The Family That Slays Together

There were two reports on CNN this morning that I found especially relevant to the human condition in the USA today. The first item was a very sad story. Many years ago a couple in Florida lost a son that was kidnapped and murdered by a man who is scheduled to die in Florida’s death chamber today. The execution is questionable because he would be receiving the “cocktail” of lethal chemicals that has been determined as “inhumane.”

The second story had to do with a six year old boy nicknamed the “Deer Slayer” because he has killed six deer in the past year; the last one being a 140 pound doe. There was film of his mom showing him how to aim and the proud papa extolling the brilliance of his son. His prowess with the gun is being celebrated and he was being feted as a prodigy. One can only imagine the potential of this talented young man and deer all over his community should tremble at his name.

I profoundly resonated with the pain that the parents are still feeling after years of a legal struggle to see justice for their son’s murder. Even though the mother admitted that the execution of their son’s killer would not bring their son back or bring an end to their suffering, they are eagerly awaiting the death of another mother’s son and are planning a celebration for this Saturday.

Even if there were a humane way to execute convicted killers, the death penalty has not been proven to prevent or even inhibit the high incidences of violent crime in this country. We are the nation with the highest amount of gun violence and also the highest number of executions in any “First World” country. Obviously, executing people does not prevent other murders. Justice is of paramount importance, but so is social justice and one has to wonder, along with family dysfunction or environmental poison, what societal deprivations lead people to commit horrible crimes.

I cannot resonate with a family that exalts in killing other living beings and teaches their little Deer Slayer to use weapons to line their walls with trophies of God’s beautiful creatures. This story reminds me of Little Georgie Bush who enjoyed putting firecrackers in the anuses of frogs and blowing the defenseless creatures up. How hard will it be for the Deer Slayer to take his marksmanship skills and march off to war to slay humans for another bloodthirsty Commander in Chief in about a dozen or so more years?

While the CNN moderator, Heidi Collins, was definitely leaning to the side of executing the convicted child-slayer, I was reminded of the hostility that I have received from her colleagues all over the airwaves for wanting justice for my son’s murder.

Everyday I am bombarded with the voice and pictures of Casey’s murderers. On Veteran’s Day the Coward Cheney, who got 5 deferments from going to Vietnam, desecrated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That same day Coward George, who went AWOL from the Alabama Air National Guard, told a group in Waco, Tx, that our soldiers are dying for a “Cause that is noble.” From all credible evidence that one does not see on CNN, BushCo lied to our world and millions of people are dead, wounded or displaced and the Cowardly Duo are free to roam and continue their serial crimes.

I have always been against capital punishment. However, I never judged family members for wanting to see justice for their loved ones murders. I was not in their shoes, but I hoped that if a similar thing happened to one of my children, that I would be able to live out my belief that all killing is wrong. There has been the rare, yet sacred, case where a loved one has forgiven his/her child’s killer and has begged courts for life in prison, and not execution. Unfortunately, I was forced into those shoes by the deception and greed of my nation and I can say that I do not wish death for George and Dick, but it doesn’t even look like I will get any kind of justice for my son’s death.

With impeachment “off the table,” I can hardly look forward to mere imprisonment for those responsible for my child’s death.

Decades ago, our nation was responsible for the deaths of millions of American soldiers and Vietnamese and the total destruction and contamination of an entire country, and not one person was held accountable for that disaster: not even the Lieutenant who was responsible for the My Lai Massacre.

Our national identity rests on and has been formed by violence and greed. Congress has a chance to slow down, if not reverse, that cycle but will give George Bush billions more to wage their (the mess belongs to all the branches co-equally) illegal occupation because, instead of protecting life and liberty for all, they viciously protect the life and liberty of their elitist club only.

We are the only ones who can slow down this vicious, bloody cycle by looking at our own paradigms of right and wrong and peace and justice and being non-violent actors and not knee-jerk reactors on this stage called life.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush's war of terror on 04/04/04. Sheehan is a congressional candidate running against Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco. You can visit her campaign website at She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace Institute. Read other articles by Cindy, or visit Cindy's website.

12 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. A Mohit said on November 16th, 2007 at 7:27am #


    You are a moral compass of our nation. God bless you.

  2. Voltairine said on November 16th, 2007 at 8:08am #

    Beautifully stated and utterly true. That someone who has been so deeply wounded remains committed to an ethos of compassion and understanding is a testament to spiritual resilience.

  3. sandra stazzone said on November 16th, 2007 at 11:48am #

    Capital punishment is legalized murder. It makes us as guilty as the one who commited it. There is no humane death, killing is inhumane in every way. It will not bring back our loved ones, nor ease our pain. Exodus 21:13 Thou shall not kill. Teaching children to kill defenseless animals to hang on a wall take away the value of life. God created animals as He has man, all have a right to life. Our great nation once had morals, family values and love for our fellow man when it threw God out of our courts, schools and life it became a nation of criminal goverment , childern who kill childern in a school system that is run by a Godless corupt goverment who took our rights away from raising our own children, and erased our constution with the stroke of a pen. We are no longer we the people but are owned and ruled by those we put in office. Capital punishment is not the answer. Hurting others who will feel the pain of the death of their child will not by any means heal your pain. Matt:6:14-15 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not their trespasses , neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Out Lord gave His life on the cross of Calvery for our sins can we as belivers not do as much for our fellow man. This is the way for you to start the healing process, By standing firm in the words of our Lord, He will ease your pain and strengthen you. And Cindy you will get justice, maybe not now but there is a judgement day coming and there will be nowhere evil can hide, it will no longer be covered up, paid off but will be judged in the incruptable court of our creator.

  4. Pierre said on November 16th, 2007 at 1:19pm #

    I’m French. I am watching, from the other side of the pond, the slow-motion demise of an once great country. America once was an ideal that inspired the world. I think you still feel this in your heart, you are a good person. America saved our asses during two wars. If I don’t live under the third reich right now, I owe it to the sacrifice of many sons of your country (and other countries). Unfortunately, historic memory and being grateful to the heroes of the past, has gone out of fashion.

    But now this is something else. The bastards in US government have no legitimity, they haven’t even been elected. The american people has no say anymore, the ideal is buried. I can’t do anything but watch, and I am sad for you. I am sad for the Iraquis, too, who got Saddam Hussein because of the US, and then got wars to depose Saddam, again because of the US. The arrogance of your government has no bounds, but it is the honest people who pay the price.

    I don’t believe in any god. I don’t think belief in god is necessary in order to have a strong moral sense (even though the Books have some decent teachings). The current american government, and the american system at many levels, are not “godless”, they are just reckless, and power-hungry beyond absurdity.

    I believe the US will self-destruct in the incoming global financial crisis. This will change the world forever. I don’t know how much of the world the US will take down in its fall, but I know for sure the ones who will suffer will be the honest people, and that the ones responsible for it all will get their golden parachute.

    Please impeach the bastard.

  5. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 16th, 2007 at 1:44pm #

    Arthur Silber is our Tom Paine. But we don’t need a Joan of Arc, Cindy.

    Are you registered to run against Pelosi in 2008? Is someone advising you to write (admittedly increasingly trenchant and moving) articles all around the country, and telling you they will be widely read and appreciated in Baghdad by the Bay? Or, horror of horrors, do you feel that you lack inspiration within 60 miles of Vacaville, or that your presence here will threaten ones you love?

    We all need you to beat Pelosi, Cindy. Or whoever the damnable dems pick to stand in for her if she steps down. Not to be our martyr.

  6. johnnie said on November 16th, 2007 at 4:53pm #

    any person who molests or kills a child is the lowest form of scum and should be executed with great haste.

  7. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 16th, 2007 at 5:39pm #

    what about a child that molests or kills a child, johnnie boy?

  8. johnnie said on November 16th, 2007 at 6:09pm #

    don’t split hairs lloyd, you full well know my inference.

  9. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 16th, 2007 at 7:13pm #

    yes I do. but i’m not splitting hairs, johnnie boy. no, i’m asking: how fortunate are you to be ignorant of the fact that countless children in this world are driven to murder in order to survive?

  10. r gaylor said on November 17th, 2007 at 12:08pm #

    Before you condemn the family with the deer slayer … may I suggest that you read Joe Bageant, ‘Deer Hunting with Jesus.’ In case you aren’t familiar with Bageant, may I say that he is one articulate SOB … probably the only person I have read (and I read copiously and take time to think about what I am reading) who makes not only a good case for ‘class struggle’ in the US, but is an honest to god* leftie redneck.

    * Flying Spaghetti Monster works for gawd … along with any other mythological doofus you conjure for your own satisfaction.

  11. johnnie said on November 18th, 2007 at 5:21am #

    lloyd your observation has nothing to do with the context of this article but i would have to suppose that you think it brilliant.

  12. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 18th, 2007 at 8:04pm #

    It was a question, actually. And I was and still am interested to know if you are aware that child-on-child homocides occur.