The Echo Chamber
Friday, February 28, 2003
  10:35 AM

Being This Dumb Should be a Crime

Dr. Eric Muller, a UNC law professor wrote at his blog “Is That Legal” yesterday about the possibility of prosecuting the voluntary human shields for treason.

I agree that a case could be made, but I'm not sure the government should waste valuable resources prosecuting these voluntary human shields.

This crime has its own punishment built in. Saddam is going to place these useful idiots where their corpses will be the most photogenic for CNN. And if an American bomb fails to kill them, well, accidents do happen, don’t they Saddam? In short, suicide is a crime, but generally the people who attempt it are seen as people in need of help, not jail time.

And from a cruelly pragmatic point of view, its probably a good thing that people this stupid are voluntarily removing themselves from the gene pool. Perhaps we should subsidize their airfare?

…OKAY, OKAY I’m kidding. But the price of being this idiotic is mostly borne by the idiot. Federal prosecutors might reasonably decide that they’ve got more dangerous criminals to deal with. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2003
  1:08 PM

Dead Dictator Walking

Three of the most vocal celebrity war protestors, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, and Tim Robbins were all involved in the making of a film in 1995 entitled Dead Man Walking.

I was told by liberal friends that I should watch the film. I was told it would change my view on the death penalty. Now I don’t mind a thought provoking and challenging film from time to time (Dumb and Dumber is one of my favorites. Heh.) So I told them I was game.

The movie was good. It was well acted and especially thought provoking because it was based on true events. It is amazing to me though that the three principals involved – the two main actors and the director – obviously didn’t understand the morality of the morality play they created.

Instead of being a movie that condemns the death penalty, it shows the death penalty to be the most humane punishment possible for heinous crimes. Instead of changing my mind, it confirmed my beliefs.

At the beginning of the movie Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) is on death row for the murder of a young man and his girlfriend who he found parking in the woods. Poncelet raped the young woman and then shot and killed both of the victims. Poncelet is unrepentant. Enter Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon). She, against the wishes of the families of the victims, attempts to minister to Poncelet. Poncelet at first wants nothing to do with this Catholic nun. But slowly, a relationship is built between Poncelet and Sister Prejean. Yet Poncelet remains unrepentant. It is not until the day of his execution that he confesses his sins and accepts the gravity of what he has done. He is able to express sorrow for what he has done to the families of the victims. He even expresses hope that his death will give them closure.

Whether religious or not, the viewer is left to believe that Poncelet died redeemed – that, with help, he reclaimed some of the humanity he lost when he raped and murdered. In the beginning Poncelet thought that his sins and the consequences of those sins were someone else’s fault. The victims shouldn’t have been out there parking to begin with, his lawyer rolled over on him, etc. The redeemed Poncelet accepted responsibility.

How was this possible? I submit that the scumbag that was sitting in prison would never have repented had he not had a literal deadline. Had he been given life in prison he would have died unrepentant. That would have been another tragedy to add to the whole sordid affair.

Saddam Hussein is on death row. His motive to “repent” and disarm is entirely dependent on how serious he believes his deadline is. Would Poncelet have repented had he known that the governor was going to pardon him? No. Poncelet was entrenched in hatred, denial, and self-pity. His best friend would not have been a soft-hearted governor. His best friend was Sister Prejean who drug him kicking and screaming to repentance.

Countries like France and Germany that say they want peace should be playing the part of Sister Prejean. Sarandon, Penn, and Robbins say they are for peace. Fine, but they should be protesting at an Iraqi Embassy, not in Washington. Don’t blame the execution on the governor. The execution is the fault of the murderer. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2003
  8:32 AM

War's On

According to the Washington Post:

In meetings yesterday with senior officials in Moscow, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton told the Russian government that "we're going ahead," whether the council agrees or not, a senior administration official said. "The council's unity is at stake here."

A senior diplomat from another council member said his government had heard a similar message and was told not to anguish over whether to vote for war.

"You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not," the diplomat said U.S. officials told him. "That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not."

Its refreshing to see leadership. 


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