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Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Penalty Box

Changing my trousers is a bit of a pain. This, of course, comes from a man who, only yesterday, on this very blog, complained about the drudgery involved in making fucking sandwiches.

Changing my mind is even more of an ordeal.

A long time ago, I was an ardent proponent of capital punishment. It seemed logical to me: take a life, lose yours. Pretty simple.

Well, life just isn't so, and the only thing more complicated than life is death.

It took me a long time to come around, but I eventually did. Well, sort of. You certainly won't see me taking to the streets with a poster of some murderer's face yelling for him/her to be freed, brick by brick. And you won't see me calling for the abolition of the death penalty either.

Maybe I should be, if it's really something I don't believe in anymore, but I guess I'm just too fat and lazy.

Well, I'm lazy.

See, I say that I've come around "sort of" because I believe that, while the death penalty is on the books, it ought to be used. I do not believe in convicted murderers languishing on death row for twenty-five years (or more) while they literally shit out appeals. As far as post-conviction relief appeal hearings, I'm a fan of the "One and Done" philosophy. Oh, can't prove your innocence after one goodhearted appeal?

Sorry. Thanks for playing.

Of course, I won't be shaking my head in despair when the death penalty, imperfect and blemished as it is, finally gets put to death itself once and for all in this country. That will be okay with me. The idea of your average, run-of-the-mill shitfuck wasting away in a prison cell for the remainder of his or her natural life is just fine. Having been inside prisons as an EMT, I can state that the idea of being in inmate in a prison for the rest of my life would make me wish for capital punishment to come quickly to me. Yeah, sometimes I think an early termination of life is too good for them.

And then the news comes on, and I can feel my mind going to the other side...

The piece of shit who put a bullet into Congresswoman Gifford's head, who slaughtered and wounded so many on that arid Tuscon day-- the man who turned a supermarket parking lot into a bloodbath. The motherfucker whose name I can't even bear to write out.

The piece of shit who ended the promising life of Lakewood, New Jersey Police Officer Christopher Matlosz. Matlosz pulled his cruiser up next to this bastard and, as they talked, the suspect pulled out a handgun, stepped back, and fired into Matlosz three times. This brave officer, dead at 27, was buried on Thursday. And all his fiancee got was his hat.

And, closer to my home, we've got the piece of shit abortion doctor. I want to throw up every time I think about him, about his filthy exam room, about the fifteen-year-old he had working for him, administering narcotics and anesthetics, about how he cut the spinal cords of viable, alive babies with a pair of scissors after they were delivered. About how he killed a mother, a poor woman, desperate for even the help of a charlatan, how he killed her through his negligence, his greed, and his ineptitude. Murderer. Ungodly, horrible, corrupt murderer.

I don't shock easily, friends, but this has been a rough couple weeks.

Why shouldn't we, as a society, kill this man? Why shouldn't we kill any of the aforementioned sonsofbitches? What are we proving by a stance of supposed morality? That we are better than them because we will gallantly spare their lives? Because we do not kill assassains or cop-killers or abortion butchers?

Well, go, us.

Where is the higher ground when we are confronted with such atrocities? And, even if we should find it, why bother to climb to its peak? Why? Who benefits from sparing such lives?

And, of course, I suppose I have to just ask myself, as I struggle with my own petty, internal grief, who benefits from taking theirs?


  1. I really don't know where I am on the death penalty. But as much as I would like just to hug those people and teach them the error of their ways, I do know that I believe some people are just beyond help, beyond rehabilitation.

    It's so sad.

    The question you ask at the end, that's it, isn't it? What do we really accomplish in taking a life other than make room for another sick person to take their place, one-up them?

  2. The money we'd save on feeding, housing and generally keeping those assholes alive is a good enough reason in and of itself. Maybe we don't get any warm fuzzy feelings from it, but a world with one less murderer in it is a better world.


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