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The serious news villain of my childhood, Saddam Hussein, is dead.

It couldn't have happened to a nicer insane genocidal dictator -- but -- the trial was a mockery and a human rights disaster. Killing the man in a kangaroo court is not the action of a civilized and just nation.

I was raised largely Quaker. I have serious doubts about putting properly convicted and fairly tried criminals to death. Some parts of me think it's just and proper for those who have done things that are that bad, but other, more civilized, parts, say that two deaths are worse than one and it doesn't bring back anyone, and goodness only knows if it deters people. Example or martyr? At least the criminals in question don't go on to do worse things in this lifetime. Nor do the falsely convicted innocent. Nor can anyone who's dead make any further action towards healing.

I know I hear my mother's voice in there. I hear the voices of the Friends Meeting.

There are ten thousand people who have argued both sides on the issue of death for seriously vile criminals. I argue with myself about it a lot when it comes up. I don't expect to reach any kind of conclusion with myself for a long time. I think it's good that I argue it when it comes up. It keeps me from getting too settled on the issue. I'm meant to be uncomfortable about it. I like being uncomfortable about it. If I should stop being uncomfortable about the prospect of state-sanctioned execution, I wouldn't like the person I'd become.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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