"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Is There One Key to Tookie?

When they eliminated the gas chamber in California death penalties, they deprived me cruelly and unusually of the chance to publish this bit of Nashian doggerel:

After the appellate
in water, a pellet
It sank, went in
at San Quentin.

All that's left for me now is to inject a thought, or two.

Here's a nosh:

If it is true that he was a profound penitent, that his lectures and his children's books have been effective in curbing violence, then this is certainly laudable. If we preach a gospel that precludes murder from redemption because the victim's life cannot be retrieved, then we remove from the one-time murderer any motivation to restrain himself from killing his next annoyer. Instead, we hearken to one of the first stories in the Bible, where Cain, although banished as a penance, was given the opportunity to repair the rest of his life and achieve a measure of redemption. His children built cities (Genesis 4:17), invented the system of mobile cattle herding (4:20), instrumental music (4:21) and metalworking (4:22). Indeed, according to the Jewish tradition, Noah's wife was Naamah, a descendant of Cain, which makes him our maternal grandpa.

2 comments:

Tlaloc said...

I don't know, Jay. While the guy may have been scum it still seems a tad cruel to compose a light hearted poem about his death. You obviously feel different, but it just strikes me as a little cold.

Jay D. Homnick said...

As I noted, the gas-pellet-in-water is no longer used; instead a lethal injection is administered. So my little ditty about the pellet is an abstract bit of gallows humor and not directed at any particular person or event.

That said, I apologize if it came across as offensive.