Oldboy, the film
Being mentally ill can get you killed.

Oldest inmate on death row scheduled to die on December 14, 2005

I was talking to my daughter, Kelly, today, Sunday, December 11, 2005, and she told me she has been randomly selected to witness the execution of John B. Nixon, Sr. at Parchment Farm in Mississippi on December 14th.

Mr. Nixon is the oldest person on death row in the United States at the age of 77. He has been on death row for 19 years after being found guilty in a death for hire scheme in which he was paid $1000.00 to kill the ex-wife of the person who hired him.

The supreme court has refused to hear the case, and it is up to the Mississippi State supreme court to intervene or for Gov. Haley Barbour to grant clemency.

"How did you get this assignment?", I asked Kelly.

Kelly said, "They pulled my name our of a hat."

Kelly just moved to Jackson Mississippi in early November to take a job with the NPR station there. She never expected in her wildest dreams to get such an assignment.

"It's a professional obligation I have as a journalist", Kelly said.

I am against the death penalty and have been for years, and to have a daughter get drafted into such a role seems a cosmic irony for me.

Please pray for the victims of this crime and their families and friends, for the perpetrators and their families and friends, for the systems of government which engage in such activities, for the voters who support such a practice, and for my daughter, Kelly, who is a witness to the ways of human beings on planet earth.

Link: Oldest inmate on death row wants clemency - The Clarion-Ledger.



Hi Dad.

I understand your sense of cosmic irony completely. I have always been a rabid opponent of the death penalty, viewing it as utterly barbaric and uncivilized. So, a part of me -- a big part -- recoils at thought of covering the story at all. But I also feel that it is the obligation of journalists to serve as witnesses to the darkest corners of our culture, to speak plainly about what goes on in our world -- no matter how distasteful. That's what we do, and I think it's essential to our democracy that we do it.

Also, I should clarify that I wasn't "drafted" to do this story. That would be unfair to my employer. No one twisted my arm. I could have declined, and I didn't. Granted, when I took the assignment, I didn't know I would be a media witness. No one did. That call was made later. I have to admit that I had second thoughts about doing the story when I found out. Even Will protested, saying I should refuse. But this is my job. I will set my personal feelings aside -- to the extent possible -- and cover the story to the best of my ability.

Ultimately, I'm not sure the state of Mississippi killing John B. Nixon is much worse than the federal government allowing 1,000-plus people to perish in New Orleans. Or killing thousands of Iraqis. Is one really worse than the other? Hell, lethal injection seems almost humane when compared to dying a slow, miserable death in the Superdome, or bleeding to death from a gunshot wound, courtesy of the U.S. military. So, we are ALL witnesses to killing. It's just packaged differently.

Hope you're well.



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