Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30. Day 120. Down the barrel of a gun

When my son was a little thing we'd see things that amused, confused or intrigued and make up a little story. Why was a guitar handle sticking out of a bin outside the Valley Pool? We would never know the truth so we'd make it up sticking to the motto of never letting the truth get in the way of a good story. Truth is, we still do it from time to time normally in a car journey. Where would the woman be going dressed like that in the middle of the day? How did that bloke get the mysterious limp? Had he been with me this morning there would almost certainly have been a story to tell about why two water pistols were stuck in a fence near student accommodation at South Bank. Had there been a late night fight and the weapons were holstered to resume the battle when the students finally decided to get out of bed. Perhaps some kids were desperately searching the bags they took to South Bank yesterday wondering where on earth Mum put the water pistols. Perhaps it was sending a warning, or left over from a stag night prank. The possibilities are endless. But this week, the sight of guns even plastic ones makes me very sad. The idea of death by firing squad is so unimaginably awful. It's not that I believe we should be soft on those who peddle in death by selling drugs. Not at all. But I don't believe the death penalty serves as any sort of deterrent and an eye for an eye has no place in modern society. Still, part of me does believe in the Indonesian right to set its own sovereign law and that includes the death penalty. But no part of me could look at the way it was carried out and feel anything but sick. The parade of coffins in ambulances with the names of prisoners who were still alive, the crosses being engraved prematurely with the date of death, the circus the families were but through. That was all heartless, cruel, brutal and out of keeping with acceptable standards in a modern society. You couldn't make up that sort of macabre stuff.

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