dinsdag 6 augustus 2013

Death penalty

The Arkansas three, 20 years in prison. Innocent.

I'll try my rusty English for my foreign friends and family.

Don't ask me why, but I was watching the documentary by Werner Herzog Deathrow. Herzog talks to inmates on deathrow, family and friends of victims, prisonemployees, judges and lawyers. Although the criminals committed hideous and unspeakable crimes, the act of executing a person is pretty disgusting too. I know, when I hear of children murdered by some perverted lunatic I'd like to strangle him with my bare hands. But it's just not right. Executions are barbaric. In Texas it occurs twice a week. One guard's task was to strap down the inmate, wait till he's dead and then unstrap him. After 125 executions a woman was killed. The man did his work automatically, like a robot. Once he was home he didn't think about it. Till he strapped and unstrapped the woman. He broke down, started shaking and realized: this is so wrong, no man can take another man's live. No one. It's an Old Testament idea, an eye for an eye. But we moved on since then. The criminals Herzog talked to should never be allowed back on the streets, be locked up forever. But there is something wrong with a society that finds it necessary to kill two people a week. The old excuse 'a bad childhood' might not count anymore, but most of those guys came from dysfunctional families, were molested and abused. I can imagine the anger you build up as a child. Execution is not a solution. People involved in executions call themselves Christians. Thou shalt not kill.

Then there are the innocent on deathrow. Three little boys were killed in Arkansas. The finger was pointed at three gothic youth who were found guilty in a mock trial. Damian Echols was seen as the leader and was imprisoned for 20 years. Ten years in solitary confinement. Chained, night and day. He hadn't seen daylight in ten years. Thanks to good lawyers and media attention they were freed but they had to plead guilty. Some ridiculous construction which prevents the state of getting sued.

All those cases I mentioned involved white men and one woman. American prisons are full with black people just because their feet smelled. Once you're in an American prison you only come out meaner, angrier and deadly. A democratic country that still has the deathpenalty is not civilized. Werner Herzog convinced me.

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