Monday, December 17, 2007

New Jersey bans death penalty

This is an encouraging story, with one state in the union speaking out against capital punishment and setting an example. As expected, hardcore Republicans and victims' families call it "a slap in the face to the victims" and that "the punishment no longer fits the crime." The victims themselves have already suffered, and no amount of executions will reverse it. All it does is satisfy the base need for revenge. It doesn't help anyone but grieving families, and I can't see that it helps them that much. A member of their family is still dead. Although the momentary need for retribution might be satisfied, the void left by the initial death isn't filled by the death of another. I encourage anyone interested in this issue to read "Reflections on the Guillotine" by Albert Camus, which helped strengthen my previous on-the-fence view of capital punishment into an ardent opposition, along with what I've read about criminal profilers and the insights they've gained into the minds of murderers due to interviews that never could have been conducted if the killers had been immediately executed. Robert Ressler, a pioneering FBI profiler, also speaks out against the death penalty in his book Whoever Fights Monsters. The title of his book is taken from a famous quote by Fredrich Nietzche, which is good advice for all law enforcement officials and any wannabe vigilantes (this might not be the exact wording): "He who fights monsters should fight to make sure that he does not become a monster." When tracking the worst of humanity, it's easy to be swept up in revenge fantasies of causing harm to these human monsters, but laws regarding criminal prosecution are there for a reason, because it's so easy to get carried away, and possibly take out one's rage on the wrong person while blinded by rage. I know I'm very different from others, I've been hearing it all my life, and I might not understand "normal" emotions, but I feel that a life behind bars, with nothing but time with the memories of their victims, is punishment enough for a violent criminal. Also, as I've said before, I find the raging cries for execution, which differ very little from savage bloodlust, from many victims' families and the public in general, very disturbing. It's a reminder of the violent urges that lurk in all of us, that we usually manage to control, and need to control for the sake of our society.
Still no good news on the job front. The fact that I left my last job because I was stifled and miserable is very likely affecting my search, but I was thinking about that today, after again not hearing any news. If I left a job because I was unhappy and unproductive, then employers should see my interest in their company as genuine, because I'm not the type to just take any job to make money (although I'm starting to get to that point). But of course, there's very little logic involved in employers' standards, or everyday human interaction.

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