A Special Mission from God.

Randy Gardner, just after we rented him a car to head back to Little Rock.

I sent Randy on a Special Mission from God.

(Written very early Sunday morning, April 23, 2017 — Published Sunday afternoon.)

Scott, Randy and I are on the ground in Northwest Arkansas. After a week of being in Little Rock and at the prison on the execution nights, we took to the road this weekend, organizing in areas outside of Little Rock. Saturday morning as I rode in the back seat between Hot Springs and Bentonville, I received a note on the Death Penalty Action Facebook page from the daughter of one of the men set to be killed tomorrow (Monday) night. She was wondering if we plan to “go live” on Facebook at the time of the execution, as we did on Thursday when we thought they were killing Ledell Lee at 7pm, and as we did again when they actually got around to killing him minutes before his execution warrant expired at midnight.

Watching us toll the bell live on Facebook was the only way she thought she could get close to her father. She had been given up for adoption as an infant and only a few years ago she looked for and found him. They built a relationship but have never visited, as they both had hoped one day to do.

I asked if she could possibly come here to Arkansas. Various issues seemed to present a roadblock. Randy and I spoke with her on the phone. She did not want to put anyone out. Randy, whose brother was executed in Utah in 2010, told her how vital it was both to her dad and to her that she come. Long story short, she has her own plane ticket by her very supportive adoptive parents, but we know she needs support on the ground as well. I rented a car, booked a room for Randy and sent him back to Little Rock — 3 hours away.

Her plane landed just after 11pm and shortly after midnight they each texted me to say that they were in their rooms in Pine Bluff. She will see her father at 1pm today for 90 minutes. Randy will take her, and he will be there for her when she gets out. Instead of being alone and 1000 miles away, she’ll be with us, outside the razor wire, tomorrow evening at killing time.

It really wasn’t in my mind that this would be part of the work. But right now I’m just glad God put me and my colleagues in a place to make a small difference for two souls. Hug your loved ones. Say a prayer. Stop executions!


[Abraham Bonowitz & Scott Langley co-founded Death Penalty Action in order to add capacity to the death penalty abolition movement. They launched it publicly on March 18th, 2017. You can invest in their success and allow them to be your boots on the ground where it matters most via the crowd funder here, or directly, here.]

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