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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 

There Was No Way Out That I Can See

I have been trying to write something about "The Executioner's Song" for three days.

For three days I have written, edited and finally deleted PAGES of words.

I talked about how I felt about capital punishment (I'm against it 100%), how I feel about the prison system (it doesn't work), how I fell about the legal system (it's not a good feeling), how much I wanted to take Nicole and SHAKE SOME SENSE INTO HER (I really did want to), etc. etc. etc.

But none of these ended in a coherent post, and perhaps this won't either, but it's Tuesday and I have to write something.

As I read this book, I could help thinking about my brother. My brother has been in prison three times for a variety of reasons. He went in the first time when he was 21 and got out for the last time when he was 29. He spent almost a decade in the prison systems. It changed him profoundly. It changed our family profoundly. It changed how I feel about a lot of things. He's been out for 4 years now, is finally off of parole and, I think, getting his life together. He has a wife and a daughter who he adores, a good job, and just bought a motorcycle. He has something to be good for now. He's growing up a little bit. I'm really proud of him for that.

As I read this book, I couldn't help thinking about the first time my brother went to prison. I was 14 years old. He was the person I loved most in the world, and he was leaving me because he couldn't make good choices. With perfect clarity I remember my 8th grade graduation. I remember singing a song as JP, Jaimee and one of our favorite teachers translated my words into American Sign Language. I sang my heart out, I sang that song to my brother who sat in that audience and wept. Two weeks later he went to prison for the first time. He left me when I needed him. He left me when I was starting high school, when I needed a brother to tell me how to be cool. He was the first man to break my heart.

I think more than anything I know how Gary's family felt. You don't stop loving someone because they screw up, you don't stop wanting only the best things for them, even when they do things you find morally repugnant. That sounds so funny, but it's true. Despite the fact that Gilmore murdered two people in cold blood, his family couldn't stop loving him, they couldn't be okay with him choosing his death.

I understand that. I understand loving someone so much that you don't care about the mess ups, the blunders - that in spite of everything you just keep loving them.

As for recommending this book... not something I think I will be doing. It's definitely not a book for everyone. But I'm glad I read it.

Sarah, thank you for being willing to share your personal experience with this topic. It makes it all the more real and something to ponder in relation to myself and those I love.

I remember that time and how it effected your family...and even your friends. Its a helpless feeling. You want to help that person so much...and sometimes you just can't.

I'm proud of your bro for the changes he's made. It wasn't easy.

Thank you for sharing those details, Sarah. I'm SO glad to hear that your family made it through WITH him. I agree that the prison system doesn't seem to work the way it is supposed to, and the fact that your brother has made it to the point of maintaining relationships and getting off parole seems like a MIRACLE to me. God bless him.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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