November 19, 1997
by Gene Hathorn, #800

Having just learned that Michael Sharp has executed and having previously committed to writing his obituary, I find myself at a loss for words. For some reason all the customary platitudes about what a good guy he was would seem to fall well short of an accurate depiction of the man. but I shall endeavor to verbalize with some degree of comprehension the nature of a person I considered for many, many years to be my friend and brother.

I knew Mike as early as twelve years ago, before he had made the conscious effort to better himself through spirituality , and he was far from being compassionate or friendly; in fact, he was rather rebellious toward not only guards but inmates as well. There were three or four people with whom he shared a steady friendship, but that was about it. Most of us recall that when Mike made up his mind about something there was nothing anyone could do to dissuade him, and the more resistance that was thrown at him the more he threw back. His escapades down on J-Block when he was fasting and growing his hair and beard to protest the way he was being treated are legendary; indeed, I have seen him so emaciated from starvation that a once muscular and stout man had become nothing more than a walking bag of bones, with deep set eyes and prominent, cadaverous cheekbones. But he did not care, because he was following his heart on a matter he deemed of utmost importance.

Eventually he made his point to his satisfaction and started eating again and at some point he committed himself to the Christian walk, though almost everyone who knew him became a naysayer by predicting that Mike would never last on the spiritual path because he was a gangster, a non-conformist who would never lie down and take what was unfairly dished out to him. Actually the naysaying may have provided an impetus for Mike to succeed in spirituality because, as was his way, all he needed to prompt him to do something was for someone to say he couldn't do it, then he dug in his heels, lowered his bull head, and didn't stop until he arrived at where he was going. But he didn't lie down and take anything, either, rather , he turned his problems over to the higher power with whom he had became acquainted and whom he knew he could trust, and instead of barking at the person who sought to harm or disrespect him, Mike would instead invite them to join him on his Christian path --whether that person wore white or gray was irrelevant, which clearly proved that Mike was not selective in his witnessing.

I've heard some grumbling among people of late that, perhaps because Mike spoke some truth about them in the past, he deserved what he got and they in fact had anticipated his death with anxious glee, and to those people I would say that had the roles been reversed Mike would not have felt the same about them, would not have wished them harm or even held a grudge if they had in some way wronged him. He would have offered his hand to them --again, whether they wore white or gray --and said, "I've been taught the way of compassion and mercy, not malice and hate, so let us put aside our past disagreements and worship together." I can guarantee that Mike is still praying for those who sought to oppress him, or in thought or deed, do him other harm.

I cannot close without mentioning that Mike's brainchild, the LHP, has blossomed under his guidance into an organization befitting his dreams, for he always wanted the LHP to benefit all death row prisoners and great inroads have been made toward that end. I am happy that he was at least able to witness the beginning of the LHP's recent expansive growth, a proliferation that has put the LHP in several different states and countries and carries out its mission through mediums such as the Internet, where every death row inmate has the opportunity to have a say.

Mike, we love you, we miss you, and we ask that wherever you are now, you will continue to give us the guidance on which we so addictively came to depend, for the LHP is still your baby and we shall always consider it so.