Life and death

You read the horrific story about the boy on today’s cover and, if you are opposed to capital punishment, it reinforces that belief. My view coalesced during the heyday of Governor Jerry Brown, when he said he opposed the death penalty because the way to stop killing is to stop killing. That made perfect sense then and it’s somehow stuck with me to this day.

But I also experienced one of those instances forever mentioned during capital-punishment debates, where it takes a violent crime striking close to home to at least soften a hard stance against government-sanctioned murder. This past December, my 21-year-old son was carjacked, kidnapped, robbed and—after being driven around for three hours in the trunk of his own car—assaulted with a deadly weapon. I got to him in the emergency room as his bloody face, which his attacker had beaten repeatedly with an object as my son was lying defenseless in the trunk, was being sewn closed. The bad guy, who’d informed he was a white supremacist out on parole, had capped the nightmare by tossing the car keys in the trunk, slamming shut the door and leaving the scene with my battered, bleeding boy still inside. Thank God some passing kids got the trunk door open and called the cops, but my son lost several teeth, his nose was broken and his jaw was fractured.

The physical wounds have since healed, though not yet enough for him to be fitted for permanent false teeth. Only his therapist knows about the psychological scars. A suspect is behind bars. The trial has been delayed multiple times.

In my mind the punishment for this totally senseless act of violence would begin with putting the rat bastard who did this away for life. Confining him to a cell with the biggest, baddest, white-devil hating inmate in the yard would fulfill my dreams also. And if there happened to be a life-ending “accident” in the yard one glorious day, oh well.

Yet despite my anger, despite the horror he put my kid through, despite the way this changed a perfectly happy family forever, goddamn it, I’m still opposed to executing that douche bag. Of course, unlike the loved ones of the victims of the little boy on the cover, I still have my son.