Because yesterday Paul Ezra Rhoades was executed in Idaho. Man oh man am I glad that happened because he was a really bad dude. (From this point on I will try to avoid being snarky, a challenge most of you know is a hard one for me.)
Seriously, Rhoades was a really reprehensible human being. I'm not going to stand on a soapbox and tell you about how he changed and found God, or that he was a troubled soul who just needed love and compassion, or any of the other things some anti-death penalty peeps will blather on about.
Indeed, I think calling him a scumbag is an insult to scumbags. I shudder to think there are people like him walking among the rest of us.
But he's dead now. And because of that we are....
What has changed?
What was the purpose?
The thing is, I was going to write a similar diary before this execution in regards to Jerry Sandusky, another life form I hesitate to label "human."
Now, I'm not going to get into the politics of that issue, but, briefly, what I found disturbing is that in article after article after article about him, it was inevitable that there would be at least one comment stating that when he goes to prison, Sandusky is going to get raped by Bubba.
And I know that makes a lot of people feel better. Sadly, I know that we're all so giddy over the idea that he's going to get anally raped in prison we can't fucking wait for the guilty verdict to come in.
This makes me sad.
Not for Sandusky. I have ZERO sympathy for him.
It makes me sad for the people who keep hooray-ing this idea, this wonderful revenge rape fantasy upon him.
What has happened to your souls?
Then Rhoades makes the news again because he's about to executed, something that doesn't happen very often in Idaho. (The last execution was in 1994. I don't remember it because I was an apathetic and apolitical 15 year old back then [my, how the time flies] but you can read about it here and follow the links.)
Everyone is cheering and happy about the fact that he's going to be killed.
None of these people knew his name before November, but they can't wait for him to be killed.
"He deserves it" they say.
"Yeah, he's a sick sonuvabitch," I agree. "But why are you so invested in his death?"
"Because he shot a woman eight times and left her to die, to bleed to death! How can you defend someone like that?"
"I'm not. He's guilty, he admitted guilt, he killed her, he's an asshole. But he's also been on death row, so utterly unable to affect your life that you never even knew his name until this week. So why is it so important to you that he gets killed tomorrow?"
"Because he deserves it."
And that settles everything.
Because he deserves it.
I guess I'm just tired of living in this society that keeps saying "an eye for an eye."
We all know what the rest of the saying is, but we don't mention it when we talk about the death penalty, or when we talk about people who rape children.
I was asked, what if it was Amber*?
*Not her real name- that's my niece.
And I answer honestly, if someone ever hurt her, I'd kill him with my bare hands. There would be no mercy. There would be no limits to what I would do to him. I wouldn't stop to think before taking a baseball bat to his head and laughing at him while he died.
Because that is what he deserves, right?
But the thing is, I wouldn't be on the jury. I wouldn't be the judge. I have my own idea of what is just punishment is for anyone who hurts my niece, and it involves (as stated above) a baseball bat and a cracked skull.
So thankfully we have a system in place that stops me from going around and playing judge and jury for bad people. If we let that happen the world wouldn't be a better place, it'd just be a lot bloodier.
Indeed, the idea that I could go around punishing people for their crimes is laughable, and for good reason. Child rapist? Bat upside the head. Congress critter taking money from Big Oil? Solitary confinement!!!! Unemployed man stealing bread from the bakery? Pat on the back, a 20 dollar bill to help feed your family, and the address of a food bank that can help you out.
Yes, it makes me feel really good to think of the punishment I could give criminals. And I think most of society would agree with my forms of punishment because, hey, I'm just giving each man what he DESERVES.
But when it comes down to it, I don't want to live in that kind of society.
I want the law to be better than I am.
I want justice to be more tempered than I am.
I want to live in a society that views these life forms the way I do: sad cases of human beings gone wrong. Let's lock them up and throw away the key.
Let's put the Sandusky's and the Rhoades' and the Wells' behind bars, alone, for the rest of their lives, where they can never harm another human being again.
Because if we insist on giving people "what they deserve," we're not going to get any better. We're not going to BE any better.
I want to live in a society that doesn't view justice as revenge.
I want to live in a nation that values justice over bloodlust.
You never heard of Paul Ezra Rhoades before today because he was locked up and unable to harm another human being.
Now he's dead.
So how are you better for that?