“We as a society should not be involved in the practice of killing people.”
Ronald W. Carlson Journey Participant: Indiana and Texas
I met Rachel while she was working on "Don't Kill In Our Name: Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty" as she spent some time in my home talking to me about my experiences. I recall her zealous attitude and a sparkle in her eye. Her work was important as it has helped to open eyes to the reality that not everyone is for the death penalty. She was a very courageous individual and will be missed by many. Rest In Peace Rachel.
Ronald W. Carlson
Just out yesterday, August 26, 2008 at Death Penalty Information Center--
NEW VOICES: Victim's Brother Says Execution left him with "horror and emptiness"
Ronald Carlson wanted vengeance when his sister was murdered in 1983 in Texas. But when he witnessed the execution in 1998 of the person who committed the murder he changed his mind. In a recent op-ed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Carlson said he had no opinion on capital punishment before his sister’s death and remembers feeling hatred and “would have killed those responsible with my own hands if given the opportunity.” But he later discovered that, “Watching the execution left me with horror and emptiness, confirming what I had already come to realize: Capital punishment only continues the violence that has a powerful, corrosive effect on society.”
Carlson said he sympathizes with other victims’ families, understanding how they would want to see those who killed their love ones suffer the same fate. But, he said, “[O]ur justice system should not be dictated by vengeance.” He asked, “As a society, shouldn’t we be more civilized than the murderers we condemn?” Carlson has spent over half of his life examining this issue and has come to believe, “We as a society should not be involved in the practice of killing people.”
(R. Carlson, “Time to end the death penalty’s cycle of violence,” Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, August 3, 2008).
Keep watching New Voices and Victims at Death Penalty Information Center
Ronald W. Carlson is the brother of Deborah Thornton, victim of Karla Faye Tucker. There is more information on his tragic experience and courageous stand at Journey of Hope website and also on You Tube. Please see these--I think you will be inspired at how much Ron had to forgive and how his faith helped him. In brief:
"The world is not a better place because the State of Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker. Even though Karla murdered my only sibling -- my sister, Deborah, who had raised me after our mother died -- I stood with her as one of her witnesses when she was executed. I was there to stand up for the Lord, for the strength of his love. Karla and I had both done a lot of wrong in our lives. We had both turned to drugs to heal our pain; we had both hurt a lot of people. But the love of Jesus Christ transformed us. We were able to forgive ourselves and each other. "I love you Ronnie," was one of the last things Karla said. I still carry that love with me".
Ron says that the hardest thing he ever had to do was to forgive Karla Faye Tucker and that she became the strongest believer he ever met. Ron was convinced that if there's anyone in heaven -- it would be her.
Thank you so much, Ron, for your tribute to Rachel and your recent Op Ed! Let us know of any future items you'd like to see on this blog...