Sunday, July 15, 2007

The human thirst for revenge

I was watching a show about the Yosemite Killer today, and a family member of one victim said she just wanted the killer "gone." I took this as a request for the death penalty. In another show I saw about Pedro Lopez, who murdered as many as 200 young women in South America, the families of the victims were all but forming a lynch mob to track him and murder him. Maybe it's because I've never lost a loved one to a violent crime, but all of this is a little unsettling to me. Grief makes people do crazy things, but why should bloodlust be among them? Wasn't the desire to take a human life what caused the problem in the first place? As rational human beings, we should be able to rise above the baser instincts that the rapists and murderers of society let themselves fall prey to. Some advocates of capital punishment say that it's about more than revenge, but with both FBI profiler John Douglas and one of Ted Bundy's would-be victims expressing a desire to "pull the switch," it makes me doubt that it's about anything but revenge. The desire for revenge lives in all of us, but we're a civilized society. Haven't we grown beyond the medieval practice of public hangings? As FBI profiler Robert Ressler says in his book Whoever Fights Monsters, the thousands of dollars spent by the state to execute Ted Bundy to sate the bloodlust of the outraged public could have been put to much better use, such as building crime labs, training law enforcement officials and research.
Onto the personal front. The guy I met a month ago, who I thought could be the love of my life, told me he can't be involved with anyone right now. We still talk, but he said he might not even be in the area much longer, and I feel like the forces of luck have conspired against me yet again. I may have found the perfect man, but I just found him at the wrong time.

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