Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Mike's Letter

January 6th, 2002 12:00 AM

Texas Again Tries to Kill a Man Named Michael Moore

Dear friends,

This Wednesday, January 9, the state of Texas is once again going to attempt to execute a young man by the name of Michael Moore. As we share the same name, he and his relatives had written to me asking if I could help in any way to get the word out and stop this unjust and immoral action by the Texan officials. I wrote to you last year when he was first scheduled for execution, and thousands of you flooded the offices of the governor and the pardon board in Texas with e-mails and phone calls demanding that Michael not be put to death. In virtually the 11th hour, the state granted Michael a stay of execution and let him appeal his sentence.

But in a strange turn of events that could only happen in that pathetic excuse of a state known as Texas, the prison board decided to go ahead and re-schedule Michael's execution -- five weeks before the court was to rule on the issue that Michael and other death row inmates were raising! The ruling just came in (and not in favor of the defendants), but even if it had not, the state was going to execute him anyway, before there was a ruling on his appeal! Had the hearing taken place after Michael's death -- and had the ruling gone his way -- I guess those geniuses in Texas would have figured, "Well, ain't that something! Poor boy won his case, but he's no longer around to celebrate!"

It is clear from the evidence and the testimony that Michael is mentally ill and needed the help he never got, starting as a child. He was represented by incompetent counsel (it was the lawyer's first death penalty case), and even that lawyer has signed an affidavit to the court stating that he was incompetent and lacking the experience to give Michael an adequate defense.

I suppose my concerns over these basic constitutional rights that are afforded to all citizens -- even to those who are accused of committing crimes -- probably sounds so "Pre-9/11." We now live in a time where the constitutional rights of ANYONE are being treated as if they were just a nuisance that must not get in the way of our "war on terrorism." And, you know, what better way to show the world that we are an advanced, civilized, and moral nation than to kick off the new year with another round of state-sponsored executions! But, hey, at least we don't behead them at half-time in the soccer stadium!

Did Michael commit the crime he is accused of? I don't know. That is not for me to decide. If he did, he can be locked up and society can be protected. If he is mentally ill or insane, he deserves to be helped in a place where he will do no harm to others. If he is innocent...well, on Friday the 99th INNOCENT death row inmate in America was released from prison with an "oops, sorry, we had the wrong guy!". That's not a typo. NINETY-NINE absolutely innocent human beings were sent to their deaths by our justice system -- and only through luck, circumstance or DNA were their lives spared.

The taking of another person's life -- other than it happening as a consequence of true self-defense -- is wrong, always wrong, no matter if the act is carried out by an individual or the state. In fact, it's worse if it is committed by the state because a country that cherishes liberty and justice NEVER wants to grants its leaders the power to exterminate other human beings. Did you know that the United States is one of only six countries that allows the execution of juveniles? Who are the other five, you ask? Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen and Iran. Is that the company we want to keep? It is now the 21st century and it's high time we crawled out of our cave and started acting like civilized citizens of the world.

Please help me, once again, convince the authorities in the republic of Texas to spare the life of Michael Patrick Moore. E-mails, calls, telegrams, and faxes must be sent today and tomorrow. That's all the time we have. And it's certainly the only hope Michael Moore has.

Send your pleas to:
Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
PO Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2418
phone: (512) 463 1782
fax: (512) 463 1849


Board of Pardons and Paroles
Attn: Gerald Garret
Executive Clemency Section
PO Box 13401, Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
phone: (512) 406 5852
fax: (512) 467 0945

For further information, you can contact:
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
3400 Montrose Blvd.
Suite 312
Houston, TX 77006
phone: 713-520-0300
fax: 713-942-8146

Amnesty International
State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
SMU PO Box 750172
Dallas, TX 75275
contact: Rick Halperin
phone: (214) 768-3284
fax: (214) 768-3475

Thank you, if you can, for helping out. If this man (or any citizen) is put to death by the government -- a government "of, by and for the people" -- then he is being killed in your name and my name, and to remain silent is the same as lending my name and consent.

Michael Moore

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