Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sowers of the Wind: Steven Hayes was convicted today of murder, sexual assault and other counts by a jury that heard eight days of gruesome testimony. There have been SO many horrific utterly inexplicable cases of inhuman treatment by one man against another that I have lost count. One odious crime often blends into the next. The wholesale murder of the beautiful Petit family of Connecticut by two unconscionable men who invaded the private peace of the Petit home, though, is so remarkably odious and is so far beyond the scope of sanity that it defies diagnostic description but must be sketched permanently into the synaptic map of the human brain. This tragedy was so inhuman I cannot find the words to express the monstrosity of the acts. It reminds me of Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" where Capote writes of the planning, torture and murder of the innocent Clutter family of four in Kansas by a couple of two-bit thieves and misfits. The question in both these cases is why. Capote comes to the conclusion, I think, that nothing is done in cold blood and that everything and everyone has an emotional story behind it.

Of what stuff are the perpetrators made that they view life as something so cheap and take it so easily? What poison crossed over the blood brain barrier and infiltrated their sickening minds to ALLOW them to exit the boundaries of sanity into the world of the insane? I shake my head in disbelief. I have no answers for the unanswerable. How can men kill with such ease, impunity and malice but have no conscience to restrain their unrestrained explosive anger? I do not know.

Through thousands of years of socialization, STILL, even now, man often lacks the capacity for empathy; the ability to put his feet in the other guy's shoes and THINK about how the other guy might feel. What childhood is responsible for these unspeakable crimes? There are no answers except that through all of man’s religiosity, through all of his teaching, through all of his thousands of years of socialization man's inhumanity to man still goes unbridled and unchecked. It is as true for nation states as it is true for one person. It is as prevalent now as it was at the dawn of recorded history and, perhaps, more so because man now is so technologically advanced.

Yes, in this case, I am glad for the death penalty option even though often I am against it. When, though, the crime is SO beyond the scope of human decency and strays SO far and so wide into another realm of utterly unspeakable horrific acts of human cruelty then my human yearning for justice and revenge prevails.

When is a crime worthy of the death penalty? As Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography "I know it when I see it." The murder of an entire family fits that bill. Sometimes there is a crime so dastardly and humanly irredeemable that it begs for state revenge. Yes, I know, it does not bring back the victims BUT in the words of the prophet Hosea 8:7: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” In this case I hope they surely will!

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