The Moment of Truth — May 19, 2001

Capital Punishment Considered Objectively

Hi, I’m mejeffdorchen and welcome to the Moment of Truth, the laserbeam working to repair the misshapen lens on the eye of the body politic.

I want to warn you that I am doing double duty in this week’s Moment of Truth, both reporting on a topic as well as responding to criticism I’ve received that I am not a quote objective journalist unquote. This had something to do with something I said about the Thanh Phong Massacre, in which I somehow failed to give equal time to the many people who think that being against war is stupid.

So you’ve got this whole Timothy McVeigh thing, this death penalty thing, or this capital punishment as they call it. And the FBI realizing now, surprise, that they withheld evidence from the defense, which to me is totally irrelevant and I don’t care. But you’ve got this whole McVeigh capital punishment thing. They call it capital punishment because capital refers to the head, capitalis, relating to the head, of or pertaining to the head. It’s a head crime. It’s like one of the top crimes you can commit, and the punishment is off with your head. The punishment is your head comes off. This is actually how they do it, they chop your head right off. I don’t see why that should bother anyone. They want the guy dead, so what’s wrong with chopping his head off? That’s what capital punishment means, or haven’t you heard? Chop off the head punishment. Death penalty equals dead, and so does chopping off the head equal so. Very straightforward, I think. Very simple equation.

This is why they don’t televise the head-choppings. Oh, they say they do it by lethal injection. Right. Like they’re gonna be able to find a doctor who will abrogate the hippocratic oath and kill someone who desperately wants to live. That would never happen. If they can’t keep doctors from treating people with no money, how will they ever find one who will kill someone? American doctors, as we know, are always fighting to keep poor people alive. Especially the seventy-five percent who are specialists. The twenty-five percent who are general practitioners, they’re not even gonna make enough money to pay back their student loans, so just don’t talk to them about dying poor people. But even THEY would never kill somebody to punish them. But these seventy-five percent who are specialists, you know, especially the ones that put boobs and hair on people who don’t have them. Well, boobs on some and hair on others. Anyway, those guys are always willing to donate part of their time to save the lives of people who can’t afford to pay for health care. Sure, they’ll do a heart transplant on some homeless guy, right there by the curb. You’re not gonna find a killer among these specialists, who, because they are so wealthy and have paid back their student loans, just give it away like a generous prostitute, or some other generous professional.

So they’re just pretending that they’re lethally injecting these capitally punished people – most of whom are poor, anyway, and as we’ve already said, most doctors are friends of the poor, and would never kill them even through neglect, let alone lethal injection. And just how Tim Robbins was sucker enough to buy that cock-and-ball stew about lethal injections, in Dead Man Walking, you know, he had Sean Penn get all lethally injected and such. And that just doesn’t happen, as we’ve discovered through me saying so. It’s capital punishment, it’s called that for a reason, and the reason is that they chop off your head. It’s not called punctural punishment or penetrational punishment, or subcutaneal punishment, or intravenal punishment, but capital, of the head, of or pertaining to the head. So let’s get that straight. Chop chop chopping off the head!

And they will try to tell you that they do it with Old Sparky the electric chair. But this notion will not fly. Because it is not called electrical punishment but capital.

This is, as I say, why they don’t televise these executions. They don’t want you to know they’re chopping off heads in this day and age. Ah, but what about people who’ve witnessed executions, like the victims’ families, and the press and the nuns and whatnot? Well, they are made to sign a waiver that they will not divulge the truth about the head chopping on pain of having their heads chopped off. And if you think you’re gonna cheat a state or federal government out of its chopping off of your head, you got another think coming. Man, they’ll even chop off the heads of people who didn’t do anything! DNA and whatnot has proven this time after time. So I’m just saying, don’t cross Îem, these head chopping governments, cuz they’ll chop your head right off!

And if you wonder how I found out, if it’s such a big secret, well, the fact is they have the balls to call it capital punishment right to your face cuz they think nobody’s gonna look it up in the god damn dictionary. And you know what? Where most people are concerned, they’re dead right.

Now much is made in the media and such about this here death penalty and whatnot and all how some people are against it and some are for it. And those who are against it, well, they say, look, the FBI withheld evidence in the most important capital case of the millenium, so far, so just think about how people are screwing around with the facts in the workaday, sundry head chop punishment cases. And then they say, and even so, with this McVeigh guy, this isn’t even a typical case cuz such a high percentage of head choppees are black and Latino. But to me this is all so much sophistry, because what it comes down to is do you like the head chopping idea or not.

I would even go so far as to say that the world can be divided up into two kinds of people, those against head chopping, and the bloodthirsty. Now I, mejeffdorchen, have not as yet, as far as I know, taken a stand on this issue throughout the ninety-some years that I have been delivering this commentary. And I have purposely kept you in the dark about my position on this thing because I wanted you to make up your own minds about it and not feel obligated to take one or another position just so you wouldn’t hurt my feelings. And this is one of those life or death issues where I think a serious journalist such as myself, mejeffdorchen, must attempt to remain objective, even though I might have feelings one way or another. In cases of life or death, I think a good journalist will never take a firm public position in favor of or against either one. Because, you know, human society itself has yet to decide which one it’s in favor of, and who are we, mere journalists, to try to shout down the jungian collective overmind in such matters?

I will quote a friend of mine, a film restorer out here in LA, who has this to say: “I’m against capital punishment except in cases of election fraud.”

I have also heard the sentiment expressed that the real problem with capital punishment is that people like Oliver North and Henry Kissinger and George Bush are still walking around with their heads on, holding forth on the airwaves about this and that and the other.

Another sentiment I have heard is that guns do not chop off people’s heads, people do. I quote this only for the sake of completeness in my coverage of the arguments regarding head chopping. I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean. But there you have it.

Now you may have heard of these people called Victims’ Rights people. This is a special category of bloodthirsty people. Often their position seems to be, well, you caught someone, and even if it’s not the right guy, I have a victim’s right to see you chop his head off. If you let this guy go, whose head will you chop off? Cuz I don’t see any on-deck circle, I don’t see a bunch of people waiting in line to get their heads chopped off. I remember seeing a line-up of guys, maybe you can bring them back over here, and if you’re really set on letting this guy you have now go free, maybe you can just chop off the head of the next guy in line, seeing as how they were all nicely arranged in a line like that, it would seem convenient. Or maybe you could just pick someone at random, I’m not fussy. But, whatever, let’s get to it! Chop chop!

And there is of course the argument that goes, hey, if you’re so into chopping off heads, why don’t you move to Sierre Leone or an Indonesian territory about to vote for independence?

When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, before they’d caught anyone, everyone seemed sure it was an Arab terrorist. Who woulda thought it would be a homegrown veteran? Years later, I was putting aluminum leaf on some rich person’s wall, when the news came that then President Clinton had bombed a pharmaceuticals plant in Sudan. And the idiot whose house it was, this idiot, goes, “I hope they wiped ‘em out.” He didn’t even know who they were! He just wanted them wiped out. So you see, he was not just an idiot but also bloodthirsty. Two separate categories that happened in this case to intersect.

There are those who say that bombing some people is a capital offense, and bombing others is a capital idea. Capital idea, they say, bombing those sandy terrorists in that sandy land. But no, capital crime, they say, bombing the Federal Building, killing the white children. Off with his head!

I myself, however – mejeffdorchen – I take no public stand on the head chopping debate, I will not admit to being either anti-head chopping or in bloodthirsty favor of it. All I can say is, objective journalism is an extremely capital idea for extreme capitalist times.

Until the end of these times, I remain objectively yours, mejeffdorchen, with the Moment of Truth.