If (fill in chosen deity) were to grow tired of ruling the universe, wanted to outsource the oversight of humans, and was foolish enough to put me in charge, I’d immediately ban all weapons (mass or otherwise), violence, and require a vegetarian diet.
So why do I spend so much time thinking up different ways of killing people?
The answer isn’t what you may think, considering the above. If you believe hanging, drawing and quartering was brutal, just wait until you hear what I would do to rapists, pedophiles, those who torture or commit mass murder and…
I abhor violence because I’m no saint when it comes to wanting those who create suffering experience the horror they perpetrated on those incapable of resisting. But my imaginings of vengeance are moments of madness, and our legal definition of insanity is absurd. Any murder, no matter how justified, is always an abnormal and irrational act.
If something is stolen, it can be returned, thereby nullifying the crime as long as the object is undamaged. When a person is killed, however, there is no restitution. Murder is the ultimate, irrevocable crime.
That is one reason the subject of murder may fascinate. When is murder acceptable? What is the proper punishment for the act, justified or not? What does it do to the person who commits it? Or what has caused the murderer to commit the crime? We want to understand why it happens, and we may also suspect, albeit uneasily, that the laws on the books are not quite satisfactory justice. No, I am not advocating becoming vigilantes; I am only suggesting that we long to comprehend because we would prefer to respond appropriately and not atavistically.
So this is why I contemplate murder on behalf of my Prioress Eleanor. Her 13th century was no less violent than ours and many who shared her faith committed unspeakable crimes, but she believes that it is her obligation to strive toward perfect understanding because her god is perfect. Although she often fears her own frail limitations and the very human desire for revenge, she struggles to retain compassion and gain wisdom no matter what I throw at her. And I do throw a lot.
And so, why murder? Writing about it can be enlightening…