From: David Seth Michaels <email@example.com>
Date: Sunday, July 08, 2001 2:55 PM
Subject: Missouri 7/11 Execution
Wednesday, July 11, 2001, Missouri is scheduled to execute Jerome Mallett, who was one of the models in Benetton's death row media compaign in 1999-2000. I don't think you're going to read a lot about this in the media. That's why you have this e-mail. Executions have become so routine that even though they are carried out in our names, we are likely to pass over them as if nothing at all were happening.
In 1985, Mallett was pulled over for speeding Missouri state trooper James Froemsdorf (you can see him at the following site)
who checked with his dispatcher and learned that Mallett--in addition to being a repeat parole violator--was wanted for aggravated robbery in
Texas. As the officer prepared to take Mallett into custody, Mallett escaped from his handcuffs, shooting and killing Trooper Froemsdorf in the ensuing struggle with the trooper's own gun . Mallett was captured several days later.
One month later, David C. Tate was pulled over by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. While two state troopers were performing a routine
license-and-registration check, Tate opened fire, killing one officer (shooting him, according to one account, eleven times) and seriously wounding the
other. Like Mallett, Tate had a prior history of violence; he was a member of a white supremacist group and was fond of carrying and stockpiling guns and other explosives. Tate also fled, was eventually captured and was ultimately was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Jerome Mallett, who is black, was sentenced to death--by an all-white jury, in Schuyler County, on the Missouri-Iowa border, which has no black residents.
In a failed appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, the three dissenting judges agreed that comparisons to the Tate case were relevant and they recommended that Mallett's sentence be reduced to life imprisonment. The decision, however, went 4-3 in favor of upholding the death sentence.
(source: The Nation, various other web sites)
Mallett's picture in the Benetton campaign may not have sold many clothes, but it did increase the pain of Trooper Froemsdorf's wife. And it's doubtful that it contributed toward keeping Mallett alive.
Again we have the familiar questions about region and race as determinants of who dies and who lives. And we have the familiar questions about what killing this man after 15 years is about. And we have the ever present, unremitting ocean of suffering. The suffering of Mallett and his family, of Trooper Froemsdorf and his family, the suffering of all of their friends and acquaintances, of those who prosecuted him, those who defended him, those who were judges and jurors, those who confine him, those who will kill him, those who try to save him, those who report and write about all of this, those who read about it . A vast accumulation, 15 years' worth of suffering that will be crowned with even more suffering on July 11.
And this is not to mention that Texas, too, has scheduled an execution for July 11. Will we hear about that? Will we notice it on the news during the drive to work on Thursday morning? Or will that Texas execution and the Missouri execution of Jerome Mallett completely escape our conscious attention, to be noted only later, when we read in some detail about the randomly selected person who will end being the 750th person to be killed since resumption of the death penalty?
Let us strive to find ways to note these killings. And to make them visible to us and to others. Let us light a candle, or send an email to the Governor of Missouri (see www.thenation.com/alert for a prewritten one), or send a check to CUADP in Florida (www.cuadp.org), or ring a bell, or make a bouquet, or talk with friends and co-workers, or say a prayer, or tell our children, or sit in silence, or stand in vigil, or write a letter to the editor. Or find that personal, individual action that will mark this killing as unique. Let us remember that these killings continue until we stop them. Let us not become so hardenered or embittered that we accept the killing as routine or acquiesce in the silence.
May all beings refrain from killing and prevent others from killing. May all beings affirm the precious value of all life. May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. May all beings be free from sorrow and the causes of sorry. May all beings have equanimity, so that they have neither too much grasping nor too much aversion, so that they may bask in the perfection of each present moment.. May all beings have the spiritual bliss that is beyond sorrow. May all beings have prosperity, friendship, health, and abundant love. May all beings have peace. Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha! Peace, david
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