A note about comments

Since the Reuters story about Rogelio began appearing in various publications, this blog has received numerous comments from people all over the world. Many of them you have read here. Others you will never read, unless the people who wrote them find a way to post them elsewhere. As the gatekeeper to this blog, I decided I would only allow comments from those who were sympathetic to Rogelio or those who perhaps were not but were genuinely interested in having a serious conversation about the Death Penalty, or wished to pose a question to Rogelio. Unfortunately, along with the good comments, I also got a number of childish and cruel comments that I immediately deleted. Several of the writers would not give up, writing the same venom-filled remarks over and over again. Others complained that I was stifling free speech. To them, all I have to say is, too bad. There are plenty of places on the internet on which you can post your idiotic drivel. This will not be one of them.

— JRP

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23 Responses to “A note about comments”

  1. Erika Says:

    Your decision is heartily supported by this random reader, for one. A blog such as this has no room for hatred – Rogelio’s is a story of strength and sorrow and hope and gentleness.

  2. Tracey from Australia Says:

    I am glad you are screening the comments. I found this blog some weeks ago and it is very powerful in the image it presents to the world. No one has asked for Rogelio to be released, but killing him solves nothing.

    It is a pity America is no longer the country the rest of the world can look up to. It points a finger at others saying your human rights record is appalling, but does not look at itself and where it sits in the western world in regards to human rights. A country that still kills it citizens along with others that have some of the worst human rights records ever.

    I wish you well Rogelio along with your many friends and supporters.

  3. Marianne Rasmussen Says:

    I can only agree with Tracey and say no further on that subject. And to you, Juan, keep screening the comments. You are so right! And once again, thank you!

  4. Isabelle Says:

    Merci cher Juan, I would do the same on the French version. Hate is a bad feeling, no healing, no hope can be borne out of it. Just destructive rancour and revenge. That is contrary to the spirit of this blog.
    And to Rogelio 🙂 guess what Buddy ? we are seeing the same sky this morning, deep blue. Green is the colour of Hope but I decided it would be blue today ! we are only hours away:) Hope, Esperanza. Siempre. Thinking of you very much.

  5. Carmen Says:

    I fully agree with you Juan. This is not the place for those despicable comments and neither is the German version.
    To Roy and Isabelle: Have a wonderful time together. Make the maximum of it! We are with you in our thoughts and we are full of hope. Stay positive. Tenemos mucha esperanza! Fuertes abrazosos amigos!
    Carmen y Michael

  6. Françoise Says:

    Such a pitiful attitude! As said Rogelio recently, some people are “in blood-lust”. We wanted to create of chain of friendship and support to our friend. Or, as says Juan, an objective, reasonable and courteous exchange of ideas. Vulgarity, insults, meanness do not have any place here. Thank you, Juan.
    Isabelle, dis bien Ă  Roy tout le bien que nous pensons de lui et toute l’affection indĂ©fectible que nous lui portons tous, ici (P/B/L/JF/V/AC). Je penserai tellement Ă  vous deux, demain et ensuite aussi. En tendres pensĂ©es avec vous, Françoise

  7. Greg Michael Says:

    You need to very careful with screening and censorship. It is the first step to fascism. There are at least two sides to every argument. Not listening to the otherside only emboldens them and makes them stronger. I respectively disagree with your screening process.

  8. TJ Hooks Says:

    It’s true. There is enough idiotic drivel on this blog to cover both sides.

  9. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Greg:
    I wouldn’t disagree, if we were talking about arguments. What I am deleting is not arguments, but hateful “burn-in-hell,-scum” comments. – JRP

  10. Iain Says:

    By screening comments, you are not “stifling” free speech, no matter what others may complain. As you correctly observe, there are plenty of other avenues and websites where those who want to post comments can do so. You are under no obligation to air any comment that is made. The right to free speech is a right to speak it. Not to speak it in a particular venue.

    Keep up the good work. You and Rogelio are providing a service–a rare glimpse inside a system that we all should know about and truly acknowledge, whether we support it or not.

  11. Diana Says:

    It sickens me that you have had to delete comments due to cruelty…and those who wrote them should be ashamed of themselves…to anyone who I presume may be reading this and has authored any of these such comments I ask you this : What makes you judge and jury of these men? Judge not lest ye be judged. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    These men are just like you and me. They have families that love them, fond memories their past…they lived a life just like you and I. Only somewhere along the way, they succumbed to a moment of weakness. They must go through everyday with the knowledge that they have taken a life. They must live with the fear of the consequences of those actions.

    We all moments like that…this could be any one of you. They did a terrible thing, granted. But death isn’t the answer. Why kill people to show people that killing is wrong? Its counter intuitive don’t you think? If you live by the adage that a killer should be killed…what do you make of the executioners? Shouldn’t they be killed as well?

    Death is never the answer. Apathy to the plights of these men, thats just cruel. They’re human beings…they know what they’ve done. But this isn’t solving the issue…its only masking it.

    I used to be believe the death penalty was proper punishment…until I came across this site. It’s really opened my eyes, and weighs heavy on my heart.

    God bless these men for sharing their stories, no matter how painful it may be….they deserve our love, not our contempt. God is of mercy and of love. Not cruel vengeance. I will continue to pray for each and everyone of them…

  12. Anne Says:

    Although I have always opposed the death penalty, I feel much much worse for the person Rogelio killed than for him. Actions have consequences. Murder is a terrible act, whether committed by an individual or the state.

  13. TJ JONES Says:

    I have a question that weighs heavy on my mind. Everyone brings up the point that these people have families and fond memories, but what about the fond memories of the people whose lives they took? Have we forgotten about the victims and they’re families feelings, What did those victims think before these “weak ” people took they’re lives? Is a moment of “weakness” a reason not to be punished? Shouldn’t people pay for the’re actions? Shouldn’t people be held accountable for they’re actions?
    It seems to me that people have become so gentle that we forget that sometimes they’re is a call for violence in society. Some of the most influential and wise men in society were at one time soldiers or were called to violence to defend against violence. I do not condone violence as a means to resolve situations but I do realize that in life sometimes the only way to rid violence is with violence. The reason for this is because no matter how much we want things tobe resolved peacefully some people only know violence. It was the way they were raised and the only thing they know. The other sad reality is no matter how much we want to change these things, people as a whole are flawed in some way or another, and no matter how hard we try there will always be evil in the world.
    The other question I pose is, why should society as a whole pay for the criminals that we lock up? Why should taxpayers money go to people who have already proven to us that they cannot live in society? Are these people useful to society locked up in prison? Do they contribute to the growth and development of an honest society?
    I only pose these questions so that we can look at a different view. I feel that at times people put on blinders to prespectives other than they’re own. Im glad many of these men on death row turn to God and I hope they are forgiven for they’re crimes. On the other hand I do not believe it is grounds to let them carry on they’re lives after they have taken some one elses life. We are not the judges of mens souls but god did grant authority to the law to decide the punishment of men for they’re actions. I hope this entry doesnt come across as strong or overbearing. I would love to hear something from someone elses perspective! Thank you!

  14. Zenith Says:

    I think there’s something wrong with an honest society when a human life is compaired to that of the tax payer dollar….regardless of their crimes. I’m not soft. I feel anger. I feel disgust. But I’m not a hypocrite either.

    Four people in this country were found guilty of the abuse and eventual death of a three year old baby girl today. I am satisfied that they will sit in prison with nothing but their thoughts for a very long time. I do not need to see them hanging from the nearest tree to know justice has been done.

    No one is saying that the families of the victims aren’t sufferring. But the families of those who make seriously bad mistakes, suffer too. It’s not a competition to see who is suffering the most. It takes a truely balanced person to be able to see that.

    There is no need for cruel comments. Not anymore. What purpose will it serve?

    If saving a few tax payers dollars is the only reason to kill a man, then from my perspective, we are fooling ourselves into thinking we have a ‘good honest society’.

  15. Teri Says:

    I too arrived here from the story regarding Jose Angel Moreno, which has been picked up by CNN.

    Your decision to close remarks unless otherwise positive, I believe is a shame. I can understand screening for lunancy however, because of this new influx of readers to your blog, you have an opportunity here to change minds through dialog. You’ve chosen however to keep your blog free of any discention and subsequently no discussion, to those who do not necessarily see things your way. If you truly desire a change in attitude, people to move more toward the center and have a willingness to lend their voices to your cause, you need to be prepared and should be willing to communicate.

    I have a cousin on death row, and irregardless of the love I feel for him, it is hard for me to reconcile that the punishment set out by a jury is not justified.

    I waffle on my attitudes regarding the death penalty period, for whomever, or whatever the crime. But coming to this blog and seeing you turn a blind eye to all peoples who would not embrace your way of thinking, certainly doesn’t help me to wish to learn more, and obivously doesn’t give me the forum in which to have a dialog with those who may feel they have things to say which could possibly sway me.

    And, if after reading this you still think there is no room here for those who don’t necessarily feel as you do, note that I came here to read this man’s log of final moments before getting his stay. It was/still is my hopes that it will bring clarity and possibly sway me against the feelings that seem to be dominant with me now. Unfortunately, his words seem to be the only ones that will reach me. If I believe myself to be hardened, I certainly can’t speak to another as hardened as myself on the other side of this spectrum. Nothing will be accomplished.

  16. Diana Says:

    As people have been referring to my comment above I feel the need to respond.

    Let’s put this perspective here.

    1. Killing someone for killing someone, is still murder.
    2. Execution is murder.
    3. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    God will be the judge. And until then, I believe this man needs all the love and encouragement one can muster. He has ask for forgiveness. He has repented for his sin. His life is in God’s hands now. Not yours, not mine, not an executioner. GOD.

    This life is not all black and white. Its most certainly not always wrong or right. Hate and anger will eat you alive. Forgiveness and love nourishes the soul.

    We all need some nourishment every now and then. Disagree with me, thats your prerogative. But, don’t sit here and preach your hypocritical and fascist diatribe. You won’t change my mind.

  17. Françoise Says:

    If I may (hi…hi..hi…) I would like to add my voice to the several remarks which have been made recently. For all the new ones, I am French speaking and so it is less easy for me to express my deep thoughts. So, since a few days, there has been an interesting evolution in the tone of this Journal. At the beginning rather “confidential” – when only few persons knowing more personally Rogelio, for a reason or another, were writing – this blog opened itself all of a sudden and now so many and different persons are expressing their opinion. This is a good opportunity to practise “tolerance”. Generally, we have a kind of “weakness” , a propensity to think that our opinion is certainly the right one. The problem is that the one in front of us thinks exactly the same. So, what?

    I would like to add that, being French speaking, I have access to the French part of this Journal “Chroniques du couloir de la mort”. For the ones among you who can speak French, go there and have a look. There are some personal documents inserted by Isabelle, a long time friend (13 years)of Rogelio. Together with Juan and few other persons, she knows very well our friend Roy, giving another lightening on him. Hundreds and hundreds of letters, and even more, many visits to the prison have allowed that a strong friendship was born between Isabelle, Juan and Rogelio. In the documents published there, you could see more of Roy’s heart and soul. He is a man like you and me, he loves his Texas, his family, the nature, poesy, reading, laughing, joking and tacos, right like you and me. He must almost know the Bible by heart! He is praying a lot, studying with his minister on a regular basis. Dare we pretend that we do the same? And – as he has much time ! – he is reflecting a lot, about, of course what he did, but also about life and death, eternal life and so many other subjects.

    HI, TJ JONES,
    I picked some of the questions you raised, because you said : “I would love to hear something from someone else’s perspective! Thank you!” So:

    “Is a moment of “weakness” a reason not to be punished? Shouldn’t people pay for there actions? Shouldn’t people be held accountable for they’re actions?”
    Don’t forget that Rogelio is in jail since more that 18 years. Do you really think that this is not a severe punishment? And that he had not all the necessary time to regret what he did as adolescent? All those years of incarceration learned him new life rules. If you only could know the generous men he became, always trying to help, to support his cell mates, a sincere friend, maybe your opinion would change a little bit? Just a litle bit?. Try to convinced yourself, dear TJ Jones that men can change and improve a lot.

    And:
    “I’m glad many of these men on death row turn to God and I hope they are forgiven for they’re crimes.”
    For my concern, I DON’T HOPE these men are forgiven, I KNOW they have been. Why always thinking to a God of revenge? He is LOVE and MERCY.- We shouldn’t attribute to God our poor and mean human feelings.

    And:
    “We are not the judges of men’s souls but God did grant authority to the law to decide the punishment of men for they’re actions.”
    As far as I know, laws have been written by a few handfuls of men who weren’t infallible but just… human!

    And:
    “Why should society as a whole pay for the criminals that we lock up? Why should taxpayers money go to people who have already proven to us that they cannot live in society? ”
    Well, well, well! I must say that I don’t like this argument. So I will keep a corteous silence. Apart that proof has not yet been made that they couldn’t live in society anymore, after having paid. Reinsertion is the only way to make the proof. Could be risky? Maybe. Maybe not. They could become a valuable part of this honest society.

    And:
    “Are these people useful to society locked up in prison? Do they contribute to the growth and development of an honest society?”
    What is like a honest society? In our today’s so called honest societies – and of course I don’t speak of the US only – there is much hypocrisy, lies, violence, wars and guns, people exploiting, humiliating other people.

    And:
    “I do not condane violence as a means to resolve situations but I do realize that in life sometimes the only way to rid violence is with violence.” Well, not true, not at all. It would be so difficult to determine a classification of the several types violences. How to remain objective in our judgement, in the violence hierarchy with regard to the appropriate punishment?

    HI, TERI
    “Your decision to close remarks unless otherwise positive, I believe is a shame.Etc… ” (and all second paragraph)
    I never read that this decision would have been taken. Again, it was just, against vulgarity, insults. As we can see here, several opinions are expressed. Between civilized people, there is always a way to communicate or isn’t it?
    “But coming to this blog and seeing you turn a blind eye to all peoples who would not embrace your way of thinking, certainly doesn’t help me to wish to learn more”. Again, I don’t thinf it is the case. Otherwise, I wouldn’t b

  18. Françoise Says:

    Oh, too bad, comment wasn’t finished…

    …..Otherwise I wouldn’t be here, at 06.00 am to respond to you comments as … it wouldn’t have been any comments. Am I wrong?
    So Teri, don’t be disappointed, dialogue will continue!

  19. Erika Says:

    There is a substantial difference between intelligent arguing of different sides and someone trolling the site leaving “die, you scum” comments, and what precedes this comment is a truly fascinating beginning of a very important dialogue. No one is pretending that what the men and women on death row did was insignificant, nor do the majority of death penalty supporters consider the death of an inmate insignificant. To just have petters on the site would, in fact, not do Rogelio or his mates any good, as nothing would advance. I *need* the non-believers to present their arguments to me about why death row is essential, so that I can examine my own arguments against death row, refine them, polish them, make them stronger. That’s what keeps bringing me back here: to let my emotional and intellectual response to the knowledge of Rogelio’s actions face head on with my emotional and intellectual response to the words of a man who is wiser and more self-aware than most of us will ever hope to be. This journey makes all of us stronger.

  20. Françoise Says:

    Yes, Erika. So true! I go completely along with what you wrote.

  21. Simon Says:

    Hi JPR.

    I agree that you should weed out the “childish and cruel comments”, but it is very narrow minded to disallow an entire group of people’s opinions to be heard. It is worse than fox news… They at least pretend they are trying to be “fair and balanced”. Everyone knows that is untrue, but by banning an entire group of peoples view point it removes the credibility of your blog. You can publish this (if you choose I guess), as it makes no reference to whether or not he nor anyone else deserves the death penalty, but rather a commentary on whether or not you should allow both sides of the issue to be discussed rationally as adults.
    Some food for though.

    Simon

  22. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Simon:
    If keeping idiots and bigots from using this site to expound on their dark, evil ideas makes me narrow-minded, so be it. As Rogelio has stated, the sole purpose of this blog is to allow him to communicate with his friends and supporters. Given that, keeping these jerks off these pages does not harm its credibility at all.
    Thanks,
    JRP

  23. Sad93 Says:

    One girl put her hand up when I asked if anyone wanted to be a writer. ,

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