I cannot sleep after making the mistake of reading about the teacher who hid her students in cupboards before taking a bullet to save their lives - a mistake not because that kind of heroism should go unrecognized, but because I have a difficult time handling these stories. I am filled with all the rage of a father, and my eyes water the more I try not to think about it.
Instead of sleep, I envision the things that I might do in a similar situation, knowing that my instincts would take priority over any thoughts I might have. What I know for certain is that, if given the chance, all the wrath of horrors experienced, heard of, felt on behalf of others would find its outlet on this one man. I envision waiting by my door with the sharpest object I could find, hoping to lodge it in his neck - I think about keeping him alive and inflicting as much pain as possible; a pencil through the eardrum, a scissor into one eye socket, leaving the other to see; testicles crushed beneath my heel. I would take advantage of what little time I had, knowing that his maximum life imprisonment would never suffice.
The rage that I feel after rocking our own son to sleep and sitting down with my thoughts on the matter is something that we have long been trying to suppress, and I haven't any idea what good we suppose to accomplish in doing such a thing. It is as ungodly as what it purports to combat; as with the devious wolves, we have allowed entry to demons dressed as angels. We are tricked into thinking that they are angels dressed as demons; where they should be met with a slaughter fitting possessed swine, we seek instead to understand. We gaze into the face of evil and do not find grace, we only let it speak to us and plead for acceptance.
As a defense attorney, I think about what would happen if such a murderer were left alive, and assigned my counsel. The hypothetical is not a difficult one. I would quit my job before taking a single blink in consideration. But everyone - everyone - is entitled to a defense. Why? It is a pretty simple gotcha question for the conservative Christian, is it not? Jesus, after all, defended not simply the murderer on the cross, he took upon himself the very sins of the world! But the murderer was not let down from his cross until having died the same death that his savior had. It is easy to conflate spiritual forgiveness with judicial pardon as an exercise in language, but only as an exercise in language. How many murderers would ask for the defense that Jesus gave? The neighbor to his left did not, but rather cursed him. What Jesus offered was advocacy - an appeal to mercy upon fully repentant admission of guilt. That is not defense as we view it today.
So why is everyone entitled to a defense? Is the terrorist who gunned down soldiers in Fort Hood entitled to a defense? The maniac who slaughtered innocent movie goers in Colorado? The murderer of twenty Connecticut children? I would sooner lose my job and face any relevant professional penalty than offer my services, and I do not respect the individual who would choose otherwise. The fact is, there should not be a single living soul who is willing to offer defense to these monsters. Legally, they should be entitled to a defense, if they can find one - ultimately, they should have to present it themselves.
I am eternally amazed by evolving notions of human rights. If anything should prove you less than human, the killing of children is high on the list. If anything should constitute a waiver of your humanity, and any rights derived therefrom, I nominate senseless killing. What, beyond the facts that hope to answer the question "did you, or did you not?" could possibly constitute this defense to which you have a right? Human rights have evolved, because Godly standards have been devolved. This is not my appeal for a theocracy, for ecclesiastic courts, for Biblical reference in sentencing or in the criminal code. Nor do I claim that because we have no Christian equivalent to Sharia that we cannot have justice.
But we do not punish - we diagnose. The child molester suffers from the disease of pedophilia, the drunk from the disease of alcoholism, the murderer laid up with sociopathic tendencies or masochistic fantasies, the thief may well be bedridden with kleptomania, the gangster is a victim of anti-social desperation - in all, we seem to be gravely ill with an awful and awfully contagious disease, the veritable pandemic of humanity! These are not disorders, they are evil. Today's demons do not require a portal to earth - they already have the DSM.