DEAD MAN WALKING
By Sheriff Jim R. Schwiesow, Ret.
August 28, 2010
The story is that when a condemned convict has finally exhausted his appeals, stays, and pre-execution pleas and is making that final walk to the execution chamber his last faltering steps are marked by these echoing words, “Dead man walking.” The words are chilling and at the same time prophetic as they mark with a certainty that soon – very soon – the vital physical functions that sustain life and animate the being will be terminated and he will go from life to death and exist only as a memory.
It occurs to me that nations and civilizations are like men in that they live and function, establish relationships, make enemies and friends, inhabit a temporary space as an infinitesimal speck in a boundless universe, enter into a terminal stage and die, are mourned for a while, and then exist only as a memory. Some live longer than others, some are more prominent than others, some are more benevolent than others, some are more evil than others, but all enter into that final stage and ultimately perish.