to kill or not to kill–what is the bigger question?

is the death penalty a deterrent?
so hard to answer if you’ve never wanted to kill anybody
in crimes of passion, could say no
gang deaths, no
what can we do?
when the biggest deterrent to most crime
appears to be the possibility of sodomising in prison?
the system itself degenerated to a dependency
on the social formations within prisons
and we quibble on death penalties
as if there is some kind of answer

better than ‘raise them right in the first place’
do parents tell their children
“don’t kill someone or you will end up on death row”
not very often
the establishment of right and wrong
keys into problems of mass shootings themselves
where lines never drawn
on what can and can’t do

are we all superman?
what is the blessing and curse
of humanity?

if the point is deterrent
then the greatest deterrents were hangings
and stocks and town square beheadings
but a people living in fear
creates what?
more scheming
more dog eat dog
more false preaching and manipulation

so the notion of deterrent itself
could well be false

what keeps a man on the straight and narrow?
making it wider?
the point of freedom
when freedom also means the choice to do good….
as in helping rather than hurting
does a deterrent persuade to do good?
or only somewhat stem
inclinations to do harm?

i am tossed
yet when i see all the little things:
shopping carts taken and left for someone else to return
flowers picked and thrown
empty plastic soda cups tossed from cars
the simple impact
of a “get ahead society” with winning the game
placed higher in importance
than responsibility and upholding
actions that benefit all…..

when i see these “little” reminders on my walks
i feel it is hopeless
no amount of jail or death is going to stop anything
there are roots to every problem
and I’m afraid this one has many, many roots

the argument that other civilized countries do not
have the death penalty…. rings hollow
they are not us
we are not them

our set of circumstances are original
and not duplicated

if we had severe punishment
like sentenced to do many years of torture
would that be a better answer?
no….. mostly because that makes those
upholding law
into monsters

we watch the shows
like “the green mile” and find comfort
because we say “that was then”
we WERE monsters but we are better now

and easy to think that
for those never seeing the inside
of locked cells
who treasures freedom the most?

so I’m not sure
prison inmate numbers are high
but is the ratio
in percentages against population
increasing or decreasing?
do states WITH the death penalty
have less murderers per capita or not?
well do they?????
i don’t ever see that in any news articles

it’s like some one is trying to get leaders
to jump to decisions
from the persuasion of the multitudes
that are not informed with real information

(story of our lives today)

so what am i left to assume?
that any course being pushed
must be contrary
to actual benefit for the system
for us

so i say leave things as they are
for now
and look to simply
raising children to understand that murder is no answer

if it is not the one you murder
it will be someone to take their place
there will always be replacements
there is no sense in that route of behavior
above and beyond just saying murder is “wrong”
there is no sense in it

on the small scale
on a large scale i squish spiders
and they seem to get the message
so i can understand that philosophy
but it is more of a false justification

a reinforcement of territorialism

the answer might well lie
in having much less of “this is MINE, THAT is yours.”

and how do we do that
when so many base their worth
on what they own?


the one thing that belongs to everybody
yet the strongest reenforcement
of ‘mine’…. my money
when all money is a shared barter tool
just not shared very well

again, i am tossed
find myself falling back on
“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
though as a society
having the death penalty makes us all
into murderers
we are fond of the belief that you teach by example
but we also love the phrase
“do as i say, not as i do”
and are caught

between what is “right”
and what works

i seriously think of these things
i ask myself
will there ever be a day
when i escort errant spiders outside
instead of squishing them?
and the answer i come up with
is no
at some point in life
as individuals
we draw lines
we make decisions based
more often than not
on the very foundations of our own comfort

i just don’t know
could tell you i myself do not “believe” in the death penalty
but would have to say
but my grandmother believed in it strongly
i would have to say i don’t know why
she “believed” in it
and therefore i don’t base my unbelief
on her belief

i base it on the fact that progress
hints at furthering humanity as one
rather than reducing it one at a time

i base it on my own experience
that sometimes i will be overwhelmed
i can’t prevent the being of overwhelmed
but i can accept that what doesn’t kill me
makes me stronger

what doesn’t kill me
i know where history draws its lines
i know people who do not feel safe
are a dangerous people

i know that the weaker the whole
the stronger the individual must be

and i know that the greatest strength
is not in giving the man without a coat
the coat off your back

the greatest strength
is passing him by and not looking back
shouldering the impact of your own hardened heart
because inside you believe
he should find his own coat
and giving someone something
does not assist them in finding their own answers…. you would simply be taking their place,
at the side of the road and coatless

yet life is life
and death is death
the greatest love is one man giving his life for another?
or is that the greatest love of self?
of delusion that hero is the best you can be?

and i think of what is saved
and what is thrown away
i think of all the mass influx
of thought stating to us that we are not perfect
we will never be perfect

did i do a good job?
no, but that was not my intent
my intent is to muddy the waters

because fact is we do not need to decide
if we are for the death penalty or not

what is needed is a map
of where we are now
where we want to be
and the best way to get there

i don’t know if the united States should give up the death penalty

we have a fairly large influx of immigrants
need to look at what it means
to invite someone into your house
without laying down the rules

have to look at how others see the US
but maybe that is how we need to appear

i don’t know
i know that i myself do not believe in the death penalty
but that doesn’t make me any kind of saint
there are worse things than death

i have no answers
if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

the biggest fear is to appear weak
we are producing our own amounts of murder
but there is no need for change
unless the statistics tell us
that the whole thing
is headed for the crapper

show me a problem and I’ll fix it
show me your fear of future problems

and I’ll argue that the answer to that
is always
to first reduce your fear

and then see if a problem remains


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