Saturday, December 15, 2007

Blood on our hands

by Capt Fogg

"summa awilum in mar awilim uhtappid insu uhappadu"

If a man destroy another's eye, his eye shall be destroyed.

-Code of Hammurabi, 1795-1750 BC-


It's funny in a grisly sort of way, to listen to the moral absolutists try to avoid the fact that if you kill a man for a crime he didn't commit, you are a murderer; A murderer with an excuse perhaps, but a murderer none the less. Of course some versions of morality insist that if you kill anyone you were not forced to kill, it's murder. Morality is no more absolute than any other opinion.

In my opinion, arguing for the Death penalty by saying that most of the people you kill are guilty, aren't worth the rebuttal; it only takes one to make it murder and one to make us all accessories, and the fact seems to be that it's been quite a bit more than one. Arguments that justify the probability of killing at least a few innocents, or indeed for killing anyone because doctrine says it's a deterrent are simply arguments for expedience and from fear, not from reason. Arguments that depend on some cosmic system of double entry book keeping are arguments from an ancient religious tradition with no basis in the actual cosmos. I'm fed up with all these attempts to justify hate crimes and so apparently are others.

It's New Jersey however, and not some Bible Belt state that has taken the lead by stepping away from blood sacrifice and away from the totalitarian notion that a life can be taken in cold blood by some committee of citizens made sufficiently angry by paid professionals. To this writer, it provides a glimmer of hope that the United States might some day follow the path of enlightenment, but just a glimmer.

Cross posted from Human Voices

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Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Sad statement on the state of society that such tiny steps towards humanity offer the only hope of our ultimate salvation.

2:15:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Anything that isn't a wholesale repudiation of humanism seems like progress.

Funny though, how people can keep Reagan's idiotic repudiation of the very concept of government in the same brain they keep the desire for a government that has the power to kill people.

4:49:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I don't understand the Reagan legend at all. He was a terrible president and yet they've built this mythology around him as some great savior of the past. Crazy.

5:36:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I've been asking people for years why they think he was a great president. The only cogent answer I've ever heard was
" for the first time I had a president who didn't tell me my ideas were stupid"

I think that's the key, although in his time he wasn't actually all that popular. It's helped that most of the information about him was suppressed, destroyed or has been sealed in perpetuity by his successors. A perfect set-up to enable an entirely fictitious hero to be invented.

His economic policies required George I to raise taxes. Some of his deregulation schemes were a disaster, His policy with terrorist acts was to cut and run or to make deals by selling them weapons and he committed one crime after another to finance a secret and illegal war and to train death squads to kill innocent civilians.

What does it say about America that we love a simpleton with cognitive function impaired by neurodegenerative disease and a disregard for the law?

10:25:00 AM  
Blogger ECOPHOTOS said...

Born and raised in New Jersey, the state where I also raised my family, I am gratified that NJ has taken this step.

My objection to the death penalty does not stem from any mushy, misguided sympathy for those who have committed heinous crimes. There is hardly a punishment befitting some of those offenders. My objection arises from an acknowledgment that the justice system is imperfect.

One need look no further than the Innocence Project for documented examples of persons convicted and incarcerated, and in some cases executed, for crimes they did not commit. Since there can be no guarantee of "perfect justice," there should be no capital punishment.

I agree with you about a fear-mongering, revenge-oriented system that refuses to acknowledge this.

8:16:00 AM  

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