Recently I found myself in the middle of a Republican fracas, on the Internet. I really am not sure how I got there, but somehow my e-mail address got mixed in with a bunch of Conservative Republican ones whose owners were having a rare old foodfight over this and that and wow! - I can tell you, it was quite a revelation. On occasion I've witnessed debates between my libertarian friends - in fact there's an "in" joke that if you leave a couple of randomly chosen libertarians alone in a room, ten minutes later you'll have an argument - but really, that's nothing to what these Reps were up to!
A few of them were polite, it's true. One broadcast a critique accusing Slick Willie of not "keeping his pecker in his pants" and a lady rejoined by complaining that she found such language "offensive". Indeed. There were others, too, whose manners were fully suitable for gentlefolk in a debating chamber. But on the whole, my impression was that of a brawl in a bar on quite the wrong side of town.
Manners aside, there was a rather serious matter being considered. Some Senator from Memphis, I think it was, had gone on record as favoring the killing of rapists, murderers and certain other criminals as they fled the scene of their crime, should that happen to be feasible. I believe his name was Cohen, and some contributions to the e-mail debate said he was from "the other side", which may be the Rep code for a Dem. I didn't bother to look him up, they're all the same to me.
What was very interesting was that as soon as someone posted that news item to the exchange, a slew of good solid Con-Reps weighed in with electronic catcalls of support. "Wish we could swap Senators" was a common refrain. Apparently there's some Senator in NH called Cohen also; a despised "liberal" [sic].
Let's take a careful look at this idea.
It says that if a rape victim (for example) is left alive but, as the aggressor departs, can grab a gun, it's quite okay for her to shoot him dead in the back. By "okay", given that this suggestion originated with a senior politician, I must suppose he meant that the Law should be changed so that "no person shall be charged with a crime, who kills a fleeing rapist" or words to that effect. That would clearly be a government-sanctioned "License to Kill", comparable to the Nazi German license to kill Jews with impunity, although I think that was never formally written in to their Law. If not, then this Senator Cohen from TN, despite his Jewish name, is a good deal more Nazi than the Nazis.
And these Conservative Republicans warmly welcomed his proposal. Many recorded their knee-jerk support with an e-letter, and I saw not one opposing it.
Notice further: this is not about killing in self-defense, or in defense of someone else. This is about killing someone walking AWAY. Not even the police are supposed to do that, and they may get in a heap of trouble if they do.
"Right to Life"
So I took the liberty of broadcasting a couple of pointed e-questions. One, for example, went to a lady I'll call Babs, who signs off her e-letters with the slogan "Take No Prisoners Right to Life Activist." In passing, we can note that her slogan is oxymoronic; anyone believing in a right to life cannot logically also believe in taking no prisoners, which is a military metaphor for killing all enemies, refusing to accept surrender. I asked her, carbon-copying all others on the e-list, "Just so I have it straight: do Right-to-Lifers think that suspected rapists have a right to life? Or convicted rapists? - or is that Right only for proto-humans yet unborn?" I hope you agree that those were reasonable questions, in the context of the exchange.
Well, it did put 'em all in a tizzy, and particularly Babs.
"Having been in NH Right to Life for more than 25 years," she replied in what I thought was a bit of a huff, "I [can answer that] NH Right to Life... does not take a stand on the Death Penalty... [which] is a separate issue..."
Babs was one of those who had earlier wished to swap Senators, so she knew this was NOT a question just about the death penalty. It was primarily about killing persons who, under the Law, are so far wholly innocent and untried.
But she did, for sure, support the right to life of zygotes, who are human beings only in the heavily limited sense of making up a tiny clump of cells implanted with the human genetic code. Proto-humans, as I'd suggested. And her organization calls itself the Right to Life, unlimited. A legal right to go on living may or may not apply to zygotes (to me, that's ludicrous) but it most certainly does apply to grown human beings, however evil their behavior seems.
So I e-replied roundly accusing the good lady of being a hypocrite and a murderess, copy to all and sundry, and that was that.
The Freedom Alternative
In a free society, there would of course be no laws at all, so let's look at how this situation would work out; a victim shooting dead her rapist as he walked away. Would she be accountable?
Certainly! - assuming of course that the dead rapist had any friends to come and file suit for damages against his killer. And the jury would properly have full command of the case, and dispose of it as its members saw fit.
What might they do? - well, they might find either way. They might excuse the killer, on account of the extreme distress the rapist had just caused her. Or they might find for the plaintiff, and make her pay restitution. Either way, she would certainly not have a license to kill; a prior declaration by some government that no such lawsuit could be brought. That's justice.
|© Copyright Jim Davies 1999|
Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.
The above is Edition # 246
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