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A Review of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
by Jerry Hogue #660

The Lamp of Hope Goes Internet
by Les Bower #764

What Price We Pay
by David Goff #999015

Unpardonable
by Windell Broussard #999064

Texas Prisoners Labor Union

Problems in TDCJ-ID

Capital Punishment and Thus Saith the Lord
by Rev. Joe E. Blackmon, father of Don Blackman

Texas Death Row Inmates Speaking Out on the Internet

You Now Have a Place to File Your Complaints and Problems Against Any Part or Operation With and In TDCJ-ID

Special Thanks Are Due!

We Couldn't Have Done It Without You

Murder Victims' Families Are Not Served by Another Death
by Pat Bane

Gone Too Soon
by James E. Session

Books That Need to be Checked Out

Death Row Activities and Events

ATTENTION! National Coalition Against the Death Penalty Thank You! Thank You!

Cartoons

TEXAS DEATH ROW JOURNAL
published by The Lamp of Hope Project

Editor: Billy G. Hughes, Jr. CPL #556
Asst. Editor: Billy Nelson #999017

Death Row Journal
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"The sister of one of Ted Bundy's victims told MVFR her family had achieved closure by taking their focus off Bundy. ..."

"Families who do not meet the expectations of society are often silenced by those who claim to work on the behalf of victims. ..."

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Murder Victims' Families Are Not
Served by Another Death

        —  Pat Bane

Texas, already the execution capital of the nation, seems bent on wiping out the entire population of death row as quickly as possible.

We need to be asking why.

Death penalty proponents have stopped arguing that executions deter crime and create safer neighborhoods, that innocent people have not been executed in the past and might be in the future, or even that it costs less to put prisoners to death than to incarcerate them.

The old arguments that once bolstered support for the death penalty have been discredited and discarded by those who know the facts.

A new argument has emerged that appeals to our deepest feelings of compassion.

It is that victims' families need an execution to find peace after their tragic ordeal. Like the tired arguments before it, the problem is that is simply is not true.

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When a family receives the news that a loved one has been murdered, they are in a state of shock.

Disbelief and denial give way to rage, and this is a very normal reaction to killing. We should be angry whenever violence takes a life.

We should ask why, and do what is necessary to prevent similar crimes. Communities should respond to the needs of grieving families of murder victims.

These families are at the lowest point of their lives and need caring people to help them through the difficult events ahead:

    — identification of the body of their family member
    — funeral arrangements and expenses
    — and help in dealing with the media, with a police investigation, and the trial that follows.

All of these are in territories unfamiliar to most victims' families.

Their primary need is to grieve — as all families do — when someone they love has dies. Eventually, they must accept that life will never be the same, be able to remember and honor the life of the one they have lost, and to begin to live again.

Many victims' assistance and support programs — instead of responding to the real needs of victims' families — have chosen to focus on punishment.

When they are desperately seeking hope that will carry them through a very painful time, victims' families are offered another death.

Many accept what they are offered, believing the lie that it will make things better.

Others do not.

Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation is a national organization with thousands of members who reject the notion that an execution will ease their pain or make their communities safer.

But how do proponents of the death penalty so concerned with justice for victims respond to such families.

SueZann Bosler, an MVFR member in Florida, saw her father murdered. She was stabbed and left for dead by a man who robbed their home.

SueZann appeared as a witness for the prosecution, identifying the offender at trial.

However, in preparation for a resentencing hearing, the prosecutor is trying to discredit SueZann and prevent her from testifying because of her opposition to the death penalty.

He is questioning her mental competency so he can use her previous testimony without giving her an opportunity to voice her convictions that it is wrong to kill.

When Pedro Medina caught fire in Florida's electric chair recently, state officials were quick to say that their sympathy was for the victim.

No one bothered to mention that the daughter of the victim opposed Mr. Medina's execution.

Families who do not meet the expectations of society are often silenced by those who claim to work on the behalf of victims.

What about those families who believe that the death of the perpetrator will somehow relieve that pain?

The sister of one of Ted Bundy's victims told MVFR her family had achieved closure by taking their focus off Bundy.

"His execution reopened our wounds, it was the worst thing that could have happened to us", she stated.

Obviously, executions have left many families still unhealed because the latest trend is to offer family members the opportunity to witness the execution.

Some who have done so claim it did not provide what they had expected, while others bitterly say that execution was not bad enough because the prisoner didn't suffer as much as the victim did.

What will we offer families next? Torture, or perhaps the right to push the button or pull the switch?

Vengeance, like a drug, seems only to create a need for more.

Some families will be haunted by the specter of watching someone die in their names. Others will be left with a legacy of hatred they will pass on to future generations.

Those who cling to support for the death penalty need to examine their own hearts and minds to understand the real reasons why. Then, in honesty, they can examine the validity of those reasons.

If they are concerned with victims, it's time to begin to put together programs for victims that truly help them to heal without passing on pain to the families of offenders.

All of us must support effective crime prevention programs that identify the causes of violent crime and begin to eliminate them.

But if we truly want a safer and more peaceful society, we must stop eliminating human beings.

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