The business of death

In South Carolina there is a lottery every year to hunt Alligators. Applicants pay a $10.00 non-refundable fee and if chosen, by a random computer drawing, pay $100 for an Alligator hunting permit and a tag that allows them to “harvest” one Gator. Competition is fierce each year to get a tag. Rednecks from all over the state dream about riding around in their Jon boat with their drinking buddies for the chance to kill the next Godzilla.

Most Bubba’s end up with a Gator much smaller than they hoped for. But for these would be Crocodile Dundee’s its all about bragging rights no matter how big or small the Gator is. These Neanderthals just like killing shit from bunnies to Bambi, and a man-eating Alligator is the ultimate trophy. And as the years pass, the six-footer they killed grows to twelve and the dent in the bow of their Jon boat wasn’t from the rock they hit to get on shore to take a pee but from the monster Gator that tried to eat them alive.

Yup if you like shooting at shit an Alligator might just be the greatest prize a redneck from Florence, SC could ask for or maybe they would pay big money for the chance to shoot at a human being. You might have heard that the “illustrious” governor of South Carolina, his majesty Henry “Foghorn Leghorn” McMaster has brought back the firing squad for death row inmates to choose from. Because the ingredients for the lethal injection cocktail are hard to find and expensive to buy, McMaster has decided to offer two options for those condemn to die, the electric chair or the firing squad.

Some of you may recall the Gary Gilmore execution by a firing squad in 1977. I was a young pup at the time, but I remember all the news coverage about this event. For seemingly months the debate about the ethics of this, was it right, was wrong, was it humane, was it legal, dominated the news. Gilmore requested to be executed in this manner, rather than being hung, the other method Utah employed at the time. Certainly, being shot through the heart seems less barbaric than dangling from the end of a rope.

Gilmore’s firing squad consisted of five volunteer law enforcement officers from the county Gilmore committed the crime in. Equipped with 30-30-caliber rifles, the five gunmen stood concealed behind a curtain with five small holes. They aimed their rifles at Gilmore’s chest and pulled the trigger. Supposedly only four of the five had a live round in their rifle and one had a blank. They five didn’t know if they had a real bullet or not. I suppose that helped them sleep at night.

I go up and down on the death penalty. Are there monsters out there that deserve to die? Sure. But what really twist this debate up in knots are the pro and anti-abortion zealots. How can you condone killing criminals but not a fetus or vice versa? This is a deeper conversation than I am prepared to have right now but one that certainly causes a lot of handwringing among pious Christians and feel-good Universalists.

So back to Henry “Foghorn Leghorn” McMaster, with a swipe of his pen South Carolina is the newest open carry state in union. His reasoning for signing the bill, he wanted to enhance “South Carolinian’s ability to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.” Man, I feel safer going to Dollar Tree. And now McMaster wants to bring back the firing squad. I would bet the last time a firing squad was used for punishment was during the “golden” age of slavery. I guess deep down Henry is just a wannabe plantation owner. He sure as hell sounds like one, “I say, I SAY pay attention to me boy! I’m not just talkin’ to hear my head roar.”

I guess the question I ask myself is how do these Jesus believers like McMaster justify authorizing or making it easier to kill another human being? If the Pearly gates exist, a place where you must answer for all your sins, how would Henry answer Jesus’ question “Why did you allow others to kill one of my sheep?” I guess his answer would be “I say, I SAY Jesus baby, an eye for eye and pass the gravy.”         

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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3 Responses to The business of death

  1. Kate says:

    We don’t have the death penalty or gator hunting in Iowa. Iowa does have Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst though. I can see the death penalty in a handful of cases. Do people eat the gators? Hunting doesn’t appeal to me, but if people are going to eat what they kill like a deer I have less of a problem with it.
    My daughter works at the county courthouse. I knew it before, but with what she tells me, people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have the least chance of justice. Given that how can we know all of those on death row really received the best representation etc.?
    I was raised Catholic and I was taught being “pro-life” meant no death penalty–but so many Christians seem not to care about the death penalty.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Terry Bahn says:

    For as long as I can remember, capital punishment has made no sense to me. As I recall, the fifth commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Sounds fairly clear to me Being both anti-abortion and pro-capital punishment makes absolutely no sense. If you believe that a fetus is a person whose life must be protected, how old must a person be before it’s OK for the state to kill him or her? Before some hypochristian says something about the fetus being innocent, I would like to know whether that person believes in the concept of original sin. When it comes to capital punishment, I would suggest Romans 12:19: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”

    If even God can make a mistake (ask Noah about that one), who are we to pass irretrievable judgement. If you believe in Humanity, capitol punishment is inhumane. The difficulty getting the drugs for lethal injection is God and civilized humans telling us that capital punishment is not a god idea. It’s certainly not telling us to make state-initiated killing more brutal.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. cagjr says:

    Under British rule, several crimes the colonists were subjected to the death penalty for several crimes.
    Apr. 30, 1790 – First US Congress Establishes Federal Death Penalty
    “The First Congress adopted several other bills relating to the federal judiciary or its functions. Except for the bill providing salaries, these bills originated in the Senate. Most important was the Punishment of Crimes Act, the first listing of federal crimes and their punishment. In addition to treason and counterfeiting of federal records, the crimes included murder, disfigurement, and robbery committed in federal jurisdictions or on the high seas. The fourth paragraph of the act authorized judges to sentence convicted murderers to surgical dissection after execution. The fifth paragraph provided fines and imprisonment for anyone attempting to rescue a body of an individual sentenced to dissection.”

    “The first federal execution was on June 25, 1790, when U.S. Marshall Henry Dearborn coordinated the hanging of Thomas Bird in Massachusetts. Dearborn spent five dollars and fifty cents for the construction of a gallows and a coffin.”

    Virginia did away with the death penalty this year.
    With a religious background, it is hard to argue against the death penalty in certain cases. And maybe, since religion is not the source of morality, people who have never experienced religion can say the same.

    When I learned that scumbag prosecutors had knowingly sent innocent people to their death, it became more and more difficult to accept the death penalty as a reasonable punishment. The fact that prosecutors face no accounting for their actions doesn’t do anything for building any trust in the system. The fact that a man would condemn an innocent person simply to enhance their political profile and that law enforcement officers have such broad immunity from accountability, demands the abolishment of both the death penalty and life imprisonment without chance of parole.

    The business of death has just about priced itself out of existence as a means of punishment. Justice has always been a lopsided system with minority and low-income communities suffering the greatest inequality.

    Liked by 1 person

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