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