On August 8th, 1996 I witnessed the killing of my friend and brother monk, Rev. Jusan Fudo Sifu Frankie Parker. This is the reason the publication of this issue of Gateway Journal has been delayed for so long...
The greatest blow to our efforts [ to get the execution commuted to life in prison for Parker] came on July 22nd when we learned that the new Governor, Rev. Huckabee, in a totally unprecedented action, issued a proclamation, his first in office, moving Jusan's execution date to August 8th! In effect, with his signature, he cut six weeks of Jusan's life. We were stunned. It was reported that the Governor had met with the family of Frankie's victims. Jim Harris, a spokesperson from the governor's office said, "This [date change] was out of consideration for the victim's family. They've waited years and we could determine no reason to delay it more."
We had prepared the text for this issue of Gateway Journal and the printer was scheduled to begin the press run on July 23rd. Given the change in the execution date, the prepared text was now out of date so we canceled the printing. We had the printer run the center fold page with the third installment of Zen Karmics, a tribute to Jusan, since we wanted to be able to show it to him before he was killed.
I began calling Governor Huckabee's office on a daily basis to request a meeting between the Governor and myself, Jusan's mother, Janie, and his sister Shari. The Governor's assistant on Criminal Justice, Mr. Dale "Butch" Reeve, finally informed me on July 29th that the Governor had agreed to meet with Janie, Shari and myself. The following day I was informed by Mr. Reeve that the Governor had canceled the meeting with us in retaliation for Jusan taking part in a radio talk show! Mr. Reeve seemed to be personally embarrassed by the actions of his superior. I was disturbed by the Governor's action; it appeared that on a psychological level the Governor was acting like a spoiled child. This was ominous indeed. The following day Jusan's sister Shari was on the same radio program and read a profoundly moving letter to the Governor pleading with him to spare her brother's life.
Whether or not Parker would have committed more crimes is not really relevant, just as it is not really relevant that Clemmons had a sentence of 108 years. (Huckabee has implied that his only choices were either 108 years or cutting the guy loose.)
What was relevant - at least to Huckabee - is that Parker was a Buddhist, and other recipients of Huckabee's clemency were Christians.
However, as PZ Meyers, godless rationalist that he is so trenchantly notes, Mike Huckabee did get around to killing Clemmons.
Meyers is eventually right: safety concerns should reign here.
And by that standard, Huckabee basically made us all unsafe, and killed a Buddhist to boot.