The Road to Hell (starts in UCLA?)
Posted by honestpoet on January 9, 2007
My christmas tree is still up and decorated, despite my meaning to take it down for the past two days. Yoga and flute practice have gotten in the way, and research on the ‘puter. I’ve checked out some other blogs. (My daddy always said that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. So should I get rid of the good intentions?…oh, I should do more of what I intend. Well, sure, but that’s a lot easier said than done.)
One of the things that caught my eye was that business about the tazering at UCLA. That’s not exactly a clear cut case, I’ll tell you what. The student clearly had a chip on his shoulder and should simply have shown his ID. The whole thing could have been avoided. But can I blame an Iranian-American for having a chip on his shoulder? I can only imagine what he’s been through.
And the cops. Well. I’ve known a few good cops (my dad, for one, for about 11 years), but on the whole I’d say most of them are power-mad head cases, though some do have good hearts. Still power-mad, but with no desire to be evil.
Some are just plain evil.
Most are a mix, a confused, ego-dystonic mix. Dealing with criminals, and even maybe-criminals, is pretty stressful. My dad discharged his gun only once on duty,(he was a cop a long time ago, in a beachfront town), and he told me that he nearly shot his foot off, then fired the rest of the shots into the floor as he raised his sights to the robber he was trying to stop. He’d been terrified.
You know, I’ve known about how messed-up-evil people can be for a while, having read a lot of my dad’s library, or at least leafed through, in that teen-aged way, enough books to leave a pretty big impression. He was a criminologist, having returned to school after some time as a homicide detective; he ended up running the police academy for a long time. So I used to read about serial killers, and the pathology behind things like the Jonestown massacre (this was pre-Waco), and all that sort of thing. But still, as a kid, I was totally against the death penalty. I’m still not crazy about the idea of state-sanctioned murder. Seems like revenge, though from a pragmatic point of view, some people really do sort of sign away their human rights by behaving like monsters. If you’re gonna rape a little kid in the ass, for example, you don’t really deserve to live, the way I see it. We as a species can’t afford to keep that sort around. Hubby said to me the other day, on this subject, that he used to be against the death penalty, until he sat in a room interviewing a patient who’d raped and killed little kids. “You talk to someone who skinned kids and wore’em as socks, and you kinda figure some people just aren’t meant to be alive.”
What a huge responsibility, though, dispensing justice. I can see why so many have wanted to have a god to do that for them.
You wouldn’t want to kill the wrong person, eh? And it’s been done. Too many times. Once would be too many. But it’s been way more. And who knows how many’ve died without their innocence coming to light.
Maybe now with DNA evidence they’ll be able to really demand things be “beyond a shadow of a doubt.” I mean, a SHADOW of a doubt? If believers were held up to a standard that stringent, I don’t think many from the past few hundred years, at least, would stand a chance through the pearly gates. (No wonder the Catholics invented purgatory. ‘Course, all that money for indulgences was probably pretty heavy in the scales, too.) But cops have been known to plant evidence. (If I were a man, I’d sure think twice about selling sperm.)
But back to the death penalty and its unjust practice. Up to now, it’s been disproportionately dispensed. Guess who gets it the most often? Black folk hurtin’ white folk. You betcha.
I’m betting we’ll watch the numbers rise for Muslim-Americans. I wonder what it feels like to watch your group slide into the status of a minority that goes beyond being hated into being persecuted.
I mean, I’m part of a hated, traditionally persecuted minority…three of them, even: witches, atheists, and pot-smokers. I’m a pot-smokin’ atheist witch. How you like them apples? But all those groups I’ve joined by choice (well, the witch part is debatable. I grew up hearing stories about my great-great-grandmother, whose birthday I share, who was as witchy a woman as my town had seen, I reckon. So I may come by that naturally…), and I can choose to keep quiet about them all, too.
But to be born to a group, your face and your name, that catches that much flack. And to watch it go from bad to worse. I’ve thought about what that must be like, for decent Muslims in America who really don’t want to hurt anyone, just want to be left alone to do their jobs and raise their families. I’m not saying they’re all wonderful. I know some don’t treat their women and/or children right…but I could say that about any group. And yeah, they believe in a wacky religion that’s right now rife with extremists. (Anyone just tuning in: I think all religions are wacky, so don’t think I’m bigoted or anything. I just think the best way to deal with reality is, well, by accepting it, thanks.)
But back to that kid at UCLA. If I were a peace-loving Muslim in America, I’d be raising my voice, that’s for dang sure. But I wouldn’t be swearing at cops. I’d be arguing with my imam.