Wednesday, November 11, 2009

If Only For Today...

Happy Veterans Day!

I'd like to thank my cousin Tony, his wife, DMurray, Brad, my dad, uncles, grandfathers, great-grandfathers and all the other men and women who serve(d) in our armed forces and protect our way of life everyday. It's because of you all that we can rest easy at night and enjoy the freedoms that we have. Thank you!

I'd also like to send my prayers to the families of those who were killed or injured in the attacks at Fort Hood. To die during battle on foreign soil is one thing, but to die at the hands of a fellow soldier at home is quite another - and very tragic. My thoughts are with them this Veterans Day.

Lastly, I'd like to add that I hope the families of those who lost loved ones at the hands of John Allen Muhammad and/or Lee Boyd Malvo feel a sense of closure after Muhammad's execution last night. Some say it's just another life gone, and that they'll never have complete closure of their loved one's death. Others say that since Muhammad got to see their father, sister, mother's last breath, so should they see his.

I try to stay away from polarizing topics on my blog - abortion, the death penalty, stem cell research, etc. Not because I don't have an opinion on those things, but because I don't necessarily know if there is a right or wrong one. Opinions are just that - opinions. And I respect anyone's views on these types of subjects, because they are usually dictated by our own set of standards or values, religious beliefs or personal experiences.

There was a time when I felt the death penalty was immoral and uncivilized. I felt it was just another way to murder someone...just legally.

But then again, I've never had any of my loved ones murdered by a sniper.

I used to think the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment.

But then again, I've never had a child of mine go missing, only to be found raped, beaten and dismembered in someone's living room...their head in a bucket.

When you hear stories like this, it reminds you that there is REAL evil in the world. And I personally believe that if you can hurt or kill a child, then you have a special place in hell waiting just for you. How you get there is the bigger question - do we wait for you to die naturally in jail to meet your doom, or do we help you get there sooner by executing you?

I don't have the answer to that, and my feelings about it change everyday. As a Christian, I believe in forgiveness and repentance. But sometimes, an eye for an eye sounds good too.

I remember feeling a sense of relief when the D.C. Sniper was captured. One of my best friends was living in the D.C. area at the time, and she was pregnant with her first child. I and her entire family were scared for her and her husband, and her husband told her not to leave the house. I can't imagine living in that type of fear, and you never think that something like that could ever happen to you.

When I heard Muhammad was sentenced to death while Malvo was to serve life in jail, I didn't think his punishment was cruel or unusual in that moment. I felt that if you shoot 22 people, and murder 15, then that is the punishment you chose. Just as he snuffed out the lives of innocent people, his life was snuffed out too. At least he saw it coming. Those other poor folks never did.

I don't feel differently now that Muhammad is dead. My day goes on the same as it would any other day. I say prayers for all of those affected by what he did, and I pray I (or anyone I know) never have to go through the tragedy of losing a loved one in such a violent way.

Regardless of my personal feelings on the death penalty today, my hope is that when one of the loved ones of any of the victims woke up this morning, they felt some sense of peace or closure...if only for a moment...if only for today.

-b

22 comments:

Annamaria said...

FIRST BITCHES

Stef said...

Brooke, I feel the same as you, my feelings change on this everyday. But I have to say, I'm glad the DC Sniper was executed last night. When I think back to that time and the fear he struck in the country, all I can say is that I feel better knowing an evil spirit like that is no longer with us.

Stef said...

Oh, and thank you to all the men and women who serve our country everyday and keep us safe! Happy Veterans Day!

Annamaria said...

MY OPINION: BUT I think the justice system in this country is way to leinent (sp?)I think that for cases like this allowing him to chill in jail (on taxpayers money) and then drug him off to sleep is way too nice.. He didn't think of the way his crime would affect not only his victims but their families. The same way these men that rape & torture, etc etc don't think of the victims either. I think that as in other countries you should be punished according to your crime. You wanna rape..chop that shit off. You wanna be a sniper I'm going to let you run around a yard & take your ass out. Before Austin & I moved in together I had my own apartment in BK. One day a friend emailed me a website where you could type in your address & it gave you any and all sex offenders living in your neighborhood. Low & behold the dude living in the apartment RIGHT UNDER ME had been convicted of raping a 14 year old. He'd done 3 years. He was living with his wife & her 2 daughters. I was disgusted & on my guard. Austin barely let me stay at my apt after that. I always wondered whether his wife knew that he had been in jail & why... I saw the way he looked at her daughters & other young girls in the neighborhood & it disgusted me. 4 months after I moved out the brother of the girl he raped walked up to him in front of the building & shot him in the head. I have to say I was a bit relieved. Now that I have a daughter GOD HELP the person that even looks at her wrong cause I swear I will shank first & ask questions later.. I don't even want certain people looking at her in a picture cause it makes me mad! lol.
On the flip side however...I do believe our justice system is very corrupt & there are a lot of wrongly accused people sitting in jail. I would hate that one of these people be hurt (as they probably already are) or be killed for something that they didn't do.. Soo I guess I'm a bit conflicted.

Malek said...

I say an eye for an eye...

Brooke said...

Annamaria, I can only imagine how you felt knowing that someone who could do that was living so close - and had only served 3 years for that crime. I wonder too if his wife knew, but you'd be surprised how many women will put their children at risk for the sake of having a man. But that's a blog for another day. Sorry, no jail birds!

But like you said, the justice system is corrupt and in most cases - racist. There are plenty of people in jail who don't belong there, or who are serving long sentences for petty crimes, while the REAL EVIL criminals get out in 3 years. And I'm sure there were so many people executed for crimes they didn't commit. I just hope the system is getting better some kind of way if we're gonna keep capital punishment going.

Rameer said...

To this day, I'm still shocked the DC snipers were Black men. Just boggle my mind. I have theories as to why AFTER the fact, but it just blows my mind.

I'm still against the death penalty, though. I'd rather make a person live and suffer. That's just me...death can be wanted or even a release for many. My attitude is more like "nah, homie. You LIVE with what you did and what you will suffer as a result of it."

On another note...

Serena hit me with an e-mail telling me to check her comment out that she put at the end of my blog yesterday. I did (thanks, Serena!), but also read Stef's comment that was also posted after I had left the office for the day. So, to address Stef's comment:

Stef - everyone on here, myself included, have faults. However, I deal with the subject matter at hand that is presented. I speak about my experiences, what I was taught/learned, and how I think and act currently. And, as I often reference, it is a collective thought process that my crew and many people in my circle share.

If I seem to have no faults to you or anyone else who doesn't know me, or seem too good to be true/too goody-goody- on some topics, so be it. It's me being honest, and as my boy Burs once said to a woman years ago who accused him of the same thing - "I can't help of you've been exposed to different - this is who *I* am."

I don't know how long you have followed the blog, but I think many on here would agree with me having NO faults. I constantly have said things that I have been criticized about or have had faults pointed out. Brooke-Ra doesn't like how I generalize at times. I caused a mini-firestorm once by revealing my attitude to beat anyone's ass who would try to physically harm me, regardless of gender (I would never touch a woman unprovoked, but I was taught to beat anyone's ass who is trying to hurt me).

One of my best friends has to scold me for my over-protective nature at times (especially for women I know). And the woman I'm dating jokingly (but with a very real hint of truth) calls me "the King Of Over-Reaction" due to my reaction to perceived slights or transgressions against people I care for.

I am who I am. If the topics we talk about illicit a response that you or others feel can't be real, then perhaps consider what type of people you have been exposed to. I'm really not that out of the norm amongst my crew - in fact, I'm probably the one in my crew with the easiest faults for the rest of them to point out.

The subject matter on here doesn't always cause me to respond with something I've said or done wrong. If I didn't do it, or don't think, I'm not gonna create *fiction*.

And no, last Friday's blog isn't the first time I've admitted to doing anything foolish. Hell - many people on this blog have gone to school with me or know people I've gone to school with - Serena alone can write a book on foolish acts I've done from our freshman year alone!

Just clarifying for you and anyone else who simply doesn't get it. This is me...no fronting or putting on. Too cocky to ever do so. Just being real about it and addressing your post from yesterday.

Capisce?

Jay said...

Hard one, but like you said, feelings change on this daily. I'm sure if something happened to my mother, sister or a child of mine that I hope to have one day, my views will change drastically. All we can do is hope, like you said, that his execution has brought some sense of peace or closure to their lives.

Happy Veterans Day to all those who serve our country and protect our way of life.

Stef said...

Okay Rameer, whatever you say. Like I said, just comes off as holier than thou sometimes, that's all. Simply my opinion that I'm entitled to, like everyone else. It's all good, we're all cool here :)

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Let his monkey a$$ fry. I said it!!!! Yeah he got killed way to nicely for my taste. The only reason I'm against capital punishment is because sometimes we get it wrong and it's seems to be disproportionately given to black folk. But F that... you gonna stay in jail on my dollar... oh hell no. same is if you rape a child. Sick bastard needs to go... or drop him off on an island with other sick bastards. Rape as well. I agree with whoever said it above cut that shyt off. And stop playing ..women if you bullshit and accuse a man of sexual assault and rape and he didn't do that shyt... sew your shyt right the f up! Cuz you're fucking it up for the women who really are raped! The only person on death row I felt bad for was the dude on the green mile... but if you go around killing people without a care in the world... where the F is the on off switch!!!!

Sorry about that! I slept like a baby last night!

Brooke said...

Tell us how you really feel Pretty Ricky :-) LOL!

Tony, Brooke's cousin said...

Brooke, Thank you for thinking of me in your blog today. It seems so awkward to say "your welcome" when someone thanks me for my service. Initially I joined because I had nowhere else to go, there was nothing patriotic about it . I had tried College and working in the civilian world and neither one was a fit for me. After 4 years I realized that the Navy was where I belonged and that was when my selfish motives changed to patriotism. I never have seen it as a service to others and I feel uncomfortable when people thank me for doing what I loved for 20 years. Please understand that I don't reject their gratitude. I am simply overwhelmed by it. A lot of veterans and retirees feel the same way. We just did (do) what we were born to do....nothing more or less.....

Yolanda said...

I'm very much on the fence when it comes to the death penalty. In my heart, I know God is the final judge and we aren't called to do that.

In my head, I'm thinking: just fry them and stop using my tax dollars to feed them.

Usually, I just refrain from opinion and try to think "what would I want done to this person if they killed my family member?" It's a very hard line to draw though.

I was born in DC and raised in MD. With the exception of my stint in Syracuse (sounds like I was in jail, don't it?), I've lived here all of my life. I remember the sniper days and let me tell you, it was madness here.

Gas stations put up tarp tents around the pumps to protect their customers. I actually stopped pumping my gas during that time and still have not gone back to standing outside to pump. I don't even turn the car off, even though I know I'm supposed to. You never know when you might need to peel off if something goes down. I hop out, toss the pump in and get back in the car til it's done.

I remember walking in a zigzag pattern in the parking lot on the way to the store, just in case that fool was somewhere hiding in the bushes.

The school where the little boy was shot and wounded isn't too far from my house. One of the women I blog with has a son in that school right now.

I remember looking at "white box truck" that drove by wondering if it was them.

I recall driving to work (I worked the overnight shift) and speeding past people so I they wouldn't have a chance to look at me as we drove. And Heaven forbid we get stuck at a light... I'd just try not to make eye contact.

I had just left the newsroom before the first people got shot in Montgomery County. I was IN the newsroom when they killed the bus driver ON his bus. That driver actually lived down the street from my grandmother.

So, I'm losing no sleep over the sniper's death.

Brooke said...

Wow Yolanda, I can't imagine living that way, in that type of fear. I used to call my friend everyday just to see if she was okay or if she'd left the house. That was definitely a scary time.

Trust me, when they caught him, my first thoughts were "I hope he gets the chair." It's hard to believe that it was 7 years ago, but I still remember the fear everyone had for their friends and family - myself included.

I can't say that I'm losing any sleep over it either.

Tony, I'm sure you appreciate all our heartfelt thanks, and that you feel you're only doing what you were born to do. But we thank you because you put yourself in harm's way, willing to risk your life for people you don't even know. I think that's the part that gets me. I can only think of a handful of people I'd take a bullet for. You and all our servicemen "take bullets" for millions of strangers, whether you think of it that way or not. And for that, I thank you.

Jay said...

Tony, Brooke is right. I feel that way about the military, fire fighters, most police officers, etc. When I think of 911, the part that stands out to me is the men and women who ran into burning towers willing to risk their lives to save strangers. And because of a brave policeman or fireman, someone owes their life him or her. Thank God there are people like you who were "born to do that." I'm not, and I can admit that. While there are some I'd willingly die for, I can't say that I'd willingly do it for a stranger. Thank God for people like you.

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Sorry about the rant... but that one pisses me off.

Now who wants some ice cream?

(Sorry I always think about the scene from Harlem nights were Richard Pryor says to the little boy in the beginning. "So you shot him huh? You want some ice cream."

Anonymous said...

Are you a Capricorn Rameer?

Rameer said...

Sorry, anonymous. I can't/won't reveal even that minuscule info to those who can't identify themselves to the rest of the class...

Brooke said...

Don't be sorry Pretty Ricky, we all rant at something at some time or another. I rant often on my blog - ain't no shame to it :)

And yes, I DO want some ice cream! LOL!

DMoe said...

Hey,

My stance on the death penalty really lies on the "thou shalt not kill" principle. I respect everyone's opinions on the issue, but the misery of a life in prison won't bring back those who lost their lives, and neither will the electric chair for the killer.

While I do in fact fear God and no man, I do believe God is a forgiving God and would judge a condemned criminal accordingly.

However, with the death penalty, the criminal is now released to the hands of God - free from our societal punishments.

I say all this to say, while I dont condone the death penalty, I do understand that as the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime.

While I have lost friends/loved ones to violent murders, I want the criminal punished first, and can understand many who believe in the death penalty.

In my opinion, its just like war: Who says which side is the wrong side? And who's justified for killing? Who will be forgiven for it in the end?

Bless our troops and armed servicemen. Far too often, their sacrifices go unnoticed.

Dmoe

Brooke said...

I agree, sometimes we take for granted the people who protect us.

As for the death penalty, whether it's just or not, people know that a death penalty EXISTS. If you decide to commit a heinous crime ANYWAY, then you have to know that the death penalty is a possibility and that it CAN be your punishment.

Those that don't care about that possibility probably deserve it. I'm just glad I'm not in the position of making that decision. I would hope that I'd do as God would want us to, but as a human being, I'm not sure I'd make the right decision.

Jaz said...

I'm late, but great blog today Brooke. I'm conflicted on the death penalty, as well as some of the other topics (abortion, stem cell, etc.) that you mentioned. I think you took a thoughtful approach to the subject and I hope those families have some closure.

I'd also like to thank our troops for all their sacrifices - Brooke's cousin Tony included :)

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