Neck stretching

In the last few minutes the new has broken that Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. A travesty of a sentence – far to quick for this bastard; perhaps we should build a gallows with a spring on the rope so the evil sod bounces up and down. This would prolong his suffering and make him look more ridiculous at the same time. Rotten tomatoes would be issued to all spectators to throw and it would make a fine sport attempting to hit him as he jigged up and down on his spring-loaded.

Actually I’m joking… Well, kind of… I have no doubt that this swine deserves not only death but a long, slow and humiliating demise, but since I solidly believe that capital punishment is one of the most barbaric acts a society can perform I can’t support it, much as my emotions would push me to wanting to see him suffer and die. When a psychopathic murder takes lives, be it individually or en masse as dictators like Saddam (and too many others in our shared history), we believe they act out of evil. Whether you believe in religion and that evil is inspired by Lucifer or Djinn or if you hold no religious views but do try to maintain your own moral compass, we all know that there are such things as good and evil in the human society. The deliberate taking of life is evil; most people hold that to be true both morally, spiritually and legally. We do not advance good by adopting one of the most reviled tools of evil, the deliberate, cold-blooded taking of a life.

Yes, I know, he is a hideous creature, a true monster – a human who has allowed his soul to be devoured by the darkness that is always ready to rush in to our beings if we allow it, but we either believe in our principles and apply them equally, even to the worst, or else our principles are meaningless and we let the bastards score another victory over us. I won’t weep for Saddam if he is left to dance on air from the tree with no leaves, but neither will I celebrate. Killing is killing and when a society designs death into the structures of the state it perpetuates one of our worst evils and opens the door to let the darkness in. The result is always more evil and more hate and more death; it almost seems to be a human addiction.

Of course, some will say I’m being a bleeding heart liberal. I’m not. I’m trying to listen to the better angels of my nature. And it is damned hard. Those who call people opposed to capital punishment bleeding hearts (ironically, in the US, which executes vast amounts of people – and, hey, hasn’t that stopped violence there – many who believe in state execution profess to be fundamentalist Christians. Methinks they would make Christ weep) think they are strong and we’re being weak. They have it the wrong way round. We all feel those emotions which demand monsters like Saddam die; it would be all but impossible not to. Trying to rise above that isn’t being a bleeding heart or being weak, it is far harder than simply giving in to the desire for revenge and more death and we have more than enough of that in the world from disease, accident and disaster without adding to it. Acknowledge that darkness, but try not to give into it. And don’t try to kid yourself by dressing it up and calling it legal justice.

“Whosoever would fight monsters must take care that in the process he does not become one. For when you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks also into you.” Neitzche.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda.