"Seek Justice, End War, And Condemn Killing And Death"


By: Lawrence Hayes, Former New York Death Row Inmate

On September 11, I watched in utter shock as World Trade Center (WTC) One was engulfed in flames and smoke, and a civilian aircraft slammed into WTC Two. My nephew, Cornelius Butler, who spent two-and-a-half years in the New York death house with me, worked in WTC One.

There was no doubt as to whether or not he was in the building. His work hours were 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. I am glad to say he made it out of the building, but I am concerned about the effect that these two brushes with "death" are having on him.

There is no excuse for the tragic events of Tuesday, September 11. As a revolutionary, I find no honor in the assault against innocent civilians. But, as long as governments support the idea of killing and death as a means to an end or a legitimate option, we will continue to witness these kinds of tragedies.

This reality is clear in the words of President Bush who referred to an Old West poster, "Wanted Dead or Alive," in reference to bin Laden and those identified as "terrorists" in general.

In the end, the real issue is that what has been called terrorism are, in fact, the acts of a militarily weak and desperate people against the oppressive and oftentimes bully-minded powers that be. As long as there are no reasonable and sound mechanisms for the poor and oppressed to obtain justice and sincere resolutions to their problems, they will be forced to seek desperate means to strike back, and the powerful will call them terrorists.

This is why we must continue to push for an end to the death penalty in the United States and throughout the world. All our hearts go out to the victims and their families of this senseless tragedy. I urge all those who want to end the terror mentality, by individuals and governments, to join us in our nonviolent movement to seek justice, end war and condemn killing and death as legitimate options in the U.S.