Carlos Granados’ Execution Date
Earlier today I conducted a demonstration after witnessing something very disturbing…
I went to a minister visit with my favorite Christian, who happens to also be a very rare Christian in a Dietrich Bonhoeffer/Stanley Hauerwas kind of way. At noon visitation ended and I turned around to look at the area where Carlos Granados’ visitors were about to leave through. I saw his mother leaving the visitation booth after seeing her son, her child, for the last time…
Years ago I read an interview with one of the execution “tie down team” officers. He talked about the process of helping murder a man by state-sponsored execution and he said something that I’ve thought about over the years: I can’t remember what he said verbatim, but the CO said something to the effect of “There’s no sound on earth like the sound of crying and anguish a mother makes when her son is about to be executed. It’s indescribable.” When I saw Carlos’ mom leaving I understood what he meant. Even though I couldn’t hear his mom through the plexiglass, I saw the depth of her pain on her face. She was crying so uncontrollably that she could barely stand up; someone had to hold her as she walked. Tears were endlessly flowing down her face and she wore a look of pure anguish, a look that some of you may remember—the infamous photo of children running down Highway 1 in Vietnam, fleeing from a napalm attack. In the picture soldiers are in the background and children are running in front of them. One little girl is running naked, screaming. She threw her burning clothes off. On the left, in the very front, a little boy is running, terror-stricken. He has a look on his face almost identical to that of Carlos’ mom. Seeing his mother break down like that strengthened my resolve to do what I had planned for today…
Officers Cook and Perry came to escort me back to my cell from the visitation building. I was handcuffed, I exited the visitation booth and begin walking back. When I came to the area in front of the Death Row (12) building, I sat down and occupied the walkway, right in the spot where Carlos had just been led past to slaughter. Officer Cook asked what exactly I was protesting this time and I replied “Did you see that woman crying, Granados’ mom? THAT’S what I’m protesting!” More officers came to the scene of the “incident”, including Lt. Hines, Sgt. Brown, and even Major Nelson.
They brought the gurney and video camera, picked me up, and started to wheel me back to my cell. I was emotional so I gave a rather impassioned protest speech, something to the tune of: “This is a nonviolent direct action in protest of the unjust execution of Carlos Granados! I just watched his mother say goodbye to her son for the last time. Did she commit capital murder? No! Does she deserve to suffer for her son’s mistakes? No! By executing Carlos Granados you have created another set of victims—his family members. Every last one of you should be ashamed of yourselves! How can you sleep at night knowing that you’ve participated in genocide?!…”
Sgt. Brown seemed particularly angry and as we entered the hall leading to F-pod, he stopped and ordered the officers to cut off my jumpsuit and search me. “Your dehumanization tactics won’t deter us from what we’re doing, Sgt. Brown—you can strip us naked, gas us, beat us, and put us on every type of restriction like you’ve done many times before, we ARE the struggle! Your control mechanisms don’t work on us. Look at you, you people are pitiful. That’s right, cut my clothes off, show your sadism! Keep on giving justification to our actions by your overtly oppressive behavior! You all can drown yourselves in your putrid, stinking pool of blind patriotism and unquestioning obedience to a system founded on racism, genocide, and oppression but we refuse. You can honor Rick Perry and dictator George Bush, but we’re going to honor the memory or Rosa Parks, MLK, Gandhi! We’re going to stand in solidarity with all progressive anti-death penalty groups who fight for LIFE! Who fight for Humanity! As long as mothers are forced to watch their sons be led off to execution, we will RESIST!…”
I continued with my speech until my cell door was slammed shut, handcuffs removed and the officers were gone from my section. We’re 10 days into our most recent wave of protest which started on Jan. 1st. Everything is lovely. Staff members definitely weren’t prepared for this heightened level of resistance, especially being that so many people are involved. I never met Carlos Granados and I don’t know anything about him. I do know one thing though: he was a human being who has a mother who will have to live with the psychological trauma of having her son murdered for the rest of her life. The victims of capital murder and their families always need to be thought of and taken into consideration when discussing capital punishment, but is it acceptable to make more victims? Proponents of capital punishment can spew their rhetoric of delusional, illogical moral relativism endlessly, but I wonder how they’d feel if they saw Carlos’ mom have a complete emotional breakdown like I saw her have today? Like the Buddha said, “Hatred can never dispel Hate.”
We’re focused, relentless, determined, and this is just the beginning!
From the Trenches, With Strength and Love:
PS. I’m on “food loaf” restriction. Also, the only people physically protesting on this side of the pod are Gabriel and myself. Everyone else is on the other side.