Saddam Hussein is dead, ritualistically murdered.

Here’s what I think about that—not much. If any of the major and most of the minor religions have a clue, we are all essentially eternal and just passing through this particular neighborhood. What you think that means specifically for you could be anything, depending on what you keep telling yourself. Regardless, sending Saddam Hussein back to eternal life is a silly punishment. I bet the houris were lined up waiting for him, too.

For me, that Saddam Hussein was a bad man is hearsay. I never met him. Did you? A man who looked a lot like him used to run a little grocery store in my old neighborhood. Nice guy.

Allegedly, Saddam Hussein actually killed people, which seems to be unusual in the leader-of-the-nation club. George W. Bush is responsible for thousands of deaths—as are Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush and all the rest of them—and since he doesn’t even have to pick up a weapon, he’s in the clear.

Encouraging and training people to kill makes it clear that killing is worthwhile. One need only figure out for each victim whether that particular killing will be a “good” killing, like Saddam Hussein’s, or a “bad” one, like JonBenet Ramsey’s; a “good” murder, like Stanley “Tookie” Williams', or a “bad” murder, like Martin Luther King Jr.'s. Of course, for good soldiers that’s altogether too much thinking. A good soldier follows orders.

Government goons—executioners, soldiers, cops, whatever—are responsible for their acts, just like the rest of us. That they murder for politicians doesn’t make any difference, except they can kill with impunity. Cops can kill anybody they’re afraid of and get a paid vacation, paranoiacs encouraged to apply.

I disapprove of murder, even ritualistic murder by paid agents of the government, apparently the very best kind. Sanctioned killing is based on the notion that some lives are worth more than others, that some people don’t deserve to live at all, and that the government knows best.

I think that on some level we’re all the same. Jay-Z, Saint Augustine, Princess Di, Josef Stalin, Sitting Bull, Galileo, O. J. Simpson, Greta Garbo, Aristotle, Dick Cheney, the Unibomber and you are expressions of the same stuff, like drops of water in an ocean. People vary wildly—that’s our gift and glory—and punishing, even killing, those of us whom politicians don’t approve of doesn’t change our range of behavior. There will always be oddballs. Some will be mean and greedy. Some will be wonderful.

There will likely always be people you don’t care for, people who do things of which you don’t approve. I suggest that if there’s something you don’t approve of, don’t do it. If you disapprove of sex with children, don’t have any. If you want a peaceful world, be peaceful. If the thought of people like Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush and their goons going scot-free drives you crazy, think about something else.