Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
In his October 18th letter “What happens in death chambers” Paul Gaysford’s comments seem so close to mine in my letter “Death is unavoidably messy” that readers might take us as two peas in a pod, cut from the same cloth. But unlike Gaysford, who identifies himself as a death penalty opponent, I do not oppose judicial execution.
We both wrote about the gruesome and inhumane details of executions about which the public doesn’t want to think. But I do not particularly care if execution is gruesome and cruel. Too bad. I do not particularly care for anti-death penalty arguments that point out that the death penalty does not prevent heinous crime. I know it doesn’t prevent crime. But I endorse execution as punishment rather than prevention, as a method of conserving our Free Will. I do not particularly care for arguments about the innocence of the wrongly executed because, as a Christian, I do not believe in human innocence. I do care about the propriety of civilization ridding itself of those elements that would destroy it because I care about the submission of chaos to order.
I do not actively oppose much in this life. Being a relatively passive person makes it easier for me to adapt to life in this culture. But I do oppose the entertainment of illusions about what we do. Bearing illusions about what we do is a vice that turns our existences into a lie, or at least a fantasy. It’s bad enough to lie. It’s worse to lie to ourselves. It’s even worse to believe our own lies. Worst of all is to lie badly and to believe it at the same time. Dispelling illusions is a full time, lifelong quest because life is theater, and we are all playing parts. At its gruesome worst, execution makes mesmerizing, horrific theater, and any one of us could be called to play a role.