I'm going to hear Executing Grace author Shane Claiborne talk about ending the death penalty. It sounds like it will be a good way to spend a couple of hours.
The ad for the three events says:
“Executing Grace in Georgia: A Faithful Discussion About the Death Penalty” will explore how people of faith and conscience can change the conversation about justice, mercy, and forgiveness in the state, which executed nine inmates in 2016, more than any other state in the nation. Claiborne will appear Feb. 3 and 4 in Atlanta, Athens, and Macon. - See more about the events at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/releases/2017/01/claiborne-executing-grace.html#sthash.9Gdztfka.dpuf
I really hope it's a time for talking about faith and conscience. I'm sick of listening to talk about the state killing people as politics and positions. Too often conversations about justice, mercy and forgiveness quickly turn into verbal screeds about punishment, judgement and hate.
I guess that's just to be expected when you've never met the people you're talking about. But I have met some people who were sent to death row. Too many. And the one thing I'm certain of about them is that they were once innocents.
Yeah, they grew up course and did unspeakable things. Some were really scary. But they all were more than the worst thing they ever did.
One of them was Marcus Wellons. He stabbed 15-year-old India Roberts - then rolled her up in a rug and dumped her in the woods. There was no doubt that he was guilty. But I'll never forget what his younger brother said when testifying during the part of the trial where jurors had to decided if Marcus would be executed.
He told the jury that he had always looked up to Marcus because he had earned a college degree in psychology. That he knew what Marcus did was wrong and that he deserved to be locked up for life. But he felt Marcus still might do some good counseling other prisoners. It had to be hard for him to beg for his brother's life, especially hard because Marcus' brother was a Miami homicide cop.
Don Plummer covered the justice system for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 14 years. He now works for justice system reform as a member of Healing Justice In Georgia, a faith-based organization.