You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Drink)

October 15 – Texas Journey in Houston!

Our Texas Journey of Hope has begun! We are in Houston, Texas, right in the belly of the beast. And the beast did not take long to show its ugly face.

After two radio shows, we were invited to speak at a luncheon. Nice neighborhood, tidy gardens, lots of Latino waiters, an American flag and a Texan flag, and a dozen of bourgeois Texans who were discussing criminal cases, as we arrived. One seemed to be in a joyful mood, laughing about a guy who had been executed.

We sat down and heard Bill Pelke tell his story and how he went from originally supporting the death sentence for 15-year old Paula Cooper to embarking on a worldwide crusade to save her from electrocution. He shared his personal experience on how to cope when your loved one is murdered. How to deal with the natural feelings of rage, anger, revenge, frustration. A unique testimony.

But nothing was good enough to even begin to question the death penalty system in Texas:

  • Innocence? Hey, it happens and that’s the price to pay.
  • Cost? Only because liberals like you support a lengthy appeal process. We should get down to business quickly and get it over with.
  • Life imprisonment? I don’t see why we should pay for these guys year after year.
  • Victims? They need the execution so they can get closure. (But they don’t get closure, they don’t get healing…) What they need is revenge!
  • Deterrence? It is a deterrent! It worked for me: I never killed anyone.
  • Since 1819, 1,214 executions in Texas… Well it should have been 2,500!

And of course, the usual “Who are you to lecture us on what we do in Texas? Texas is a nation and it can decide anytime to secede from the USA.” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

But one man was thirsty. This man had been moved by Bill’s story. Eventually he spoke and told us that he too knew someone who had been murdered, that he “probably” was against the death penalty, that he was looking for answers.

We planted a seed and gave it some water. That’s why we came to Texas for.

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

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3 Responses to You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Drink)

  1. Renate Mari says:

    Yes exactly. Those are the stereotype answers that you get over there. And this is what we are fighting against. Yes they think they don’t need other people to mind their business but they are so wrong. As long as they treat their prisoners the way they do and as long as they are having the death penalty, they will have to listen to these things. It won’t be easy in Texas and yet, there is hope. Step by step and if you don’t keep on telling people there how wrong they are and keep showing them alternatives, then nothing will ever change. There will be more seeds planted along the way and these seeds can grow into powerful plants that will multiply until one day even Texas will know that all this hate and revenge thinking will not do any good and won’t deter any crime at all and most of all, does not help the victim’s families. I wish all of you a lot of strength and will keep you in my prayers on your journey of hope.

  2. Lisa says:

    Gilles,

    I knew there was a reason you went all the way to Texas rather than just support it from afar:)

  3. Harriett Harrow says:

    Bill Pelke was touched by the Holy Spirit to start this wonderful organization, & all of you who are involved are Johnny Appleseeds, sprinkling words of love, compassion and hope throughout our land. They are most needed in the rocky shoals where executions, and the attitudes that foster them, are most prevalent. And that surely includes Texas. Thank you, each and every one!

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