The Family That Slays Together
There were two reports on CNN this morning that I found especially relevant to the human condition in the USA today. The first item was a very sad story. Many years ago a couple in Florida lost a son that was kidnapped and murdered by a man who is scheduled to die in Florida's death chamber today. The execution is questionable because he would be receiving the "cocktail" of lethal chemicals that has been determined as "inhumane."
The second story had to do with a six year old boy nicknamed the "Deer Slayer" because he has killed six deer in the past year; the last one being a 140 pound doe. There was film of his mom showing him how to aim and the proud papa extolling the brilliance of his son. His prowess with the gun is being celebrated and he was being feted as a prodigy. One can only imagine the potential of this talented young man and deer all over his community should tremble at his name.
I profoundly resonated with the pain that the parents are still feeling after years of a legal struggle to see justice for their son's murder. Even though the mother admitted that the execution of their son's killer would not bring their son back or bring an end to their suffering, they are eagerly awaiting the death of another mother's son and are planning a celebration for this Saturday.
Even if there were a humane way to execute convicted killers, the death penalty has not been proven to prevent or even inhibit the high incidences of violent crime in this country. We are the nation with the highest amount of gun violence and also the highest number of executions in any "First World" country. Obviously, executing people does not prevent other murders. Justice is of paramount importance, but so is social justice and one has to wonder, along with family dysfunction or environmental poison, what societal deprivations lead people to commit horrible crimes.
I cannot resonate with a family that exalts in killing other living beings and teaches their little Deer Slayer to use weapons to line their walls with trophies of God's beautiful creatures. This story reminds me of Little Georgie Bush who enjoyed putting firecrackers in the anuses of frogs and blowing the defenseless creatures up. How hard will it be for the Deer Slayer to take his marksmanship skills and march off to war to slay humans for another bloodthirsty Commander in Chief in about a dozen or so more years?
While the CNN moderator, Heidi Collins, was definitely leaning to the side of executing the convicted child-slayer, I was reminded of the hostility that I have received from her colleagues all over the airwaves for wanting justice for my son's murder.
Every day I am bombarded with the voice and pictures of Casey's murderers. On Veteran's Day the Coward Cheney, who got 5 deferments from going to Vietnam, desecrated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That same day Coward George, who went AWOL from the Alabama Air National Guard, told a group in Waco, Texas, that our soldiers are dying for a "cause that is noble." From all credible evidence that one does not see on CNN, BushCo lied to our world and millions of people are dead, wounded or displaced and the Cowardly Duo are free to roam and continue their serial crimes.
I have always been against capital punishment. However, I never judged family members for wanting to see justice for their loved ones murders. I was not in their shoes, but I hoped that if a similar thing happened to one of my children, that I would be able to live out my belief that all killing is wrong. There has been the rare, yet sacred, case where a loved one has forgiven his/her child's killer and has begged courts for life in prison, and not execution. Unfortunately, I was forced into those shoes by the deception and greed of my nation and I can say that I do not wish death for George and Dick, but it doesn't even look like I will get any kind of justice for my son's death.
With impeachment "off the table," I can hardly look forward to mere imprisonment for those responsible for my child's death.
Decades ago, our nation was responsible for the deaths of millions of American soldiers and Vietnamese and the total destruction and contamination of an entire country, and not one person was held accountable for that disaster: not even the Lieutenant who was responsible for the My Lai Massacre.
Our national identity rests on and has been formed by violence and greed. Congress has a chance to slow down, if not reverse, that cycle but will give George Bush billions more to wage their (the mess belongs to all the branches co-equally) illegal occupation because, instead of protecting life and liberty for all, they viciously protect the life and liberty of their elitist club only.
We are the only ones who can slow down this vicious, bloody cycle by looking at our own paradigms of right and wrong and peace and justice and being non-violent actors and not knee-jerk reactors on this stage called life.
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.