Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Capital Punishment vs Eternal Punishment

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Today’s Blog Post
Capital Punishment vs Eternal Punishment

In order for you to understand what I am about to tell you, you need to place yourself in a wheel chair. Then you need to place the plastic tubing, from the tank on the back of your chair, over your head with the small openings from the tube feeding oxygen into your nostrils.

The oxygen is necessary for you to keep breathing as you sit still. But if you talk and try to explain what you are thinking about – you will quickly run out of breath – just like you did when you were young and ran around the block fast. All of this is hard on your heart. You may not have long to live.

Now in order for you to get a full grasp of what this wheel chair situation is all about – you need to take the name “Charlie” on to your being. And in order to really be “Charlie” you need to also be 72 years old. Then to fully comprehend “Charlie’s” experience, add hatred to your experience. No “Charlie” doesn’t hate any one… other people hate “Charlie” – and have hated him for a long time.

Can you imagine living with hatred aimed at you all the time? “Charlie” does and has lived that way for more than 40 years.

“Charlie” knows why he is hated and for that matter he likely hates himself as well.

Now you can stop imagining that you are “Charlie”. Because you imagination cannot take you further.

“Charlie” has been in prison for these past 40 years for a crime he committed more than 40 years ago. He has paid dearly for a really stupid mistake that has taken all the life that he might have lived in the outside world. For 40 years he has not worked at a job in the community. He has not paid taxes and never will. Yet my Taxes that I paid over my 40+ years have gone to keep “Charlie” inside. Some say that has been in excess of $65,000 per year to keep just “Charlie” in prison. But now with “Charlie’s” medical conditions and his health needs the price per year has increased greatly… and could approach the 6 figure mark dependant upon what happens next.

Quick math tells me that it has cost $2,600,000 to keep “Charlie” safe for 40 years.

But he has committed crime and crime in the eyes of public is WRONG – and somebody better pay – BIG TIME.

The one thing is that you and I cannot fathom is the deep remorse that “Charlie” has felt over these years. If he had known back then what he now knows about himself, no one would have ever been hurt and no crime would have been committed in his late 20s.

Yes “Charlie” is deeply sorry for what he has done. But the system has spoken and kept him inside safe and sound for 40 years.

“Charlie” needs to come out of prison soon. He needs to die. And he will die – hopefully outside where there is someone that cares.

It all depends of the reports that the Parole Officers and other prison staff put together for a Parole Board. That final group will make a decision to release him or not.

Truly, when you hear the story told fully, you have to wonder what good it does keeping “Charlie” in a prison cell, in a wheel chair with life giving oxygen allowing him one more breath. Is the public served well with this kind of action that continues to be levelled at “Charlie”?

In Canada we believe that Capital Punishment is not something we want to ever pursue again. We strongly stand against it. But some of our folks believe in Eternal Punishment…

I cannot stay angry that long. It is not good for me – or anyone else. There has to be a better way.

My friend Dan, our Peterborough Community Chaplain, has met “Charlie”. He told me the story. One day soon I hope to meet “Charlie” too.

If you are not too busy, maybe we can have coffee together. What do you think?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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