Enforce Whatcha Got, Rather Than Making More Laws

Wow, sense out of the DoJ? Now, if only they’ll wholeheartedly prosecute the MSFT case forward from where it is…but I digress.

I noted that I disagreed with Sean about gun control. We had a nice discussion over ICQ about it, where we both asked questions and got answers. I gave Sean some information he didn’t have, then decided I’d look it up online to see if I can find it. You have to wade through the controversy over dumping NICS checks after one day, but a story on FoxNews.com [since deleted] notes that the Ashcroft Justice Department is doing what the Reno Justice Department failed to do: enforce our gun laws. [semi-rant follows]

For all the people that want more gun control, I offer this fact: 217,000 NICS checks showed a possible denial. Only 294 of those 217,000 were ever apprehended during the time period of the Brady Act’s enactment [early in the Clinton Administration, sometime in 1994, IIRC] until January 5th of this year. [Ashcroft picks his statistical, historical data points well.]

Continue reading Enforce Whatcha Got, Rather Than Making More Laws

The NRA

Mmmm, so Heather is mulling joining the NRA. My comment to her is thus: join the organization so that you can reform it. For one, if you get their publications, you get to see their spin on their work, which rarely if ever gets through the general media. [The NRA makes a great straw man to beat.] Of course, you also get to see some of the NRA’s over-the-line stupidity, too. I’m a member mainly because I have also written letters to the organization to tell them to straighten up. They won’t listen if they don’t get my money, but if they do, they’re more likely to listen.

They’re right more often than they’re wrong. This reminds me…I need to get my right-to-carry license now that I’m of age. I also need to find a decent handgun. I don’t anticipate ever needing it, but I understand that being armed is a deterrent.

Today, I am ashamed to be an American.

I’d like to thank President Bush, whom I voted for and generally approve of as POTUS, for highlighting this issue in clear terms, for I can make clear my disagreement with him further than I did yesterday.

To wit: “The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been given not vengeance but justice.”

No, Mr. President, this was vengeance, not justice.

From Merrian-Webster Online:

Vengeance: “punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offense : RETRIBUTION – with a vengeance 1 : with great force or vehemence 2 : to an extreme or excessive degree”

Justice: “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments b : JUDGE c : the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity 2 a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : RIGHTEOUSNESS c : the quality of conforming to law 3 : conformity to truth, fact, or reason : CORRECTNESS”

I hold that taking Life, even under due process of law, is vengeance but not justice. It is a great force, and it is to an extreme or excessive degree. Bush calls it the “severest” penalty–believe it or not, that is correct grammar–and yes, it is. It’s the ultimate penalty, and we’re interposing ourselves into God’s realm of judgement.

“And one young man met the fate he chose for himself six years ago.”

No, society chose that fate for him. McVeigh chose to take Life. We as a society did not have to choose to take Life in return.

“Life and history bring tragedies, and often they cannot be explained. But they can be redeemed. They are redeemed by dispensing justice � though eternal justice is not ours to deliver.”

Yes, and in the matter of taking Life away from someone, we have tried to place ourselves between God and Timothy James McVeigh. In fact, I feel that we denied that man an opportunity for forgiveness and repentance–we’re taught that we can forgive and repent only when we die. After we die, we are to assume that we cannot atone for our sins.

In quoting William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” as his final words, McVeigh showed his defiance. Who’s to say that he would have repented? I cannot judge Tim McVeigh’s heart. I don’t know him, and now I never will. But I would rather have given Timothy James McVeigh every opportunity to change his heart, to exercise his free will.

I had an email discussion with my friend Gary about this. His comment was that the American criminal justice system, not American society, claimed Life from McVeigh. I responded with the distillation of the Lockean principles our government is founded upon: “No government rules without the just consent of the governed.” We could change this. I hope that I can help do so before my days on this earth are finished.

In imposing a limit on his Life–which, presumably, only God does otherwise, discounting those like McVeigh who murder–we, as an American society, have denied him the opportunity to repent. Yes, he had that opportunity, but he showed signs of still being angry towards the government. What’s a few years when we’re talking about eternity?

Please, Don’t Kill McVeigh

I remember discussing a variety of things one day with my good friend, Paul Valentine. One of the things that came up was the death penalty. Surprisingly to me, Paul was against it. At the time, I was pretty much for it. Now, I have come to believe much as Paul does; I have to sit down with him next week and get his reasons from him, though. Read on to see why I believe as I do.
Continue reading Please, Don’t Kill McVeigh

Please, Don’t Kill McVeigh

I remember discussing a variety of things one day with my good friend, Paul Valentine. One of the things that came up was the death penalty. Surprisingly to me, Paul was against it. At the time, I was pretty much for it. Now, I have come to believe much as Paul does; I have to sit down with him next week and get his reasons from him, though. Read on to see why I believe as I do.

If there is one thing Man has not learned how to grant in this world, it is Life. Oh, sure, we have infertility treatments, in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, and other actions to replace the shamanism and non-scientific beliefs of the past. But in each of those cases, Man creates Life from the tools of Life: sperm and egg. Those tools come from sources that God has already breathed Life into, and therefore Man’s simply playing chemist.

If Life is sacred, and many cultures hold it to be, then it is to be nourished, protected, guarded, and guided. Presumably, this is why we imprison people: we wish to protect and guard society from their actions, and we wish to nourish and guide their actions in order to make them productive members of society. But this view has the idealistic notion that, given a choice, we’ll all go right. Human history has proven time and again that, given free will, Man can and often does choose the wrong thing.

The ultimate penalty, then, is the removal of Life from an individual. That is society’s highest power: to collectively say, “You can no longer walk this Earth with us.” It is a fate worse than exile, than life imprisonment, than suicide. In choosing to remove Life, Man plays God.

It’s fitting to note the obvious: that, as a Christian, the fundamental tenets of the doctrine I have chosen to live my life by are the result of an execution. When I started writing this entry, I asked myself again: What had Christ done to deserve to die? The answer’s woefully inadequate: blasphemy, as adjudicated by the Pharisees and Saducees. Blasphemers should perhaps be whipped [He was] or chained [He was]; there was no reason to kill the Son of God, other than God’s reason for doing so. That’s why it took the inordinate step of mob rule shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” to convince Pontius Pilate that he best be about killing Jesus of Nazareth, lest the crowd turn upon Him.

I often wonder at that moment. Pilate is so obviously a politician. He went into the gig with Christ wondering what he’d done to run afoul of Jewish law. Finding that out, I’m sure Pilate found it no more distasteful than any other blasphemer, especially considering that Pilate likely didn’t hold to the Jewish tenets himself. [I’m 99% sure he did not, but my uncertainty is a product of my lack of education.] Pilate thought that he might get Jesus let off of this deal, because he was undeniably popular with the people. Politicians are that creature that gauge and manipulate public opinion to their own ends, which usually involves staying in power as long as possible.

It is for these reasons, I feel, that we have the death penalty again in this country. We want it. We crave it. We seek justice. But will killing Timothy McVeigh bring back the 168 that died in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995? No. They’ll be just as dead as they were yesterday. They’ll be just as dead as Timothy McVeigh will be come 15 hours from now.

My stomach churns at the thought of Man playing God again. McVeigh played God, removing 168 people from this Earth. Why should we judge him? Let us simply say, “He is unfit to be a part of our society,” and then exile him. Since the world today wouldn’t allow us to exile him somewhere else–and this wouldn’t be advantageous, as McVeigh would still likely run amok if he were on the outside–his exile is a prison, where he is effectively removed from society. Yes, society pays a monetary price to do that, but in my view, it’s far, far better to pay that monetary price, which doesn’t matter much in the long run, than it is to pay the social price of killing yet another of God’s creatures.

Much like Pilate, I don’t want Timothy McVeigh’s blood upon my hands. Come tomorrow morning, we will all be just that much more guilty.

Enough with Reagan-philia!

It’s gone too far. It’s gone far too freakin’ far. George Will blasts the Reagan-philes in his usual erudite way.

Mind you, I think pretty highly of Reagan–in my thought process that politicians should have a few simple, core beliefs that they govern from and never but never stray–but talk of putting a “Reagan Memorial” on the Mall? Please. Reagan goes as either the best or second-best president post-WWII [obviously, Kennedy would be the alternative in that discussion], but did either irretrievably and irrevocably change the American landscape? Not really. Now Roosevelt, yes, did, but only in cementing the concept of entitlement in the American mindset. Were the man not dead, I think I would cause him great harm for that…

McCain-Feingold: A Poor Solution to a Non-existent Problem

George Will has a great piece on the First Amendment, skirting McCain-Feingold. When will we get the facts, like spending per capita on campaigns last cycle was about $5? Please. We don’t need less money in politics; we do need better accountability. In principle, I suppport Chuck Hagel’s solution; I haven’t had the opportunity to pore over it as I’d like. Too busy with SGA stuff to look it over. Such is life.