Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Punishment and the execution of an Innocent Man

August 31st 2005-09-06
I didn’t write yesterday, except to answer a postcard from Italy and a letter from Texas. The letter from Texas made me laugh and smile. It was a long letter, and had photos printed on the last page of her kids, who have grown a lot since last I heard from “Texas”. I enjoyed the letter, and writing back to her. Its nice to have a friend back in my life that I haven’t heard from in years.

I’m glad this is the last day of August. It’s been the longest month of my life. I want to push it into the past and for it just to be part of what I had to go through in order to get to wherever the days ahead lead me. But, it’ll be a while before I’ll get over all of this. It’s getting better everyday……just need MORE days between NOW and THEN!!

I’ve been thinking about John Spirko. I hate to think of all the years he’s spent in prison, and is scheduled to be executed in 2 weeks. Twenty three years of sensory deprivation, spent in cellblocks designed to punish inmates…….and an execution at the end of the road. I live a life with death being as common as holidays within a calendar year.
When I was first arrested, I used to think, “It’s Friday. The weekend. Everyone is going out to enjoy the days at the end of the hard week”
Slowly, that anticipation for Fridays faded, and when they took away mail service on Saturdays, I began to dread the weekends.
I found that I could still enjoy Christmas, and I’d make my own Christmas cards, and put the ones I received on the wall in the shape of a Christmas tree. I’d paint my light bulbs blue or red and put it on my desk lamp, and turn on Christmas music, snack on goodies sent in food boxes by my mother. I’d spend every midnight, as it turned from the 24th to the 25th of December, in prayers, and end with a “Happy Birthday”.

Then every February, on my birthday, my mother would send me $200 to buy new clothes……….just as she did every Christmas!
But she knew I would spend Christmas money on gifts and postage for family and friends, so she’d send $200 every February for clothes.

Well, first they told me I couldn’t put my cards on the wall any more, or paint light bulbs. Then, they took away food boxes, where death row inmates couldn’t receive them any more. Then they took away radios with speakers, and we could only use head phones. Then my mother died, and I couldn’t buy gifts for people, or afford to send many cards.

Soon, I began to dread Christmas. I still pray at midnight as it turns to Christmas Day. I make a few cards for family, so long as I have the embossed envelopes to send them.
When I first met my girlfriend (now ex girlfriend) I didn’t even have shoes to play hand ball in. All of my clothes were threadbare, faded and had holes in them. The only good clothes I had were prison issued uniforms. She bought me $175 worth of new clothes, and gave me my dignity back.
Then half of my clothes were stolen from the prison laundry.

How much of this has John Spirko known in HIS life? And, now, it ends with an overdose of lethal drugs. Death row inmates are sentenced to DEATH! DEATH is the SENTENCE……….yet we are punished far more that any other class of inmates (for 23 years in John’s case) UNTIL the punishment (THE SENTENCE) is carried out! No other maximum security inmate (NOT under sentence of death) has to live under the primitive conditions that death row does! We do the hardest time in prison than ANY other class of inmates!! And THEN we’re executed!!
Under the law, when John went to trial, the jury had the option to sentence him to “20 years to life”, "30 years to life” or “death”. If he had received the “20 years to life,” he’d not only be eligible for parole this year, but he’d have done his 20 years in conditions where he’d have had contact visits, freedom to move about the prison, and visitations wouldn’t be made by reservation and availability. He’d have had a prison job, and possibly even worked towards a lower security status prison.

Instead, he’s done 23 years of the hardest time an Ohio inmate can do, (unless they’ve done something to be put in Super Maximum), and now he’s going to die. It seems to me that John Spirko will have been punished THREE times. 1) He’s done a “20 to life” sentence, 2nd) He’s done 23 years in a punitive atmosphere and 3rd) He’ll be murdered by the State of Ohio on behalf of its citizens.

There is a law that forbids anyone to be punished twice for the same crime….but, they claim the 23 years John Spirko has spent doing hard time isn’t punishment? NO? You think not? Take 200 “close security” inmates from the prison’s general population and force THEM to live LIKE WE DO! I think EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM would feel they’re being “PUNISHED”.

Those are just the obvious punishments! How many funerals was he denied to attend? How many loved ones has he lost? How many heartaches has he dealt with?
When will the rest of the world stand up and demand an end to the crimes against humanity committed by the US government?

When Russia put down Napoleon’s reign over the world, they became the darlings of the world. But, then, they gained power over the world and became detested by the world.

When the US put down Hitler’s reign of terror, the US became the darlings of the world. And, now, the US dictates and policies the way THEY say the world should be, and they’re fast becoming the ones detested by the world.!

Soon enough, the US will go the way of Russia. And, eventually, the European Union (IF THEY EVER QUIT FIGHTING AMONGST THEMSELVES) will lead the world.
It’s all the same. We just keep trying to fit the square peg in the round hole. When will we become one world working towards the peace and goodwill of ALL mankind? Life is so short……..we don’t have time to be the ugliness of our nature! Greed, hatred and power…………what a wasted opportunity!

I hope John will hold on to love, until the very end, just to die a better man that those who’ve had a hand in his execution. When we take a person’s life, we deny God His will. The 2nd Commandment says “to love your neighbour in the way you love yourself". What person would KILL HIMSELF in the name of “justice?” Surely not any of the people about to kill John Spirko!!

That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Stand Strong John!!! Justice for John Spirko an innocent man on Ohio's Death Row. www.johnspirko.com

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