Have You Seen This Powerful Statement From a Death Row Inmate?

In December 2013, Gawker sent letters to all U.S. death row inmates who had executions scheduled in the upcoming year. They received their first reply from Ray Jasper, who is scheduled to be put to death on March 19 (Photo Credit: Gawker)

In December 2013, Gawker sent letters to all U.S. death row inmates who had executions scheduled in the upcoming year. They received their first reply from Ray Jasper, who is scheduled to be put to death on March 19 (Photo Credit: Gawker)

On March 19th, 2014, Ray Jasper is scheduled to be executed in Texas. Amnesty International USA is sharing his words below from a letter posted on Gawker where Ray Jasper acknowledges that this letter “could be my final statement on earth.”

Amnesty International USA has issued an urgent action calling on Texas to not execute Ray Jasper on March 19th.

Mr. Nolan,

When I first responded to you, I didn’t think that it would cause people to reach out to me and voice their opinions. I’ve never been on the internet in my life and I’m not fully aware of the social circles on the internet, so it was a surprise to receive reactions so quickly.

You said that my perspective is different and therefore my words have a sort of value. Yet, you're talking to a young man that's been judged unworthy.

I learned that some of the responses on your website were positive and some negative. I can only appreciate the conversation. Osho once said that one person considered him like an angel and another person considered him like a devil, he didn’t attempt to refute neither perspective because he said that man does not judge based on the truth of who you are, but on the truth of who they are.

Your words struck a chord with me. You said that my perspective is different and therefore my words have a sort of value. Yet, you’re talking to a young man that’s been judged unworthy to breathe the same air you breathe. That’s like a hobo on the street walking up to you and you ask him for spare change.

Without any questions, you’ve given me a blank canvas. I’ll only address what’s on my heart. Next month, the State of Texas has resolved to kill me like some kind of rabid dog, so indirectly, I guess my intention is to use this as some type of platform because this could be my final statement on earth.

I think ‘empathy’ is one of the most powerful words in this world that is expressed in all cultures. This is my underlining theme. I do not own a dictionary, so I can’t give you the Oxford or Webster definition of the word, but in my own words, empathy means ‘putting the shoe on the other foot.’

Empathy. A rich man would look at a poor man, not with sympathy, feeling sorrow for the unfortunate poverty, but also not with contempt, feeling disdain for the man’s poverish state, but with empathy, which means the rich man would put himself in the poor man’s shoes, feel what the poor man is feeling, and understand what it is to be the poor man.

Empathy breeds proper judgement. Sympathy breeds sorrow. Contempt breeds arrogance. Neither are proper judgements because they’re based on emotions. That’s why two people can look at the same situation and have totally different views. We all feel differently about a lot of things. Empathy gives you an inside view. It doesn’t say ‘If that was me…’, empathy says, ‘That is me.’

What that does is it takes the emotions out of situations and forces us to be honest with ourselves. Honesty has no hidden agenda. Thoreau proposed that ‘one honest man’ could morally regenerate an entire society.

For the complete text of Ray’s letter, please visit Gawker and take action to tell the state of Texas not to execute Ray Jasper.

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8 thoughts on “Have You Seen This Powerful Statement From a Death Row Inmate?

  1. Would AIUSA please add to this by telling the rest of us what Ray Jasper has been sentenced to death for? And why AIUSA thinks his sentence is wrong?
    Vital information that is missing from this post.

  2. I don't think it is relevant here what the crime was, the point is that the death penalty is wrong on so many levels. I, along with Amnesty, do not support the death penalty under any circumstances. That does not mean that I do not have sympathy for the victim/s and their families. I also believe that offenders should be punished, but treated decently. I cannot see how state sanctioned killing has any positive effect on society, nor does it mean justice for anyone.

  3. I totally appreciate your view Suke.
    I just find it an unusual & cruel punishment for non murderers to say to people who kill innocent victims that they should be treated "decently".
    Murder isn't decent, it's an abhorrent crime to deliberately take another human beings life?
    And I do think the details of the crime are totally relevant. Would you wish to treat child slavers "decently" even though they ruin so many young lives?
    I'm not against Amnesty in any way, but I do think some perspective on the crime & sharing of the facts is important.
    Saying this for discussion ok

  4. This man slit another man's throat from ear to ear and then stabbed him 25 times. He planned the crime and showed no remorse. Have enough taxes not already been paid keeping him in jail for this long?

  5. With Amnesty International, I agree that when the death penalty or other forms of physical or psychological torture are proposed under color of law, we need not learn the tragic details of the offense in order to say, “No! We must not bring ourselves down to the level of deliberate homicide against a subdued prisoner, however heinous the crime.” Life without parole is a more than adequate punishment which avoids this dehumanizing arms race in brutality.

    However, the death penalty should also be resisted for the reasons that families of murder victims have resisted it and played a leadership role in its abolition in six States of the U.S.A. since 2007: it inflicts cruel and unusual punishment on surviving family members, on correctional officers and officials required to carry out what former Georgia prison administrator Allen Ault has called “premeditated murder,” and on taxpayers at large who suffer (from preventable crimes and otherwise) because of the exorbitant costs of legal death.

    Study after study over the last 30 years has shown that life without parole is actually thrifty compared to the costs of capital trials with their special jury selection procedures and investigations of a defendant’s entire life and social history, any element of which might shift the scales for life or death. Life-giving services, including law enforecement, have been brought to near-bankruptcy in some counties because of the cost of death penalty trials. The decent and human thing to do is also the pro-victim thing to do, as murder survivors coming from a range of views such as Bud Welch and Kathleen Garcia have agreed. And that is to replace the death penalty with life without parole.

  6. Amnesty doesn't want to tell you the whole story. And as far as Gawker is concerned they completely lack any credibility and are far from true "journalists". JASPER planned and carried out the MURDER of his victim. Slitting his throat from ear to ear and having previously recruited a couple of his thug friends to assist. While DYING and holding his sliced open and gushing blood throat with both hands Jaspers partner stabbed him repeatedly with another knife. And A.I. wants you to feel sorry for this guy cause he now finds himself on death row?