As I scan the headlines and read the few stories that are not deeply depressing, I am beginning to think that it's possible that what many are now calling a Depression, not just a recession, may actually be our salvation.
The realization began to dawn when I saw an article in the Seattle paper about Capital Punishment, about which I have grave concerns. It appears that many states, mine among them, are considering doing away with Capital Punishment because of its immense financial costs. It's far more expensive than life imprisonment and, in these strapped times, states have to watch every penny. How wonderful it would be if Capital Punishment were scrapped because of how expensive it is! Of course, it would be more wonderful if states abolished it because it's wrong, but no matter how it happens, I would be glad.
I have many reasons for opposing Capital Punishment, not the least of which is its vengefulness. I just think it makes far better sense to let a capital criminal spend the rest of his/her life behind bars where s/he can consider the consequences of his/her crime, rather than be let off the hook by death. There is also the possibility that s/he will be proven innocent and there are some incredible tales about how this has happened (or not happened) in a number of incidents.
Washington is scheduled to put a criminal to death on Friday. I haven't done anything to protest this action nor have I seen anything in religious circles that any kind of protest is planned. But I feel hopeful that perhaps this will be the last in this state. It looks as if the guy is guilty; he's been through every appeal and is likely to die on Friday.
I'm sorry to feel so preoccupied by other concerns that his execution has not taken on greater significance for me and others. His was a heinous crime, the rape and murder of a young woman in the 80's. But I would rather he lived to regret his crime, to reflect on the life he took, to agonize over what he might have done differently. That seems like more of a punishment than to distract him from that reflection for years by teasing him with appeals and stays of execution.
If he lived, he might come to some kind of redemption, some kind of realization of what life can be like. But that possibility has been short-circuited by the years he has spent fighting his execution. I also wonder about the effect execution has on the executioners who prepare the man for his death and administer the injections that will kill him. I understand that the responsibility for the death is distributed among many, so that no one person feels the whole brunt of the act, but I wonder what it is like to be an executioner. What a terrible task to be paid to perform!