The theme of the day seemed to be justice.
My partner doesn't believe in rehabilitation. He's an eye for an eye kind of guy. i think if he had his way, any violent crime (and quite a few less than violent ones) would be punishable by death. Preferably to be carried out by the arresting officer right after slapping on the handcuffs. He spent a good portion of the ride home today yelling at the radio. Well, more the ex-con on the radio who committed manslaughter (shot three of his hostages during a hold up and one of them died) as a teenager, went to one of the worst jails in the country for forty-four years and completely rebuilt his life there. The man's free now, apparently a model citizen and that seemed to really bother my partner. He didn't feel that justice had been done. The man hadn't been punished enough. And that made me wonder? Why do we have jails? Can anyone be rehabilitated? How much is punished enough? How can we forgive?
Earlier in the day, i heard an interview with a man who had been sexually abused by a priest as an altar boy. He described how it would even take place in the chapel, at the altar. It was very vivid and for a moment, i was not driving in a truck going to work. i was held down, before the altar of God with all the sacraments and sacred imagery before me, being violated and i thought, what kind of monster? How does a child go on after this? That man took so much from him and then left him to find his way in life with the very thing that should anchor his soul tied to the very act that rent it to pieces. What kind of justice is there for that boy? What kind of punishment should there be for that man? i can't bring myself to call him a priest.
And then i knew. String him up, Wrath said. No, hangin's too good for him. Too quick. Beat him first. Beat him until their ain't a square patch of skin on him that don't look like hamburger. Beat him till his own momma don't recognize him. Flay him alive, truss him up and then drag him through the streets so everyone can spit on him and kick him and call him every vile name in the book. Drag him out to the highest hill, then nail him to a board and crank him up where all can see. And hang him in such a way that his lungs fill up with fluid and he drowns in his own spit and every last moment of his miserable, wretched life is pure, fiery agony! That's what his sin deserves!
Course, that's what all sin deserves. And that's just what all sin got. Once. And for all.
Why do we have jails? Can anyone be rehabilitated? How much is punished enough? How can we forgive? i don't think any society will ever be able to answer those questions unless they start from the foot of the cross.