The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Saying Goodbye

August 21, 2006 | 37 Comments

Convicted killer Richard Hinojosa’s final words at his execution last Thursday, compiled from various sources:

“I pray for you. Please find peace in your heart,” he said looking at the parents, a brother and two aunts of his victim. “I know you may hate me for whatever reason. The Lord says hate no one. I hope you find peace in your heart. I know my words cannot help you. I truly mean what I say.”

Hinojosa, 44, looked at his family and apologized for “not being the man you wanted me to be.” “I love you very much. Dianne, Virginia, Toby and Irene, I love all of you,” he said, looking at his friends and family witnessing his execution. “I am going to be free. I am going to heaven.

“Please be strong, and I love you all,”

“Kick the tires and light the fires. I’m going home to see my son and my mom.”

Once the lethal dose began to flow, Hinojosa began chanting a prayer and repeating “Yahweh” before gasping and sputtering.

[There was reportedly some sobbing by Hinojosa’s family members, but it could have been worse: earlier this year Mauriceo Brown’s mother screamed, sobbed, and banged on the separating glass as the drugs were administered and Lamont Reese’s mom screamed ‘they killed my baby’ and kicked two holes in the death chamber wall before being removed].

There are no atheists on death row, or so goes the expression. If there were, though, I wonder if they’d feel as compelled to say something about atheism at the last moment in the way that believers talk about religion. What would you say?

Comments

37 Responses to “Saying Goodbye”

  1. jahrta
    August 21st, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

    What would I say? That would depend in no small measure on 1.) whether or not I was guilty of the crime being called into question, and 2.) the circumstances behind an answer in the affirmative to question #1. I suspect if I committed a crime heinous enough to earn me the death penalty, then society shouldn’t give two shits about what I’d have to say.

    Why would anyone?

  2. The Power of Greyskull
    August 21st, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

    Why would you want to say anything about atheism in your final minutes? Atheists do not believe that there is any deity that can save them or that they are going somewhere else after they die. Atheism is not a ‘spiritual’ world view. The only thing atheists have in common is lack of belief in a higher being and do not live their lives according to an ‘atheist code’. It would serve no purpose to mention atheism.

    Either that or hedge your bets by saying I hope Yaweh, God, Jesus, Allah, Thor, Zeus, Osiris, Vishnu, flying spaghetti monster…….. etc. forgive me for what I have done.

  3. down21
    August 21st, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

    No atheists on death row…we are such a civilised bunch.

  4. Jennifer
    August 21st, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

    “Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.”

  5. darwinfish
    August 21st, 2006 @ 4:18 pm

    “Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.”

    yeah I’d have to go with that too

  6. Thorngod
    August 21st, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

    “There are no atheists on death row….” In the same sense that “There are no atheists in foxholes”? Some atheists are born in foxholes. And I’n not sure how accurate the figure is, but one survey has indicated that only two tenths on one percent of inmates in U.S. prisons are atheist. Since the percentage in the general U.S. population is somewhere between 5 and 7 percent, I conclude that: A- Atheists are smarter than theists; B- Atheists are more moral than theists; or C- Atheists as a group are both smarter and more moral than theists.

  7. Crosius
    August 21st, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

    Athiests, in the vast majority, aren’t going to wind up on death-row, so we never have to wonder, “what we’d say.”

    Narrowing focus to myself, it’s just never going to come up because:
    1. I don’t commit capital offences.
    2. I don’t travel to countries with the death penalty – so even if circumstances beyond my control were to combine to label me “worthy” of the DP (however you want to put it), I still wouldn’t be convicted in a court that could sentence me to death.

    As far as last words go, (in general) I’ve always liked:
    “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.”

    But the chances most of us will get to deliver planned words we’re aware are our “last” are remote. Most of us will never see death coming that far in advance. We’ll wink out in our sleep, or in a misadventure that unfolds too quickly for us to prepare.

    The Deathbed Soliloquy is a literary crutch, not a realistic option.

  8. Jennifer
    August 21st, 2006 @ 6:00 pm

    Darwinfish, I will let you have “Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.” I’ve decided I would rather say

    “Meega, nala kwishta!”

  9. "Q" the Enchanter
    August 21st, 2006 @ 6:16 pm

    “What the hell was that all about?”

  10. "Q" the Enchanter
    August 21st, 2006 @ 6:16 pm

    “What the hell was that all about?”

  11. "Q" the Enchanter
    August 21st, 2006 @ 6:16 pm

    “What the hell was that all about?”

  12. Jennifer
    August 21st, 2006 @ 6:26 pm

    Well, Q, if you’re evil enough to kill someone, then I say you should be evil consistently evil alll the way to the end…not trying to evoke guilt in the victims family, but instead a valid target for their hate.

    “Meeega, nala kwishta!”

    It’s the only decent thing to say.

  13. ranma1/2
    August 21st, 2006 @ 8:43 pm

    I imagine i would say…

    “Darn it… I knew I should have turned left….”

    or maybe..

    “I see God and hes getting it from the devil… ”

    or maybe.

    “What god these people are all wrong about the bible? You ment it as a joke?”

    or maybe

    “I got to go pee”

  14. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 7:07 am

    Fucking hypocritical christian death row born again assholes.
    I don’t care what that ridiculous bible or the born again evangelicals say —– just because he’s found jesus that bastard ain’t going to no fuckin paradise !!!

    Oh yah he just loves the “fact” that he’s going back to his mom and son in heaven where he’ll be a free man. Isn’t christianity wonderful … wash away all your sins with a simple chant and a prayer. What bullshit.

    (take that Raving Atheist … does all my vitriole confirm your apparent newly found disdain for atheists?)

    And to answer the question: I would hope I’d have the strength (and I suspect I would) to say something like:

    I am so sorry for all the pain I have inflicted on your family … I truly deserve to die for my crime.

  15. Andy Holland
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 7:45 am

    There were two thieves next to the Eternal Word when man judged God. One railed against Incarnate God, demanding He save Himelf and the thieves giving a “sign” – and the other said we are all under the same condemnation, but that Christ was innocent and asking that he be with Christ in His eternal Kingdom.

    This is sure proof God became man – the crucifixon.

    The foolishness of the true athiest was to the end, and the wisdom of the honest man who knew who and what he was in relation to God, the universe and his neighbor saved him in the end.

    We are all miserable wretches condemned to death. But if you deny yourself, pick up your cross daily and follow Christ, then your life and your death have meaning so that your death is but once and your life in Christ eternal.

    The evidence of God is all around if you study life. But the evidence against God is death (hence your “natural selection” judgmental religion).

    But as the Universe exists, and life exists, God exists – and life triumphs over death and death cannot overcome it. Further, God became man so that man could become like God.

    andy holland
    sinner

    ps. the death penalty by man is sure proof of the folly of man playing God rather than becoming like God.

  16. Los Pepes
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 7:57 am

    Andy, LOL thanks for the levity! I tried that whole “I’m wretched” thing, but my self-esteem stepped in and kicked the crap out of it!

  17. HappyNat
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 8:02 am

    Good Stuff Andy, that’s pretty funny. Can you believe people actually belive that garbage? Who would willingly admit, yet alone embrace the idea that, ” We are all miserable wretches condemned to death.”? No wonder Christians are an easy lot of sheep to control.

    You were joking right, Andy?

  18. Thorngod
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 8:54 am

    Andy H, I half suspect that was burlesque, but if it was on the level then you’ve no clue what constitutes “proof.”

  19. hagiograph
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 9:08 am

    I am always moved by the religious blubbering of those who have been caught and subjected to the punishment that society established well before they committed the crime. Just like Ken Lay invoking God after being caught for destroying countless lives economically.

    It’s a wonderful thing to watch. “Gosh, if I’d KNOWN I was going to get caught and my actions had REPURCUSSIONS maybe I’d have been a better person! But who knew???”

    I don’t believe convicted people who are facing either interrment or other punishments should get a “final word”. It’s not like they actually CARED about any of this crap before they themselves were caught.

  20. Los Pepes
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 9:42 am

    You know, the more I read it, the more it sounds like the “lobest thy holy hand grenade” speech from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

  21. The Power of Greyskull
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 10:46 am

    Well Andy…

    What a pile of wishy washy, bland, preaching, steaming turd. You sure are going to convince a lot of people with that ‘proof’ of yours.

    Miserable wretches? Speak for yourself you insecure wanker.

  22. Drusilla
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 11:51 am

    No wonder Christians are an easy lot of sheep to control.

    C’est vrai, we are sheep though we’re neither easy nor controlled. (Of course sheep aren’t as easy to control as one might think.) But we do have an awesome Shepherd.

  23. Andy Holland
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 12:37 pm

    So what part are you laughing at, the fact we are wretched, or the fact we are all going to die someday? What is the difference?

    There was a guy who saw the bridge collapse on I95 a couple decades ago. He got out of his car, and waved frantically at the next pair of headlights coming his way down the road.

    The headlights slowed, the wretch inside rolled down his window and gave his would-be savior the finger as he sped off; and his tail lights disappeared over the bridge.

    True story.

    What part of being condemned to death is not wretched? Do any of you intend to live forever in this mortal coil? One day you will know yourself as wretched unless death approaches suddenly; why not see that today while you still can?

    Few people die well, but the few I have observed were and are Christians. Go to the hospital now while you still can. The Antiochian Orthodox Church is a good hospital.

    andy holland
    wretched sinner

  24. Thorngod
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 12:48 pm

    Andy, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve never been at the bedside of a dying atheist. You sure as hell haven’t seen an atheist cowering behind you in combat. “Believers” have a great crutch to support them, illusory though it is. Atheists have to stand on their own human legs. Come visit me when I’m dying, Andy. I’ll still be scoffing at your “God.”

  25. Andy Holland
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

    “Thorngod”, I don’t doubt for a second you could be happily scoffing. I just doubt you won’t see yourself as “wretched” one way or another, when it comes.

    andy holland
    sinner

  26. HappyNat
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

    Andy,
    Is this really your position?

    “So what part are you laughing at, the fact we are wretched, or the fact we are all going to die someday? What is the difference?”

    I laugh that you think death is enough to take all enjoyment out of your life, even though I assume you believe you will be going to heaven. We are not “condemned to death”, in fact, death is the only thing that gives meaning to the life we are living. How boring would living forever be? Knowing I have a limited time on earth I want to enjoy every moment I have.

    It is part of the process on being on this earth. Every living thing will die, humans are just the only ones who come up with elaborate stories to make them not fear death. The promise of heaven/seeing loved ones again is a great recruiting tool for all religions. If you honestly “believe” why do you seem so scared?

  27. The Power of Greyskull
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

    What part of being condemned to death is not wretched? Do any of you intend to live forever in this mortal coil? One day you will know yourself as wretched unless death approaches suddenly; why not see that today while you still can?

    Because dying is not a condemnation. It is just something that happens. We are all going to die some day. I can accept that without turning to a vain sky-daddy that NEEDS to be worshipped.

  28. Los Pepes
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

    Are therein lies the rub, Andy. We both know if a christian and an atheist get into a car accident and both die, the christian died because “god has a plan”, and the atheist died because, well, he or she was an atheist.

    Not to mention that by telling this story, you’re sort of substituting the part for the whole. If that individual didn’t stop, than that individual made the wrong choice. Evolution in action, my friend.

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve seen more than my share of hospital ICU’s, and if anything, it’s made me twice the atheist.

    What was I laughing at? The two-dimensional quality of your original post, and of your simplistic bridge story… the vague idea of “proof.” Your ability to string together specious, holy sounding sentences, and then say, “This is sure proof God became man – the crucifixon.” No it’s not, it’s just a bunch of babble.

    You are part of a death-based cult, and have accepted guilt and shame for no other reason than being born. You need to get away from that so you can develop a healthy self-image.

  29. David
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 6:02 pm

    Dawn Eden pointed me your way…a series of very odd coincidences – I met her on a train 2 years ago and found her blog totally by random 2 days ago…whilst looking for details of an executed murderer, Billy Joe Woods. I call that God. I’m Roman Catholic and have been campaigning against the US Death Penalty (I’m from the UK) for years now. It’s barbaric.

    I write to a Death Row inmate in Florida. He’s my age, had a clean record before his crime, came from a completely fucked up family. I don’t talk God to him…I just talk to him. It breaks my heart but I just bite my tongue and try to give him some sort of happiness – his family has abandoned him.

    I’ve now gone through the details of over 600 DR inmates at the clarkprosecutor website which list them all, with last meal, last words, victim details etc.

    What really angered me was the case of one inmate by the name of Rose, executed in ’97 I think (not certain). Pope John Paul II urged the Governor in the strongest terms to grant clemency due to hugely mitigating facts about the man’s life. The Governor – a Roman Catholic – chose to ignore the Pope. He denied his own Faith’s teaching (the Catechism is very clear on the need to keep the DP at an absolute minimum in cases – cases of extreme need being virtually non-existent in the modern age) in favour of public approval. I would tender a guess that the said Governor still goes to church every sunday.

    What the Church needs to do is threaten excommunication on any RC who signs a death warrant in peace time. And yes, people do still listen to the Pontiff – see what happened in Nicaragua when John Paul II attacked the regime there and excommunicated a load of the Generals!

    Anyway….

    In the bizarre scenario that it were me, I would thank God for my life, ask my father to start going to church again, tell my darling brothers I will see them again one day and not to be afraid of life, apologise to the family involved, and then condemn the society that is no better than the cry I might have committed.

    Every time I have to send a letter off to Joshua in Florida another part of my hope in humanity slips away…Until this barbaric, torturous, uncivilised, unthinking practice is done away with as it has been done away with for 40+ years in the EU then I fail to see how the US can join the ranks of Western nations who take ultimate pride in the word ‘ Civilisation’.

    Best,

    David.

  30. Andy Holland
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

    Not to mention the fact that our 18the century system of “justice” has a terrible habit of convicting the wrong people. The DP can only be justified when there is clear evidence the person is most probably going to murder again.

    It amazes me how people ignore data such as the terrible “record” of our “justice” system, particularly when DNA was introduced. It should have been an eye opener. What horror that innocent people have been executed in the name of “justice.”

    Especially for those who believe that material judgment is all there is.

    But blindness to love, peace, gentleness, peace, patience, kindness, justice and mercy – I suppose that is evolution in action too, so the wicked indeed fall into their own nets…

    andy holland
    sinner

  31. remy
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

    What is really sad is that xians often don’t care if someone is wrongfully executed. “It was god’s plan.”

  32. Samurai Sam
    August 23rd, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

    “There are no atheists on death row….” In the same sense that “There are no atheists in foxholes”?

    I think that just shows how religion is designed to play on people’s insecurities; fear, in this case.

  33. david
    August 23rd, 2006 @ 7:12 pm

    Hey ‘Andy Holland’, “Amen, Amen, Amen!”

    I sincerely regret that when St Governor of Ryan commuted every death sentence in his state he didn’t take the opportunity to just name the practice for the barbarism that it is. I cried when I saw him make his announcement and it still touches my heart to think of the lives he saved.

    I have read case after case after case of persons convicted on nothing more than hearsay. I hate to say this but the fact is these people would not even be convicted in the UK in a great number of examples. The concept of ‘reasonable doubt’ is just flung out the window and replaced by, “What’s your hunch, juryman?”.

    Governor Ryan pointed out 13 cases in his state where people were wrongly condemned to Death Row (all of whom he not only commuted but liberated from prison). That’s just ONE STATE!

    I wish to almighty God that Bobby Kennedy were alive today. His death was a loss to us all but especially to the US. I wonder will America ever again be capable of producing another RFK….

    …let us pray that it will be.

    David.

  34. HappyNat
    August 24th, 2006 @ 7:39 am

    At least we have Ted Kennedy . . . or not.

  35. goon
    August 26th, 2006 @ 1:34 am

    It amazes me how people ignore data such as the terrible “record” of our “justice” system, particularly when DNA was introduced. It should have been an eye opener.

    Well, now that we have DNA, our rate of accuracy for conviction should be higher, thus bolstering the argument for capital punishment.

  36. Rational_human
    August 26th, 2006 @ 5:32 am

    This is in response to the Raving Athesits statement that
    ‘there are no atheists on death row”

    Some of my friends have answered it right saying that you may not find any atheists landing on the death row in the first case.

    Well, in case they landed for some reason, they will still be atheist.

    I am an atheist from India. I know at least one atheist who was sentenced to death for treason & murder by the British while India was under their rule.

    His name is Bhagat Singh. He was a patriot fighting for India’s freedom. At the same time he was also a strong atheist having given up all religious beliefs. He wrote an article “Why I am an Atheist” just before he was executed.

    See the link http://www.boloji.com/spirituality/051.htm for the full text

    Here are a few excerpts from his article….

    “’Belief’ softens the hardships, even can make them pleasant. In God man can find very strong consolation and support. Without Him man has to depend upon himself. To stand upon one’s own legs amid storms and hurricanes is not a child’s play. At such testing moments, vanity-if-any-evaporates and man cannot dare to defy the general beliefs. If he does, then we must conclude that he has got certain other strength than mere vanity.”

    “What is the consolation with the exception of the idea that I am going to sacrifice my life for a cause? A God-believing Hindu might be expecting to be reborn as a king, a Muslim or a Christian might dream of the luxuries to be enjoyed in paradise and the reward he is to get for his suffering and sacrifices. But, what am I to expect? I know the moment under my feet, that will be the final moment – that will be the last moment.”

    “The day we find a great number of men and women with this psychology, who cannot devote themselves to anything else than the service of mankind and emancipation of the suffering humanity, that day shall inaugurate the era of liberty. Not to become a king, nor to gain any other rewards here, or in the next birth or after death in paradise, shall they be inspired to challenge the oppressors, exploiters, and tyrants, but to cast off the yoke of serfdom from the neck of humanity and to establish liberty and peace shall they tread this-to their individual selves perilous and to their noble selves the only glorious imaginable-path.”

    “I know in the present circumstances my faith in God would have made my life easier, my burden lighter, and my disbelief in Him has turned all the circumstances too dry, and the situation may assume too harsh a shape. A little bit of mysticism can make it poetical. But I do not want the help of any intoxication to meet my fate. I am a realist. I have been trying to overpower the instinct in me by the help of reason. I have not always been successful in achieving this end. But man’s duty is to try and endeavour, success depends upon chance and environments. “

  37. Rational_Human
    August 27th, 2006 @ 2:09 am

    This is in response to the Raving Atheists statement that
    ‘there are no atheists on death row”

    Some of my friends have answered it right saying that there is very little chance of finding any atheists landing on the death row in the first case.

    Well, in case they landed for some reason, they will still be atheist.

    I am an atheist from India. I know of at least one atheist who was sentenced to death for treason & murder by the British while India was under their rule.

    He was Bhagat Singh, a patriot fighting for India’s freedom. At the same time he was also a strong atheist. He wrote an article “Why I am an Atheist” just before he was executed.

    See the link http://www.boloji.com/spirituality/051.htm for the full text

    Here are a few excerpts from his article….

    “’Belief’ softens the hardships, even can make them pleasant. In God man can find very strong consolation and support. Without Him man has to depend upon himself. To stand upon one’s own legs amid storms and hurricanes is not a child’s play. At such testing moments, vanity-if-any-evaporates and man cannot dare to defy the general beliefs. If he does, then we must conclude that he has got certain other strength than mere vanity.”

    “What is the consolation with the exception of the idea that I am going to sacrifice my life for a cause? A God-believing Hindu might be expecting to be reborn as a king, a Muslim or a Christian might dream of the luxuries to be enjoyed in paradise and the reward he is to get for his suffering and sacrifices. But, what am I to expect? I know the moment under my feet, that will be the final moment – that will be the last moment.”

    “The day we find a great number of men and women with this psychology, who cannot devote themselves to anything else than the service of mankind and emancipation of the suffering humanity, that day shall inaugurate the era of liberty. Not to become a king, nor to gain any other rewards here, or in the next birth or after death in paradise, shall they be inspired to challenge the oppressors, exploiters, and tyrants, but to cast off the yoke of serfdom from the neck of humanity and to establish liberty and peace shall they tread this-to their individual selves perilous and to their noble selves the only glorious imaginable-path.”

    “I know in the present circumstances my faith in God would have made my life easier, my burden lighter, and my disbelief in Him has turned all the circumstances too dry, and the situation may assume too harsh a shape. A little bit of mysticism can make it poetical. But I do not want the help of any intoxication to meet my fate. I am a realist. I have been trying to overpower the instinct in me by the help of reason. I have not always been successful in achieving this end. But man’s duty is to try and endeavour, success depends upon chance and environments. “

    Is that good enough to prove that atheists are as loyal as the theists to their convictions?

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