Death row is not the most ideal place to spend the rest of your life. Years of waiting. Years of not knowing, when or if, the time will come when a large needle will be placed into your arm. The last thing you see is a blank ceiling, as you lay on your back, wondering what it will feel like when that first drug is pumped into your body. Strapped down by numerous belts, unable to move, not even to scratch an itch. Mouth dry, alone with your thoughts, knowing your life will come to an unwilling finality. At least, you tell yourself, all that mental turmoil and stress, and especially the waiting, will come to an end! No more hoping your execution will never be carried out. An execution now being carried out by people whom care less about you, than discarded trash!
Could anyone imagine, when they were young, that they would find themselves in a state sanctioned death chamber? As a man, who has been on death row for over 30 years, I have asked myself this question many times, too numerous to remember. Upon arriving on death row, I could not accept the fact that I had been sentenced to die. But, within a few weeks, you begin to realize that the unreal, may become reality. That death is a cell you wake up in every morning. You cannot leave it, turn your back on it, or close your eyes to keep it from staring back at you!
Men, whom cannot adjust to a death sentence hanging over them like Democles sword, go on to commit suicide. Others struggle with it, and grow old before their time. Still, there are some men whom take it in stride because they do not know any better! I know this because I have seen it happen every year.
Of course, no one really knows what goes on in the mind of a condemned man. The constant, mental struggle to wait out one more day! Freedom is but a dream! Living on memories of when you could walk down a street, wearing no chains, and not worrying about being shot! Shot by a prison guard who has no qualms about taking your life!
All of these thoughts, emotions, doubts, fears and restrictions, are mixed together into a cold reality that freezes you into a stagnant state of limbo! Never mind any good deeds you may have performed in your life. They carry no weight on death row. Society considers you condemned to death, a monster, and whose life is not worthy of any second thoughts!
Like I have indicated, death row is not a place to spend the rest of your life. Especially, if you consider yourself to be of some worth. I write these words from experience. A lot of experience! Experience brings wisdom, and a lot of hindsight. But, being on death row, wisdom and hindsight can only help in bringing one, a small amout of personal punishment.
I cannot stress enough the moral need to abolish the death penalty. Sanctioned executions are forms of sanctioned revenge! Masochistic behavior by civilized society! However, an executed man's conscience, ends with his death!
Fernando E. Caro
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