I’m finally getting around to reading “Dead Man Walking,” the memoir by Sr. Helen Prejean. She spent time with a man convicted of killing two people. The book is gripping and instructive.
I might not agree with everything she says (though I mostly do), but she’s a gifted writer.
Anyway, there’s a deep section early in the book, about a third of the way through, that’s very powerful. She takes the reader through experiencing witnessing an execution. Then gives us her thoughts, which include:
” I am convinced that if executions were made public, the torture and violence would be unmasked, and we would be shamed into abolishing executions.”
But that’s not the sentence of the day.
Now, I’m sure most people have vastly different beliefs on the death penalty, and Sr. Prejean might not convince them to change their views.
But the best section in the book – so far – is when she meets someone who has an opposing point of view from her. She knows this man is a good man. But she can’t square away that he takes part in the executions.
Here’s what she says.
“It’s the fact that a man so obviously good as this is participating in this process that is most disturbing.”
Sr. Helen describes the man as “obviously good” despite him participating in something she considers gravely immoral.
If you haven’t read the book, please do. No matter your beliefs on the issue, it will make you a better person.
Every weekday, The Southpaw finds a sentence that grips him. It could be through its language or the ideas it carries that he finds interesting. It could be a piece of dialogue from a movie, an excerpt from a book or a lyric from a song.