...is a chilling documentary, following the last 14 days in the life of Edward Earl Johnson, who was executed by gas in May 1987 in Mississippi.
Johnson was on death row for eight years, and maintained his innocence until the end. There are huge doubts over whether or not he was guilty, but no matter. He was poor and black; even today a bad combination if you want to get off death row.
This full-length film is now available on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhHutCNkjEc and doesn't make for easy viewing. The gassing of the rabbit (when the gas chamber is tested out beforehand) gives the viewer some idea of what Johnson had to go through.
His last words were: "I guess no-one's going to call now" (to grant a stay of execution). If anyone has any doubts about whether or not the death penalty is ever justified, they should watch this.
Thursday, 17 October 2013
Fourteen Days in May...
Posted by Frances Garrood at 14:57
Labels: Death penalty, Fourteen days in May, gas chamber
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There is not a cat in hells chance I could watch that. I skimmed the video and saw warders laughing and joking. The thirty seconds I saw were a bloody disgrace to humanity.ReplyDelete
We should petition the government to put pressure on America and Saudi Arabia to stop such barbaric treatment of animals and people. How anyone can live in a country that condones such atrocities is beyond my ken.
It is all right my talking but tomorrow I will refuse to read or accept comments from any of our colonial cousins that don't do something positive to end the death penalty. I'll write about it on a my blog. I'll ask them to stand up for humane treatment of people.
Please do, Adrian. And thanks for the comment.Delete
There is no death penalty in Canada any more, for which I am grateful. The thought of putting the wrong person to death is anathema to me.ReplyDelete
That said, and at the risk of alienating you and Adrian, too, a convicted killer recently died of natural causes in a Canadian prison. He killed children, mostly boys around 12 years old, and he told police where some of the bodies were buried, so there is no doubt of his guilt.
Friends of mine lost one of their sons to him. Many more people lost sons and sometimes daughters. If I had caught him in the act, I'd have killed him myself.
That said, I am still glad we don't have the death penalty. Better someone like that should live years at the public's expense, than an innocent person should be put to death.
I cannot bear to watch such a thing and am appalled to know it is on youtube.
Kay, you have not alienated me. Canada is civilised. Like GB it will still produce the odd lunatic but they don't deserve other lunatics killing them.Delete
Kay, I sympathise fully with the bereaved relatives of victims, and if anyone harmed any of my family, I'd proably want to kill them myself. But it doesn't of course make it right.Delete
A lot is owed to that film. Because of it, Lifelines, the organisation which found me my death row correspondent, was founded, and Clive Stafford-Smith, who has worked tirelessly for prisoners on death row, is the patron (and appears in the film). I quite understand that you might not want to watch it, though. I saw it years ago, and second time round I still found it deeply shocking.
(I can assure you that you haven't alientated me, either!)
I read this before I went to bed last night. Perhaps if I had been able to formulate a comment I would have laid to rest some of the thoughts that led to the unpleasant dreams I had during my early dawn hours. It really is a cruel and rather evil irony that the US wants to impose it's brand of 'civilised democracy' on the rest of the world. But then every country with an empire whether through conquest or economic might has tended to display man's inhumanity to man at its very worst. Showing a contempt for human life and dignity to others seems almost par for the course in any country where economic might and right wing values are held so dear.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, GB. One of the things this film really portrays is the effect on Johnson's family. Capital punishment affects so many other people. The chaplain, for example, believed in his innocence, as did some of the guards, but they could do nothing. Most disgraceful of all is the fact that a woman came forward early on to say that Johnson had been with her throughout the time of the crime, but was told to "go home and mind her own business". She was black. I wonder how differently things might have turned out had she been white.Delete
I've never agreed with the death penalty, Frances - but I don't think I could watch that video.ReplyDelete
it is very disturbing, Rosemary. In fact, towards the end, I felt physically sick. But I try to see/read anything that supports the anti-capital punishment argument.Delete
Frances, I have just come across your blog via Adrians above. As a strong opponent of the death penalty, I admire you for corresponding with people in that position. In such an inhumane environment, it's vital that they remember that they are real people, with real thoughts. Take care.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Gary. And at the risk of being boring (I do bang on about this a lot!) they are alwasy in desperate need of new correspondents for inmates. Do email me for details if you or any friends are interested.Delete