Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

May he rest in peace

Apparently, when Andrew DeYoung died a week ago--when he was executed by the state of Georgia for the murder of his parents and his sister--the particular drug cocktail he was administered did not create the suffering some had thought it might.  According to the Atlanta Constitution, DeYoung "only blinked his eyes and swallowed repeatedly, and showed no violent signs in death."  His execution is recorded on videotape, which is why, I suppose, the name of Andrew De Young was all over internet aggregate news outlets last week. 

Now it's gone.  So is he. 

So are his parents and his grandparents.  So is his sister.  Only a brother remains, along with cousins and uncles and aunts. 

What began right here in Sioux Center, Iowa, and ended at 8:04 p.m., on July 21, in Jackson, Georgia, ended the way it did because in one crazed moment of his young life Andrew De Young determined he could kill his parents, pocket the insurance, and begin his own business.  Somewhere in Georgia, I presume, Andrew De Young is now buried.

I remember talking about the story with a class of mine when De Young did what he did in 1993.  I remember feeling my heart in my throat because the boy's grandfather (Andrew was just 17) worked here, was a colleague and a kindly, soft-spoken man; and the crimes were so awful, so unthinkable, that I just felt something had to be said.   We prayed in that class, I remember. 

I still can't imagine Grandpa and Grandma coping with that horror--a son and daughter and granddaughter murdered, a grandson the murderer.  Grandma blamed devil worship, I remember.  Court records suggest drugs were somehow involved.  I know, years later, both grandparents travelled to Georgia to argue against the death penalty, an argument they lost. 

They're gone now, both Grandpa and Grandma.  I wrote an essay about Grandpa's funeral last year, a funeral I attended, at which nothing was mentioned of Andrew or about the unthinkable suffering he'd put his Grandpa through--too heinious, I suppose, to be mentioned.  A funeral is not a time for review horrors.  Death is horror enough.

With his last words, reportedly, Andrew De Young apologized:  "I'm sorry for everyone I've hurt." 

I suppose the videotape will show that Andrew De Young didn't suffer when he died.  I hope that's not the best thing we can say.
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Nothing I've ever written has provoked such strong feelings and prompted as much response as the essay I wrote about Andrew's grandfather's funeral.  You can read it here.

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