Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Darkness Went With Them
The Nazgul they were; the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them and they cried with the voices of death.There is a great reluctance on the part of even some of Terri Schiavo’s most outspoken supporters to use the word ‘murder.’ As best as I can understand, this particular reservation hinges on a definition in law which would distinguish a ‘miscarriage of justice’ from the textbook designation for unlawful death.
It’s a moral advantage sometimes (if not financial) to be largely ignorant of the legalistic nitpicking in which law students are rigorously schooled (and which the ACLU has used to its doubtless pure-hearted and disinterested advantage on so many occasions).
I understand the principle involved: it’s essentially linguistic algebra. If A+B=C, then you’d jolly well better not try to slip a+B=C by a judge. That Would Never Do. (Unless you can throw in enough subjunctive clauses of the sort that will convince a judge to believe that ‘A’ actually does equal ‘a’ and right and wrong be damned.)
Because as long as there’s so much as a microscopic hook from which to dangle his legal participles, what His Honor says is what happens. Should your lawyer set a procedural foot wrong, he’s put it down in quick-set cement. Signed, sealed, delivered: forever hammered into stone. You can appeal to Caesar all you want; the chances that he’ll bother to lend an ear are so thin as to not even cast a shadow.
Thus the judiciary system becomes a hive-mind of metal and wheels, a grotesque anthropomorphic adding-machine operated by statutory hydraulics and ex cathedra holy water pumped killing-cold from a polar sea. The only hope you have—the only chance you will get to appeal to the warmth of a human heart—is a jury. (Given their druthers, a great many members of the judiciary branch of government would, I suspect, gladly do away with juries. They’re so untidy, juries – they will let themselves be affected by their feelings despite judges’ instructions.)
Terri Schiavo didn’t get a jury. You don’t when your only crime is being disabled.
The moral of this Great American Story is this: if you’re innocent, you die anyway. There is no court of appeals.
And that—the intentional killing of an innocent—is the definition of murder.
Update: Join the Resistance!