Guy Fawkes and Death Row

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.

By god’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!

Its Guy Fawkes Night! Celebrated in the UK to remember the Roman Catholic Gunpowder Plot to blow up King and Parliament. Remembrance of this event is commemorated by bonfires and fireworks as well as tasty treats. Guy Fawkes, the man remembered for the plot was captured with fellow co-conspirators, tried, found guilty and executed. Fawkes was saved till last, witnessing the others dance on the end of a rope. When it was Fawkes’ turn, whether planned or not, he fell from the scaffold breaking his neck. Thus avoiding the same hangman’s dance the others had experienced.

Image supplied by Blink Publishing

Earlier this year, I read Michelle Lyons book, Death Row: The Final Minutes and can’t help linking the two. Guy Fawkes night remembers a man who was brought to the scaffold, what must he have been thinking, feeling, what escape plans must have been running around his head? Lyons worked on death row in America, speaking with the condemned and witnessing their final moments on earth. It was her job as a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The book she has penned is an amazingly rare insight into the capital punishment system, not to mention the condemned and herself. As we read through the book we understand that Lyons is a strong woman to do what she did. In the beginning, she is strong and successful at separating her job from her life. Her job begins to bleed into her personal life, affecting her emotionally and causes her to question her position on the death penalty as well as undermining her confidence. We also learn about inmates in a unique way. Lyons still has her personal notes and she has published some in her book. It is a fascinating read and I personally went on an emotional journey with it, even questioning my own position on the death penalty. If you haven’t read this book yet and are interested in death row, the criminal justice system and its workers, read this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Author: Zoe Pollock

I love reading books and all things book related!

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