Slinky

I seriously can’t understand why we still have the death penalty in this country. At least Michigan doesn’t have it- but I heard that they were recently rethinking their stance. I have never ever understood how that makes any sense as a consequence for murder or anything else. It’s so from the stone-age to me… it makes me think of movies based hundreds of years ago with everyone standing around cheering as a cart full of people get taken to the town square to be hung. And half the time in those movies those people are the good guys. So what have we learned? It’s like we’ve completely lost the desire to rehabilitate and instead would rather be vengeful and authoritarian. I read in the news that an Australian man was just pardoned 86 years after he was executed. I figure, if there are mistakes made like that ever then the death penalty is far too risky. How can you pardon a man you’ve already killed? To make it all look A-OK on paper? A whole man’s life! Either way though, whether he did the crime or not- it’s a whole life! I hate to think that our species thinks so highly of ourselves in terms of our moral sensibilities yet we always find a way to mesh that with hateful angry actions. Example: War for Jesus, bombs for peace, etc.
I can certainly understand the desire for retribution, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right. That’s why I’ve never wanted to be called for jury duty (although I recently was and have yet to hear back about it). I think in some ways it’s very important that we have systems like that in place. It’s a good thing that a group of our peers will judge as opposed to just one (possibly crooked) guy. I will say though, I would never be able to knowingly send a man to his death regardless of what he had done. Are any of you pro-capital punishment? If so, why? I won’t get into a heavy discussion about it, but I really am curious about whether or not I am missing something.

Remember that post I made a little while ago about negativity, the whole bitching about bitching thing? Well, I try to stay away from issues like that on this journal just because it IS public, and really you have to be so vague in order to be “safe” about it that it would be hard to get any constructive feedback anyway. That’s the same reason I never posted about work, or issues I’m having with anyone that have yet to be resolved or that don’t exclusively have to do with my feelings. Occasionally I will post some rhetorical “Oh I can’t understand this…” kind of thing, but that really keeps things very anonymous and most of the time it really is. For some reason though I felt the need to post about that. I was very vague about it, and I feel I ended up sounding self-righteous because while it was about a very isolated situation with ONE of my friends, I think it really came off as a quit-yer-whining-people-cuz-I-have-a-harder-time-than-you, which was not my intention and I feel bad about it. I fully understand the usefulness of “venting” and I know and appreciate that people have different problems and sensitivities than others, and we should be sensitive and non-judgmental. I was frustrated with a friend because she has been unhappy for a long time, and I hear about these same problems every time I see her, for about two years now. This is a person that I feel like I can’t talk to about it- I’m fairly certain it would do no good, and considering her codependency and unwillingness to change- well, I doubt she’d appreciate my tough-love. So really, this just felt like my only place to vent at the time. Unfortunately another friend of mine read that entry and thought it was about her. She confronted me about it and I thought back over what I said and I can completely see why she thought it was specifically about her and a situation she was having. I felt so terrible! She spent a whole day thinking that I had trashed her on the internet- how awful is that!? What’s even funnier is that like the day after I posted that entry the friend I was referring to talked to me about how things had been bad but that she’s feeling much more proactive and positive about things lately and had started to make some changes, etc. It was so bizarre after such a long time to hear that from her. It just goes to show that the 2 years worth of empathy had maybe gone to some use- at the very least she felt like she could share with me, and that is a privilege that I shouldn’t take for granted. I really want to be a reliable and consistent friend, and I would hate for any of mine to feel that I have a holier-than-thou kind of complex just because I have a different life situation. Anyway, I guess I just feel the need to say sorry to anyone who may have felt that I was being overly judgmental, I can see why it would’ve come across that way. It just confirms my belief that I really should examine my motives when I’m tempted to write things like that- it’s almost never going to be helpful anyway.

This entry has taken me 2 days to churn out. This has been happening more and more frequently. Thank god for the autosave feature.

Lately I’m really learning a lot about myself.

In happy news I’m really having a blast lately. The garden is great, my baby is hilarious, my Jeff is sweetness. I am a happy lady. The date was so much fun- totally traditional dinner and a movie, and exactly what I needed. We always find ways to save money here and there- at the theater they have 27 cent refills for popcorn. So we just save our bag and smuggle it in and then go out during the previews to get it “refilled.” Is this wrong? Are we stealing? I mean, technically it is still a refill. I’m afraid that even if it is stealing I just will continue to do it anyway. 5 dollars for popcorn in addition to the craziness that we pay just for the movie is just plain pure profit for them. Even with the 27 cents it’s probably pure profit. They make too much off of people for me to care. Anyway, so we got that and smothered it with a little baggie filled with nutritional yeast and pepper. I thought about how funny it was cuz it really looked like a bag of drugs. Nutritional yeast is kind of a drug to me though. It’s at least enough to motivate me to prepare a bag of it for the theater. I may have a problem.

May 26th:
Yay poppies.

May 27th:
My sweet Maya pup. I hate to admit it but I felt a bit of a divide between she and I when the baby was born. I just didn’t see her in the same light, and while I think that was healthy and natural (a mother’s instincts I suppose), I really missed her. I didn’t really realize it had happened until recently, when I started to feel much more affection for her. I then remembered that it’s how I used to feel for her all the time. I love my pup. I wonder if that’s sort of what happens when a second baby is born. Obviously a dog is different, but ya know, it’s similar I’m sure in some ways too. Anyway, things have become much more solid- maybe Maya’s feeling better about it all too.

May 28th:

May 29th:
I love watching her sleep.

Bonus pictures:

Just a few minutes ago I thought it was too quiet in the house so I went to see where everyone went, and this is what I found:
 
My life is nothing like I thought it would be, and yet it’s better than anything I could’ve thought up.

Quote of the day- courtesy of CWA Card o’ the month (my dad’s postcard making hobby):

“Some people are like slinkies, not good for much, but they put a smile on your face when you push them down the stairs.”

Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (23)

  1. csgraham

    I’m mostly against capital punishment. When I say mostly, I’m referring to my “Texas” exception. I figure, as long as they’re only killing Texans, what’s the real harm?

    I could never quite grasp the whole idea of “Murder is so bad and wrong, we’re gonna murder you for doing it!”. Killing someone doesn’t undo what they did in the past. How does that make anything better?
    I do feel pretty okay with the self defense rule though.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      My brother just moved to Texas…

      I agree. It’s so backwards. It’s really like smacking someone across the face to teach them not to hit. Only this is totally permanent and far more serious. Yeah, bad idea all together.

      Reply
      1. csgraham

        Well he knows not to dead someone, right?

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          Yes, but apparently that’s optional.

          Reply
  2. stupidfool

    in general, i’m against the death penalty… i think that we apply it way too liberally. i’ve read all sorts of horror stories about people who were wrongfully convicted–you can never be too sure. and also, i do feel that people can change, and that they deserve the chance to change. i think that many people aren’t given a fair chance, or an environment conducive to change, and i generally don’t think people deserve to die for circumstances beyond their control.

    BUT then i read rap sheets a mile long, people who are convicted and let out later, only to commit the same crime all over again, not once, not twice, but 30, 40, or 50 times. or you see the killer or the rapist who after 30 years in prison, finally gets paroled, only to turn around and kill or rape again–maybe multiple victims, before he gets caught. at that point, you have to stop and wonder–was it worth it? we spared this murderer his life and financially supported him through 30 years in prison, and in doing so, we allowed how many innocent victims to be raped or killed? you see a situation like that, and you can’t help but wish that he had just been sentenced to death 30 years ago…
    of course, it’s a lot easier to say this after you see the end results than it is to say it with certainty when he’s first being sentenced, and like you, i find it hard to imagine being on the jury and sentencing anybody to death…
    i guess in summary, i think we overuse the death penalty, but i am glad it exists, because in very few cases, it does seem like the best option.

    i know people who smuggle in drinks and snacks, to the movies, but i think it’s really funny that you smuggle in nutritional yeast!!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I suppose I wonder what those very few cases might be. When is it really the best option? I do think that our prison system is totally corrupt and sucky, and does hardly anything to truly rehabilitate these guys. We really are soo backwards about it all- fear based everything these days. That’s really what I see the death penalty being, a fearful reaction, not a thought out consequence. I really liked watching this: http://bravenewfilms.org/blog/19529-michael-moore-cut-this-scene-from-sicko-because-no-one-would-believe-it
      We could learn a lot from them.

      Reply
  3. norwaygranny

    The real question is: What does God want you to do?

    Reply
    1. la_mapache

      That whole popcorn thing, take it from a poor college student – its not stealing, just being creative. Corn is subsadized by the gov’t anyways, its pure profit for the growers, gov’t and movie theater…so don’t trip.

      Reply
    2. Gracie (Post author)

      About the popcorn thing? Honestly, I think God has bigger fish to fry. I think that God doesn’t want me to be a dishonest person, and perhaps I’m fooling myself, but I feel I’m taking the Robin Hood approach. I find very little reason to support the bottomless pit that are most corporate interests. I do see your point though, and I appreciate it. However, I really don’t get the feeling he’s looking down and disapproving.

      Reply
  4. david_anderson

    I’m against the death penalty as it is currently applied, and for the reasons that it is applied.

    BUT . . .

    I do believe that there are way too many people in the world, and we need to start killing off the ones that cause the most problems. We can start with everyone that wants to be on a reality TV show, and people that are busy being “too cool”. Of course there is going to be a huge overlap between those two. Then there are people that spend an obscene amount of money on status symbols.

    I wouldn’t worry about the popcorn either. They set up the rules, and you are still playing by them unless they have some sort of sign up that it is only good for that one visit.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Bahaha. You are funny. But in all seriousness- were we to execute based on that, would that really be the fault of the person or the society that tells them their worth is contingent on these things? How do we punish society? Philosophical conundrum!! 😛

      Reply
      1. david_anderson

        I think the death penalty is a pointless and lousy punishment. That’s why I’m against it in its current form. We’re taking revenge on a person that may or may not have committed a crime. Often times, basically good and useful people commit crimes of passion.

        The death penalty doesn’t send an sort of useful message. If it were sending a message, my suggested method would be trying to get future people that might behave this way to change and pretend not to be that sort of person. I’m just in favor of removing these people from the world, and eliminating them from the gene pool. We need less people, so we start eliminating the useless ones. But we don’t want to warn off future useless people because then it would be harder to eliminate them.

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          You are a jokester. So uselessness is genetic? And here I was, thinking that people are products of their environment…

          I believe everyone is good at their core. Sometimes people do bad things, but there are not bad people. Then people challenge me and say “Well, what about Hitler?” I dunno, sometimes people do some rotten things, but I guess I don’t understand why it’s sometimes ok to kill and sometimes not. I need more consistency than that. And the only thing I can come up with is that it’s not ok to kill anyone. Ever. People get really weird about that one, but I think it’s the only way to go that is truly consistent and fool-proof.

          Reply
          1. david_anderson

            I guess I have a different take on it that I believe is just as consistent. I don’t see that there is any intrinsic value in “human” life, it is all based on relationship. The only value to me of someone else being human is that I am human, and therefore a relationship exists, as tenuous as it is.

            If I had to make a choice between the life of one of my pets, and that of a human on the opposite side of the globe, it would be an easy and guilt free choice for me. Even though that other person is human, I have far more relationship with my pets.

            Though I was mostly kidding about the choices I offered before, it comes down to “us” and “others”. It is our job to take care of ourselves and those near and dear to us. We should show respect to others, and their need to take care of those that are near and dear to them. We can form relationships with others that bring them closer to us than some of those other others.

            At some point, even if different groups show respect for the needs of other groups of people, the needs of 7 billion people on a world that can only support about 1.5 billion sustainably, different groups will both have legitimate claims to resources. Our choices, in favor of “us”, will lead to “others” dying. There is even the possibility that we will have to kill in order to protect “us”. There is a reason that rustling, poaching and stealing from a garden were death penalty offenses before food became a commodity, though it seems harsh now.

            I would actually agree with you about there being good in everyone, even Adolph Hitler, Al Capone and Dick Cheney. The reality is that they all rose to power for taking care of their own group. Unfortunately, they all had a problem with respecting the needs of other groups.

          2. Gracie (Post author)

            I think I understand what you mean about taking care of each other, and that relationships are important and really what we have control over- but are you serious about choosing your pet over someone on the other side of the globe? I have pets, so trust me I understand how important that relationship is, but for real? I never try to test myself with hypothetical situations like that because they a) are completely ridiculous and b) are just plain too difficult to answer. I feel like your belief is far too relativistic for my taste.

            This whole “us” and “them” mentality is what gets everyone into trouble. I could probably trace most of the problems in this world back to selfishness and fear. You talk about sustainability, which leads me to believe that you care for the planet and all that lives here, and that we are overpopulated so it’s not so bad if people die, and to some degree I believe that to be true- but not at my hand. I think most of the reason this planet is in peril is because of the “us” and “others” mind set. If people actually had others’ interests at heart, then we wouldn’t be pumping toxins into rivers, bombing other countries, or charging 5 dollars for popcorn.

            One of my favorite quotes:
            “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us, and incorporated into our common life.” (Jane Addams)

            While this belief might be consistent for you- it screws over that guy on the other side of the planet. And what about him? So he gets to screw over the next guy and the next guy and so forth, and then before we know it we’ve all got shotguns under our beds and barbed wire around our gardens. Entertain the idea that we all care for each other though, and you’ve got something that could really make a change for good now, before we have to kill to protect “us”. Your example of the powerful men is a prime example of why this theory is bound to fail, in my opinion.

            I had no idea those used to be death penalty offenses- how interesting!

          3. david_anderson

            Yes, I would absolutely, without a second thought choose my pet over a human that I didn’t know. Remember, I don’t consider human life to be any more sacred than any other form of life.

            The “us” and “other” paradigm is not the same as “us vs. them”. I have my rights (for lack of a better word) and I respect that the others have rights as well. I should not infringe on their rights, and they should not infringe on mine. Most of the problems in the world are when someone starts wanting (instead of needing) what someone else has. Most of the time, my position is closer to your’s than to that of the “us vs. them” crowd.

            Let’s take NOLA as an example. Everyone caught by Katrina had a right to get to food when they were stranded and hungry. People that were prepared had a right to the food that they stockpiled to feed their own family. Both sides have a right and a need to feed their children, but only one has food. What do you do if you are on either side of that? Reality is messy.

            I make choices every day that screw over someone on the other side of the planet. The only difference in my example was that there was a specific guy on the other side of the planet. I just bought a copy of Chile Pepper magazine, when I could have donated that money to a relief organization. I do donate to several organizations, as well as loan money through kiva.org, but I could do more.

            On the other hand, I gave a lot of money towards flood relief for the farmers in our county last december. I gave till it hurt. You have to take care of your own before you take care of others.

            There are also plenty of examples of problems with the belief that we have to take care of everyone the same. The focus of the Green Revolution was to be able to feed the world and eliminate hunger. It worked for a while, but now we are in danger of having billions of people starving to death or killing each other over food. Instead of having millions of people dying while we figured out how to live within the planet’s carrying capacity, we are now looking at a scenario where more people are in danger od starvation than existed 50 years ago.

            The thing is, that there is no perfect solution. Your position is consistent with valuing human life above other forms of life, while still caring for the planet. Mine is more consistent with valuing the planet and her ecosystem over any particular life. I understand your position, as I used to feel the same way, but I’ve come to understand things differently now. And pleaes don’t think I’m trying to convince you that I’m right and you’re wrong. we just have different priorities that have led us to different conclusions.

          4. Gracie (Post author)

            Fair enough. Oh, and I love discussion- so no worries on the right/wrong front. I like learning from other people, and I don’t take this stuff personally. 🙂

            Anyway, I do see your point. I will say that I don’t believe that we have to take care of everyone the same- there will always be differences and competition and whatever. I can’t possibly control everything and be completely sure that everyone is cared for- but I can do my best to take care of those around me and then some, which it sounds like you agree with.

            I suppose I wonder why you bother donating and contributing to those you don’t know, based on your issues with overpopulation, etc. I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t- I think it’s great that you do. And of course you are a kind person, but it also seems like you take a very survival of the fittest kind of stance which doesn’t seem totally consistent with donating to victims of any disaster. I mean, where do you draw that line? When your way of life is threatened? Doesn’t it stand to reason that it is being threatened by our overuse of the world’s resources? Why give then and not later? When do you stop? This is what I mean about it being tough to find a consistent course of action.

            I don’t think that the death of humans is a bad thing, or the death of anything. I mean, it’s all a matter of time, right? But I guess I do take issue with the notion that my life is any more valuable than anyone else’s, and I take issue with violence. Of course I care for those around me because they are my responsibility, but not because they are any more important than the people I don’t know. So, I find myself in the same spot.

            I appreciate your perspective, it’s very interesting to me.

          5. david_anderson

            Death doesn’t bother me, but suffering does. My stance doesn’t lack empathy, it’s based on it. I don’t want someone across the world to die a painful death. But I also don’t lose sight of what their relation is to me, and what sort of effect their life is having.

            My giving is also heavily influenced by what sort of help people receive, and who those people are. Subsistence farmers and fishermen often have a low impact on the environment. If there is something that I can do to help them in their way of life, I will do that. That’s one of the things I like about kiva loans, I can support people involved in businesses that I approve of. Heifer International also does some great things with supporting sustainable ag, which can make the world a much better place.

            For me, what the recipient of the funds does is also a sort of relationship.

  5. kazzibee

    I think they know this loophole exists.. .and they probably sell more popcorn that way anyway!

    LOOK AT THOSE CHOOCHY CHEEKS ON YOUR DAUGHTER. what a darlin.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      CHOOCHY CHEEKS!!! Speaking of choochiness, how has Mr. Garyann been lately?

      Reply
      1. kazzibee

        oh, he’s quite choochy too… but getting a bit olden now, a bit doddery.

        Reply
  6. pithy_epigrams

    Capital punishment is such a reflection of the everything wrong with capitalism. It’s all connected. If people weren’t desperate for money to survive, they wouldn’t commit such terrible crimes. If people weren’t committing crimes, there wouldn’t be a need for capital punishment. And you are right, what about rehabilitation? If drug addicts were able to receive good rehabilitation, and people with psychological disorders were able to seek the same, our prisons would be almost empty. Just look at countries where crime is so low, like Denmark. They have universal healthcare and education, so people aren’t struggling so much for money. Add on that they fully believe in rehabilitating their people. We are just so backwards sometimes.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Absolutely. It’s all so connected. Once we really recognize that, and examine our motives, then I think we can move in a positive direction.

      Reply

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