Monday, May 01, 2006

Death penalty - what would it be like?

There was a stage that the fear of Schapelle facing a firing squad haunted both my days and nights.

Around that time I wrote this essay for myself as an attempt to deal with the anguish I felt. In some strange way it helped.

But it also serves as a companion piece to my earlier post on this blog about the death penalty. That was what I think. This is what I feel.


In two hours I am sentenced to stand before a firing squad on a lonely beach somewhere in Indonesia.

I have said goodbye to my Mum, my Dad, my brothers and sisters. I had wondered what we could find to say to each other. Would I plead with them to keep fighting, petitioning, protesting? Or perhaps talk of my fears, my terror? Or would we carefully talk all around the terror. Would we talk of good times, old friends, current affairs, some laughs perhaps, or maybe of their future plans.

Yet in the end it was simple and beautiful. There was nothing to speak of except love. Nothing to do but to hug. In the end nothing else mattered. For the first time in years it felt good to weep like a baby. If I must die, at least I will leave something behind, a residue of love in the hearts of a few special people.

'If I must die'? Then, it seems that still I do not accept it. Less than an hour to go. My lawyer has said that there is no further avenue of appeal. The President has confirmed that I must die.I do not understand how can they not extend mercy. How can they look on my face and not see my common humanity. How can the President calmly attach his signature to a document that means bullets will soon be tearing into my flesh? How can they find twelve men prepared to carefully take aim and shoot out the heart of somebody just like themselves?

Do their children ask them "what did you do at work today, Daddy?" Do they respond "I fired a bullet at a fellow human being today. I think I shot with great accuracy. It might have been my bullet that ended her life. I am proud to have done my job well."

My God! What will it be like? Blinding pain as the bullets rip into me? Minutes of unendurable agony as my mind shuts down? For ever! This is not a good train of thought. I feel the fear rolling in like fog across water.

The fear. 30 minutes. I repeat a litany I have been reciting in the so far futile search for some calm. 'Fear is the mind killer. I will face my fear. I will allow the fear to pass through me and over me. When the fear is gone only I shall remain.' It doesn't help. I am scared. So scared. I fear the night. I fear the pain. I feel sick. My heart pounds. Can't swallow. Can't breathe. My organs seem to be shutting down. Should I sleep? What for? Perhaps, so I could feel better and calmer. It's academic, anyway. How could I possibly sleep?

The fear continues to grow. The horror of extinction, not in the comfort of a hospital bed at an unknown time, surrounded by people that love me, but alone at the hands of men who will shoot me with not much more interest than a pest exterminator doing his job. The worst thing is that they will do it at a predetermined moment in time. My throat further constricts with every tick of the clock.

I feel a huge swell of rage against all these people. It helps. I must hold that anger. Do not forgive. I hate them. I hate them so much. With every cell in my body. I wish them leukaemia, brain tumours, torture, gangrene. I hope their children drown in their own swimming pools and their babies are congenitally deformed. Die screaming you filthy bastards. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.

No I don't. I wish I could. I wish I could retain that hatred and slowly release it over my remaining minutes, to hold back the fear. But I cannot. I love this life and I love its people. All of them. They are me and I am them. If I can't understand why they must do this to me, I can at least identify with their hopes, fears, hunger, love and yes, even their hatred. And as I love them, I love me. Strangely, I am ready. Just in time. I hear them coming.

Maybe I have been reprieved. Could it be so? Could it? Could it? Please God, please. I lied before. I'll never be ready. Help me.


Anonymous muleshooter said...

When ae u going to write about a mum finding her child overdosed on drugs because of some peace of crap drug dealer.

11:45 pm, May 01, 2006  
Blogger True Blue said...

MS, If you write something like that I'm happy to include it in my blog. I don't like drug dealers either, and I've got plenty of sympathy for any mum finds herself in that position.

Two points. Schapelle was accused of smuggling marijuana, a much less dangerous drug than heroin, or even cigarettes or alcohol. And it doesn't cause overdoses.

What I wrote is about how I feel about the death penalty. I feel the same way regardless of the crime.

9:49 am, May 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey True_Blue - Great essay. Very insightful. I really appreciate your work, and your blog is excellent!


4:57 pm, May 04, 2006  
Blogger True Blue said...

gracias para las palabras amables, Carina.

I'm finding it quite therapeutic writing a blog. One of the things that drives me crazy on support web sites and message boards is that I end up responding to the same arguments over and over again.

At least on a blog, even if hardly anybody ever sees it, there's no need to endlessly repeat myself.

Anyway, thanks

12:57 pm, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

De nada. :D Hablas Espanol, or did you use a translation site?? ; )

I really enjoy blogging as well. I've never really thought about it being theraputic, but now that you mention it, you're right. I enjoy putting my own thoughts in and receiving comments on what others think. I'm a bit of a writer, this blogging venture is right up my alley.'s for Schapelle!

10:42 am, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Michelle said...

Ah...this sends shivers down my spine! If everyone in support of the death penalty could take a step back and see things through the mind of someone on death row perhaps our world wouldnt be so barbaric. Fabulous post!

1:13 pm, June 06, 2006  
Blogger True Blue said...

Thanks Michelle. I wrote this well over a year ago, as I said, to help me deal with my own feelings. Then I put it aside, figuring it was too raw to see the light of day. But here it is anyway and I'm pleased it works for you. And I do honestly believe that supporters of the death penalty must be sadly lacking in imagination.

3:13 pm, June 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Muleshooter,
How about a child finding their mum overdosed on drugs coz of some crap excuse? People choose drugs - they can say gimme gimme or they can say no. Schapelle is not accused of dealing heroin. She is accused of having mj in her bag.. 5000 klms north east of where she checked in her luggage. Sheesh..

8:02 pm, April 07, 2007  
Anonymous Bill said...

Very good.. I think I have changed my mind about the death penalty after reading that. I wouldnt wish that on my worst enemy.

10:53 am, May 02, 2007  

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