It’s so appealing. It’s part of out culture, perhaps part of our humanness. We’ve killed bad guys as long as we’ve been killing. David walloping Goliath is a classic Good Guy/Bad Guy story – and Goliath wasn’t even all that bad, as I can remember. He was just big and on the other team. In the US today, we also have the pleasure of joining our forebears in celebration the killing of Bad Guys by doing it ourselves, as a society. We take the bad guys, put them in prison for a long time, then finally knock ‘em off.
Killing is a hard habit to get out of. Remember that Jesus guy that people get all excited about? He said something pretty clear about how we shouldn’t kill people. His dad had his bearded mountaintop secretary write the same thing in stone. We kept killing. When Rome decided to become Christian there was a whole heap of issues that had to be worked out – one of the big ones being the philosophical and theological contortions the churchmen had to twist themselves into in order to turn a peaceful religion into the state religion of a pretty scarily warlike people. Soldiers marching under Jesus had to have a reason to ignore the central tenets of their faith – and those early church leaders did such a bang-up job of it we ended up with crusades, inquisitions, sectarian wars… and the ‘pro-life’ executioners and war-mongers who wave the big Cross today.
We like killing. I ain’t going to go all Konrad Lorenz and discuss the nature of it and all. I just think it bears saying.
All I’m getting to is that if we like killing, and we especially like killing bad guys, the probability of Terry Williams’ execution is just a bit too darkly ironic. We, as a society, will kill a bad guy for killing a bad guy. When we do it – it’s fine. Their guilt is Beyond Reasonable Doubt (how wrong that has proven to be of late). We KNOW they were bad, so we knock ‘em off.
However – it seems that Terry Williams would also have known Beyond Reasonable Doubt what those men had done to him. Years of abuse by power figures fucking him – until his anger exploded? YES it is wrong. YES I think it is bad to kill. But how dare we kill him for doing exactly what we are doing in turn?
I’m a bit triggered by all this. Not so good at the words and thoughts thing right now. So fill some in for me, willya?:
What have we learned?
“They should kill the fucker”
Justice, justice, justice.
What I can’t help feeling, reading that article on Terry Williams is the weight and darkness of that kids life. To be abused by his own parents and then abused by the few adults who should be looking out for him and represent the institutions that should protect him, leaving him with a world view that everyone is out to get you, use you, violate you and hurt you and then the climax of his short painful life is that the rest of society turns on him and decides to kill him as payment for a life of suffering. Hence he was betrayed by absolutely every institution that is put in place to take care of children; Family, Educational system, Church, and the law not to mention the people of the jury that represent all of society. How is it possible that one human being should suffer that much abuse? Even if there isn’t a God, even if all we have is the human spirit, how is it possible that no one in the 18 years of this kids life gave him any love? It makes me think of Richard III and the twisted soul raised without love and what that turns into as it grows and finds it’s own power. Power without love is a frightening thing; a monster. But who is the monster?
There are so many people on this earth that need love.
amen, man. Some lives are blighted from the womb onwards. We need to keep finding ways, as our society becomes more enlightened as to the real effects of trauma (see Davis Brooks op-ed in the NY Times today), to help those who need help.