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                    Fighting Until the Very End? Drop Us Your Thoughts!


Greetings to you all. From time to time I have friends that come on this forum, among many, and do some chatting with people. Well, since chatting is going on, I figured I’d drop some thoughts worth disserting. I think it’s totally necessary to see where you alls minds are, especially since some of you support us personally or just support the cause. But, even for those that just like to politic this is for them as well.


The following is a HOT topic of Texas’ death row and I want you alls thoughts on this. What is your reaction to a man on a death row fighting until the death? What I mean by this is physically fighting when he’s in the process of being taken to the gurney. Do you feel it’s foolish? Meaningless? Makes us fit the criteria of being violent? Is it something that should be done ? Should one just walk in peace and silence? I’d like to know what you think. But first, here’s a little story for you.


In 1998, I witnessed the first man ever fight until the end. His name was Desmond Jennings, young Black male of about 32 or so*. I don’t know how it is at others Units, but I’m sure it’s probably the same, but when you refuse to leave a certain area (cell, recreation yard… whatever area) then the Administration will run what’s called a Use of Force on you. Some call it an Extraction Team. This is usually a team of officers (usually around 5) that come in full riot gear and will chemical agent (pepper gas) on you to make you submit. If you withstand that gas they will run into said area and subdue you by any means necessary. I saw Desmond Jennings go through this process on the day of his execution. It changed my life forever because to me he made a statement that this process wasn’t ok to him. I know at the time that if it was ever me, I’d do the same.    


In the history of death row in Texas only 3 others men have physically resisted : Shaka Sankofa (FKA – Gary Graham), Emmerson Rudd and Ponchai “Kamau” Wilkerson. One other individual made them drag him and that was Todd Willingham*. Texas kills men like no other state and they’ve killed over 300 to this day. They’re not letting up either. Texas also has the 2nd most populated death row with a little over 400.


The pro-death penalty person would more than likely say – so what. He deserves what he got coming – So, we won’t focus on them. My focus is on those that oppose this death penalty. For an inmate that launches a campaign to save his life, ask people to help him file petitions etc., would it be a contradiction for him to just walk to his execution, and then at the end eat some lavish meal ? In my beliefs I’d say yes and this is why. If we take the position that out lives are valuable and worth something then I fell that it is our #1 duties to make that stance. Nevertheless, year after year, inmates walk to their executions and most eat these huge death feast before the execution ; food that will more than likely not digest. To me this is an abomination and disrespect to this precious life that we have. Now, I know what many are thinking – well, you’re going to die any way, so what’s the use ? – I have one answer for that – to show that this is not ok and that we do agree with it.


There’s a different angle to this as well. What do you think would happen to the public’s psyche if they heard time after time again that a man struggles to the end before his execution ? You see, the System has already pacified the death penalty. Each year they try to make it look nicer and nicer ; they dropped the electric chair in some states, they offer these meals, they do these lethal injections in these white sterile environments. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the end of a firing squad or a syringe – it’s still state sanctioned murder. I believe that the public has to be remind to how vile this process is, but do we “humanize” it so to speak ? I mean, even a dog can sense danger when he is about to be put to death and will resist.  


Some will say – oh, he’s scared to die or he’s not at peace. – That’s no necessarily so as the 4 above men were all at peace. It was just the statement that needed to be made. If you know you are about to die, why not make the statement. Now, not every man has to fight. One may be a Christian and believe in non-violence or just believe in non-violence period ; or one may be older (yes, there are men beyond their 50’s on Death Row) or have health problems. Ok, just don’t walk. Lay it down and make them drag you. I suggest for a Christian to pray for the guards. Pray them for participating in your murder. It’s blood on their hands too. Make them realize that. How powerful do you think that would be if it happened over and over ?  


This is topic worthy of discussion and I ask that you all discuss it. I also ask that for those of you who write men on death row to discuss it with them too. I do believe that it’s something worth considering and propagating.


Post your thoughts or forward them to [email protected] We really need to start considering newer ways to oppose this death penalty – on the inside and out. I’d like to start sharing more of them as our movement must unity and come to one accord. I leave you with this for now.


In Struggle



What is your position ?


1) A man should physically fight

2) Simply not walk

3) He should cooperate and walk



Notes :

* Tony Ford made history when he started his non-violent protest in November 2005, a month before his execution. His spirit of struggle inspired Shannon Thomas and Marion Dudley to not walk either.

* Click here to read article “The Time is Now”

The Time Is Now!

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