Houston, Death Penalty Capital

October 4 – Texas Journey in 11 days!

Very shortly now, our Texas Journey of Hope 2010 shall begin in Houston, the death penalty capital of the Western world. We will also make a highly symbolic visit to the infamous Walls Unit, in Huntsville, where more human beings are legally liquidated than in any other part of the United States.

Houston is the largest city in Harris County which proudly claims 281 death sentences, followed by Dallas with 98 convictions. If you are put to death by the government in the USA, there is a great chance that your case was tried in Houston, Texas!

We know how broken the American death penalty system is. How unfairly death is given, the racial statistics, how hard it hits the poor. We know how Texas routinely liquidates human beings  – despite clear laws on juveniles, people with mental problems, foreign nationals. Texas even has a law to kill people who have not killed! We know, but perhaps the majority of Texas does not. Perhaps they have not read this. Perhaps they do not know that the Dallas Morning News (March 8, 1992) estimated the total cost of the death penalty to be $2,316,355 vs $750,000 for life in prison. Yes, this is for ONE prisoner. $2,316,355 multiplied by 281 death sentences in Harris County. You do the math. Perhaps Texans should begin to consider how this money could be used to improve their lives in general. Particularly how it could improve their security (more police forces, more investigation forces, more firefighters), the education of their children (more teachers), the health of their population (more doctors and nurses). How much they would benefit from this indecent amount of tax-payers money thrown away for death instead of devoting it to life.

Perhaps Texas should finally hear how violent the death penalty really is. How it hurts murder victim family members (as well as family members of the prisoner). It is a myth that is sadistically used by prosecutors. “You are grieving, your loved one has been murdered. Let’s go for the death penalty! You will get closure!” They play with the suffering of brokenhearted people to get their death sentence quota, which in turn helps them show how “tough on crime” they are, and get re-elected. And when the death penalty sentence is handed down, they jump on the next horrible crime, and leave the previous bleeding murder victim family alone. They have been used, one more death sentence, they’re gone. The long and lonesome road begins for the family members (and for those who now have a loved one on death row). Sometimes they have to wait for 30 years to – literally – see the murderer/s strapped to the gurney and killed by the state. (Sometimes, they unknowingly witness an innocent person being murdered on the gurney…) And then what happens? They are subjected to even more violence, a very clean, methodic violence. Do they get closure, as promised decades ago? Certainly not. They have to go on, with this burden, this poisonous hate. Alone.

Our Texas Journey of Hope 2010 begins in Houston and goes to Huntsville, because we know there is no other place in America that needs to hear our message more than Harris County, the death penalty capital of the Western world. There is another way and our speakers have taken that road to forgiveness. They have – like any other murder victim family – experienced the rage, the desire for vengeance. Some of them were even in favor of the death penalty. And yet, they have confronted this hate and found another way and somehow healed. Oh, it does not bring their loved ones back. But they have gained something that they are willing to share with others.

How many Texans are willing to hear them? Please check, share, and attend our Houston Events! We look forward to seeing you during the Texas Journey of Hope 2010 very shortly!

Gilles Denizot
Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing board member & Secretary

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