Sarah Grant

Musings on Poker and Other Stuff

Into the Abyss

April 24, 2012

Tags: Karla Faye Tucker, Sarah grant, Dateline, Films, Werner herzog, Larry king.

Just watched this movie the other day by Werner Herzog called Into The Abyss. I watch a lot of documentaries, and a lot of powerful ones at that. But there are some moments in a documentary that make you re-examine yourself. Granted a lot of moments after I watch a good doc I want to sign a petition, start a garden, start a revolution, etc. Every now and then something really makes you look at yourself. Now, Into the Abyss is described as:

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Not exactly something I am expecting to relate to and definitely not something I am imagining is going to garner a lot of self reflection. But, low and behold, the universe had a little gem waiting for me. Now, the documentary itself was very interesting. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Dateline NBC for all its in depth case studies. It is amazing to me that normal, or seemingly normal, people KILL people. And sadly, like watching the wreckage of a car crash or something, I often find myself, having a Dateline marathon. However, that is not what interested me about his particular documentary.

During one of part of the show Herzog was interviewing Fred Allen, a modern day executioner. Knowing Texans a little bit, I was very shocked by his interview. Here is a clip.

After watching that it blew my mind that something as simple as a genuine thank you from a pure heart had changed his whole world. My mind was wrapped up in so many concepts: Love, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, intention, language.......omg, was this guy for real? So I looked up the woman he was talking about:
Karla Faye Tucker

Not really sure how I never heard about that before. But apparently it was a big deal. Even Larry king interviewed her:
Larry King Interview

And yet, the thing that made his experience of her so poignant, wasn't really her. It was the power of words said with truth and intention. She said hardly anything but she said it with love and forgiveness at a time when most are likely at least a little bit bitter. I think a lot of people can never even admit they did anything wrong. (Although some really never did anything, but that is another blog altogether). In some way the film revealed the character of each person by the nature of how they spoke. In fact, I don't think this was something the film intended to do, but something revealed by humans innately all the time.

Of course this made me think of the power of words both good and bad. In general I think the power of words is much stronger in kindness and compassion than in hate and anger. But neither can be discounted. And I have said many shitty things in my life and hope that they were forgotten. Obviously when someone says something shitty to me, I try to forget. But those things said genuinely out of a truthful heart that are full of empathy and compassion, those things are not easily or likely forgotten. I think to say something publicly like one does in a blog is to declare to the world your own intention. So, I affirm here, my intention: to speak with gentle compassion, genuine forgiveness, and loving kindness as often as I possibly can.