Murderer Ray Jasper compares prison to slavery
Murderer Ray Jasper compares prison to slavery
It’s no surprise that liberals have the warm and fuzzies for murderers. The more vicious the crime, the more they’ll caterwaul about how awful and unjust it is for them to be put on death row, how cruel the death penalty is, and put them on pedestals as founts of wisdom. Mumia Abu Jamal is the most notable example, but he’s far from the only murderer treated this way. The latest example? Death row inmate Ray Jasper, who is scheduled to be executed in two weeks.
Jasper has written a letter which he says may be his “final statement on Earth” — let’s hope, anyway — and it has been published by Gawker.
Here’s how Gawker describes the letter and Jasper himself:
It is well worth your time.
Ray Jasper was convicted of participating in the 1998 robbery and murder of recording studio owner David Alejandro. A teenager at the time of the crime, Jasper was sentenced to death. He wrote to us once before, as part of our Letters from Death Row series. That letter was remarkable for its calmness, clarity, and insight into life as a prisoner who will never see freedom. We wrote back and invited him to share any other thoughts he might have. Today, we received the letter below. Everyone should read it.
Ah, yes. The clarity, wisdom, and insight convicted killers give us. It’s just too bad Ted Bundy was already executed. Imagine the kind of soul-stirring he could inspire in the liberals.
In any case, here are a few excerpts of what Jasper had to say. Be warned — it’s rage-inducing.
Next month, the State of Texas has resolved to kill me like some kind of rabid dog, so indirectly, I guess my intention is to use this as some type of platform because this could be my final statement on earth.
… Under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution all prisoners in America are considered slaves. We look at slavery like its a thing of the past, but you can go to any penitentiary in this nation and you will see slavery. That was the reason for the protests by prisoners in Georgia in 2010. They said they were tired of being treated like slaves. People need to know that when they sit on trial juries and sentence people to prison time that they are sentencing them to slavery.
If a prisoner refuses to work and be a slave, they will do their time in isolation as a punishment. You have thousands of people with a lot of prison time that have no choice but to make money for the government or live in isolation. The affects of prison isolation literally drive people crazy. Who can be isolated from human contact and not lose their mind? That was the reason California had an uproar last year behind Pelican Bay. 33,000 inmates across California protested refusing to work or refusing to eat on hunger-strikes because of those being tortured in isolation in Pelican Bay.
… I don’t agree with the death penalty. It’s a very Southern practice from that old lynching mentality. Almost all executions take place in the South with a few exceptions here and there. Texas is the leading State by far. I’m not from Texas. I was raised in California. Coming from the West Coast to the South was like going back in time. I didn’t even think real cowboys existed. Texas is a very ‘country’ state, aside a few major cities. There are still small towns that a black person would not be welcomed. California is more of a melting pot. I grew up in the Bay Area where its very diverse.
The death penalty needs to be abolished. Life without parole is still a death sentence. The only difference is time. To say you need to kill a person in a shorter amount of time is just seeking revenge on that person.
… I’m on death row and yet I didn’t commit the act of murder. I was convicted under the law of parties. When people read about the case, they assume I killed the victim, but the facts are undisputed that I did not kill the victim. The one who killed him plead guilty to capital murder for a life sentence. He admitted to the murder and has never denied it. Under the Texas law of parties, they say it doesn’t matter whether I killed the victim or not, I’m criminally responsible for someone else’s conduct. But I was the only one given the death penalty.
The law of parties is a very controversial law in Texas. Most Democrats stand against it. It allows the state to execute someone who did not commit the actual act of murder. There are around 50 guys on death row in Texas who didn’t kill anybody, but were convicted as a party.
… It’s really an epidemic, the number of blacks locked up in this country. That’s why I look, not only at my own situation, but why all of us young blacks are in prison. I’ve come to see, it’s largely due to an indentity crisis. We don t know our history. We don’t know how to really indentify with white people. We are really of a different culture, but by being slaves, we lost ourselves.
… They have to be exposed to something new. Their minds have to be challenged, not dulled. They know the history of the Crips & Bloods, but they can’t tell you who Garvey or Robeson is. They can quote Drake & Lil Wayne but they can’t tell you what Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton has done. Across the nation, they gravitate to Crips & Bloods. I tell those I know the same thing, not to put blue & red before black. They were black first. It’s senseless, but they are trying to find a purpose to live for and if a gang gives them a sense of purpose that’s what they will gravitate to. They aren’t being taught to live and die for something greater. They’re not being challenged to do better.
… I’m not trying to play the race card, I’m looking at the roots of why so many young blacks are locked up. The odds are stacked against us, we suffer from an identity crisis, and we’re being targeted more, instead of taught better. Ask any young black person their views on the Police, I assure you their response will not be positive. Yet if you have something against the Police, who represent the government, you cannot sit on a trial jury.
… If God wanted me to die for anything, I would be dead already. I talk to God everday. He’s not telling me I’m some kind of menace that He can’t wait to see executed. God is blessing me daily. God is showing me His favor & grace on my life. Like Paul said, I was the chief of sinners, but God had mercy on me because He knew I was ignorant. The blood of Abel cryed vengeance, the blood of Jesus cryed mercy.
… I’m a father. My daughter was six weeks old when I got locked up and now she’s 15 in high school. Despite the circumstances, I’ve tryed to be the best father in the world. But I knew that her course in life is largely determine by what I teach her. It’s the same with any young person, their course is determined by what we are teaching them. In the words of Aristotle, ‘All improvement in society begins with the education of the young.’
And that’s just a small portion of what he wrote. Let’s break it all down.
It’s interesting that towards the beginning of his letter, he talks about how he’s going to be put down like a rabid dog, which is actually rather fitting. But of course, that’s not the reaction he surely wanted. He’s trying to garner sympathy here, this poor, poor murderer who is going to be executed for his crime. He also talks about prisoners (not excerpted) who get life sentences for “mild” crimes — one example being a 24-year-old man who, according to Jasper, received 160 years in prison for two aggravated robberies where no violence occurred. Is that supposed to be an argument for prison reform? I don’t think many people would argue that our justice system isn’t exactly the best, but a few vague anecdotes isn’t going to do the trick. The man Jasper mentions supposedly “only” stole less than $500 in an aggravated robbery, meaning he used a deadly weapon in the commission of the robbery. Has this man been convicted of multiple crimes? Was this his first offense? What are the details of the case? How are we to know that this wasn’t his 17th armed robbery? One of the problems with our justice system isn’t that we have people like this poor, poor robber in jail for too long — it’s that we too often play a catch-and-release game where criminals repeatedly get a slap on the wrist and then released to continue committing crimes, usually eventually graduating to violent crime. Excuse me if my heart doesn’t bleed for this man that we know absolutely no details about other than the fact that he is a criminal. What Jasper’s anecdote tells us is that this man was willing to use a deadly weapon to steal a relatively small amount of money. What would he do for a larger haul? Why is this an argument that he should be allowed to be freed?
It’s also laughable to compare prison to slavery. Yes, prisoners are put to work. What should we be doing with them? Prison is supposed to be a punishment, not an extended vacation. Is the argument really that prisoners should just be thrown into a building where they can live there for free, have all of their basic needs provided to them free of charge, as well as other amenities? Plenty of prisons have cable, internet, exercise equipment. If we took out the whole “work” aspect of prison, then what kind of punishment would that be? Kill someone, and you’ll get to hang out somewhere for the rest of your life without having to do anything?
It’s also extremely insulting to compare being a prisoner to being a slave. Slaves had no choice in the matter. They didn’t choose the circumstances that made them slaves. But almost all prisoners chose to break laws. We can debate about whether or not some things should be illegal and whether or not they’re deserving of prison time — like, say marijuana use — but the fact is, if a person knowingly breaks a law and then gets sent to prison because of it, it’s their fault, even for some of the more controversial laws, such as, again, marijuana use. Agree or disagree, it’s against the law, but if you choose to toke up anyway, then you’re committing a crime. Slavery? No. It’s not even close.
One thing that virtually everyone can agree with Jasper about is the epidemic of black males in our prisons. Black people comprise under 20% of the entire United States population, but they make up the majority of the prison population. And for the most part, it isn’t because evil whiteys are grabbing black men off the street at random and throwing them in jail. It’s because there is a crime epidemic among the black male community, especially with violent crime. Black men are more than 10 times more likely to commit murder than white men are, for example. We can debate all day long about the reason that crime is so rampant in the black community, and plenty of people already do. (The epidemic of fatherlessness among blacks absolutely plays at least some role.) But the point is, this isn’t some kind of injustice, where the United States of AmeriKKKa (right, Obama?) is out to get all of these poor, innocent black men. There is a lot that needs to change and that’s indisputable, but for most of the people in prison, again — they choose to commit their crimes. You’re not a victim for being in prison when you’ve chosen to be a criminal.
And now to tackle the most egregious parts of Jasper’s letter: his portrayal of himself as a victim, the downplaying of his crime, his protestations over the death penalty. In order to show just how abhorrent his attitude is, you’ll need to know about the crime he committed.
Jasper was a wannabe rapper who set up a recording session in David Alejandro’s recording studio. Jasper waited with a group of men, and when Alejandro walked in, Jasper grabbed him from behind and slit his throat. This didn’t kill him, though, so the other men stabbed him to death while Jasper held him down. Then they stole around $30,000 worth of studio equipment. And he did all of this as a teenager.
But according to Jasper, he’s not a murderer because he didn’t actually kill anybody. And it’s only in Jasper’s warped mind that this would make sense to anyone, because Jasper absolutely contributed to Alejandro’s murder. It’s hard to tell if his argument is that he’s not a murderer because he only slit his throat, while it was the stabbing after the fact — which Jasper helped happen by holding Alejandro down — that was what caused his death. Because, you know, slitting someone’s throat isn’t usually an attempt to murder them, right?
Nowhere does Jasper apologize for his crime, or express even the slightest hint of remorse. To the contrary — according to him, God’s totally cool with him. He bemoans his circumstances, complaining that he hasn’t been able to see his daughter grow up, but he doesn’t have any concern over Alejandro’s family, robbed of their loved one. Remember him? The man he not really murdered?
The man is absolutely despicable. He deserves to be executed, and frankly, lethal injection is too kind an option for him. Yet here are his words, published and being lauded, not just on Gawker, but throughout the media now. He’s being held up as some kind of wise figurehead, someone who can teach us something about prison and crime. Any concern for the family of the man he killed, or disgust over the crime he committed, is missing in almost every story run about this disgusting excuse for a human being. Of course, Alejandro isn’t here to write sage letters comparing prison to slavery, so what do they care about him?
It’s not surprising that Jasper would view himself as some kind of civil rights martyr. And really, it isn’t surprising that the liberal media would help him further that image. But it is still inexcusable, no matter how predictable it is. Jasper gave up his right to complain about his plight in life and make himself out to be a victim when he killed someone. Why is it that the media can’t seem to get that message?