Sunday, August 03, 2008


Texas defies World Court, Bush on execution

"Don't feel sorry for me," [Jose Medellin] said on an anti-death penalty Web site where inmates seek pen pals. "I'm where I'm at because I made an adolescent choice."

An adolescent choice.

Medellin... was one of six teenagers arrested and charged with the gang rape and murders of Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14. The two Houston girls... stumbled on a group of teenagers drinking beer after initiating a new gang member.

Evidence showed the girls were gang raped for more than an hour, then were kicked, beaten and strangled. Their bodies were found four days later.

An adolescent choice.

Let me clarify, for Medellin and others who share his point of view:

Boiling a baseball (and setting the hot saucepan down on the kitchen counter without a trivet) to see if you can hit a hot baseball farther is an adolescent choice.

Playing The Legend of Zelda for six straight hours instead of doing your term paper on the Ming Dynasty is an adolescent choice.

Jumping off the roof into the swimming pool is an adolescent choice.

Cutting class is an adolescent choice.

Staying up half the night to read a Stephen King novel is an adolescent choice.

Participating in the brutal gang-rape and murder of two young girls is not an adolescent choice. It's a total psychopathic disregard for your fellow human beings.

But I suppose it's not a surprise that the hideous slaughter of two innocent girls gets described as just a "choice". We've been calling killing babies "choice" for over thirty years now.


Anonymous said...

My husband teaches at a middle school. Over the summer, one of the students went over to another student's house and shot him in the back of the head (execution-style) while he was playing a video game. Middle school. The shooter was 15 (had been held back, I guess, at least once). Not sure of the reason except just plain depravity. Makes me want to cry.


Christina Dunigan said...

Oh, Kathy, that just sucks.

Depravity is nothing new, but lately we've been hearing it called "a mistake" or "a bad choice."

"A mistake" is getting off on Exit 11 when you should have waited for Exit 12. "A mistake" is when you accidentally put a wool sweater in the dryer. "A mistake" is when you were balancing your checkbook and you screw up on the math. But in his song "Happy Birthday", Flipsyde describes participating in the choice to abort a baby as "I made a mistake". I can't know how much Flipsyde and his "partner" knew about what abortion entails, but this wasn't something that they did unintentionally. They sought out somebody who did abortions and paid money for the deed to be done. A mistake is not an error of intention but an error of execution, if you will.

"A bad choice" is putting off getting your oil changed. "A bad choice" is ordering pizza instead of eating leftovers when your budget is tight. "A bad choice" can even be as serious as marrying a drunk in the hopes that you can sober him up.

And then there's my personal favorite: "what happened". As in "I regret what happened that day." We hear this from convicted murderers at sentencing hearings. As if they'd just stumbled into the situation and the other person ended up dead. "I regret what happened" is appropriate for situations like Stephen Curtis Chapman's poor son whose little sister darted into the driveway and he couldn't stop in time and hit her. That's something that happened. If you run the kid over intentionally that's not "what happened", it's what you did.

We've somehow lost sight of that.