I’ve recently had a change of heart about the death penalty
“Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same, if I saw you in heaven?” You know, I have probably heard that song a million times. When I was younger, I used to play it on the guitar at parties, although I admit that it was only to get girls out of their hijabs.
Only recently, as my twilight months are upon me, have I truly understood the meaning behind Eric Clapton’s ode to heaven and heartbreak. And I don’t know about you, but I think that in this day and age, we truly must embrace this life that God has given us. Call it a change of heart, but I’ve lately come to realize that in the depths of my soul, I am morally opposed to the death penalty.
In a nutsell, I believe that no government has the right to determine anyone’s fate. And I know, I know. You’re going to say, “But Saddam, any superior government must mercilessly butcher thousands of its own people throughout the course of its brutal regime! Killing countless Kurds using mustard gas without trial or reason is the best way to display the authority of your power!”
Sigh. You remind me of myself, when I was a young, sprite dictator. But people change. And change is a good thing. I have a feeling that one day you’ll grow up and realize that as easy as it is to gas your own people, as tempting as it may be to put the flesh of your enemies through a meat grinder, you have to ask yourself: “Would I want to die that way?” And usually, the answer is no. That’s what I call “sanctity of life.”
Would you want to be killed for an honest mistake you’ve made? Those who support capital punishment want people to die for their past indiscretions, no matter how big or small. I’ll bring it closer to home. As a careless youth, I got swept up in the moment and killed a few thousand of my own people. But tell me you have no regrets from the ‘80s! Let’s be honest, everyone committed crimes back then. Whether they be heinous war crimes against innocent women and children or heinous fashion crimes against good taste — we’re all equally guilty in our own way. Plus, nobody has ironic “Genocide” theme parties today to ease my shame. To tell you the truth, I have been living with guilt for the last 20-odd years. Isn’t that punishment enough?
But more importantly, capital punishment is not a deterrent. It’s a proven fact that if genocidal despots want to kill their own people, genocidal despots are going to kill their own people. And there are plenty of people I know who’ve committed crimes and they get away scott free.
My friend Abdel from down the street isn’t going to the chair for not immolating his youngest daughter when she defied him during the holy month of Ramadan. Old Rashid isn’t getting the needle for shaming Allah when he “survived” that suicide bomb. So why should this old man’s fragile, 69-year-old vertebrae be shattered into pieces for a couple goddamn mistakes I made a quarter-century ago?
People do crazy things when they’re in their forties. One of my brother-in-laws bought a Harley and a leather jacket, and believe you me, no one complained when I had his house burned with his wife and two sons inside. What an embarrassment to my proud family.
At the very least, please don’t hang me. Give me a break, guys. Getting hanged is a coward’s sentence. My grandmother was hanged, for Pete’s sake. (I hanged her. I am not proud of this fact anymore.)
You wouldn’t believe all the Saddam Noose-sein jokes I have already been hearing. Come on. It’s not even that clever of a nickname. And really, do you want to be deprived of the hilarious barbs Jay Leno offers at my expense each night?