Adventures in American Justice

I suppose I could have called this entry ‘Adventures in Capital Punishment’, but that just didn’t seem right.

This afternoon, I caught Larry King Live as he covered the impending execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams. Half an hour later, I caught The Green Mile. Together, they got me thinking about capital punishment, justice, retribution and restorative justice. I’m not going to go into a great long diatribe at the moment, as I’m reluctant to just blurt out my ‘top-o-the-head’ opinions when it comes to important things. (I’ve got no problem blurting out opinions about non-dairy whipped topping, sport sock/dress pants combinations or the west-coast penchant for socks with sandals, but the death penalty is an entirely different matter).

I will however mention that I was greatly pleased to see Mike Farrell speaking on Larry King as chairman of Death Penalty Focus. You may remember him as B.J. Hunnicut on M*A*S*H. He was articulate, passionate and polite. I was impressed, and was glad to hear him say:

“And it seems to me that when this society begins to realize the damages being done us by the damage we do others, only then, perhaps, will we begin to realize that we can reach out to be representative of the values that we hold dear.”

It seems to me that vengance, revenge, and a refusal to forgive cause as much damage to those seeking vengance as to those at whom the anger is directed. (I’m sorry, if I weren’t so sleepy, I’m sure I could have made that sentence readable.)

Before I paddle myself into waters I’m not ready to swim in, let me just plug in the link to the Centre for Restorative Justice at Simon Fraser University. It’s worth the read if you’re interested in such things.

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