This is on the front page of today's NY Times:
"After Hiatus, States Set Wave of Executions"
RALPH BLUMENTHAL reports:
"Less than three weeks after a Supreme Court ruling ended a moratorium on lethal injections, at least 14 execution dates have been set for the coming months."
Why do we have state sanctioned killing in the United States? You can look this up, so you don't have to take my word for it. The death penalty has been shown for a long time not to have any effect on decreasing murder rates in the states that have it. In fact, many states that have banned executions have LOWER murder rates. Think about that. I blogged recently about related statistics that show that decreases in criminal behavior FOLLOW decreases in the number of recruits joining the police force. Woah! Take a breath and take that in. Again, you can look it up.
Not unrelated, or surprising, is the reality that as ludicrous policies like "abstinence only" have spread throughout our culture, the rates of teenage pregnancies and STD's in teenagers has INCREASED.
Get it yet? We are who we say we are, you see? All of our public messages to ourselves are like self-hypnotic suggestions telling us who we are, and in many cases, how "bad" we are, even to the point that such a basic, built in, supremely powerful and pleasurable urge like sex becomes tainted. So, we act out sexually and behave impulsively because if we're alive and not drugged by medicine or religion, we have to pursue sex and pleasure, but we can't do it without guilt or with socially acceptable guidance. That's what leads to self-destructive sexual acting out.
On the other hand, we are told by the state, by our own "SUPREME" Court, even, that killing can be acceptable. Don't you think that most people who commit murder believe they are doing it for a just reason, that in their warped minds there is some justification? Of course. Why allowing state sanctioned killing backfires is because death penalty laws are not based on Universal Law, which says that killing - all killing - is a violation.
So, why do we do it?
I often take the Sherlock Holmes approach to puzzles like this: "When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the answer." In other words, observe the facts, without judgment or bias, and let them speak to you, and if two things occur together, do not rule out the connection, however "improbable."
You know where I'm heading. Sexual expression not okay = killing okay. Think for a minute. We live in a culture, founded by religious "Puritans" who believed that empowered (i.e. "sexually potent") women were godless witches, and that poverty and illness were judgments by God indicating who was "saved" and who wasn't (research the "Protestant Work Ethic" for further information). Executions and slavery and sadistic medical and economic practices were thus justified. (Kind of makes you wonder who exactly were the Puritans and why they were booted out of England in the first place and forced into exile here. How fortunate for us that they went on to found a society based on sexual repression, genocide - euphemistically referred to as "Manifest Destiny" - and material greed, all in the name of God.)
Now, don't get me wrong, the lunacy of the Puritans was mitigated by the true spiritual leaders of our revolution - Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Washington and the unsung women with them - and the words in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were clearly "channeled" and in accordance with Universal Law. But over 200 years later, the battle rages between the forces of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" and the forces of repression, fear and greed. So, we still denigrate sexuality and sanction killing.
Evolution of consciousness is inexorable. I know that. We're going to get there. But in the meantime, watching the goings on sometimes is a bitch!