No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction at anytime.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction,
a blessed unrest keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.
-- Martha Graham to Agnes De Mille
Was || Will Be || Past Moments || Now || Notes

2001-06-13 - 11:56 p.m.

Revenge is for children and the emotionally immature.

this afternoon on npr i heard that john ashcroft had released a report saying that there is no racial bias in when and how the death sentance is handed down.

um. okay.

i'm not a statistician, nor do i have a bunch of numbers memorized, but every time i hear something about this topic, there are drastically more minorities on death row than not.

i'm trying to avoid making stereotypes about ashcroft here, but i can't help but remember his record of questionable views with regards to race relations.

(read that last sentance again. hem and haw much, j$? go ahead, say it. people think he's a racist and you're inclined to agree. yeah, okay.)

anyway, as bad as i think that is, and i do, oh i do. that's not really the point of this little message.

last night after the moveable feast we were walking around the park and we got on the subject of mcveigh's execution.

so here's a guy who killed 168 people. including children. children who he referred to as "collatoral damage". and admitted it. and was completely unrepentant. to the very end. "bloody but unbowed" you could say, and he did.

here's a guy that is the very epitome of an argument for the death penalty.

as recently as last week, i myself said "i'm generally opposed to the death penalty, but with him i'm willing to make an exception."

guess what?

i'm actually not. willing to make an exception. it still seems wrong. it feels wrong.

good old dubya said "today the victims and families of the oklahoma city bombing got not revenge, but justice."

in my opinion, dubya is as bass-akwards as usual. i think it's the exact opposite. i think they got revenge, not justice.

Rudie last night started into the whole cost of housing a prisoner for the rest of his life, vs the cost of appeals for a death sentance.

i've heard this argument before. ad nauseam.

last night i got pretty perturbed with it.

here's why.

once you begin to talk about the economic arguments for killing or not killing someone, what you've done is reduced their life to a dollar sign. here's the cost of this life.

here's the value, in cold hard cash, of this man's life.

by the time you've gotten to that kind of judgement, you've already made a moral judgement.

you've decided that a life is worth no more than money.

let me say that a different way.

you've decided that a life is worthless, except for whatever dollar value you choose to ascribe to it. because whatever amount you decide to spend, it all boils down to fifty years or fifty minutes, the life is irrelevant. you're just deciding how much it will cost to postpone the inevitable.

which is the death of another human being.

i refuse to accept or even listen to economic arguments about the death penalty. they hold no weight, and they have no place in what is a moral discussion.

ascribing a dollar value to a human life is amoral. it is so far removed from any moral system that i don't know where to start.

my little economic tangent aside, i've found that since monday the ambivalence about the death penalty that has crept into my thinking has all but vanished.

i don't think it's right to kill other people.


under any circumstances.

and as i said, i don't think it was justice that was served on monday, but revenge.

to quote Frank (god love 'im) "Revenge is for children and the emotionally immature."

amen to that.

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