.doinglifeondeathrow.blogspot.com)
But I also watch a lot of programs on history. Among my favorites a documentary style program by Ken Burns, such as the “Civil War” series. This looks back on how that war was brought about and the effects it had on our country, both past and present. Similar, programs take an in-depth look at more contemporary historical events, such as World War II, the Vietnam War and even the cultural shifts in our society in the past generation.
That got me to wondering what our own future society will see when history looks back upon us. We live in an incredible time, at the very forefront of the “digital” age when even the most insignificant event in our lives is reduced to “instant texting” and “twitter” – and there in the infinite realm of “cyber-space” preserved forever, just waiting for future generations to look back and peek into our own lives - and judge us upon what they see.
When our grandchildren – and their own grandchildren, too – look back at the records of our lives, what will they see? Just as today we look back and judge past generations, how will our future generations judge us? Already in recent years complex internet ‘search engines” have been built that enable us to simply type in a name and come up with a wealth of information and it’s a safe bet that these computer programs will only get better. Our grandchildren will easily be able to take a close look at out entire lives by “mining” the internet for anything with our name.
This will undoubtedly prove embarrassing for the millions of kids today who put social networking sites such as “MySpace” or “Facebook” without realizing that what we throw out into cyberspace today can last forever and our grandkids can dig up our past and wonder what possessed us to put up some thing of that nature, as it’s almost certain that future generations will come to respect the need for discretion and restraint.
Out more importantly, we live in an age in which even the lowest of the low, the very least amongst us, have a voice. Can you imagine what the millions of Jewish Holocaust victims might have said if only they could have written about their experience on the internet? O the generations of slaves brought to America as nothing more that property to be bought and sold?
When we look back into the shadows of history what we consistently see is that those actually making that history truly believed in what they were doing and even Hitler convinced many millions that mass genocide was for the good of all, that the senseless slaughter of millions, not only by Hitler, but by Josef Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, and even more contemporary mass murders of ethnic populations such as Slobodan Milosevic in the Baltic Nations, and continuing today in many African countries, such as Sudan, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe – just to name a few.
They all have one thing in common – the perception that their purpose is justified and serves the interest of their society. It’s funny in a tragic sort of way just how incredibly easy it is for our leaders to convince the populations that the wholesale murder of so many were and is justified and in their own interest.
When I think about these things, I think about America’s we of the death penalty – the only western democracy still allowing it’s citizens to be put to death by the state, in company with countries like Iran, China and numerous other countries that have long been condemned for their own disregard for basic human rights.
How will history look back upon today’s America, and judge us? Our country today openly admits to using torture to extract confessions from suspected terrorists and unquestionably imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country in the word. Our own supreme court has been declared that the states may execute the innocent and that the agents of the state who are empowered to convict and condemn those accused of a capital crime are absolutely immune from accountability if they engage in deliberate acts of prosecutional misconduct to convict and condemn the innocent.
We can only hope that future generations will evolve and look back upon our own generation, and just as today we must ask how those of past generations could have justified their own acts of murder in the interest of a better good, that our grandchildren will look back and wonder how, as a matter of moral conscience, we might have justified the use of capital punishment to execute the innocent, even if although not directly advocating the executions of the innocent to take place, we still are responsible for not speaking out against it (please read “where do we draw the line of moral responsibility” at www.southerninjustice.com/blog )
I have often quoted Abraham Lincoln’s words “evil can only hope to triumph when good people choose to do nothing”, as these words are as true today as when they were first spoken over a century ago. Too often history has proven that our sense of moral conscience is only too easy influenced by the contemporary passions that drive us. And there are few contemporary social issues more compelling than capital punishment. Too many today blindly embrace the death penalty out of ignorance or instinct without realizing that it’s not just about holding the guilty accountable - it’s only too easy for morally corrupt politicians and judges to exploit high profile capital cases and use images such as “Ted Bundy” to convince the public why we must have the death penalty.
But the most vast majority of those condemned to death are unknown, their cases relatively unremarkable. All too often the worst of the worst actually are not sentenced to death. Rather, the majority of those we only too quickly condemn to death are simply pawns sacrificed to the perpetuation of that insidious blood thirsty beast called “politics of death”.
When history looks back from us what they will see is that the American judicial system had become completely corrupt by these beasts, the “politics of death”. What they will see is that although a few judges and politicians do speak out against the moral corruption of capital punishment, even admitting that the innocent are convicted, condemned and even put to death, and that there truly is a virtual epidemic of injustice as ethically corrupt prosecutors knowingly convict and condemn the innocent (please read “Anatomy of a corrupt prosecutor”) and equally corrupt judges knowingly uphold these wrongful convictions for fear that they will be subjected to political retaliation if they throw out a wrongful conviction. Only too often these locally elected judges are far more interested in winning the next election than protecting the innocent from wrongful execution.
But when history does look back, they must have a record to look to, and that is why it is so important that we document these capital cases that involve legitimate claim of innocent that the morally and politically corrupt courts refuse to correct. These judicial cowards and morally corrupt political parasites must be exposed for what they are. Maybe we cannot stop them from committing deliberate acts of murder under the pretense of administering justice, no more than a single German soldier could had spoken out against and stopped Hitler from slaughtering millions of innocent Jews.
But we can document these authorities and leave a record for future generations to look back upon – and that is precisely what I have been doing, through the gene row help of several people. (See www.southerinjustice.com ). Personally, I would love to see every capital case fully posted online – but that would be impossible for me to do.
What I would like to ask is that you help build a record for future generations to look back upon by leaving your own comments on my blog and sharing your own thoughts. Maybe one voice can be too easily drowned out by the roar of the lynch mob – but I know I am not the only voice and you too can be heard. So, I ask you to leave your comments and opinions on this bog, as well as on www.southernjustice.com . Together we can build a record that future generations can look back upon and let our grandchildren see that not everyone supported this inhumane injustice called capital punishment, used to put the innocent to death.
Our voice should be heard.
Until next time, Mike