Golden Corral

I was reading the Sunday paper, yes, the real Sunday paper, that makes noise, smells funny and gets delivered in a plastic bag, and came across an article that told of an inmate scheduled to be put to death in January 2013. What caught my eye was the fact that the writer took care to mention that the inmate “will die by electrocution, not lethal injection. Condemned inmates in VA can choose between two methods.” How ironic is that? Prison, as I’ve come to understand it, is about the lack of choice. When in prison, you are told what to do, when to do it, how to do it, for how long and often without benefit of explanation. I love watching The Shawshank Redemption. The article reminded me of Red’s character asking “restroom break boss” and the manager telling him, “you don’t need to ask me can you go, just go”. While in the restroom, he reflects, prior to his parole, he “couldn’t squeeze a drop, lessen they say so” and now, he had the freedom to chose when to go. We have no say in how we enter this world. We have no say over the first few years of our lives, and often, we have no say in how we leave this world. But in the world where the right to choose has been stripped from you, a few privileged humans are given a piece of human dignity; they are given the right to choose. As I read the article, I found it ironic that free will, a right endowed to us by The Creator, had been relinquished or removed – depending on the circumstances, and now at the close of their life, the right is restored to them. Does having the right to choose how you will die restore your status in the human race? What, if any benefit is there to this choice and does it really matter what method you choose? Maybe the idea of going out on your own terms justifies the choice, but is it really on your terms? You don’t get to choose the day or hour, so your “choice” somehow gets lost in the sea of choices being made for you. Freedom is rooted in choice and everyday we exercise that freedom consciously and subconsciously. If your freedom of choice is taken away and years and years later is restored to you, are you really mentally capable of making an informed choice? Funny, death row inmates in VA “can choose between two methods” for how they want to die. People who are suffering from terminal illnesses cannot. Those who sit on death row, do so for allegedly stripping another of their freedom of life. From the moment we are born, we are dying. Choosing to speed up the process, the manner in which is happens and letting someone else dictate the time and place doesn’t seem like a very wise choice to me.

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