on Death, Mourning, and Capital Punishment:

I've been walking the Galloping Goose trail a lot, often making the two and a half hour hike from Victoria down to Langford. I mostly just do it for the exercise, and the fact that there's something really calming about listening to the Mountain Goats on your ipod while walking down a lightly wooded trail.

On the trail, there's a wooden foot bridge over a large creekbed and waterfall, with the water pounding down so heavily that you will hear it even over your ipod cranked to the max. It's a very beautiful scene, marred only by a rusting shopping cart in the waters and an old graffitti-covered pipeline that crosses over the falling water.

It is also where, about a year ago, the body of a young teenager was dumped by two murdering rapist little fuckers.

I'm not going to go into the details of that awful crime, because really, it's over and done with, and this isn't really a crime blog. And I'm thankful for that.

But every time I cross that bridge, I see the memorial to that poor girl grow. I was on that bridge the day her murderers were sentenced, and there was a row of fresh flowers lining it. And since then, I've watched the memorial change.

There's always fresh flowers. There's a couple of teddy bears. Signed cards, soggy from the condensation in the air. Someone left a stack of arcade tokens scattered around, because he or she knew that the girl loved the arcade. And people even left change - loonies and quarters - and I take it as an amazing facet of human nature that no one has yet to take the money just lying there, out of respect for a dead human being they most likely have never met.

Whenever I begin to think about the terrible things humans do, I just have to think about that money lying there, untouched, on a secluded trail far from the eyes of others, for me to remember that humans are capable of great acts of understanding and empathy. And that, even when someone we've never met dies, we can still find ourselves mourning their loss.

There's something beautiful in that.

I think about this wonderful capacity for love and caring in the human heart. And then I compare it to what people said on the day those murdering boys got sentenced. Everyone cried out for a return to capital punishment. Some wanted those boys to "suffer like she did". And that brought me down.

Because we as a people are not those boys. We are not murderers. We are not rapists. And I've always considered that, the idea of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" is an antiquated one that simply brings the masses down to the levels of the human excrement we're trying to flush away. Or, to use an old saying, an eye for an eye just leads to more blindness.

Lock them up, absolutely, but don't do it out of some misplaced sense to play god. Do it to protect the masses from people who have shown themselves to be dangerous. We must always remember that we are better than those scumbags.

We must always remember that we're the people who leave arcade tokens and teddy bears on the bridge - not dead bodies.

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