Tuesday, September 12, 2006

sister helen prejean

i can be such a wuss.

I go back to the visitor door. The guard inside is putting the shackles on Pat's hands and feet inside the cell. He opens the cell door and Pat comes over to the metal folding chair by the door. As he approaches the chair his legs sag and he drops to one knee beside the chair. He looks at me. "Sister Helen, I'm going to die."


I look at my watch and Pat looks at his. It is 10:30. Everything is ready now. All Pat needs to do now is die. He asks the guard for a pen and writes in his Bible, up in front, where there is a special place for family history - births, marriages, deaths.
"There," he says, "I wrote it in my own hand."
The guard unlocks teh door and hands me the Bible. I look at the front page. He has written loving words to me, words of thanks. Then I see under "Deaths" his name and the date, April 4, 1984.
I remember Jesus' words that we do not know the day nor the hour. But Pat knows. And in knowing he dies and then dies again.
it's 1 a.m. i'm lying in bed. reading. bawling my eyes out.

i've written about capital punishment before. here, here, here, here, here, and here, so i'm not going to go into another tirade yet. this is just a short announcement that sister helen prejean, author of dead man walking and the death of innocents, will be speaking at uvsc next week as part of the second annual utah valley state death penalty symposium. for those interested she will be giving the keynote address on tuesday, september 19th at 4pm in the regan theatre.

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