Darrell Cannons’s Speech

I am honestly in awe of his strength and eloquence.  The speech was beautiful.  I actually saw him speak the Saturday before at an event at the University of Chicago against the death penalty and it was the same day he attended his sisters funeral.  I remember him saying that even though relatives were still at his house, he felt obligated to come to the event to speak out and never misses an opportunity as it is important to him that people are aware and active.  I cannot start to imagine how it must feel to lose loved ones while incarcerated, and it is so inspiring to see how strong he is these days.  His story helped put everything in perspective for me and gave me a chance to try to imagine what he must have gone through.

As he was describing the torture scene with the officers, I felt his helplessness and anger.  For those who were not present, he explained how the police showed up at his house, arrested him and took him to an isolated forested area in which they continued to torture him into confessions.  They used methods such as using electric cattle shockers to his testicles, hanging him by his handcuffs, russian roulette with a shotgun in his mouth, and verbal humiliation.  By the end, he had endured so much pain that he said if they asked him if his mother had committed the crime, he would have replied yes.  After such brutal circumstances, he signed a confession that became the most powerful part of the case against him–that eventually led to a conviction for murder.

The part that I felt so torn by was when he was explaining how they had promised him a deal so he could spend time with his mother, and then later retracted the entire deal.   I feel that those who suffer most in the constraints of the system are the convicted and arrested.  I can’t imagine how he felt in his 8th year, or his 10th year, or even his 20th year after so many close ones had passed away.

I am amazed that he is able to channel his anger so efficiently, as I am angry and it did not even happen to me.  He has this beautiful perspective that encompasses faith in the same system that screwed him over for hope that justice will be served.  He also has such a sincerity in regards to him saying that “I do hate him and I always will” because some can forgive, and others cannot–it made me realize that sometimes hate is not so much about the person you hate, but the things that were lost BECAUSE of an action they committed.

I also respect that he was so honest with why he was arrested in the first place and explained the entire story.  What I need clarified for me, though–is that issues like the death penalty are not wrong because some of thsoe on death row may be innocent–I feel it is INHERENTLY wrong.  In the same situation, it isn’t wrong that Darrell Cannon got tortured because he was innocent, it is wrong that he got tortured at all-regardless of guilt or innocence because as a society punishing a deviant member–it is important that moral standards are upheld.  When I was at teh death penalty event that Darrell Cannon spoke at, most of the emphasis was placed on those people on death row that may be innocent like Mumia Abu-Jamal. However, I have read his case, and there just is not enough evidence in existence to fully prove one scenario or the other–so there is not much that can be said in regards to his  guilt or innocence other than he is still on death row and probably always will be.  I think that even if he shot the police officer, he still should NOT be killed–and that even if he did..he shouldn’t be on death row.

In regards to advocate groups,  I think it is vital to also stress the philisophical standpoint on an issue and then use cases to prove the point.  Even if Darrell Cannon shot the man he was convicted of shooting, he should not have been tortured because those ideas are not what we, as a society, have declared ourselves as representing.   It just leads to a society full of chaos and it becomes hard to distinguish between criminal and punisher.  Killing is inherently wrong and so is torture–regardless of the circumstances.  (If someone wants to reply with a comment on homeland security, I won’t protest)


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