Wednesday, February 4, 1998 by Dave Winer.
As Murphy predicts, when it ain't raining it's pouring. Or something like that.
We've had perfect weather this winter. And this time of year in California, perfection means floods, power outages, and mudslides.
We had a 36-hour outage that ended at 2PM yesterday afternoon. A minor flood, in the server room! But all is back now, just in time for the next Pacific storm inspired by El Nino to roll in.
I visited the Pacific Gas and Electric website for good luck. If you're in California, let's pray to the Electricity God to keep our juice flowing, to keep our servers working and our laptop batteries charged. Bzzzz. What's that sound? The electricity that keeps our ideas flowing.
I wrote this piece while the power was out. Now I want to write about Bazaars and Cathedrals and Outliners and Scripting and Pentiums and G3s.
I looked around the net, thru nt.excite.com, to see what had been written about the aftermath of the Karla Faye Tucker execution, and found almost nothing.
Instead of focusing on the human issues, the coverage now talks in much more distant terms. The quality is very different. And the quantity is small. Very few writers are following up on this.
I think I understand why. It's the same reason why I want to hold this piece back. I want to move on. What happened there was nasty. I'm scared of the nastiness, it's the same reason I don't want to write about guns. Violence evokes my fear. I think it's healthy to stay away when fear is evoked. But sometimes it's good to go into it. This time that's what I chose to do.
For better or worse, I felt this piece needed to go out.
The death penalty advocates have the answers, they reason with me, in harsh terms, but I'm sorry this isn't about reason, it's about values, about hearts and feelings and hope.
I listen to myself, and my heart cries for Karla Faye more than it cries for her victims, because they weren't killed with a sense of rightness, in the name of justice, by the people of a country that says it aspires to greatness.
No sane person says their deaths were just. There was closure to their lives, and no such closure is available, at this time, for the life of Karla Faye Tucker.
You might want to argue with me, you might want me to shut up, but don't bother, brother, this is what my heart is saying, not yours. You're entitled to listen to your heart. It may say something different. That doesn't make mine wrong. See how that works?
Capital punishment, death by the justice system, is the ultimate shut up.
We'll never again have to hear what Ms. Tucker has to say, now that she's dead.
The part of me that cries for Ms. Tucker is the part that wants mercy and clemency and forgiveness, for me.
What if we really listened to her? Would we learn something? You bet we would.
An important point -- we can hate what she did, and still forgive her. It's in the teachings of many religions. The power of redemption. Rising above our nature. Overcoming our past, and then becoming greater, cleaner, more free, more human.
If listening to this makes you want to shut me up, consider that I never killed anyone and I don't support what she did. Look deep into this, because it says something about your fear.
I believe we have the most to learn from the people we want to listen to the least.
It's so hard to listen to someone who did such a horrible thing, and has such a horrible, unimaginable, future. At one point, watching the Larry King interview, I became sure she was going to be executed. I could feel my skin become electric, because I was sure she realized it too.
It's OK if you didn't want to hear her life story, if you want to dehumanize her (so you could kill her?), but the TV camera betrays you. She *was* a human being, she sought our forgiveness, which we never had the time to give her, because we were too busy debating whether we would kill her.
No, it wasn't about her gender or her looks, it was about her courage. She kept her cool. She had the guts to ask for our forgiveness, for our mercy, for our clemency.
If we could have let her live, even considering the horror of what she did, it would have made us greater. I feel deep shame at being part of a country with such a shallow collective heart, with such a brutal response to brutality, with no sense of forgiveness.
I have friends, some who I love very much, who favor the death penalty. This doesn't stop me from loving them, and wanting to understand. But as I respect their right to their point of view, I ask them to consider where I'm coming from.
Yes, murder with an axe is a terrible thing. Hopefully we can all agree with that.
But let's be even greater, let's pray for her soul, and give her what she asked for. Our forgiveness.
Those of you who wanted death, you now have it. What do you say? Teach us. Does her death give you a sense of peace? Is your spirit at rest now? Do you wake up with a smile on your face knowing that a violent criminal got the punishment you felt she deserved? Do you forgive her now that she's paid the price?
Karla Faye was a great teacher if she shows us the forgiveness in our hearts. It's there in all of us, I'm sure of it. Her life and her death would have been worth it if we all can do that.
I'll move on now. But I won't forget.