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Letter: We can dream of a solution to the death penalty

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Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:00 am

I had a dream last night. In that dream I saw a mother gazing north toward the lights of El Paso from her small home on a dark dirt road in Juarez. She smiled and offered a silent “thank you” to those who helped her daughter, Maria, receive a new heart.

She knew Maria, who had suffered from a heart defect since birth, would finally be able to attend school this fall with the other neighborhood children. I dreamt that the donor heart beating in Maria was removed from a convicted murderer and that the costs of her surgery were donated.

In my dream I learned that after Judge Carney ruled California’s death penalty unconstitutional, new legislation was approved guiding the execution of convicted murderers. I dreamed that executions were now carried out promptly after a streamlined appeals process.

My dream shifted to an operating room where a team of doctors and nurses were using standard procedures to ensure any patient is pain-free. The team efficiently removed the kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, and other useable organs from the sedated convict and those organs were swiftly taken to adjoining operating rooms where transplant teams were anxiously waiting with their patients.

I awoke briefly and hoped that my dream would someday become reality. I sadly recognized that the murders of innocents such as Misty Holt-Singh, a giving wife and mother, and Terri Winchell, a loving daughter and sister, could not be fully compensated and that those they temporarily left behind will need to live, for now, without them.

While I also knew that the threat of execution was not an effective deterrent to a person intent on murder, I took comfort in the knowledge that social justice could be served by ensuring that the senseless, selfish and savage acts of murderers like Jaime Ramos and Michael Morales could be partially offset by the benefits to many others in this world who would receive the organs they needed to support their lives.

With that final thought, I turned over and fell back asleep to dream about other, less important things.

Frank Wernette


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