From Florida death row
There's an open window out on the catwalk and the roof-top exhaust fan pulls the air in so that as I sit here on my bunk, pondering today's execution, a brisk breeze washes over my face allowing me, as I close my eyes, to imagine I'm far away and free.
I always meditate during the hour stradling an execution, but I can't say I've had any profound revelations or particular insights; mostly my thoughts round back to how ephemeral life is, especially measured against a society which has such a passion for killing.
We really are a murderous nation, possessing a single-minded muscular stupidity, which gives us the strength to keep doing what we are doing (an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth!) without regrets.
So now, Wayne Tompkins is dead by the hand of the government, and, what? What is different or better?
Those possessed with their own moral certitude, those with an atavistic love of blood, death and violence are temporarily satiated - until they demand the next sacrifice to their God - but we, as a people, are collectively diminished each time we use our authority to kill another human being.
Those who favor capital punishment focus on the innocence of the victim or the brutality of the murder, but in my mind , the yardstick should be what is says about us as a people - what do we allow ourselves to do and where do we, as supposedly enlightened souls, draw the line?
Do we give in to our darkest impulses or do we rise above them?
As of today, most Americans are still in favor of taking the easy route (war, death destruction, execution) over the high road.
Perhaps, given we are a nation born in blood and violence, we shall always remain so.
I want to believe we'll find our better half one day, but that's a story yet to be written.