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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MURDER IS MURDER IS MURDER, ISN'T IT? (REDUX)

{{I wrote this particular column in 2005, after the murder of Jessica Lunsford. It's still timely}}

MURDER IS MURDER IS MURDER, ISN'T IT? (REDUX)


By now, I’m sure that everyone has heard the sickening addendum to the equally sickening story of Jessica Lunsford, murdered in Florida by the friendly neighborhood pedophile across the street. I’ve heard every spectrum of outrage from every person imaginable that was involved with this story. I’ve heard the father calling out for this man to die. I’ve listened to the pundits, the TV lawyers and all the talk show people screaming for this man’s blood. I’ve even heard televangelists saying that, if EVER anyone deserves to die for what he did, this man does. I’ll have to admit, there for a moment, I felt the same way.

I have a blood daughter that I adore even if she doesn’t speak to me because I’m considered to be a family disgrace. I understand that pain – the searing, sickening, soul-destroying pain – which comes from losing a beloved child to death. I know where Mr. Lunsford’s coming from, because I feel exactly the same way. If I had had a lovely, bright, cheerful, joyful daughter that had been stolen, raped and abused over the course of at least two days, and then buried alive, left in the ground to die a slow and terrified death from suffocation, I would feel the same way that he does. I would have ripped the murderer limb from limb, I would have torn out his heart and BURNED it in front of his face. There, literally, is NO end to the horrors that I would visit upon him, this sick, contemptible, twisted ABOMINABLE bastard.

That’s what ANY parent would do, given the opportunity. There is not enough money in the world to make this go away, there is not and never WILL be enough forgiveness in my heart, to NOT want to visit this person who ripped my world apart and who crushed my soul with every single, solitary, truly AWFUL thing that my mind could devise – and I have a VERY fertile imagination.

OK, so? He deserves the death penalty, right? He deserves a SCRUPULOUSLY fair trial, he deserves the very BEST legal help that he can get, and THEN we get to take him out and kill him, right? TOO BAD we can’t do to him what he did to that baby girl, TOO BAD that we CANNOT make him suffer the way that she suffered – right? Unfortunately, we’re a civilized country, so after that trial and conviction, we’ll take him into a chamber, strap him down, and use the same chemicals that we put our sick pets to sleep with; no pain, no horror, NOTHING except that he quits breathing, his heart quits pumping and he goes to meet God with this horrific crime writ large on his face for all the angels to see.

Right?

WRONG.

Murder is murder is MURDER, and murder is wrong. Death itself robs us of our loved ones, both human and animal. Death attends and woos us every day while we live. Death takes all – the brave, the cowardly, saints, sinners – ALL, and Death comes to us all whether we like it or not – and MOST of us DON’T, myself included. Murder is even worse. Murder de-humanizes both the victim and the perpetrator. Murder robs us of our loved ones before their allotted time is finished. Murder reminds us that there are, still, amoral and uncaring animals in our midst that are pretending to be as human as we are – and that they will always be with us.

OK. So? What do we DO with these animals? Well, they’re rabid dogs, and we kill rabid dogs, right? OF COURSE we do. THEY don’t know any better, and their sickness will kill, so we kill them FIRST - quickly, quietly, humanely. Unfortunately, this is an argument that doesn’t translate to humankind. We are NOT animals, to destroy those among us that are sick. We must try to heal that sickness if we can – and if we can’t, then it’s up to us to be sure that this sickness doesn’t get out to infect the rest of us.

Capital punishment, dress it in whatever language that we will, is still an act of murder. It is the state – which includes, dear reader, you and I – rather than an individual doing the killing, but it is STILL murder. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life” is pretty plainly stated in the Bible, and that is what gives the state the moral sanction to COMMIT murder, no matter how quietly, and no matter how humanely. This is wrong. There is no difference between the acts of politically sanctioned murder, such as war, state sanctioned murder such as the death penalty, or individually performed murder, like the murder of Jessica Lunsford.

Many, MANY people die that deserve to live, and if we cannot give BACK to them what was taken from them, then we have no right, no ethical mandate, and NO moral reason to take life from anyone else regardless of what they might have done – or DID do – to deserve it.

Murder is murder is MURDER – and we do NOT have the right to kill.

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