(Don't get the title? Here's a clue: this is post #117)
Here in my fortress of generic computer desk with chair and two monitors, I have a set of Firefox tabs that allows me to survey all of my friends' blogs for updates. Usually there is little change from day-to-day, but I have noticed an auspicious abundance of additions made to said blogs over the past week or so. All of these links can be found in the appropriate side-bar, but that's hardly enough of a shout-out to people who have made my internet browsing all the more interesting by providing delicious content for me to devour, therefore I shall create a....
Gratuitous Link List!
HER SOFT LAUGHTER ABSORBED INTO THE LIVING EARTH
(The new volume in a series of "from the files of the Citizen!" posts)
I'll say this for Ronald Smith: He's no Steven Truscott. He may not be Paul Bernardo, either, but his approaching execution isn't exactly a compelling case against capital punishment. Mr. Smith has spent 25 years - half of his natural life - awaiting death at the hands of the US justice system for a double murder he committed while on an "alcohol and drug-fueled road trip". He is a Canadian citizen, and the usual policy of the Canadian government is to request that such a prisoner be extradited here, in protest of the death penalty South of the border. In this case, the Harper Conservatives have not elected to continue that process, leaving Mr. Smith to his own devices. He cries foul on this, of course. He has "grown as a human being" he says, he wants to be reuinited with family, he wants to be released...in Canada. To be honest, the remorse just doesn't seem to be there. Is this the reporter's doing, his or her selection of quotes? It's a possibility, but my personal theory is that Mr. Smith would score decidedly higher than the general population on a psychopathy test. Do I think he should die for his crimes? As a Judge, I would be reluctant to sentence anyone to that fate. That being said, I think that the Federal government is justified in their decision to allow him to be executed.
In the interview, Mr. Smith wonders why his fate is different from that of other Canadian murderers, simply because he killed someone (actually, two someones) in the US and not here. Should he even have to ask? I don't imagine that the US minces words when they list death as a potential sentence for murder, and I don't imagine that Mr. Smith was unaware that it was a potential consequence of his actions. Whether or not the death penalty is morally justifiable is immaterial here: when you travel abroad KNOW THE LAW! It may not be good law, it may not be fair law, but should you rely on the Canadian government to spring you, should you commit a criminal act in another country? There's only so much pressure that one government can exert on another. Do I believe that you should be allowed to wear a "Gay Pride " T-shirt in Tehran, for example? I think you should be allowed to wear that shirt anywhere you please, but is it a good idea to wear it in Tehran? Fuck no! I may be idealistic, but I'm not an idiot, or a martyr. In the case of Robert Smith, I see no great injustices: He committed a crime - he killed two fellow human beings - in a country where the death penalty still exists. He committed this crime in a country where a person accused of wrongdoing has the right to a fair trial, and his trial was not fair, the Citizen article made no mention of it. In fact, Smith's statements in court were apparently made so that the Judge would have no choice but to give him the death he supposedly sought at the time. Did he lie then? Is he lying about it now? He claims to have "grown as a human being" since then, and I'm in no place to confirm or deny that claim, but the facts of the case do not point to him being a victim in any way!
There are a great many injustices in the world: there is war, there is poverty, there is sexism, there is racism, there is homophobia, there is oppression, and that's just off the top of my head. Here is a man who kills two US aboriginals in cold blood, and here he is wondering why the Canadian government doesn't seem to care if the Americans kill him or not. I'm not certain of the Harper governments motivations for what they have done here, but I cannot disagree with their conclusion. Does this sound a little heartless, coming from a self-described leftist? It probably does, but allow me to clarify: I don't believe that the death penalty is humane or effective, however, I don't think that the government of Canada should be sticking its neck out for people like Mr. Smith, especially given the heinous nature of his crime. Except in cases in which there has likely been a miscarriage of justice, I think that we should only oppose capital punishment on moral and political grounds. Intervening in specific cases is essentially offering amnesty to murderers who should have considered the consequences of their actions. That's hardly something to be proud of as a country.
I really look forward to seeing your responses to this one, because It's a touchy issue with people. Am I being to hard and uncaring, or does this make sense to you?
"Cry Baby, Cry...Make Yo' Mother Sigh!"
After Far Cry, Half-Life 2 Episode 1, Prey, Unreal Tournament 2004, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Bioshock, Orange Box, and the Unreal Tournament 3 beta demo, I was almost ready to take a break from FPS games on my PC (to speak nothing of my impulse-buy of Killzone for PS2). Well, then there was the Crysis pre-release demo. Having now acquired the somewhat tragic moniker "the PC's 'Halo'", I was beginning to expect that the game would be fun, but generally uninspiring and over-hyped. I tried to stay away from the demo, I told myself that I should start looking for some variety in my games, that I should give the genre a rest. Well, curiousity (and nothing better to do with my 1TB RAID array) finally got the best of me, and I made the nearly-2GB download. My initial impression is actually quite favourable, with a delicious twist of irony. Crysis, you see, is published by EA games, but the "Far Cry" brand apparently remained with Ubi Soft (the publisher). Far Cry 2 is being developed in-house at Ubi (if I'm not mistaken) and from the PC Gamer preview, is shaping up to be a very different game, with a landlocked setting and Conrad-esque "darkest-depths-of-the-human-soul" angle. Crysis, however, is an open-ended shooter set on (you guessed it) ISLAND(S?)!!! So there are aliens, and more technology available to both the game engine and the player...this game is still everything that Far Cry was, but with a giant heaping of awesome sauce applied liberally, and with extreme prejudice. There's nothing wrong with that, but (and this is the irony I referred to earlier) Crysis is a lot more like Far Cry 2 than Far Cry 2 will be!
Running out of time, here, so I'll wrap it up.
Keep on posting, keep on commenting, keep on truckin'!