Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Saving Life is a Social Action

I have been working as a chaplain resident in one of the hospitals in San Antonio.  I have seen a lot of lives saved, lives struggling, and lives that are unfortunately cannot be medically saved anymore.  The body certainly has limits and there is a point where all the resources possible and applicable have already been consumed and applied. 

On a different side of the spectrum of the society is a story of lives lost as a capital punishment.  As of October 1, 2023, there had been 2,266 convicted to death row with 1588 men and women already executed since 1970s in United States.

This month of June, United States have three death row inmates pending for execution with one inmate with execution stayed.   Bank robbery leading to death by a mentally ill Oklahoma citizen, citizen from Jefferson City Missouri convicted for murder of a couple using submachine gun which the inmate still denies, teenage Texas citizen convicted to death row for rape and murder a teenager in Bandera County using his grandfather's rifle, a citizen from Oklahoma for murder of a stepdaughter of a woman he was having relationship with.  There are stories behind these men.  Rifles, submachine guns, and pistol.  We are still at war with human emotions and even escalated by the use of tools used for killing.   We know that emotions can be harmful.  How do we protect ourselves from this?  We need values and beliefs that can safeguard us from ruining our humanity.  Humans can either be dangerous or flourishing.  

Revenge, after revenge.  Death after death.  An eye for an eye.  A tooth for a tooth.  This is the rule of the land.  Sad.

If you would like to end these sad stories, change the policies and the system.  Death penalty does not work.  It is the emotions and values that drive us to our behavior.  Our values can help us shape and control our mind and heart.  There is an invitation to put the nation's resources to mental health, formation, and renewals where minorities, underprivileged, vulnerables, and those in need so that health resources are available, accessible, and advocated for.  There is an invitation to create an environment where good foundation on values, resources, and systems are made available to all.  What does good foundation entails?  The wound carries the trauma generation after generation.  If we stop the trauma in this generation, the trauma ends here.  Sometimes society only thinks about the people who are a direct face of the criminal but what about the people who had to carry the execution, the people who had to manufacture the lethal dose?  What about the people who had to sign the paper so that the lethal dose will be applied?  What about the people who had to inject the lethal dose?  What about the people who have to turn on the switch for the execution chair?  What about the people who had to carry out all the preparations, the procedure, and the post procedure?  We do not talk about these people.  These people need peace as well.  Participating in killing of someone carries a memory.  We are part of that system though indirect.  Unless you write a letter to stop the execution, then it means a person has willingly allow this system to persist.

This is an invitation for you to call and write your governors and State Board of Paroles to commute the death sentence and make a lasting impact in the justice system.  Give the penitent work to do and make them a contributor to the society's renewal.  Why would anyone avoid jail?  Why would anyone strive to be good?  What should a citizen do to be good?  Surround yourself with quality counsellors, spiritual advisers, and mentors who can carry you through in life.

Executions - Catholic Mobilizing Network (

1. Wade Lay - Execution Stayed (June 6, 2024) Oklahoma 

2. David Hosier - Execution Pending (June 11, 2024) Missouri

3. Ramiro Gonzalez - Execution Pending (June 26, 2024) Texas

4. Richard Rojem - Execution Pending (June 27, 2024) Oklahoma

President John F Kennedy said, "...we should also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just... we are not helpless before that path, (we are) competent and unafraid.  We must labor on, not in a strategy of annihilation but a strategy of peace..."  What is your strategy of peace?  Work towards true peace that comes from reflection, introspection, and collaboration and not inciting fear.  More on President John F. Kennedy's World Peace speech on June 10 here: JFK on World Peace, 10 June 1963

Get involved in making true peace possible through restoration and healing and end an archaic system that promotes fear, and hatred such as death penalty.  Please inform yourself, reflect, and take actions:

More reading, and reflection:

The-Ripple-Effect-Mrabet.pdf (

Death penalty can be hard on those who carry it out - The Pulitzer Prizes


For Critical Thinkers: Should the Death Penalty Be Legal? - Death Penalty - 

Take Action:

Texas Death Penalty Facts – TCADP

Executions - Catholic Mobilizing Network (

Take Action - Amnesty International

Take Action - Death Penalty -

Do Nothing does not change anything.


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