Theology from Death Row Letter 3 / Texas Death Row Inmate Will Speer on The Meaning of Evil

Theology from Death Row Letter 3 / Texas Death Row Inmate Will Speer on The Meaning of Evil July 14, 2014



I have spent much of my time in prison considering this question.  Different answers seem to come at different times.  I really believe the answer is ultimately NO.  We are not evil people.  We are people who are sinners.  We are prone to do bad things.  Some of these bad things are so serious that we call them EVIL.  Humans have created a level system of sin.  We sometimes call something a white lie.  We call other things perjury.  Either way it is still a lie and that is the same case with all the other sins.  GOD SAYS SIN IS SIN.  PERIOD!  I can understand this better than most others because as I have been judged for my sins many times and it has cost me my freedom!  It may very well cost me my life!

When I was 16, I was a shell of a boy.  I had no self-esteem.  I had no self-worth.  I was abused mentally and physically by my father and stepfather.  My stepfather told me not to speak unless spoken to and that was it.  He believed children are to be seen and not heard.  My stepfather told me to do as I say not as I do.  I would get in trouble for putting my feet up on the coffee table and then he would put his feet on the coffee table.  When I questioned him the beating would start.  All of this messed me up as a boy.  We also lived in a neighborhood where I was the odd kid out.  All the kids were either four years older or four years younger.  I was very lonely.  I was willing to do anything to be loved, liked and respected.  I was frequently molested.  On top of all that, I was also slower than most of the kids my age and had to be held back a year.  Does this make the world evil or me evil?


I try not to look at the world as being evil.  I have every reason to hate my stepfather.  After I was in prison and away from him, my stepfather murdered my mom.  Was he mean and bad to us?  YES.  But after growing up a little more, I was able to understand that my stepfather was abused by his father.  This knowledge helped me to forgive and understand him better.  But that brings us back to the evil in all of us.


People do bad things and heinous crimes are committed against nice people.  I am sorry for this.  The world does not need more pain and suffering.

I have lived behind these walls for 24 years and I have met some people who consistently did bad things.  People the world would call hard core nasty.  You would call them evil and everyone would easily agree.  These are the worst of the worst who will not change and will cause pain as often as they can.  The interesting thing is that most of these people are in general population and not on death row.  Most of them got a deal to tell the prosecutors where more bodies were.  The people on death row get sent up here because they didn’t have the financial or intellectual means to describe why they are not all evil.  We live in a messed up world and our justice system is really messed up.

There is evil in this world.  Sometimes people are just more swayed by it than others.  I thought about dropping my appeals when I heard Karla Fay Tucker’s story.  I didn’t want to be a part of causing anyone anymore pain.  The death penalty just piles evil on top of evil.  I didn’t want to hurt what family I had left anymore.  I was lost and felt totally helpless.  I found something to keep me going.  I still feel lost and helpless sometimes, but I know there is hope.  I don’t know how much longer I am going to live or where things are going.  I just on hold on to hope.  Hope is the killer of evil.


I have learned to pray GOD’S WILL BE DONE.  I used to hate that prayer.  I thought God wanted to kill me.  I have grown and don’t believe that I need to fear God’s will anymore.  I have learned that evil is the opposite of God’s will.  So I just want to stay in God’s will.


The masses are often evil.  The tribe that sacrifices a child to gain favor from some false god is no different than our nation who sacrifices us criminals to the false god of vengeance.


We need to stop assigning a level to the sin or evil around us.  People look at me differently because I am on death row.  Some hate me.  Some wish I was dead.  Most with any compassion hear what I have been through and don’t judge so harshly.  I am not an evil person.  I have done evil things.  You are not an evil person.  You have done evil things.

Will Speer

Texas’ Death Row

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