I had to write it. I couldn't put it off any longer. My guy at the DOJ has been respectfully reminding me that the US Attorney and the Attorney General were waiting to see if I wanted to weigh in on the death penalty.
In reality, I didn't want to. I wanted to ignore the whole situation. I wanted not to care.
But, as I've said before, when the People of the United States prosecutes your offender I believe that there is an obligation to show up.
So, I went to the arraignment. One purpose was to desensitize myself to his presence. The more important reason was the fact that it was happening at all. There was no lynching, no mob violence at the scene. We are an orderly people, governed by the rule of law, and, as a (n unwilling) participant I had to go.
I knew then that I'd have to write something about his fate. Did seeing him in person make a difference? I didn't consider that fact before choosing to attend the arraignment, but I certainly considered it in the weeks that followed.
I had stared at his scrawny neck. I had seen his pathetic over-long sideburns. I had examined the creases on his prison garb, wondering how their starchiness might feel on his body. I watched him smile and make eye contact with the court workers in and around the jury box..... and watched him avoid all of us in the gallery. I was breathing the same air, occupying the same space, listening to the same proceedings, sharing the same piece of an afternoon with him.
Did it change my opinion? Not really. I didn't need to be reminded that a human being had done this to me, to Christina, to Gabby. It's the part that upsets me the most, the part I asked President Obama about, the part that confuses me still.
What kind of a person does something like this? What kind of a being destroys another? What does it take to feel so removed from our shared experience of inhaling and exhaling that you feel justified in ending someone else's life? Who are you?
There is nothing that can change the events of January 8th. There is no balm available for our sorrow. There is no replacing that which is lost. There cannot be.
We can only move on, looking to our better angels, recognizing the reality and smiling at the rising sun.
As long as he's not ever ever ever walking the earth as a free man again, I honestly don't care what happens to him.