FOWC: Stymie

“Are you sure that you want to go ahead with this John?” He was not normally one to shy away from difficult cases but he had deep reservations about this one.

“We’ve already discussed this ad nauseam Peter, I’ve made my position very clear and I have no intention of deviating from it” He didn’t even look up from his paperwork, his very body language left Peter in no doubt that he was being dismissed.

“Are you sure that you want to go ahead with this John?” He was not normally one to shy away from difficult cases but he had deep reservations about this one.

“We’ve already discussed this ad nauseam Peter, I’ve made my position very clear and I have no intention of deviating from it” He didn’t even look up from his paperwork, his very body language left Peter in no doubt that he was being dismissed.

“You do realise that, should we win, a very dangerous legal precedent will have been set?” Peter was loathe to arouse the wrath of this powerful man but he could not, in all conscience, let him continue on this path without a last ditch effort to change his mind. He was not even granted the courtesy of a response and so left the office with a heavy heart and a wish that he would not have to be the one to take this case to court.

“Do you deny, Mr Senator, that you had regular meetings with a member of the banned political group Action Against Atrocities” John felt that his opening was strong; to link the senator with known political activists would turn the jury against him from the start. He doubted that any of them understood the group’s manifesto or their political intentions, it was enough that the Government had handed forth a ban against membership. He wondered afresh at the political naivety of the majority of his country’s citizens….

“The ‘member’ you refer to counselor is my daughter and so, to answer your question, yes I had regular ‘meetings’ with her. If you have children, sir, I have no doubt that you have regular ‘meetings’ with them too” His sarcasm and hostility was not lost on the jury but Peter did notice that one or two were looking at him with something close to sympathy.

“Be that as it may Senator, you were aware that she was a member of Action Against Atrocities were you not?”

“For Christ’s sake, the girl is 19 years old, she’s passionate but naive and, like many kids of her age, she wants to change the World, she didn’t know what she was getting into and being a member of this group was not made illegal until 6 months after she joined” The man’s frustration was obvious, he knew that he was trapped in a situation not of his own making but how could he condemn or deny his own daughter; his only recourse was to fight back.

“No, I doubt that she did know but you did, didn’t you Senator? You knew that this group of activists was causing trouble for the Government with their hacks and their threats of action against the military. You knew that they were labeled a banned organisation after their attempts to free dangerous political prisoners from Guantanamo. You knew Senator” Peter could feel the jury stirring and knew that his use of the phrase ‘dangerous political prisoners’ would be enough for most of them to lose any lingering sympathy for the Senator.

“Oh Jesus” the man in the dock put his head back and stared at the ceiling, maybe trying to hold back tears or maybe just looking for divine inspiration.

“You knew, didn’t you?” Peter pressed him once again and waited patiently, like a snake for his response.

“Do you know who those men were that they tried to release?” the Senator’s voice was strong now, defiant and he half rose from his seat

“Sit down Senator” The judge spoke harshly from the bench, he had not wanted to be part of this trial and was determined it would be over as quickly as possible.

“They were innocent. They were men who had family in the Middle East and who visited them when they could, when they’d amassed enough money for the plane ticket home. They worked two or three jobs just so that they could go back and be with their families but, because their loved ones lived in towns that harbored suspected terrorists, and their travel records showed more than 2 visits in one year to those towns they were arrested and sent to Guantanamo. They have been there for almost 18 months with no explanation and no prosecution, they are merely suspects whose only crime was to want to see their families. They are subject to appalling conditions and treatment and..”

“Stop! That’s enough Senator, this is not a political platform and I will ask you to please restrain yourself and answer the questions that you have been asked by Counsel”

Peter smiled a mirthless smile and repeated his question

“Senator, did you have regular contact with a member of the banned organisation Action Against Atrocities?”

“Yes” Utterly defeated, weary, the man, father, senator slumped down in his chair and lowered his eyes.

On the day of the verdict John was in Court, he did not sit beside Peter but at the back close to the huge double doors. He was wearing a hat pulled down over his eyes and was, uncommonly, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Peter wondered if this ‘disguise’ would be enough to fool the waiting press but he doubted that his patron even cared.

“Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict upon which you are all agreed?”

A middle aged woman stood up, her hands shaking slightly, nervous at being the centre of so much attention

“We have. We find the defendant guilty as charged” the words came out in a rush and the woman was grateful to retake her seat

“Senator McBride, you have been found guilty of treason against the Government and you will be remanded in custody until sentence is passed 14 days from today. Take him away” The Senator’s legs buckled as his was led back to the cells in handcuffs; he realised that all hope was lost, for him and for his beloved daughter.

“Well done Peter, you broke him” John was smoking a fat cigar and looking approvingly at the younger man standing before him.

“He as good as admitted that he is against this Government and our great nation and he deserves what’s coming to him” He lowered his substantial buttocks into a black leather chair and puffed away, deeply satisfied with himself.

“John, you cannot possibly mean to continue with this? You’ve won, your running mate for the Presidential candidacy is out of the race, he’s finished and the road is clear for you. In a few months time you will be President, you will have it all!” Peter was beginning to fear that the man before him was losing his sanity to political ambition.

“You know that the underdog sometimes wins Peter; the public loves an underdog”

“John, he cannot come back from this!” He was, against his better judgement, raising his voice and his patience wearing thin.

“Peter, you are a lawyer so, you tell me, is treason a Capital crime or not”

“Yes but..” he stopped abruptly as his future President fixed him with stare that was vicious and feral

“Yes. Peter, there are no buts, Senator McBride has been found guilty of treason and he will be sentenced to death in 13 days time; this man tried to stymie my political ambitions and he failed; don’t you make the same mistake”

 

This longer that usual tale was written in response to another super prompt from the lovely Fandango

Lisa x

Devil’s Advocate…….

Years of  imprisonment, mental and emotional torture carried out on a daily basis before finally murdering a man in cold blood. There is no remorse from any of the perpetrators and they believe that they have every right to do what they have done. Do you think that they deserve the death penalty for their crimes?

A man held in a darkened room

His tormentors ever watchful

Playing games with his fragile mind

They dangle hope before him

Will freedom come before death?

These words repeated over. Days

Weeks, months, never ending

Torture exquisite, intentionally refined

Years in debilitating isolation

Hope and death the only constant

The first is lost, his captors proclaim

Holding him down, the waiting crowd

Leans forwards. Morbid fascination

Sustained and fueled by righteous anger

The terror in his eyes shines bright

But there is no reprieve. We are right

They say and, with that, his light goes out………

Years of  imprisonment, mental and emotional torture carried out on a daily basis before finally murdering a man in cold blood. There is no remorse from any of the perpetrators and they believe that they have every right to do what they have done. Do you think that they deserve the death penalty for their crimes?

What’s described here IS the death penalty. Is it ever deserved?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.

Lisa

x

 

 

 

The Right To Die?

How do you feel about euthanasia and the death penalty? Different subjects I know but  ethically surely two sides of the same coin, what do you think? I was reading an article this morning and it got me thinking about the right to take life, either someone else’s or our own, and whether such a right should exist. I’ll explain what I mean…….

How do you feel about euthanasia and the death penalty? Different subjects I know but surely,  ethically, two sides of the same coin, what do you think? I was reading an article this morning and it got me thinking about the right to take life, either someone else’s or our own, and whether such a right should exist. I’ll explain what I mean…….

Individual rightsAs Ayn Rand said “individual rights are not subject to a public vote” and I am a firm believer in this; each of us should have the right to live our lives as we choose so long as it is not to the detriment or suffering of others. This is the foundation for my conviction that euthanasia should be an option that’s freely available to everyone; no-one else should be able to dictate how we live so why should they be able to dictate when we die?

If we see an animal that is suffering we will end its life in the name of compassion and yet we will watch our fellow man suffer and do whatever is medically possible to keep that person alive. Do we have more compassion for animals than we have for humans? I wonder, if animals could talk, would we be so quick to end their pain? If they could express the desire to carry on living, despite what they were suffering, would we be so ready to ‘put them to sleep’, out of kindness?

If we would be more inclined to rethink our actions because the animal had been able voice its own opinion, surely we could rethink our attitude to prolonging human life at all costs when the individual who is suffering tells us that they wish to die? We can argue that there may still be hope, that there are treatments they could still try but we are not in their position, we do not feel what they feel so who are we to try to impose our will on them?

PainSome people believe that euthanasia in some way ‘devalues’ life; if we choose this path we would be carelessly throwing away something which has been given to us as a precious gift. This is an easy argument to make if you are happy and healthy but what if you spend every waking second of every day in unbearable pain? Is life such a precious gift then or is it just torture?

Some argue that it is not ‘fair’ on the families of those who choose euthanasia because they want to spend as much time as possible with their loved ones. I would ask is it ‘fair’ to ask someone to keep living in misery, knowing that all you are doing is delaying the inevitable? We are all going to die, that is an absolute, so if we cannot endure the suffering that the final weeks or months that a terminal illness can bring shouldn’t we have the right to decide when that happens?

There are many more arguments against euthanasia but my answer to all of them is that the rights of the many must fall if the rights of the individual are forgotten………..

It is for this very same reason that I am opposed to the death penalty. My feeling is that it is not the ‘right’ of the State to decide when an individual’s life will end. There are many heinous crimes committed where we feel that the instigator deserves to die but does that give us the right to take their life?

death penaltyThe death penalty is legalised murder; the act is pre-meditated and carried out in cold blood so what else can you call it? Just because it is done in the name of Justice, it does not change the facts. In places where the death penalty exists, the process is invariably long which means that the individual is subject to mental and emotional torture; some might argue that this is no less than they deserve as their victims and their victim’s families have suffered the same thing but do two wrongs really make a right?

The deterrent argument is often put forward to support the death penalty but answer me this: has murder been eradicated in places where the death penalty is in place? If the answer is no then how can the deterrent argument effectively be used? We have no way of knowing if more murders would have been committed if the death penalty did not exist……..

One of the most commonly used phrases you’ll hear in the death penalty debate is “an eye for an eye”; if that’s really your argument then are you any better than the person that you are condemning? You are willing to do to them what they did to others without a modicum of understanding of their situation or the reasons why they committed the crimes that they did.

If you argue that some people are just born ‘evil’ and the world would be a better place without them, do you blame them for that, is it their fault? If a random genetic hiccup meant that they were born without the capacity to feel sympathy, to understand the difference between right and wrong, without morals, is that something they deserve to die for? It’s a given that they cannot be allowed to live amongst others as they present a clear threat but is it right that they should lose their life?

Whichever way I look at it, I believe that the right to die must be something for the individual and not for the State. What do you think? I know that it’s a pretty heavy duty subject but I’d love to hear from you

Lisa

x

Did She Deserve to Die?

At the age of 9 she was giving blow jobs in exchange for cigarettes. She was physically and sexually abused by her Grandfather. She had a incestuous relationship with her brother. At the age of 14 she had a child, the product of a rape committed by a friend of her Grandfather. After the birth of the child she was thrown out of her house and lived rough, whatever the weather. She never knew her Father but he was a paedophile who committed suicide in prison; her mother left her in the care of her abusive Grandfather when she was 4 years old. She had no-one so, to keep herself alive, she turned to prostitution while she was still a child…………This woman died aged 46. 

At the age of 9 she was giving blow jobs in exchange for cigarettes. She was physically and sexually abused by her Grandfather. She had a incestuous relationship with her brother. At the age of 14 she had a child, the product of a rape committed by a friend of her Grandfather. After the birth of the child she was thrown out of her house and lived rough, whatever the weather. She never knew her Father but he was a paedophile who committed suicide in prison; her mother left her in the care of her abusive Grandfather when she was 4 years old. She had no-one so, to keep herself alive, she turned to prostitution while she was still a child…………This woman died aged 46.

She survived a childhood, if one can call it that, which she left without ever having known real love or affection. The male role models in her life inflicted nothing but pain and suffering on her and her female role models left her – her mother, voluntarily, when she was 4 and her Grandmother, who died, when she was 14.

Abused childShe seemed to crave affection but her only experience of it was through the act of sex; she ‘dated’ a young man regularly but, because of her promiscuity, he wanted nothing to do with her in public and would throw rocks at her and be verbally abusive if she approached him in front of other people. She was ostracized by her peers and rejected by her family. When she was living rough, it was in some woods close to where she lived, not in a city where she may have had the chance to interact with others and find some sort of help; she was isolated both physically and emotionally for a period of 2 years.

She eventually moved away from her home town, hitchhiking and offering sex in exchange for money; she had no experience of what we would call a normal life but, somehow, she survived.

When she was 21 her brother died of cancer; although their physical relationship was incestuous and we cannot know whether it stemmed from affection or not, this was another loss in her life, someone else who had abandoned her. Her life as a sex worker continued; she was used by men who thought no more of using her than they would a paper tissue – something to fulfill a physical need and then throw away afterwards…

Prostitute10 years later she seemed to have given up all hope of finding  a man to share her life with and so she turned to a woman instead. She claimed to have found her true love and we can only assume that she had finally found a degree of happiness, despite the fact that her lover was content to be supported from her earnings as a prostitute.

At the age of 33, she stumbled into the path of a convicted rapist and, after that her life would change forever………..

Do you feel pity for this woman? For the awful, shitty life that she had? Do you wonder what became of her after she met that rapist?

She killed him.

Her name was Aileen Wuornos and, after she shot this man, she shot another 6 and was branded a serial killer. I watched a documentary about her last night and it strengthened my conviction that the death penalty is fundamentally wrong; there is no doubt that Aileen was a murderer and her terrible experiences in life cannot be used as a defense for her actions. However heinous her crimes, they were probably carried out as a result of the appalling abuse that she had suffered from men throughout her whole life. Her punishment was death, the same ‘punishment’ that, in her eyes, she had inflicted on the men that she killed. We can only imagine the psychological trauma that she suffered both as a child and as an adult but we have to assume that those who pronounced sentence upon her were of sound mind. So, on the one hand we have death in the name of anger and frustration and, on the other, we have death in the name of righteousness. One is premeditated, cold blooded, murder and the other is the death penalty: considered in depth before the act and carried out without any emotional involvement.

What do you think? Did she deserve to die?