I think I traumatized a couple of coworkers the other day.
I'm someone with lots and lots of opinions. Many of them strong. And many a tad "controversial" to most people. From previous experience, most of the time I'm pretty good at limiting the free expression of my opinions in mixed company. The other day I slipped-up a bit and gave several people more of a glimpse into my personality than I'm normally comfortable allowing relative strangers to see.
Except, of course, on the Internet: Hi! Hello there! Thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry, it's going to get a little heavy here for a bit but then I promise I'll go back to posting pictures of clouds and cute babies.
We were discussing several individuals recently in the news who've been tried and convicted of doing utterly horrendous things to people. I won't name names because I don't want somebody searching for information about them to find this blog. I don't want to be associated with them or the unspeakable things they've done.
I consider myself to be a very liberal person. I unequivocally support equal rights. I believe meat animals should be treated humanely. I feel strongly about universal health care, harm-reduction strategies, legalization/regulation of street drugs and social support for people in poverty. I'm passionate about sustainable agriculture and low-impact living. For many crimes, I support restorative justice.
I also, in a very narrow set of circumstances, strongly support a death penalty.
I know that the death penalty, as it currently exists in the United States, is fraught with serious ethical and legal issues: a lack of proper legal representation for criminals charged with death penalty offences; long appeals processes rendering the argument of cost-savings void and making good arguments that death row can itself be cruel-and-unusual treatment; over-representation of minorities on death row; etc., etc.
I also feel that some people have been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to have willingly and knowingly committed actions so atrocious that even their deaths will not even constitute a meaningful step towards retribution for the harms they inflicted on their victims and victim's loved ones.
Still, in these cases, I see their continued existence to offer only more opportunity for causing pain. These individuals will not be healed and returned to society to atone. They thrive on getting attention and hurting people. Every time they are up for parole they get-off on the renewed interest and making a sadist's farce-and-circus out of the whole justice process.
If they were dogs, we would put them down without a second thought. Humanly euthanized with a touch of regret that they were ruined creatures beyond our healing capabilities.
... And, that was pretty much the gist of my side of the conversation. Their side was some stunned silence and a bit of backing away. Awkward.
So, ya, I don't think I'll be doing any drinking at the staff Christmas party this year. I'm pretty sure my coworkers are shocked enough by my sober opinions.
Next up: my opinions on assisted suicide. Anyone still here?