As a young farm boy I first witnessed a local country butcher slaughter one of our screaming calves. My tender senses were so over assaulted that I swore I would never eat another hamburger again.
But I got over it. I eventually shrugged: ‘Regrettable, but necessary’.
When I was a relatively young man working in West Africa, a group of highway brigands robbed us. Then had their way with us. And were about to butcher us.
I thought I was non-violent. But I quickly got over it. Started screaming. And slaughtered them, instead. And after a very long time I finally ceased screaming and shrugged: ‘Regrettable, but necessary’.
Last week a couple of young terrorists, from no-place-you’d-ever-want-to-visit-in-rebellious-Russia’s-Northern-Caucasus-mountains, closed down Boston to fear and screams. They bombed. They maimed. They killed.
If they were jihadists, the older Tsaranev brother endeavoring to be a Muslim-martyr-wannabe, might just be awakening in heaven or hell about now. And no doubt screaming with terrible disappointment: “Where are my 72 virgins?!”
Hmm… I guess he didn’t get the memo: There ain’t no virgins in heaven. They’re all in hell. Still making ‘most’ of the rest of us painfully miserable.
Meanwhile, his younger, 19-year-old terrorist brother, Dzhokhar, may or may not survive his wounds long enough to be tried and executed, and — do I dare offer – slaughtered…butchered…call it whatever you prefer: Hanged, fried, gassed, injected, rejected…or simply ejected from our meshugehnah planet – our penal colony.
Let’s just call it the same thing as it was officially tempered under that bastard Tudor kingdom of Henry VIII – judicial murder.
And once more the vast majority of us will all shrug: ‘Regrettable, but damn necessary’!
And though I damn well agree! Whole heartedly. I always have. Hang him up by the neck – what duh hell, what duh hell, what duh heck! And put it on TV, U-tube, FaceBook…High Definition…And make it hurt!
However, at the same time, I must pause to wonder what the hell happened to our hand-wringing personal freedom fighters. That is, our public debate on capital punishment. And torture. Not to mention revenge – especially with this country’s vast Christian majority who readily preach: “The ultimate revenge is forgiveness.”
Hmm… As I’ve always insisted, when politics and most other matters get personal, we get very Machiavellian: “Revenge calms the pain of betrayal.”
Isn’t it simply anesthetizing? That is, how our polite, civilized, academic discussion over glasses of sipped Brandy now becomes quickly subjugated to the raging mob wielding torches and pitchforks, demanding: Off with his head!
It’s like that erstwhile Philadelphia thug of a mayor once proclaimed: ‘A liberal is just somebody who hasn’t been mugged yet.’
Indeed, morality is what the majority of the people want at this time and that place. Immorality is what the majority doesn’t want
Look, we’ve always recognized that capital punishment is fundamentally as wrong a cure for crime as charity is a cure for poverty. But now the atavistic carnivore in all of us is screaming for exactly the same thing our hearts demand — blood.
We’ve got devout anti-capital punishment folks being quoted in the press qualifying that “this time it’s different. A terrorist deserves to die!” We’ve even got a pusillanimous New York State Senator apparently inflating his pair of suddenly macho ‘beach’ balls, insisting that this SOB be tortured.
Hmmm…torture. And I always thought we were supposed to be a righteous country. I mean, excluding waterboarding. Or, helicopter tossing. Or, electric can be shocking. Or… well, you get the …duplicity.
Meanwhile, are we thinking how duh other guys – you know those badly bearded, smelly folks who sleep with their camels and stone their women—will reciprocate when they capture our fighting and civilian men and women? And the violence will be escalated to what: To might makes right… Or, is it right makes might?
I don’t know.
And does it really matter?
In the aftermath we may not recognize our lost innocence in the harsh morning mirror. We are not the same Americans we were before Pearl Harbor…and 911…and lots of other stuff.
We ain’t virgins no more. We aren’t even as righteous – or at least as supercilious about it. We’re not a ‘little bit pregnant” anymore. It got aborted. The fetus got tossed with the sanctimonious baptism water.
Since the Palestinians first escalated it to the world’s stage decades back, terrorism has once again demonstrated it is deliberately prepared to stop at nothing in creating human victims.
And although we catalogue it by different fragrances, we in the West ain’t exactly ingénues at this terrible game of bomb tossing. We’ve long made our bones. After all, terrorism is merely the tactic of demanding the impossible and demanding it at gunpoint.
So…before we fry this Chechen guy, we must first decide – without equivocation and foggy vagueness – just who we are and what we seek to represent to the world. Because for the most part we’ve been acting like an embarrassed angel with an erection. Perhaps, more like a drunken, lascivious Satyr licking lips among those voluptuous, naked Greek beauties: We just don’t know what position we want to be in.
We’ve got to get ourselves focused, disciplined and dedicated. Get our heads out of our irritable bowels.
What we can’t be is a gut-checking reactionary. That is, a guy walking backwards with his face to the future.
For instance, everything our Transportation Security Administration (TSA) seems to do is reactionary. First they banned the box cutters; then of course you had to take your shoes off; then you had to take the liquids out; then we had to be patted down in our private areas because of the diaper bomber….And now, suddenly, small knives and nail clippers are allowed back on board….