Sarah Hickman, guest column: Let's talk about death penalty
In the early 1990s, I started correspondence with a man on death row, then
visited him in person.
What I experienced shocked me. Instead of an angry human being, I met an
intelligent person who seemed broken.
Out of an abused, unloved childhood he had lived the only way he knew how:
in survival mode.
Uneducated, drugged up, jobless, he had struck out and viciously murdered
a woman. He had spent 20 years on death row when I met him, and he still
had no understanding of what it meant to be "productive" or a part of
society. Kill or be killed. That is what he knew. Several years later
after our meeting, he was executed by the state.
As a society, without a doubt, most of us agree that murdering a fellow
human being is a horrendous act. It stains the perpetrator, or even an
entire country (think Germany) for life, for all time.
Texas robustly enforces the death penalty. But it needs to ask itself: How
does executing another person ever solve anything?
And what about those executed who are innocent? The greatest example that
comes to mind is Jesus Christ. Or Bruno Richard Hauptmann (executed for
allegedly kidnapping the Lindbergh baby. His wife, to this day, cries out
that he was an innocent man).
As a mom and a musician, I wanted to start a dialogue about the death
penalty. My hope was to start a dialogue that was open to all in the
spirit of healthy debate and information a forum where people who were
opposed to . . . or for. . . or conflicted by the death penalty could meet
and discuss the issue without fear or hostility.
In cooperation with the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty I
have been staging a series of monthly concerts around Texas to discuss the
The next concert is Thursday night in Waco.
Attendees have heard comments from a variety of speakers including El Paso
Mayor John Cook, who has joined our tour, singing and speaking and
challenging other Texas mayors to come out to the events.
Weve heard the amazing account of Rev. Carroll Pickett, the death row
minister who witnessed 95 executions in Huntsville. He is convinced that
at least 15 of those men were innocent.
Please, come express your opinions. Meet family members of murder victims.
Meet family members of those executed on death row.
This isn't easy. In fact, it's intense.
A closing thought: When Cain murdered Abel in the old testament, God didnt
destroy Cain. He banished him, yes, but he set him out in the world marked
with protection that no one would harm a hair on his head.
Why would God do such a thing? I challenge you to start the dialogue and
continue the conversation.
(source: Opinion;Sara Hickman is an Austin-based singer and