Indifferent - Nightreports - Nightreport 4
......Yesterday was a wonderful night to die....
Yesterday I had a somehow different night shift. I
was standing in front of the gates of the San Quentin State Prison,
California. I was not alone about one hundred people have been there.
They all waited for a miracle. Death penalty, execution, death row...
expressions I only knew from TV or cinema. "Dead Man Walking"...
I didn't know that almost every week a man walking to his immortality.
I didn't know that women walk too. I didn't know that the majority of
the states still have death penalty. I didn't know that sometimes
there isn't any justice and that there are people on death row because
they couldn't afford a good lawyer. Probably I did know, but I never
was that close. In the beginning I felt like in a boring movie.
Everything seemed artificial. The cops, who guarded the prison gate.
The people praying, talking, screaming, and singing for someone I
don't even know. The TV team on the little roof. It was a kind of
festival without candies and popcorn. But when the time went by there
was no doubt: Somebody will die tonight. And when there where only
five minutes to go and the crowd calmed down and there was nothing
left than silence. I couldn't believe how wrong this felt. Finally they
donated him another half an hour... for a last review of the file
Babbitt in Washington. Then silence again and I sent this man my
prayers, they were clear in my mind even I never memorized them. I
send them up to the heaven to a place with an entity I never believed
in. I could fell the warm salt water flowing down my cheek. I could
see his spirit rising up the prison, maybe it was the glitter of a TV
camera. I saw his ghost dancing on the sea, dancing hand in hand with
the moonlight. Free and happy, sad and beautiful. He waved me and
wished me luck for the rest of my life. He faded away under the sky and
dived into the night to a place somewhere we all have to go, sooner or
later, naturally or per purpose, murdered. He killed, we made him to
kill, they made him to kill, now they killed him. "First he
killed for his country, now his country kills him", one of the
signs said. I heard the people talking who were close to him. I heard
them telling tales from a man: healthy, friendly, aware... there is
no doubt of his crime, but is there only revenge on the other side? I
was an observer, a witness of this wonderful night. Not more, not less...
and this thoughts from my little different night shift that last night....
..... that wonderful night to die...
..... that wonderful night to be alive...
Newspaper article from the San Francisco Chronicle 05/06/1999
Vietnam Vet Babbitt Executed
Vietnam veteran Manny Babbitt was
executed early today at San Quentin prison for beating an elderly
grandmother to death, despite his protests that he could not recall
the crime. After his final legal plea was rejected, Babbitt was led
by guards from a "death watch cell,'' where he had spent his
last hours, to the execution chamber only 13 steps away.
[13. Juli 2004] [kontakt]