|When we kill a
Terrorist, we kill the Beast of Terror. But we also kill God's
Kid--the good in the bad. The execution of a man who
killed two CIA employees brings up the question: "Is Killing
Terrorists Through Execution" the best way to stop Terrorism, or, does
it foster it? You be the judge.
Friday--November 15, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 429
The Execution of Terrorism's
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, Nov. 15 -- Last night
at 9 p.m. a suspected Terrorist was injected with a lethal dose of
chemicals. At 9:07, after his body twitched and his foot moved
back and forth like a "boy going to sleep" he was pronounced dead.
Mir Aimal Kasi
Guy Taylor of the Washington Times was a
witness to the execution of Mir Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani extremist who
killed fatally shot two CIA employees in 1993. He reported
that after Mr. Kasi was strapped down he made a "V" with the first two
fingers of his right hand and that his right foot "moved back and forth
like a boy going to sleep."
I found it chilling that the reporter noted the
accused killer's foot moving like a "body going to sleep." It
reminded me of the innocence within us all, and how the Beast of
Terror grew stronger in Mr. Kasi than his "boyish innocence."
At 9:07 last night, we killed Mr. Kasi's Beast of
Terror, but also, with it, we killed his "God's Kid," his innocence, his
It makes me want to cry. It makes me
sorrowful that his "child of innocence" is gone, and has no chance of
In my bathroom hang two pictures
illustrating the presence of my innocence and my Beast of Terror.
The first picture is of me as a young boy, around three or four years.
I am sitting, looking at the camera. A small smile cracks at the
corner of my lips.
Beside the picture are the words: "I am
God's kid." My wife put the photo there to remind me of my eternal
innocence--that purity to which I and all other children are born with
before we stumble through life and make a host of mistakes that mars and
blemishes our innocence.
Below the picture of "I am God's kid" is a
It is of a man who appears to be my double.
It is a full 8x10 frame of his head. But unlike the picture above,
this one is grotesque. It is a twisting, ugly scene of a man who
stuck a shotgun in his mouth and scrambled his brains. Clotted
blood turned black from oxidation forms snaking tracks globbing out of his
nose. His face is covered with the glistening glue of blood
splatter; his eyes are pinched shut, two ghastly drawn curtains masking
his blank eyes..
My wife put it on display to remind me of
the days when I felt life's ultimate futility. It was over a dozen
years ago that I held a shotgun in my hands, torn by thoughts of my human
failure to achieve material gains, and ravaged by alcohol that had
released the Beast of Terror within.
Daily I prosecuted myself and found I was
guilty of "crimes against humanity." In a moment of desperation to
escape the prison of Terror I built around my humanity, I finally
sentenced myself to death. But, on November 7, 1989, I was
unable to carry out my execution. Clemency was granted. I was
dragged to a hospital to find the source of my self-hatred.
My rehabilitation from the death
penalty has been a difficult road. I have fought to learn the
source of my own internal Terrorism by attending 12 Step meetings,
writing, seeking therapy, and searching for the roots of the Beast of
Terror that turns a "God's Kid" into a person whose self-worth falls so
low that he or she either decides to "kill others" or himself.
My quest for the Holy Grail ended on
September 11, 2001, when I witnessed the destruction of the World Trade
Center and survived the horror of the day. Sitting in the rubble of
Nine Eleven, I saw the Sentinels of Vigilance rising from the bodies of
the dead. They formed a Ring of Innocence over Ground Zero, a
collection of "God's Kids," each vowing to keep his or her eyes and ears
alert to the thunder of Terrorism to protect the children and the
children's children's from future harm.
Last night, the death of Mir Aimal Kasi was
also the death of a "God's Kid." I felt kinship with his
death--with the waste of it. His death made me realize that had I
killed myself thirteen years ago I would have wasted the hope that human
beings like myself can evolve beyond the Beast Within and again become
It has taken years of
struggling with my Beast to corner him, expose him, and realize that
despite his constant ambushes that attempt to demean me into a worthless
blob of human failures, I am not what my Beast claims I am. I
am "God's Kid" first and foremost, not His victim. I have the Right of
Innocence that supercedes the Right of the Beast.
As with most human beings, I am
constantly judged by what I do or don't do. If the Beast has his
way, I will be convicted daily of crimes of "shame," "failure,"
"worthlessness," "guilt," "being less than," "unworthiness," and
My mind has a way of looking at the
world as though I am a nail and everyone else is the hammer. My Beast
wants me to believe that no matter what I do I cannot escape my mistakes
in life--so why try! If I listen, my vulnerability to what others
think of me, and my own prosecutorial thoughts of my flaws, mount up as
damning evidence of my uselessness. Unchecked, such thoughts
lead ultimately to a death sentence, either in the form of suicide or just
utter self defeat such as falling into a pit of Complacency where I give
up the struggle to be God's Kid and live in the innocence of my
Mir Aimal Kasi reached such a point
of futility in his thinking nine years ago when he took a rifle and killed
two CIA employees and wounded three others. He allowed his
Beast of Terror to talk him into the belief that retaliating against the
United States by use of lethal force was in some way retribution for the
crimes he felt had been levied upon himself, his people, his country.
His "God's Kid" got smothered to death by his
Beast of Terror. It cost him his life, not only his Beast's life,
but his "God's Kid" life as well at 9:07 p.m. at the Greensville
Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia.
The movement of his right foot "back and
forth like a boy going to sleep," represented to me his message that his
"God's Kid" was going to die as well as the Beast that drove him to kill.
Mr. Kasi disavowed being part of a
Terrorist group. He claims he acted out of personal anger for
the way the CIA and United States inflicted pain and suffering upon his
people. He asked the Terrorists of the world to not retaliate over
I related to the execution of Mr. Kasi.
During my life I have witnessed many executions. None of them
has been pretty. They were "war" executions, carried out in Vietnam.
All the victims were unarmed. All were accused of crimes. Some
had juries. Others didn't. Some were men. Some were
women. And some, children. In one instance our South
Vietnamese allies made a group of civilians kneel with ropes tied around
their necks and beg for their lives. Then they machine gunned them
one by one. Pieces of the victims flesh and blood splattered on my
face. Others involved prolonged torture before death, and still
others were carried out in retaliation to deaths we incurred in combat
There is something sickening about an execution.
I hadn't thought about why until this morning
when I read about how Mr. Kasi died.
Reading about how his foot moved made me realize
why my bathroom pictures exist. They are reminders of the "good" and
"bad" in us all, and how the Beast of Terror can overwhelm our "God's Kid"
and turn us into Terrorists. It also reminds me that execution is
not an answer to defeating Terrorism of any size or shape.
I suddenly understand why many nations do not
have a death penalty. To kill another assumes that person's
lack of humanity, the absence of any redeeming values. It also
justifies "killing." It tells the children of a society that in the
final analysis one has the right to kill "bad," rather than to reprieve it
in hopes "good" might grow from it. The death penalty tells
the children some human beings are so hopeless they don't deserve to live.
It teaches them retribution is the only way to make one "pay for his or
I understand the "eye for an eye" principle well..
I am a trained and practiced killer. I was trained to kill the
enemy--to see all those who opposed me as the enemy. In combat
I was a singular judge, jury and executioner. I chose who went
into my sights. I chose to squeeze the trigger that sent the
bullet flying to its target. I was trained not to flinch
about death, but to promote it. In combat, the higher the body
count one racks up, the more glorious one is in the eyes of other
warriors. That's why the Vietnamese soldiers adorned their
belts with the ears of those they killed, why pilots paint the number of enemy "kills"
on the sides of their planes, and why other warriors notch their guns or rifles to
keep score of the number of people they "waste."
the Navy's most decorated WWII Pilot and Winner of The
Congressional Medal of Honor :
"The Ace of Aces"
In combat one doesn't shout, "Kill 'em!."
One yells instead, "Waste 'em!" And that's the bottom
line--killing is a waste. It's a waste of hope in the future of
human life, it's a waste of the potential evolution of "God's Kid" over the
Beast of Terror.
I don't believe the Sentinels of Vigilance, who are
charged with protecting "Gods Kid" in all of us, would want us to hunt down
the Terrorists and kill them in retaliation or compensation for their
deaths. The Sentinels of Vigilance hovering over Ground
Zero have a much larger vision than revenge.
They seek that which is good for the children, and the
children's children's children. Teaching our children
that death justifies death is only another act of civilized Terrorism,
carried out to salve the wounds of loss, pain and suffering of those left
behind. It also offers grim satisfaction for a society reminding all "equal
prices must be paid."
In many ways, death penalties incite rather than deter
Terrorism. This is especially true when Terrorists believe that
dying for their causes elevates them in the eyes of "their god," or sends
them to a special Paradise full of other warriors who are praised and
their brutal deeds, or gives them martyrdom.
Life sentences, on the other hand, lock up the Beast of
Terror, confine and contain it, while also allowing the opportunity for
"God's Kid" to grow stronger than the Beast of Terror.
As a former "executioner" I cannot say the deaths of
anyone I killed made the world better. As a combat Marine, I
can say that anyone I killed trying to kill me or my buddies, was
justified. But all the other deaths could be easily termed "crimes
against humanity." They killed "God's Kids."
Then there are the collateral deaths--the thousands of
innocent who were killed in an attempt to kill the "bad guy" who hid among
the "good guys." I often seen their faces. I often
hear their cries.
I am not a pacifist. I have no qualms about
killing in self defense, when lethal force is the only solution to
protecting one's self or others. But if my older grandson were to
ask me if it was right we killed Mir Aimal Kasi, I would not hesitate to
tell him "no," I would explain that inside us all is a Beast
of Terror who feeds on creating Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
I would say that inside us all is also "God's Kid," the good part of us.
And sometimes the bad part of us rises up above the good, and some good
people do things that are terrible.
I would tell him that we must be Vigilant about
our Beast of Terror, and not succumb to Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency. I would underscore must learn how to replace Terror's
feelings with Vigilant ones of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.
And that killing someone as a penalty for killing another person only
makes us smaller, not larger. I would emphasize using peaceful means
in lieu of our Beast of Terror fighting "their" Beast of Terror.
Beast of Terror
If all my grandchildren joined in the questioning,
I would tell them it is much better to lock up the Beast of Terror in a
cell, and hope the good in the person--the "God's Kid" part--would grow
larger than the Beast day by day until the person realized that what he or
she did was wrong. I would remind my grandchildren that
if they do something wrong, or make mistakes in life, they can always call
on their own "God's Kid," and ask their "God's Kid" to help them become better people.
And if they do that, they can keep their Beast of Terror locked up where
it should be.
I would remind them that over Ground Zero are
these Sentinels of Vigilance who want the children of the world to be safe
and to learn how to stop people from hurting other children.
I would tell them about the Pledge of Vigilance,
and how teaching a child that killing was right--even if that someone
killed someone else--is the wrong message to give children. I would
tell them all of us can change. All of us can get better if we try,
if we are Vigilant and use Courage to replace Fear, Conviction to smother
Intimidation and Right Actions to keep us from being Complacent and just
accepting things the way they are.
I would tell them that in all of us is green
grass and also weeds. And we need is to constantly pick the weeds out
of the green grass or the weeds will choke the grass. And if
we don't weed our gardens, one day they will be barren and we will
become angry and hateful and wish to hurt others. But if the garden
is green, we will find other ways to grow, to be happy, and
can teach others to keep their gardens green with life. Death, I
would say, removes the possibility of turning weeds into green, rich
grass. And since we are all "God's Kids," only God can decide who should
live and who should die, not us.
I am going to think that the Sentinels of Vigilance have asked
Mir Aimal Kasi to join them in the Circle of Vigilance.
I would like to think the Sentinels recognize "God's Kid"
in him, and that they open their arms to his presence, to help
him realize the Pledge of Vigilance can still be signed, and
that even after his death he can learn to employ the Principles
I would like to think they are
saying to him: "Come, help us keep the Beast of Terror
from attacking "God's Kids." Teach them
that death and destruction are not the roads to human growth.
Teach them that Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the
benefit all the children's children's are the right paths."
Whether Mr. Kasi will take their
hands is his choice. But I believe offering him a place
in the Circle of Sentinels is a supreme act of Vigilance
I believe it will be granted because the Sentinels of Vigilance
saw Mr. Kasi's foot moving back and forth "like a boy going
They saw his "God's
Kid" coming to life at the moment of death
Is A Just War Just
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