Your hand on the doorknob you take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Settle into it to try and calm yourself down. Steeling yourself. Once you open that door you can’t let any hesitation show in your face, your walk or your actions.

One more deep breath and open the door on the exhale. Walk down the hallway , the tiles are shiny and reflect the soles of your shoes with every step. Out the door into the courtyard where the people are gathered. Some of them look at you and you can feel their eyes trying to see what you are feeling, others look down, don’t meet your eyes. You reach the platform and walk up the three steps.

The lever sits behind a post, not visible from the middle of the platform until it is in it’s released position. Head up, chin out, hand on the lever. No visible deep breath to show any unsurety , on the outside you project confidence and conviction. Pull the lever, hear the whoosh of the hatch door opening, feel the vibration as the body falls and the noose tightens. A gasp from someone in the crowd.

I was listening to a podcast last night, American Elections, Wicked Games and found out that as Sheriff of Erie Country NY Grover Cleveland was responsible for executing those given the death penalty.

“Cleveland’s first political office was sheriff of Erie County, New York, a position he assumed in 1871. During his two-year term, he carried out the death sentence (by hanging) of three convicted murderers.”

That’s some responsibility. So I fell asleep wondering if you could imagine what it felt like. No false bravado of “well if they deserve to die” you are the person actually responsible for standing there and pulling that handle and making the decision to end a life.

Sure, you could do it without thought or feeling, walk out, blank your mind, pull the lever, walk away, but could you still do it if you stop and really think about what you are about to do? Think about an act that is irrevocable,the potential for the verdict being wrong, or the fallout from your actions on this persons family, friends and even history. Are you forever changing the path of someone else in their family by doing this? A child, a sibling, a parent?

There you go, that’s why I have crazy dreams all the time.

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