Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Hard Read

I've always toed the line on capital punishment. Even as a lapsed Christian, I don't believe that capital punishment is God's will. It's hard for me to morally justify taking a life. However, the wife/daughter/sister/aunt/friend part of me tends to disagree. I can't honestly say that if someone took the life of someone I love that I wouldn't want them to receive the death penalty. I hope I would be able to forgive, but I'm not sure. I honestly believe this is an issue that you can't know 100% how you feel unless you've unfortunately been in that position.

With that said, there is no one who pushes me to question my beliefs more than those who hurt children. This is mostly due to the fact that people who abuse, rape or kill children aren't human to me. To hurt a child, in my opinion, is proof that someone lacks any sort of decency or humanity.

Even though they aren't mine, I'm not sure I could control my actions if someone hurt one of the children I love. While holding Beanie Girl, I've sometimes wondered what I'd do if someone ever deliberately harmed her. The first time I held her, I thought about the stories I've read about shaken babies. I thought about the couple here in West Tennessee who were arrested for raping their newborn. I thought about the children who murdered by their own mothers. How? How can anyone hold that precious, fragile little life in their arms and have any thoughts of malice if they're human? And it doesn't stop with babies. How can someone hurt any child? How can you destroy something innocent?
This brings me to an article on CNN today. This is one of the worst things I've read in a long time.

TYLER, Texas (AP) -- An East Texas man took part in "pure evil" by helping to run swinger parties that forced children as young as 5 to have sex, prosecutors told jurors as the Mineola Swinger's Club trial began.

An 11-year-old girl then testified about taking "silly pills" and playing "doctor" with her younger brother at the club, where prosecutors say the siblings performed for paying audiences.

"They were forced to do indescribable acts," Smith County prosecutor Joe Murphy said.
"These acts were their life."

Patrick "Booger Red" Kelly, an alleged member of the club, is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and aggravated
sexual assault of a child. He pleaded not guilty.
Kelly's defense team postponed its opening statements Tuesday, when the trial finally began after several delays. Molestation charges filed in June against a foster parent given custody of the victims stalled the trial for more than a month, and began an almost constant filing of court motions.

If convicted, Kelly potentially faces life in prison. That was the sentence two others linked to the club received earlier this year.

"This case is about pure evil," Murphy said.

Kelly is accused of helping start a "kindergarten" where the children learned to have sex with each other and dance provocatively. From there, the children graduated to the sex club, which was a rented-out former day care and hospital in the tiny railroad town of Mineola.
To help the children perform, prosecutors say, the adults gave them Vicodin-like drugs passed off as "silly pills."

During a sometimes anguishing four-hour cross-examination of the girl, defense attorneys asked about the pills she took and where she got them.

"Do you remember what they tasted like?" asked Tina Brumbelow, one of Kelly's attorneys.

"Old fish," the girl replied.

The girl, who wore a black bow in her hair and said she now likes watching television shows like "Hannah Montana," also led jurors through a sketch of the club she had drawn for investigators. In one box, in a child's scribbled handwriting, "SEX ROOM" was written.
The girl was scheduled to continue testifying when the
trial resumes Wednesday.

John Cantrell, who was given custody of the girl and her siblings, is charged in California with sexually assaulting two of his foster children in 1990. Anthony Finkas, his attorney, has said Cantrell is innocent.

Margie Cantrell, John's wife, first told authorities in 2005 about what the children revealed to her about having being forced into sex inside the windowless rooms of the former day care.
Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Mayo were sentenced to life in prison after jurors deliberated less than five minutes in both trials. Four other defendants in the case are awaiting trial.

I SERIOUSLY cannot think of anything bad enough for these people. In fact, I don't think they deserve death. There are things worse than death, and there should be something "special" put together just for them. What happens to people that makes them do these things? Are some people born evil? Is this a result of some sick childhood trauma? Are there people who literally lack a conscience?
And what happens to these little ones now? What kind of life can they possibly have after what they've experienced?
Don't worry about being overprotective. Protect your children. Don't second guess yourself or let anyone "shame" you when it comes to your child's safety and well being. There are so many sick people in the world.


Greg said...

just a question on one of your first comments.... do you think war is wrong under any circumstance as a christian? If it is never ok to take a right or wrong answer just made me think.....

as far as this one goes I am going to do some biblical research on this one.... I do think we have a moral obligation to protect those who cannot protect themselves. that should be the basis we operate from on what is justice. although i would without question want personal vengeance on anyone who would even think of doing anything like these demons( i truly believe that), from a pure christian heart we should always remember that God ultimately deals with evil in ways we could never accomplish. In a nutshell revenge shouldn't be our motive, protection of others should. the death penalty, i believe is just in some cases for this very reason. Ted Bundy for instance, believed it was the right thing for him after he came to a point of recognition of what he had done. he did an interview with James Dobson and made no substitution for his responsibility for what he had done. he did point back to his childhood and exposure he had to things that began to "transform" his mind. are they born this way? we are all born with a propensity towards sin. some people allow it to have a much stronger hold on their lives than others. some chose to get help with that sin, others dont and they delve deeper and deeper until because of their own choices their hearts become so hardened to God and any connection with him, he is unrecognizable. the death penalty for some is the only way to ensure that they would have no other immediate victims. ultimately, they have already left a trail and legacy of destruction that will not easily or soon be overcome. the question you ask is not an easy one. i am not sure there is a clear cut answer. You always want to believe that through Jesus there is hope for anyone, and I think that is true, some chose not to hold on to that thinking. for those all hope is lost.......

a.j.g. said...

I’m so tired so this will be jumbled…

There will ALWAYS be war; it is a necessary evil. And I categorize war, depending on why it is being fought. Is it for money? Land? Oil? Or is it to protect a group of people who are being attacked? To save the lives of those who are persecuted or imprisoned. To prevent the future loss of lives?

Is taking a life always wrong? I can’t say. I’m not even saying I’m right about what I said about capital punishment. But war and executions are in totally different categories for me.

Like I said, this is a grey area for me. I just struggle with the idea of death as vengeance, which is so often what it becomes for prosecutors and families. And on a completely non-moral level, I just don’t trust our system. There are too many cases of men almost being executed for a crime they didn’t commit. How many were not lucky enough to live until the truth came out? Pick up a copy of John Grisham’s The Innocent Man. It’s a true case he researched, and it will chill your bones. Read into the West Memphis 3 case a little. I don’t understand how those three young men are still locked away, why they haven’t been granted another trial. It’s a mockery.

Did that at all answer that first question? I’m struggling to be coherent.

I totally agree with protecting those who can’t help themselves. We should also protect others from becoming victims. But is taking a life the answer? Are we denying that person the chance to repent at some point, the chance to surrender to Christ? And for those who do turn, what kind of witness could they be? I’ve read Bundy’s final interview. It’s scary to read about him growing up in a strong, solid, loving Christian family. He was never abused or molested. So what happened? How do we prevent this from happening? What insight could he have provided? Also, if Christ can forgive and change a man like him, what effect could his testimony have had on others? Can you imagine what an advocate he could have been against violent pornography and violence in media? What did his death accomplish? Yes, he said people like him deserved it, but even he said he did not want to die.

But I come back to this again—I’m torn. I can say all of this, but I can’t say I’d forgive the man who harmed my loved ones. And going back to the article, I’m not just referring to murderers. In my opinion, there are things that can be done, especially to a child, that in my opinion are worse than death.

Thank you for your comments, Greg. I really appreciate them. :)

Pharmommy said...

I have always struggled with the argument of capital punishment. Could I be the one to inject that inmate? Flip the switch? I couldn't... so to believe that a government has the right to take a life... I struggle with that... I am more in favor of life in prison with no chance of parole.

But, ultimately, God does judge... I would like to believe that the prisoner on earth would have a chance to find Jesus though I do struggle with the idea of a Ted Bundy in heaven. Can you imagine?

a.j.g. said...

Ted Bundy in heaven is a bit difficult to swallow. But isn't that a true test of our fatih? We say that sin is sin, that there is no hierarchy of sin. And we profess to believe that God will forgive all sin. We don't always think about the Ted Bundys of the world, though.

Anonymous said...

What kind of attorney would even want to represent this man who made this happen to innocent children. An attorney who is greedy and wanting the money is who. I can not even fathom what kind of person in their right mind would want to defend such a sick criminal and maintain that he is innocent. How dare anybody say that these innocent children did not endure evil and try to defend the man that caused this evil to happen and still say that he is innocent. This attorney should have just let the justice system deal with him and not interfere. In cases like these it makes you wonder, how did the criminal afford such an expensive attorney? Was it with the money he made from these sick acts or is it that the attorney wanted to have free publicity and offer his services knowing this was a high profile case?