Apr. 30, 2017
Imagine The Outrage If Terrill Thomas Had Died In An Israeli Jail, by Daniel Gordis (The Forward)
Terrill Thomas was killed in his jail cell. Not in a fight, beaten by guards or other inmates. And not by hanging, because he had given up. He died, instead, slowly and agonizingly, in an isolation cell, because he had no water. His cell had no mattress, no pillow, no blanket and, after guards decided to turn off his water, no toilet. He languished in his cell, according to prosecutors, increasingly dehydrated for seven agonizing days, until he finally died on April 24, 2016.
Thomas died by torture not in North Korea or in Iran, where we have sadly come to expect such horrors. He was tortured and killed in the United States, at the Milwaukee County Jail.
The New York Times reported the story last week. With the exception of that one article, however, I have seen no one else mention Terrill Thomas. Not lawmakers across the country, no one in the international community, and not even the many rabbis or Jewish community leaders whose postings I often read on social media.
That is a deafening silence.
Imagine for a moment that the prisoner who died had been a Palestinian, accused, like Thomas, of shooting a man in the chest and firing another couple of shots in a hotel. Let us also assume that – as was undoubtedly the case in Milwaukee – the prison guards had violated prison policy, that the horror was the result of their personal cruelty and not protocol.