Nonviolent Activism, Stress and a Major Victory in Oklahoma: On Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s Motion to Delay Executions
Less than a week ago, I peacefully stood next to the gurney while the State of Oklahoma killed Scott Eizember. I didn’t arrive at that place of ministry easily. In fact, the Department of Corrections (DOC) was determined to make sure that I wasn’t allowed to be there. Undeterred, fellow activists (and lawyer allies) and I launched a campaign to force them to back down. It was our desire to create as much stress as possible. From incessant phone calls to media interviews to a federal lawsuit to creating political pressure along with a whole host of other actions, we did. In addition, DOC was forced to create all sorts of special circumstances to mitigate the perceived threat that they erroneously thought I was. More directly, they had to save face. Such posturing created more stress on them. Shortly before he was executed, I told Scott that our work would help all the other guys on death row. I know he took great satisfaction in that truth. Honestly, I had no idea how right such a statement would be. You see, this morning Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a motion seeking to delay upcoming executions. While I don’t know everything that went into this decision, I do know that we created much of the stress that Attorney General Drummond cited concerning the last execution. In short, we fought back and now the guys on death row have more time. This is something that no other set of activists or lawyers in Oklahoma has been able to recently accomplish. Surely, this speaks to the lunacy of gradualistic tactics when people are dying. Due to my recent quarrels with the DOC, I want to make something very clear…my tactics have always been nonviolent (peaceful) and very effective. I don’t ever intend to sit back and let government killing of its’ citizens ever become an easy process. I know that everyone I work with feels the same way.