I've been thinking lately about the physiological reactions I have to the news lately. Bill O'Reilly, if you can call that news, has made me so angry at times that my face gets red, my lips curl up, and I can't get to sleep because I'm so mad. When I read about Jimmy Ray Slaughter being executed
in Oklahoma, I got light-headed and nauseous, kind of like when you're free-falling in an amusement park ride or when you don't weigh enough to give blood and you are about to pass out. Also, last night when I was watching the video taken from death row in San Quinten where Scott Peterson is now, I had a similar feeling, and was inclined to turn off the TV.
I won't babble on about Bill O'Reilly because I'm guessing most sane people have similar reactions. Maybe not quite so physiological, but nonetheless, similar. We'll just say that I internalize it more than most.
But this whole death penalty stuff, state sponsored execution, is infinitely disturbing to me, even when I watch movies where there are hangings or be-headings or electrocutions. Even if there is no question of the condemned's guilt, it still disturbs me. I usually look away, walk out of the room, or change the channel until it passes. Friends with which I may be watching the movie might think I'm weird, but once I have that image in my head, I can't stop thinking about it. That anti-gravity, low blood-pressure, nauseous feeling persists.
Oddly enough, I can watch the gorriest Quentin Tarantino movie and love it. Seeing that fella in Reservoir Dogs get his ear cut off, then shot didn't affect me in the slightest. Great stuff!! Why, then does state-sponsored killing offend me and gangster killing not?
Even serial killers, and murders don't bother me that much. Sometimes the investigations can be quite interesting. Hearing the stories, seeing the evidence. All great fun! Now, I've never had anyone close to me be killed or tortured, and maybe if I did, I'd feel differently. I also have that "it can't happen to me mentality" as those things are fairly uncommon, generally drug or revenge or robbery related. I don't sell drugs, I'm usually nice to people so there's no reason to exact revenge upon me, and I don't have much stuff to steal. But if someone broke into my house, I'm sure my killer beagle would, uh, I don't know, probably want a belly rub or something.
I haven't followed the Scott Peterson trial at all, so I don't know anything about the trial or the evidence. I can't speak to whether I feel he is guilty or not. Our justice system says he is. But I don't believe that our justice system can be 100% accurate. No justice system can be, except for that of some higher power, if you believe that sort of thing. Certainly not here on Earth and here in the United States of Corrupt Power-Drunk Politicians.
Jimmy Ray Slaughter was claiming his innocence as they shot him up with the lethal injection. I don't know the facts on that case either, as I did not follow it. But how can the State of Oklahoma know 100% that he did commit the crime? Our justice system generally uses the "reasonable
doubt" test but when you are putting people to death. I would think there should be "no
doubt," as there is no way to change your mind if conflicting evidence arises after the person is already dead.
I just don't think us humans should have the power to decide such things. Our judgments can never be perfect or administered fairly. There's also the argument that the death penatly costs government more money than life in prison due the expensive appeals process, but I won't dwell on that.
And what's with people turning out to see executions? I would NEVER want to see something like that. Never. Never. Never. Not on TV, and certainly not in real life. What's the fascination with it? I could maybe understand if it was your family member that was murdered, and wanting to get revenge and somehow feeling better to see that justice was served. But nevertheless, you will never get your loved one back.
Any kind of death in one's family is a difficult thing, but harming another human being is not going to bring back the one you lost. So what purpose does the death penalty serve exactly?
So, back to the physiological reaction that I get from hearing about such things. Maybe I was executed in a previous life, and I'm reliving that experience through my subconscious? I just find the death penalty to be so incredibly reprehensible. A judicial system, appointed by our government that is so corrupt, and mainly focused on who gets to be in power and how to win the next election, making these life and death decisions, gets me right in the gut.
Alright, enough of that. Let's all lighten up, drink a little green beer, watch some basketball, and pinch someone who isn't wearing green tonight! I can assure you I won't be wearing anything green tonight.