Kelly Gissendaner and The Death Penalty
I don’t usually write these kinds of posts. I try to stay politically neutral on my blog and keep it for spiritually uplifting things, but my heart is weighing heavy today, and I feel the need to speak out.
In 1997, a woman by the name of Kelly Gissendaner convinced her boyfriend to murder her husband. He pleaded guilty and took a lesser punishment in exchange for testifying against her in her trial. She refused to plead guilty and ended up on death row.
In her time in prison, she completely changed. She became devoutly religious and helped many other inmates change for the better. She acted as a mentor to those in need.
She was sentenced to death this past February, but the weather made them delay. Then she was rescheduled, and the drugs were “cloudy.” They “executed” her today…
But let’s be real about this: the state had her killed.
They killed her by pumping her full of drugs. Her last words were her singing Amazing Grace. Her children, who pleaded for her sentence to be commuted to life in prison, were crying because now they’ve lost two parents. Her daughter said she feels like she’s being punished for something she didn’t do.
His family says that she took his life so she should die. They believe that it’s all an eye for an eye, except that we don’t kill every convicted murderer in the prison system. We pick and choose based on what? This is the first time that the state of Georgia has executed someone who didn’t actually pull the trigger.
And for what?
This is what I don’t understand about the death penalty… What gives us the right to decide who we should be executed and who shouldn’t? And if we’re going to do it at all, then why aren’t we doing it across the board? Why are we picking and choosing who gets state sanctioned murdered and who doesn’t?
And going beyond that: how can we condemn a person for making a really, really bad decision? Our life is nothing but decisions, and this person and all people who commit murder are labeled as “murderers” even though that is an action they do; not something they are.
She took a life, I get it. She shouldn’t have done that; she gets it too. But if our justice system has seriously reformed a person, why don’t we use her to do good instead of killing someone who could change lives. How awesome would her testimony have been to children walking down the wrong path? Or to adults who have landed themselves behind bars for their choices?
“Look, y’all… I’m in here for life because of a bad decision I made. I’m in here, and I missed my children growing up. I missed them graduating and starting families of their own. I missed so many opportunities to love, but now I have the chance to stop you and warn you from making my mistakes.”
She changed so many lives behind bars… and they spoke out on her behalf.
But you know what Georgia just told all their inmates?
“It doesn’t matter what you do. You can be on your best behavior and help other people and change the lives of those around you, but it won’t make a difference: we’re still going to kill you.”
Oh, excuse me, execute you.
You know what murder is? The premeditated (unlawful) killing of person.
You know what execution is? The premeditated (lawful) killing of a person.
You change two letters and suddenly it’s okay to kill.
When are we going to just admit that killing, lawfully or unlawfully, is not okay? When are we going to get over our anger and our hatred and focus more on forgiving?
When we feel the anger or emotions towards someone and believe that it’s OKAY to execute them for what they did, then we’re feeling what that person felt when they committed the crime.. because that feeling to kill… is all the same no matter who feels it, whether or not they feel justified.