Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Creating more victims: Part Two

Today we bring you part two of a ten-part series. Based on the groundbreaking report Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind, this series was prepared with the assistance of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights and is running in conjunction with the holiday season.

At 14, Misty McWee was shocked when she learned that her father had been charged with capital murder. But as angry, disbelieving, and abandoned as that
teenage girl felt, she believes she could have dealt with her father’s spending his life in prison. “But to have a parent executed – knowing that he died because someone pushed chemicals into him – to me that felt like murder as well. It’s different from his dying of natural causes in prison.”

Misty was 28 when her father, Jerry McWee, was executed in South Carolina. She suffered from severe depression in the year following the event, culminating in a hospitalization after a suicide attempt near the one-year anniversary. “It felt like the two things were connected, my father’s execution and my cutting my wrists,” she recalls. “I didn’t care what happened to me. I felt like I should go be with him.”

Two years later, Misty is finding her way toward greater emotional stability, but she still struggles to come to terms with her father’s execution and the entire process surrounding it. “Why couldn’t we have had someone to help us through it?” she wonders. “When we walked in the courtroom, people gave us dirty looks, just because we belonged to our father. You wonder, what did we as kids do to deserve this? There’s so much you’re trying to understand and it doesn’t help to have people judging you. People look at it like, the whole family must be bad.”

To read the report, go here, scroll down and click on Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind.

4 comments:

Jason Z. said...

Amazing stuff, David. Your online communications vendor has blogged it in awe (hit my name).

Anonymous said...

So Misty opposes the death penalty because she wants to avoid some discomfort? What ever happened to people answering for their crimes? And what about the discomfort of the people who the murdered left behind? The ones left behind have to try and pick up the pieces of their life after a loved one is BRUTALLY MURDERED by an assailant! The death penalty is a perfectly acceptable means of punishment for a MURDERER. The murder has to answer for what they have done, and part of that price is hurting their loved ones too.

Anonymous said...

Granted, some are wrongfully accused, but that is just a part of the justice system. Don't think that because a few people are wronged we should abolish the death penalty altogether. It is a deterrent for those who would otherwise commit murder. In wars how many thousands of innocent people are killed? The number of innocent people executed is in the hundreds, not thousands, and if the death penalty is abolished think how many people would be killed as a result of murderers knowing they can't be harmed at all.

Anonymous said...

If we accept justice as giving every man his due(Plato), then anything that hurts innocents is most unjust. Likewise, if we say that any innocents killed through capital punishment is an "acceptable loss", then what are we saying about our views on the value of life? while a commitment to justice is admirable, we must not be so manically obsessed with the "rule of law" that we stop respecting life.