"We need to rid this country of the death penalty"


On October 22, Alan (A.J.) Bannister was murdered by the state of Missouri. The following is a letter from his widow, Lindsay Bannister.

I just read your article about Alan in the New Abolitionist. I thought it was excellent. I know that Alan would have felt this way too, his outlook on numerous issues/politics etc. was very similar to mine.

It was truly refreshing to read a piece about Alan which was factual, poignant and intelligently written. Over the past 4 years I've had to read articles about him (and I) which almost invariably left me with profound feelings of disgust and (continued) distrust of specific "reporter(s)" and the media in general.

In terms of perpetuating much of the negative mythology which surrounds so many death row inmates, as well as the death penalty itself, these so-called reporters serve to reinforce public misapprehension about the entire issue. In other words, they serve a mouthpieces for, and of, the Establishment and we all know what that means.

This is my first Christmas without Alan and I honestly can't express the intensity of the pain which I feel, which will slowly worsen as the festive season approaches.

Alan's murder has also rekindled and consolidated my feelings of outrage, anger and unmitigated revulsion at the entire odious political system and all the allied, corrupt organs of power/law enforcement etc.

Everything which has happened in the past 4 years is going to be in the book which I am writing. I talked to Alan about this, and he liked the idea.

Late in the afternoon of October 21, though, he knew he would not live to read it. But his encouragement for me to write it, as he sat in the holding cell, waiting to die, was all the incentive I needed.

Unlike the contemptible and spineless Governor Carnahan, whose hypocrisy is as relentless and "legendary" as his deceit, I do not and cannot, have "...an abiding faith in our system of laws..." I do however, have an abiding determination to rid this country of the death penalty, along with those loathsome politicians who climb to "the top" over the bodies of those whom they have murdered, their corpses convenient "footholds" on the way up.

Yours,
Lindsay Bannister