B y J e f f S m i t h
I STILL DO not believe in Capital Punishment.
Having re-established my position as a humanist and a political liberal, let me continue to say that I still do not believe that a 54-inch Sony is worth losing a lot of sleep over, let alone spilling one's life-blood.
Having re-established my position as a spiritual being, as opposed to a materialist, let me continue to say that if I catch the sonofabitch who has burglarized my daughter's house six--count 'em, 6--times in the past month, I'll cheerfully gut-shoot the bastard.
Unless of course I can get my hands on him first, in which instance I will rip off his head and shit down his neck.
Not because of any mythical 54-inch Sony, nor the water heater, the floor tile, the hammer drill, the Makita cordless driver-drill, the framing hammers, saws, tape measures, drill bits, copper ground rods or the miscellaneous other tools and materials this piece of human detritus has stolen from Liza and me and Manuel and Mario...and not because we believe society should extract from criminals that ultimate price for premeditated crime...
...not for any of that. I'll do it because whoever this piece of excrement is, he's turned the life of another human being from joy to sadness and fear. He's trespassed into the privacy of an innocent person's dwelling and into the deeper privacy of her emotional security.
He's told her, and me, and the world that he has no regard for other people's possessions, nor for the work, the time, the sweat that went into earning them, and no care for the fear that results when one can no longer sleep in one's own bed, because at any time the window might be smashed or the door pried open and some asshole might crawl in looking to steal enough stuff to buy a bottle of wine or a hit of crack. So why should I have any concern for him?
Is this person a precious resource, rare and irreplaceable? Hardly. If there's one thing the world has in surplus, it's people. Given the abundance, there's little point in saving the dregs of the species. I object to Capital Punishment on the grounds it's the most cold-blooded form of killing yet devised, and sets a bad example for the kids. I support street adjudication of the type I have above described because it's warm-blooded, on-the-spot, swift and sure, and represents the time-honored tradition of Old Testament justice. If you carry my line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, such swift and sure retribution for misdeeds, if applied in a timely manner by parents and village elders, would set miscreants on the proper path before it ever proved necessary to, say, bludgeon them to death with a baseball bat in the midst of a botched burglary.
I call this humane treatment.
Of course I recognize the Pandora's Box of legal complications such a direct and logical course of action could loose upon my existence, so I've made every attempt to do it by the book. I've called the Police Department to report the burglaries. I called the burglary number and the lady there gave me another number to call. I called it and it was busy. I called it for an hour and it was busy. After about an hour and five minutes the phone rang. I got a recorded message that told me this was just the police information number and that if I had an emergency I should call 911. I reasoned the crook and the loot were long gone, so it wasn't an emergency, so I stayed on the line and waited for a human voice.
At length a human voice responded, but when I described the situation she said I should call 911. I said it wasn't an emergency. She said no officer would respond if it wasn't a 911 call. I remembered my last conversation with a neighbor, who told me when he got hit by burglars, the police simply mailed him a form to fill out.
I decided the hell with it.
I've been sitting here breathing deeply and kind of meditating. I feel calmer now. Almost tranquil. I probably won't sit all night in Liza's with a gun in my hand, waiting to shoot this thieving bastard on his next visit. I think instead I'll just wait for him to crawl inside, explain my concerns to him, and then beat the living shit out of him.
Anyone with a 3-year-old's sense of right and wrong will understand I'm entirely right in so doing.
Of course anyone with a first-year law student's grasp of case law will understand I could get sued out of everything I own.
I could just fill out the police form and wait for nothing to happen, and file insurance claims and wait for them to be denied, and then for my policy to be canceled. I could spend almost every waking moment from now until frustration drives me to insanity or suicide, playing the paperwork shuffle to no measurable effect.
Thieves don't steal your Sony, they rob you of your life.
I was going to quit after that last sentence, but then I added the mental post-script: If you let them.
I'm not going to let them rob me or Liza of our lives. We're going to relax and shell out whatever it costs to replace the stolen stuff, and we're going to sleep peacefully with a loaded gun close at hand, and if the useless piece of shit who has us targeted as victims shows up again and we get a chance, we'll just fire a shot across his bows and enjoy the sight of his sorry ass disappearing into the distance while fright fills his shorts.
Have a nice day.
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