Open up mass murderers, but don't ever let them down

Chapter 25



In my vagabond years in the 70's most Americans seemed to feel good about themselves and I found hardly any Klan-activity. But the increasing mistreatment of children I have seen since then, seems to go hand in hand with the rise of the Klan.



Today I meet people in far more pain than the Ku Klux Klan. One night a few years ago I picked up Tommy, this dirt-poor hitchhiker in Mississippi, who told me that he and his two brothers had personally killed so many blacks, that they had lost count of them.



- I don't know if he killed the first two I got blood on me from, I know he busted his head open real bad.
- Hmm
- Pete busted open his head real, real bad... Took a big whole piece out of his head - and blood got on me then. That's cause I was holding the dude. Every time his heart would beat, blood would squirt out about 5-6 feet, man. The guy ran about ten steps, then just fell - face first. I'll even take you by the old post office tonight and show you it to you, right where it happened. Then they got a big sign says 'No Niggers Allowed' when you go in there on the highway.
- Still? What year is this?
- This is 95 now, fixing to be 96 and they got a sign saying 'No Niggers Allowed'.



- When you went out to kill them, would he talk about it all day before or did you just happen to...?
- No, it just happened. It just was one of those things. He was going down the street and he just felt like doing it. He'd seen them, so he did it....
- Right here is where this guy fell after my brother stabbed him. That may be the cops. Right here is where he fell. I'll show you where he got stabbed at. He got stabbed right on the other side of this telephone pole, right here. And then he ran ten feet and fell. Let's go before the cops are coming 'cause they are bad here at night time.



- What did he actually say?
- He actually said 'I'm gonna kill me a nigger tonight'. He said it all day long and when we'd come back from over the tracks Butch told him, 'I bet you wont kill that one right there.' And this was a big nigger, you know. And Pete says 'Bet me!'. And Butch says, 'I'll bet you.' And he goes, 'Never mind about the betting.' He walked over there and he says, 'Hey, did you meet your maker?' and he stabbed him. The guy's eyes rolled to the back of his head and Pete twisted the knife and then he pulled it out. The blood, when it came out, it hit me and Butch.



- How did it happen when....?
- He goes out and he kills niggers for fun. He tells me he likes to see the fear in their face when they die. It was like when we was riding down Engine Road I was telling you about how Butch called one over to the car and Pete jumped out and shot him. Well, two of them split, and one of them stayed there, you know, he was freaking out. I guess he was young or something, you know. Butch started beating him in the head with some bottle that he had. And then Pete started kicking him and stuff - and when they had him on the ground bleeding and where he couldn't move, Pete just stomped him until he died.



The only thing I've never seen Pete do, was go out and run over the niggers that he used to go out and run over. But I've seen blood on the car I said, I took T shirts and shirts and stuff like that out from under the car after he ran them over. I've seen him beat up many, many niggers many times and leave them for dead.
- How many would you say?
- How many? More than I can count on my fingers and toes.



As always with violent people, I asked about his childhood. His eyes filled with tears when he told me how the three brothers had constantly been beaten and abused by their deeply alcoholic parents. (His father, who also had killed blacks, had once ripped out the womb of Tommy's mother, I found out five years later.)

- From as early as I remember I've got whippings from my mom. She used to come in drunk.... She would hit you anywhere she could hit you. When she whips you with a board, if you move and it hits you somewhere else, you shouldn't have moved.......



It is important always to give such children of pain all the love and affection we can muster.
In my travels I have often been amazed how little caring it takes to make these encapsulated and discouraged people raise their heads again and feel better about themselves.



People, who feel good about themselves will not hurt other people or even think badly of them.
Only people in deep pain wish to harm others.



All the violent racists I meet these days have without exception been mistreated or humiliated in childhood. The cross burnings and swastikas are just their inept cry for our help and attention, and it takes so incredibly little nurturing from us to help them out of their oppressive patterns.



Five years later I found some of Tommy's victims, such as Anita's family, who had been stabbed by Tommy in their sleep only a couple of nights after I let him off. Their shattered lives needed similar nurturing not to be destroyed by the paralyzing fear and unforgiving hate they had developed toward fellow citizens. I should have known that Tommy needed more help than one night's counseling by me, but was in a rush to get to a university lecture in South Carolina. This is how most of us well-to-do oppressors constantly focus on our own narrow careers - and in the process turn our backs to our neighbor's mistreated son. Ever since then I have tried to make up for my mistake be mediating between Anita's family and Tommy in prison, where he is serving a 30 year sentence.


Historical photo


Knowing how easily such hatred perpetuates itself led the new black government in South Africa to pardon all racial crimes committed under apartheid.
My friend Tommy is beginning now to understand that since he has never had anybody to help him heal his pain, he had turned it outward against blacks in such a horrifying way that he could describe how they tortured and murdered every one of their victims and dumped them in Mississippi's rivers and swamps.


Not my own two photos

Lynching of college student by KKK


- Did you usually get rid of them by throwing them in rivers and swamps?
- Oh, yeah, many times we dumped them in the swamps....




Here is to the state of Mississippi
for underneath her borders the devil draws no line.
If you drag her muddy rivers nameless bodies you will find.



Oh, the factories of the forests have hidden a thousand crimes.
The calendar is lying when it reads the present time.



Oh, here's to the land you have torn out the heart of:
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!