Below find reflections from other participants in the action,
INCLUDING JEB BUSH!
Governor Jeb Bush Father Mark Niznik Steve Jens-Rochow Anne-Marie and George T. Diller Henry Kroll (response) FROM GOVERNOR JEB BUSH >For those E-Newsletter recipients who have Adobe Acrobat reader, Governor >Bush’s e-newsletter is available in .PDF format by clicking here >www.myflorida.com/myflorida/governorsoffice/pdfs/itn20031219.pdf . > >The text version of the e-newsletter is below for those who do not have >Adobe Acrobat reader. > >MESSAGE FROM GOVERNOR BUSH > >Many Floridians are beginning the celebration of Hanukkah, which honors the >rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the 25th day of Kislev, and >the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. During this period of >faith and celebration, I encourage all Floridians to keep our soldiers in >their thoughts and prayers. >[…] >Friday, I traveled to Mayo, where Lt. Governor Jennings and I held our open >office hours and listened to citizen concerns. We also announced a policy >initiative that will provide more targeted and more flexible assistance to >distressed rural counties in Florida. My budget proposal in January will >include a 74 percent increase in funding for their assistance, including >$171 million for projects, $71 million of which is new funding. Though >Florida’s economy continues to lead the nation in job growth, our rural >counties often do not experience the same economic fortitude as the rest of >the state. We must provide assistance for essential services and future >growth, raising the standard of living for residents in these counties. > >Finally, the holiday season is a time for family, but also a time of giving. >This is an excellent to time reach into Florida’s communities and support >those who need help. Please be a part of making the holidays special for >all Floridians. > >Thank you for your continued support. > >Sincerely, Jeb Bush YEAH JEB, support those who need help…. Sign their death warrants! Actually, it appears that our visit with Jeb has actually greased some wheels. More on that later this week.
FATHER MARK NIZNIK WROTE: Hi Abe, here is my reflection of the meeting with Gov. Bush Friday Morning. It was interesting to watch the wide open eyes of the two youthful coordinators who sat on the bench listening intently while the Governor gave me his time. I spoke about the failings of the death penalty as a deterrent from murder; as over the last 20 years, death penalty states have had a murder rate 48% – 101% higher than non-death penalty states (source: NY TIMES). I spoke of justice being fulfilled with life without parole. I spoke of the equality of justice needing attention badly as there are identical crimes committed by those not on death row, whose numbers far outweigh those who have received death sentencing and that equality could be much better established with life without parole instead of the death penalty. The Governor listened and was respectful. He told me that many of the sentences are for many years and eligibility for parole doesn’t happen until 85% of the sentence is served. I told the Governor that I felt some of the sentences for murder are too few in years and yet, there are the same murderers who receive the death penalty which is too severe. I stated there would be a better balance if the ultimate sentence stopped at life without parole. I qualified myself by stating I was a statistics major in college and the correlations put together by pro-death supporters are maligned. I was soft spoken during the meeting, but I carried a big Scriptural stick. I handed the Governor my file of six letters I’ve written to him since late August, accenting the one where I quoted St. Paul in his letter to the Hebrews stating that the old covenant was not without flaw and that Jesus Himself, who is the new covenant, spoke specifically in Matthew’s Gospel stating that it is no longer an eye for an eye. I told the Governor that you can’t be a Christian and be a proponent for the death penalty. Jesus is adamant about this and called on people 2,000 years ago to eliminate the death penalty and He still calls upon us today to do the same. I asked the Governor to look into his heart further and read the Scripture (I submitted chapters and verses in one of my letters). I told him that the “eye for an eye” style of death support doesn’t come from educated people such as those in the room and that his reasoning had to surpass this type of hatred and revenge. I added that by knowing this, to please understand his supporters are mostly made up of people who mistakenly call this revenge, jusice and are looking for an eye for an eye. I said that by knowing what Jesus said about it calls me to help educate those blinded by vengeance. The Governor’s eyes told me he wasn’t going to contradict what I was saying, by calling it an opinion and then saying his opinion was different. I remained humble as I sat there. Governor Bush was also soft spoken and he said he would look into the state’s record of life sentencing. I don’t know if he will or if he will apply that to my opinion of balanced justice, but he thanked me for sharing what I had to offer. I didn’t feel hopeless leaving the room. We took a picture and it was my hope that I would not be looked upon as an enemy, but someone with faith and understanding in the Word of God. I really want to help him through the obstacles of change if God allows. All in all, the trip was so worth the effort. I want people reading this to understand what Abe organized makes so much sense and getting in line early made all the difference. I began with the last number of the group, but actually became number 2, because I was going to be the in between guy who would meet with the Lt. Governor who ended up not attending (at least when my number came up.) It became very effective to end up following Abe’s group. They had numbers and I flew solo. It was almost like tough cop, gentle cop. Abe’s a firecracker with his endurance and understanding of every nuance of the cause and it’s important that we all feed off of Abe’s activities and try to send him our support. I brought up what little money I could muster up and thought if everyone could just muster up a little bit then it might make Abe’s life a little less stressful. If you’re new to the cause, I can attest to what I have seen – that Abe is authentic and committed to abolishing the death
penalty. He’s sacrificing his life to try and preserve the life of many people not even worthy of the effort, but at the same time, worthy of the opportunity of redemption throughout their natural life. What I accomplished Thursday evening and Friday morning was putting my faith into action. I got to be pastoral to a Governor. I got to see some faces of people with the same commitment to life. Before writing all this, I was just someone who took a look at what others wrote and said “They’re doing great, but I don’t know how involved I’ll get.” I still have to make my own way through all this, as I have a church to run. I need four more of me to put in the proper time for everything I need to attend. If I can be putting this forth, then by golly, you who are reading and waiting can take the first step. Just do what I did. Write the Governor a letter expressing your feelings, then email a copy to Abe. He’ll read it and contact you, letting you know what’s going on. You can go at your own pace. Abe knows my time constraints and he just gives me a head’s up when something seems pertinent to giving it my attention. Well, gotta run for now. I hope this reflection motivates one of you out there to begin a communication with Abe or the Governor. God bless you and God be with you. For life, I remain, Father Mark J. Niznik, Pastor, St. Paul’s Parish PNCC, 5245 S.E. 112th Street, Belleview, Florida 34420 (352)245-2061. **** Wow, thanks Fr. Mark! Now that’s MY kind of priest! He showed up and the first thing he did was hand over a wad of cash! Fr. Mark has had me to speak in his church, and has involved the members of his church in the work. He is a real example of people putting faith into action, as are the folks who report below. They all inspire me…. Want to help as Fr. Mark suggests? Please visit http://www.cuadp.org/support.html
STEVE JENS-ROCHOW WROTE: SueZann Bosler and myself just got back from our trip to meet with Gov. Bush. Was the 900 mile round trip to Mayo and a long wait in the predawn cold worth it for 5 minutes with the Governor? Yes! I found it easy to talk to him. He listened intently and tears started to well up in his eyes when I shared my personal story of how my partner of 20 years was brutally beaten with a rock and stuffed into the trunk of his car where he bled to death. Itold Gov. Bush that I was quite thankful that the young murderer got only a 30 year sentence instead of life or the death penalty, for this would give him the opportunity to work through his anger and grow personally and spiritually, and to come out of prison at middle age with the possibility of leading a productive life. Gov. Bush agreed with me when I stressed the need for restorative justice, not retributive justice. He blamed his lack of success in this area on the court system. But his eyes glazed over and I lost my close connection with him when I talked about the states that lack the death penalty have a lower murder rate than states that have capital punishment. Unfortunately, the Governor*s Open Office Hours haven’t yet come down to South Florida. The closest they have ever come is Pahokee and Lakeland. Usually they are in small towns closer to Tallahassee. Mayo [pop. 988] is halfway between Gainesville and Tallahassee. It is the county seat of Lafayette County [pop. 7022]. Lafayette Co. is the poorest county in Florida. During Open Office Hours anybody can meet and talk for 5 minutes with the Governor about an issue that concerns them. During the typing of this report I repeatedly typed Governator when I was trying to type Governor! Building our community of peace, Steve *****
GEORGE T. DILLER WROTE: December 19, 2003 Mayo, Lafayette County Courthouse 5AM – 8:30AM Governor Bush, “Open Office hours” Anne-Marie & George T. Diller, N° 5 on receiving line Received by Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings We presented ourselves as Catholics representing the Catholic Church. We reminded the Lieutenant Governor of Governor Bush’s support of the Pro-Life principle and of his expressed affirmation of the notion of the sanctity of human life. We asked her to convey to him in this context our opposition to the taking of human life in any form. She affirmed that she would do so. She declared that the Governor strongly believes in the death penalty in the case of “heinous” crimes, but that he was struggling with the issue. We reminded her that we are human and that there is always the risk (and proven danger) of executing innocent men. She recognized that with DNA testing many people accused of murder are showing up to be innocent. **************
AND FINALLY, for now, A RESPONSE FROM HENRY KROLL Henry was moved to write this after reading the first report – issued on Friday afternoon. Henry has participated with Religious Witness Against State Murder, an interfaith group who have opposed the re-institution of the Death Penalty in California in 1991 by Gov. Pete Wilson by vigiling at the gates of San Quentin Prison and in some cases using nonviolent civil resistance by blocking the roadway into the state prison which conducts the State Murders in California. >>Question: >> >>Are all members of the Bush Family morally defective ? >> >>Is this a birth defect or what ? >> >>Or are only Bush Family members elected to high public >>office subject to the same moral deficiencies ? >> >>That’s right. Gov. JEB BUSH of FLORIDA doesn’t want >>to wait for a CHRISTMAS WEEK BREAK before signing >>MORE DEATH WARRENTS !!!! >> >>After the break in Florida’s State Murder capability due to >>”Old Sparky” … the Electric Death Chair that actually would >>burn people while murdering them via high voltage charges – >>was forced by Court Order to be sidelined … and before >>LETHAL INJECTION under “Medical Supervision” could >>be started up … must have been a frustrating period for the >>morally challenged BUSH FAMILY. >> >>But this isn’t like those old Roman Days, when the Emperors >>took joy in seeing human suffering … no smirking from our >>RULING FAMILY as they send others to FRY and DIE >>be it in Florida, Texas, Baghdad or Kabul. >> >>Henry Kroll >>concerned in San Francisco ***********
Thanks to all who have sent words of support, and other support as well, including prayers, and funds. I hope the holiday season is treating you and yours with the best that life has to offer. Yours in the Struggle, –abe Abraham J. Bonowitz Director Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) 800-973-6548 https://www.fadp.org PMB 335, 2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy, Gainesville, FL 32609 Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. It does so by # supporting and coordinating the work of organizations and individuals # educating and energizing the general public and state legislators # supporting the many persons affected by capital crime and punishment # advocating specific legislative improvements PS: For fiscal & legal purposes, FADP is a project of CUADP . Please call 800-973-6548 or e-mail to get involved. Checkbook activism helps too! Make checks to FADP and send to: FADP PMB 335 2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy Gainesville, FL 32609 CONTRIBUTIONS TO CUADP/FADP ARE NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE [FL] DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE 800-435-7352 (FL only) OR 850-4
13-0840. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. REGISTRATION # SC-11170. NO PROFESSIONAL SOLICITOR IS CURRENTLY ENGAGED WITH CUADP. 100% OF ANY CONTRIBUTION GOES TO THE ORGANIZATION. [Back to Jeb Visit 2003]
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy
Gainesville, FL 32609