There have been two major incidents here recently that have got me thinking again about a subject I have been going back and forth on for many years I am talking about the Death Penalty as a sanctioned state punishment for certain crimes.
The 'incidents' involve (1) two Russian men, one 18, the other 21, who murdered a taxi driver and stole his car; and (2) the "Grand Theft Auto" gang, whose business it was to stop motorists near Moscow by various means --including putting nails and other sharp objects in the road which caused their tires to go flat...so that when the unsuspecting drivers got out to look at the problem, gang-members would then be able to murder them in cold blood, apparently as part of an initiation rite to demonstrate their allegiance to yet another lunatic Islamic cult.
Some of the gang were eventually killed by police. O Happy Days. Some died at the courthouse on 1 August where they were trying to escape during a recess in the proceedings. Hallelujah. Of course, this came about only because of the careless way that five deadly male criminals were crammed into an elevator -- handcuffed with their arms in front of them, not behind !!! -- and guarded only by a 40-year-old policewoman and a 45-year-old man. (Isn't it interesting that our government, which is obsessed with controlling people's thoughts in every way from Facebook to Wikipedia to scanning bloggers for: unwanted" material, has no better idea of proper surveillance of real criminals than that ?!!)
As for these murderous followers of Allah, I cannot imagine more heartless crimes, especially when you consider that some of the victims were elderly people, and all of them in no position to defend themselves. So the question arises: what to do with such predators? Stick them in a prison cell for anything from a few years to the rest of their lives...or just chop off their heads?
If you ever have time on your hands and wish to research history's methods of dispatching the condemned, you may be astonished to find that nowhere has human ingenuity been more creatively employed than in coming up with the most ghoulish tortures imaginable. To name just one -- back in medieval times, a doomed man (or woman) would be hung upside down and what we would now call a hacksaw put to work precisely at the area of the genitals, and proceed straight down through the body like a metallic pirhanna. Why were the victims hung upside down? Simply because this posture caused the blood to race to the head, thus intensifying the agony. Apparently, people feel pain more when the blood is compressed in the nerve-endings of their skulls. Pretty clever, huh?
During the Elizabethan period in England, the time of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Raleigh, etc., when literature and higher learning was at a peak, political prisoners, traitors, Catholics, and the like, were placed on a gibbet in broad daylight before a mob of spectators, hanged to the point of suffocation, but then cut down while yet alive, disembowelled and forced to watch as their intestines were being rolled up on a stick and thrown into the fire, castrated (and the penis flung likewise to the flames), their chests torn open and their hearts ripped out, and finally their arms and legs chopped off. Thus the phrase "drawn and quartered". Then their decapitated heads would be soaked in brine (a kind of vinegar) to preserve them from rapid deterioration, and afterwards, the hysterically contorted faces, grinning with death, would be stuck up on poles atop London Bridge to remind passers-by of what seditious, anti-government ideas could lead to. Such was justice during the English Renaissance.
The good old days.
Yes, and does it surprise you, people still had anti-government ideas in the aftermath? Conspiracies unfolded, the 'traitors' were eventually rounded up, ripped to shreds in front of crowds roaring their approval, then things would quieten down again for a while, and so on -- until the whole process started up again. No one was deterred, it seems, from trying it afresh.
It is interesting to me that back then, in a world just as frenzied and ruthless, but much smaller and greener, much less given to modern-style psycho-analysis and contemporary pathologies of the mind: clinical depression, paranoia, schizophrenia, etc., people were put to death, often for offences which we today would consider minor, by methods which only a mad scientist could invent. They didn't just kill criminals back in those centuries; they seemed to revel in finding more and more ingenious ways of producing unspeakable pain. And they were good at it.
Have we changed? Cosmetically, of course, we have, at least those of us who do not go about stoning women to death for suspected adulty -- or merely adulterous ideas -- and stringing up homosexuals. That stuff comes out of Islamic religious law, and -- don't get me started, please -- it is not the religion for me. But it seems that we still struggle -- I struggle -- with notions of retribution and revenge. The gray solemnity of the law isn't enough. I/We crave for the scarlet and claret. When I first read about the murderers I mentioned at the beginning, my impulse was that I wanted to see them rendered BRUTALLY dead. Not just quietly and secretly eliminated. I mean, I wanted to WATCH them die. Screaming. For a moment my outrage had no mercy. I no longer expect the universe to be fair. But something in me feels violated to the point of mania when I read such stories, and I want to execute the killers myself. These murderers rape my soul, and I want revenge. Are these ideas right or wrong?
I will discuss such notions further in the next blog.
===Eric Richard Leroy===