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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Colorado church shooting;_ylt=Ao6Pf39fYtjDy9EEh0h7IEdH2ocA

Despite Matthew Murray's anti-Christian diatribes posted online, his motive for opening fire in New Life Church and its youth group building was clearly something far baser and simpler: revenge. Murray was "asked to leave" the church's Youth with a Mission group for undisclosed reasons before his rampage. He wasn't acting on demonic influences or anti-Christian violence; it was just revenge, the motive for so many mass murderers and a familiar one that crosses racial and religious lines. Murray was, like Robert Hawkins in Nebraska, a typical mass murderer: young white male with a grudge and, it appears, mental problems. I just hope the general public remembers this while the nutjob Christians turn this incident into a rallying point for paranoia that the whole world is out to get them for their godliness. And they will; it's what they do.
An interesting side note: the church security guard who stopped Murray by firing a shot and deemed a hero, was reportedly fired from the local police force for lying during an internal investigation, if I read the bottom paragraph of one of the stories correctly. Another side note: New Life Church was founded by disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard, brought down by his hypocrisy and lust for male prostitutes.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mass murder in Nebraska mall;_ylt=Ah_BwsKfvqTvng7IepU8lLhH2ocA

19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed six people in a department store before shooting himself. Hawkins fit the prototype of the mass murderer; a history of depression, high school dropout, and a week before his rampage, he had been fired from his job. And of course, those who knew him never saw it coming. Although his friend's mother, who he was living with, found a suicide note the day of the shooting, she never thought Hawkins' suicide would reach the level it did. Hawkins left a note saying, along with expressing regret for the trouble he caused, "Now I'm famous." A depressed nobody trying to make a name for himself with an elaborate suicide; the textbook mass murder. Fifty years ago, Nebraska was the site of another teenager on a killing spree, Charles Starkweather. Starkweather was not on a suicidal mission, but still wanted to make a name for himself and find an outlet for his rage against society.
I have a job interview tomorrow, after showing up late to my interview today. Serves me right for thinking I could get to an address in Falls Church, an area I know nothing about. But tomorrow, I know exacly where I'm going, and will do my best to make the best possible impression. I've been jobless for far too long, and I'm starting to get paranoid about never having an income again. On a positive note, Anthony, the guy I met at Bound right before Thanksgiving, is coming back from his business trip tomorrow. He's been gone for almost three weeks, and I miss him. With the one good thing in my life now temporarily gone, no wonder I slipped into one of my depressions and tried to drink it away last Friday. But maybe it's good that he left for a while. It gave me a chance to miss him, to long for him. It sounds strange, but for most of my life, a guy had to be at least temporarily unavailable for me to be interested. If Anthony gets called out of town often enough, this might actually work, a concept that frightens me a bit because it's so unusual in my life.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Another bad night

I have been trying to crawl out of a cavern of shame since Friday night. I went to the Black Cat for Cryfest (a Cure/Smiths night) and was having a great time until I had a bit of a fifth drink. There must have been something in that drink, or I was officially over my limit, because all of a sudden the staff was trying to throw me out. It wasn't until this happened that I started to get unruly, demanding that I be allowed to get my coat from upstairs. After telling them exactly where my coat was, that it was long black wool and had a Metro card in the left pocket, I get a short black coat with no pockets. I'm not saying that the staff of the Black Cat is stupid, but after giving the same description to a friend who luckily happened to be outside at the time, he quickly came back with the right coat (Thanks so much Joel, I owe you big). What's worse, after the staff tried to give me the wrong coat, they said I'd have to come back tomorrow and make my way home with no coat or Metro card. They'll have to forgive me for not exactly trusting them to hold onto anything overnight. Even when I was crying outside after being told to come back in the morning, and was not causing any more trouble, they refused to let me back in. I know it's all over now, and it worked out for the best, but I keep thinking; what if things hadn't worked out? What if Joel hadn't been outside? What if I had kept shouting and the staff called the cops and I ended up in jail? All I should be thinking about is how I narrowly escaped a disastrous moment, and what I can learn from it. Drinking has always been a social crutch of mine. I become more talkative and less reserved when I drink, and I try to keep it going. It's caused other problems in the past, mostly sex-related with guys I never should have even talked to, but never anything on this level. I was fine until I started on that fifth drink. A guy who was clearly trying to get in my pants bought it for me, so I have my suspicions, especially after I started acting like a maniac immediately after I took a sip. But it was probably just too much alcohol combined with the natural stress of having to explain myself to an unyielding staff who doesn't appear to be helping. I've told myself before, after yet another disappointing one-night stand, that I will drink less, but it never sticks. I'm hoping that, remembering my embarrassing Friday night, I'll make it stick this time.
Before I went out on Friday, I learned that my grandfather had died after a long, off and on struggle with cancer. It hadn't even hit me when I headed out that my grandfather was dead. He was among my favorite extended relatives, but I can't say we were exactly close. In a perverted way, maybe getting drunk and making an ass of myself was the best way to honor his memory, in the spirit his alcoholic Irish Catholic clan.