Letter from Death Row
I am writing this letter to you from Death Row, on this
day, the last day of
Yes, in just a few short hours, I will walk down that long
corridor, to the
gas chamber. No priest will escort me, giving me comfort
or prayers for my
soul. No family will visit me or even miss me when I am
gone. My "family"
abandoned me long ago. As a matter of fact, I doubt anyone
will ever give
me or my death, even a passing thought after today.
The saddest fact in this whole matter is that I am innocent.
I have done no
crime, yet today, I will die in the gas chamber. I know
that others have
said "I am innocent", all the way to their deaths,
but in my case, it is the
truth. Let me take you back through my life, tell you my
story, then you
decide for yourself whether or not I deserve to die.
I do not know my parents. I doubt that they even remember
me. I do not
think that my parents knew each other for very long. My
birth was just the
tragic beginning of a tormented life, conceived by strangers.
I know that
my father was not around for my birth, and my mother did
not stick around for
very long after. I guess I cannot really blame my mother,
she just could
not take care of me. As a youngster, I seemed to just "fall
through the cracks"
of the system. I wandered around aimlessly, looking for
food and shelter
anywhere I could find it. Every once in awhile, a kind person
would try to help me out, but it was always temporary sympathy,
they would be on their way, leaving me just alone as ever.
As fate would have it, I wound up pregnant. It was a hard
never seemed to get enough to eat, and having no permanent
home, I was
always exposed to the weather. I actually slept outside
throughout my entire
pregnancy. No medical care was available to me. My first
produced three beautiful babies, but like my own mother,
I could not
care for them. I do not know what eventually became of my
As a matter of fact, I have given birth on three separate
I do not know where ANY of my babies are now.
Shortly after my third pregnancy, my health was suffering
badly. I did not
know how to get medical attention and nobody offered to
help me. I was very
malnourished and extremely weak. One particularly bad day,
I was stumbling
around the streets, very tired, very hungry, and very weak.
I guess I just
was not paying attention, but I stepped out into the street.
An oncoming car
tried to stop, but it was too late. I was knocked down and
I felt a terrible pain
in my leg. I was sure it was broken. The car kept going,
and once again, I
was in terrible trouble. I knew I had to get out of the
street, so I dragged
myself to the curb. Once again, I needed medical treatment,
but it seemed
that not one person was willing to help me. I still, to
this day, walk with a limp,
as a result of my leg never having healed properly.
Time marched on, and I continued to struggle along. I was
hanging out on
the streets one night, and I was picked up by a man. He
seemed nice enough at
first, he took me home with him, offered me food and shelter,
so I decided
to hang around for awhile. I am not really sure what I did
wrong, but after
awhile, he said he was tired of me, could not afford to
have me around, and
that I would have to go. We got into his car, drove out
to an old, deserted
road, and he put me out. He just left me there. I was alone
After several long days, I found my way to the nearest
city. I thought
surely I would find somebody to help me out of this "hell
on earth" that I
found myself living. Eventually, the police, who had seen
me hanging out on
the streets for several days, picked me up and took me to
prison where I now find myself. I have been here about a
week, and nobody
has told me what wrong I have committed.
I sleep, eat, and relieve myself in my little cell. The
smell is horrible,
and it is so very noisy here. All of the other prisoners
cry and call out endlessly. It
seems that I am being punished for simply being born. How
can this happen in such
a "civilized" world?
So, now that you have heard my story, what do you think?
Do you think that
I must be violent, that maybe I am a bankrobber, or a drug
dealer, or maybe
even a murderer? Whatever you think, do not feel sorry for
me, maybe I will
find the peace in death that I have never found in life.
By the way, I am not a
bankrobber, drug dealer,or murderer, I am not even a human...I
am a dog.
Special thanks to: Ms Rawls
Clayton County Humane Society
Good Night, Precious
Copyright Jim Willis 2002 A poem written especially for
the "Killing With Kindness" campaign
by the author of "How Could You?" (http://www.crean.com/jimwillis/hcy.html)
Before you die, unwanted one,
I swear there was no way,
I tried — I did! — I promise...
I cried, I cursed, I prayed.
I mailed, I called, I pleaded,
for one to make room for you,
but only Heaven responded,
and there you'll find your due.
You've the most honest eyes I've seen,
a heart so loyal and true —
but our society has decided,
you've no purpose or value.
I wish that I could change things,
you've been wronged — it is not right!
But all I can offer, Precious...
a gentle passing into that good night.
I Found your dog today. No, he has not been adopted by
anyone. Most of us
who live out here own as many dogs as we want, and those
who do not own dogs
do so because they choose not to. I know you hoped he would
find a good home
when you left him out here, but he did not. When I first
saw him he was
miles from the nearest house and he was alone, thirsty,
thin and limping
from a cactus burr in his paw. How I wish I could have been
you as I stood before him. To have seen his tail wag and
his eyes brighten as he bounded into your arms, knowing
you would find him. Knowing you had not forgotten him. To
see the forgiveness in
his eyes for the suffering and pain he had known in his
never ending quest
to find you.... but I was not you. And despite all my persuasion,
beheld a stranger. He did not trust. He would not come.
He turned and continued his journey; one he was sure would
soon bring him to
you. He does not understand you are not looking for him.
He only knows you
are not there, he only knows he must find you. This is more
food or water or the stranger who can give him these things.
pursuit seemed futile; I did not even know his name.
I drove home, filled a bucket with water and a bowl with
food and returned
to where we had met. I could see no sign of him, but I left
under the tree where he had sought shelter from the sun
and a chance to
rest. You see, he is not of the desert. When you domesticated
him, you took
away any instinct of survival out here. His purpose demands
that he travel
during the day. He doesn't know that the sun and heat will
claim his life.
He only knows he has to find you. I waited hoping he would
return to the
tree; hoping my gift would build an element of trust so
I might bring him
home, remove the burr from his paw, give him a cool place
to lie and help
him understand that the part of his life with you is now
over. He did not
return that morning and at dusk the water and food was still
I worried. You must understand that many people would not
attempt to help
your dog. Some would run him off, others would call the
county and the fate
you thought you saved him from would be preempted by his
suffering from days
without food and water. I returned again before dark. I
did not see him. I
went again early the next morning only to find the food
and water still
untouched. If only you were here so you could call his name.
Your voice is
so familiar to him. I began pursuit in the direction he
had taken yesterday
doubt overshadowing my hope of finding him. His search for
desperate; it could take him many miles in 24 hours. It
is hours later and a
good distance from where we first met, but I have found
your dog. His thirst
has been stopped; it is no longer a torment to him. His
disappeared, he no longer aches. The burrs in his paws bother
him no more.
Your dog has been set free from his burdens, you see, your
dog has died.
I kneel next to him and I curse you for not being here yesterday
so I could
have seen the glow, if just for a moment, in those now vacant
eyes. I pray
that his journey has taken him to that place I think you
hoped he would
find. If only you know what he went through to reach it...
and I agonize,
for I know, that were he to awaken at this moment and (if)
I were to be you,
his eyes would sparkle with recognition and his tail wag
Not An Angel
The young pup and the older dog lay on shaded sweet grass
watching the reunions. Sometimes a man, sometimes a woman,
sometimes a whole family would approach the Rainbow Bridge,
be greeted by their loving pets, and cross the bridge together.
The young pup playfully nipped at the older one.
"Look! Something wonderful is happening!"
The older dog stood up and barked,
"Quickly. Get over to the path."
"But that's not my owner," whined the pup,
but he did as he was told.
Thousands of pets surged forward as a figure in white
walked on the path toward the bridge.
As the glowing figure passed each animal,
that animal bowed its head in love and respect.
The figure finally approached the bridge,
and was met by a menagerie of joyous animals.
Together, they all walked over the bridge and disappeared.
The young pup was still in awe.
"Was that an angel?" he whispered.
"No, son." The older dog replied.
"That was more than an angel.
That was a person who worked rescue."
Just My Dog
He's just my dog. He is my other eyes that can see above
the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds.
He has told me more than a thousand times over that I am
his reason for being -- by the way he rests against my leg,
by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile, by the
way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him.
(I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along
to care for me).
When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.
When I am angry he clowns to make me smile.
When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.
When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags.
Without him, I am only another person.
With him, I am all powerful.
He has taught me the meaning of devotion is loyalty itself.
With him, I know the secret comfort and a private peace.
He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.
His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.
His presence by my side is protection against my fears of
dark and unknown things.
He has promised to wait for me ... whenever ... wherever
in case I need him, and I expect I will, as I always have.
Who is he? -- He's just --