Most days, I arrive at work at about 8 a.m. (later if I don’t carpool with Kell) and turn on my radio and computer. Before I even look through my email, I have to check online news magazines to make sure nothing world-changing happened between the time we leave the apartment to the time I actually get to my desk. The majority of the stories are the usual – coverage of the War on Terrorism, drunk (again) celebutantes and op-eds trying to convince readers that global warming will fry us all.
Something today struck me as a different type of story. Most of us rarely, if ever, think about death row inmates – except for the Scott Peterson types, where the media is saturated with stories. I had seen a little information on CNN.com about Philip Workman, a convicted murderer staring down his last days on death row in Tennessee. He was found guilty of killing a Memphis police officer during a cocaine-induced armed robbery of a local Wendy’s. After years and years of appeals and several execution dates come and gone, Workman died of lethal injection at 2 a.m. Wednesday, May 9.
This is not a plug for the justices, or lack thereof, of lethal injection and the death penalty itself; Workman had his day in court many times over and the legal system worked the way it’s supposed to. At this point, the story probably would have ended. However, Workman had a final request that was denied many times: he, once homeless himself, wanted to have veggie pizzas delivered to the Nashville homeless population. His wishes infiltrated the local media, and through donations from private citizens, over 200 pizzas were delivered to Tennessee shelters for adults, teens and kids.
I in no way want to make light of Philip Workman’s crime or try to paint him a better person than he was – just the opposite. He took another man’s life in a search for his own next high, and he deserved to be punished to the highest extent of the law. And what have we heard of the victim’s family? Nothing. But somehow, the same man who committed the ultimate act of selfishness thought of others in his last days. A part of me is glad Workman never saw his last request come to fruition – he didn’t deserve that satisfaction, and his victim’s family is inevitably sickened by the good press Workman has received. And for better or worse, a group of society’s outcasts had a hot meal at the hands of a cold criminal.
Click here to read CNN’s coverage of the story. (Photos courtesy of CNN.com)