Our Hands

October 5, 2008
By Tim Gavan, South Setauket, NY

It is not, has never been, and will never be our choice who lives and dies, not when, nor where, nor why. We can seek revenge, though our hunger for retribution will not fill the void that we tried to feed. We can scream as loud as our lungs will permit for justice, but my eye for yours will not deliver it from the grayness where it hides. We can cry for closure for our open wounds, though an injection cannot serve as society’s band-aid.

It seems to me, that capital punishment is a guise for the hypocrisy that satisfies our emotion. Its clever phrasing can sometimes deceive us, make us think that it is penalization, and therefore deserved and justifiable. Though if we were to examine justice beyond our own need for retaliation, and loosen ourselves from the constrictions of our hatred for the condemned and our love for the lost, we might realize that we cannot make cold the hands that took life, without becoming what we’ve killed out of spite and fear.

Perhaps it comes down to what we are willing to do to heal humanity’s injuries, or maybe it’s simply a matter of whether or not we’ve lost sight of how to accomplish that. Do our methods help or hinder, build or demolish, solve or conceal? Our hands were meant to create, never to destroy. We cannot lose sight of that and dirty our own hands to clean our world of the stained fingers of murderers.

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