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Ammon Hennacy on capital punishment - Catholic Worker odds & ends
October 9th, 2006
04:13 pm

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Ammon Hennacy on capital punishment
Thirty-nine years ago Ammon Hennacy, America's foremost anarchist-pacifist picketed the Utah State Capitol and handed out the following pamphlet:
LIFE, NOT DEATH, FOR DARREL POULSON. Petition to the Board of Pardons and Governor Rampton: The execution of Darrel Poulson is scheduled to take place on Jan. 9th, 1967. I am picketing at the Capitol from Monday through Friday during the noon hour until he is reprieved or executed. Steps must be taken to place him under custodial care in a mental institution. It is criminal to consider execution or life imprisonment as just treatment for the mentally retarded or the emotionally disturbed. POULSON'S GUILT IS SHARED: 1.The HOME is guilty in that it provides the basic training for good or evil that guides a man throughout his life. 2. The CHURCH is guilty of arguing theology and forgetting to practice the Sermon on the Mount, which says to return good for evil instead of evil for evil and to forgive seventy times seven. Christ taught love, not retribution. 3. The SCHOOL is guilty of being overcrowded and thus stressing subject matter instead of meeting the needs of students as they seek an education and the tools with which to face society and find their own way. 4. The STATE is guilty when its institutions are crowded; when its prisons are schools for crime; and when it apes the Church by stressing punishment in its courts, prisons, and wars rather than treatment in hospitals and mental institutions. 5. POULSON is also guilty. But if we had given him the treatment he sought instead of sending him out into a world he could not understand, the crime would not have taken place. In attempting to recommit himself to the state mental hospital, Poulson has mitigated his share of the guilt. THOSE IN UTAH WHO DO NOT PROTEST THIS EXECUTION ARE GUILTY OF A LEGALLY COMMITTED MURDER. Ammon Hennacy, Director, Joe Hill House of Transients, Salt Lake City, Utah.


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