In London there has been a recent spate of teenagers throwing acid into the faces of pizza delivery boys. Most of these 'kids' are Black, which further fans the flames of retribution in the minds of basically law-abiding white people. Would the social philosophers of liberalism advocate facial acid for the perpetrators? Of course not. Barbaric, they would yelp.
And do the criminals feel any sense of guilt? I sincerely doubt it. However, since they represent a racial minority in a politically correct country, the liberal-minded argument will opine that, in fact, they -- the criminals -- are somehow victims. Victims of a social order that, due to institutionalized racism, is aligned against them, resulting in such occasional outbursts of anti-social behavior. Therefore Forgivable. (If only Black people would admit how far they have come in the eyes of the law.)
The wisdom of the Left weighs in against the old "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" model. We must be better than that, such enlightenment exhorts us. 'Revenge' impulses can not be allowed to turn us into 'animals' --so they say. And yet we seem to be living in a world where, amid our computers and our cyberspace, out-of-control violence and seemingly pointless, mindless savagery abound. Indeed, such refined notions of high moral rectitude on part of the Professors resonate as an abstract theory -- serviceable as long as it wasn't YOUR child who was sacrificed, YOUR wife who wasn't raped and beaten to death, YOUR grandparents who were not shot or butchered as part of some maniacal initiation rite.
I wrote earlier of the fact that the death penalty does not keep people from committing crimes that....well, result in the death penalty. There is no argument to make against that fact. Also, it must be factored in that people kill other people for many reasons: uncontrollable rage, sexual jealousy, alcohol-and drug related mania, greed and the hope of profit, racial and religious hatred, professional, mafia and government directed motives etc. Surely, some of these situations have what we would call 'mitigating circumstances.' Crimes of passion, crimes caused by carelessness, recklessness, momentary madness, and so forth, do not always suggest the wisdom of medieval methods of punishment..
But what about those atrocities that are committed methodically, by people who had plenty of time to think it over before they acted -- and still chose to rob another human being of his or her life? This is what we call 'cold-blooded' murder. Many such criminals think, or have thought, that they could get away with it. Hide the body -- no body, no crime, etc. A further problem now seems to be that more and more people kill -- including those who commit the kind of mass murders that happen mostly in the USA -- because of some ungovernable sense of alienation and unfocused fury. These people kill at random and often, it appears, for "fun". They don't seem to care whether they get away with it or not. For many, it is a "showtime" way of committing suicide. Are such individuals, if they are apprehended, worthy of any compassion?
So if the desire for 'revenge' is an acknowledged element of our response to the actions of those I mentioned at the very beginning of these blogs, how far should it extend? Again, I revert to the following idea: If it is someone else's loved one who is murdered, you can play the liberal social philosopher and cry "Two wrongs don't make a right." If it is your loved one who was mutilated, tortured, stabbed multiple times by a chuckling psychopath, you are likely going to drop the philosophical bullshit and start looking for a gun or knife yourself.
If so, I am with you 100%. But....
Two days ago, while I was working on this by now very extended essay, I wrote the following:
"I advise this: exterminate these bastards. Painfully and in public. I shouldn't say it -- I know I shouldn't -- but I WILL: I would enjoy watching monsters like this boiled or hacked to death, or fed to wild pigs. Or maybe we could turn it into a new way for the government to make money. I mean, fill Spartak Stadium and have the psychopaths launched from one goal into a stone wall erected at the other. They would catapult through the air headfirst into the barrier, and the crowd could enjoy the moment of impact -- Smack and Splash !!-- of their brains dripping down the wall after the collision. Great !! Much better than a goalless draw between two inferior football teams, don't you think? Put it on First Channel for those unlucky enough to miss out on buying a ticket. Just publicize it so an enthusiastic crowd could gather either in person on the TV screen. And please give me time to grab a hotdog and Pepsi cola before the fun starts."
I wrote that, and I was damned proud of it. I WANTED it. Now I am not so sure. I think it makes me sound ridiculous and lose credibility with my readers. Doubts spread over me like a rash.
Once, years ago, I was teaching at a school where there were many kids with discipline problems. There was one kid I really disliked, and his parents, over the phone to the school principal, gave me permission to beat this kid with a paddle -- as was done in those days. I had dreamed of this moment -- just wearing this little f*cker out. But given the chance, I refused. I saw fear in his face for the first time. I could have really abused that little fart. But I didn't. I handed the piece of wood back to the principal.
Does it mean I would be OK with someone else wiping out evil as long as I don't have to pull the trigger myself? What are my limits living in a world where increasingly there are no limits? I have never killed anyone; neither have you or your Uncle Vanya or your Aunt Natasha. Right? Could you? Could I? Sometimes, outraged, I throb with bloodlust. Sometimes, I want to set fire to the evil people. In my reveries, I mutilate them, laugh at them as they die screaming. Because they DESERVE it.
But only in delicious daydreams. In reality, I have never come close. I think that if you believe in capital punishment, you should not just turn your head while someone else, someone in a uniform maybe, does the dirty deed. You have to be prepared to do it yourself. But, at least so far, I haven't killed anyone. Nor was I ever a soldier. I never had permission to kill and then say it was OK. I would imagine that even when the official OK is given, for many it still leads to a private nightmare.
Nevertheless, I think that a point can be reached where certain people forfeit their right to live among us. George Orwell's word "vaporized" comes to mind. In the end, I can only say this honestly, as honest as I can get. Come to my house. Abuse my family, kill my wife and dogs, and let me catch you. Will I kill you? I think so. If I can.
If they put you in a cell for ten years, and then ask me if I want to end your existence, probably some kind of spirituality -- or some bleak rank of despair that you, murderer, would never understand, will cause me to walk away. Or you will escape and murder me while I am still thinking it over.
===Eric Richard Leroy===
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