Destined for Disaster?

When, last September, Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich stopped the execution of Joseph Murphy and granted him clemency, he reasoned that a childhood of “severe and sustained verbal, physical and sexual abuse from those who should have loved him” had left Murphy “destined for disaster.”

In that statement, Governor Kasich acknowledged our society’s cycle (really, progression) of violence – from child abuse to murder to execution – and acted to stop it.  (At least for this one case – Ohio has 14 more executions scheduled between now and January 2014.)

Delaware’s Board of Pardons and Governor face a similar choice in the case of Robert Gattis, who is slated to be put to death on January 20.  Gattis suffered through a childhood experts have described as “catastrophic to his development.”  Beginning as a small child, he was raped and molested and otherwise physically abused, by multiple abusers, including close family members.  This seriously impaired his ability to function as an adult.

In 1990, at the age of 27, Robert Gattis committed a terrible crime, murdering his girlfriend Shirley Slay.  The jury and judge that sentenced him to die in 1992 were never told about his traumatic childhood.  Now, 20 years later, he faces another, final act of violence – his execution.

The horrible abuse of children, if unchecked, may seem to leave them “destined for disaster”, but the cycle, or progression, of violence is not inevitable.  It can be broken.  Four Delaware corrections officers support clemency for Robert Gattis because, after two decades in the structured world of prison, Robert Gattis has become a source of support for fellow inmates and his own family including his two sons.  As one expert put it: “His current adjustment provides a glimpse of the person Robert could have been.”

Killing Robert Gattis now makes no sense.  In the case of Robert Gattis, Delaware’s Governor and Pardon Board can avert disaster.  They can grant clemency.

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2 thoughts on “Destined for Disaster?

  1. Also, there's more sad and stupid news in the state of Oklahoma: by killing Gary Welch by lethal injection on January 5 for killing a victim in self-defense, these authorities have twisted a moral and turned it into a twisted, perverted one: that it's not okay to kill people in self-defense, even if said people threaten your life and are trying to kill you; and even if you kill them in self-defense, other people will capture you, ignore your truth, condemn you and kill you anyway! This is just like a hero in one video game who kills a monster who attacks him, only to have other innocent people show up and kill him anyway, by treating him as another monster instead of hailing him as a hero! Killing Gary is the ULTIMATE stupidity, and it ticks me off! No one intervened, and no one listened to our pleas for his clemency! Even worse is that the victim's family is still hailing Oklahoma's governor for a "job well done in sending another monster to hell" while STILL ignoring the fact that their loved one was threatening to kill Gary in the first place! My heart breaks for the victim's hard-hearted family and for Gary's family, and I pray that both families find comfort and forgiveness for what they've done. May Gary and his victim both rest in peace. :cry:

  2. Also, there’s more sad and stupid news in the state of Oklahoma: by killing Gary Welch by lethal injection on January 5 for killing a victim in self-defense, these authorities have twisted a moral and turned it into a twisted, perverted one: that it’s not okay to kill people in self-defense, even if said people threaten your life and are trying to kill you; and even if you kill them in self-defense, other people will capture you, ignore your truth, condemn you and kill you anyway! This is just like a hero in one video game who kills a monster who attacks him, only to have other innocent people show up and kill him anyway, by treating him as another monster instead of hailing him as a hero! Killing Gary is the ULTIMATE stupidity, and it ticks me off! No one intervened, and no one listened to our pleas for his clemency! Even worse is that the victim’s family is still hailing Oklahoma’s governor for a “job well done in sending another monster to hell” while STILL ignoring the fact that their loved one was threatening to kill Gary in the first place! My heart breaks for the victim’s hard-hearted family and for Gary’s family, and I pray that both families find comfort and forgiveness for what they’ve done. May Gary and his victim both rest in peace. :cry: