Executing Terrorism--Right or Wrong?
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
"God's Kid"

Cliff McKenzie
   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 purity.  
       It makes me want to cry.  It makes me sorrowful that his "child of innocence" is gone, and has no chance of redemption.
       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 horrible one.  
      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.

Botched Suicide Look-a-like

 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 "God's Kids."
        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 "incorrigibility."

        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 birthright.
        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 his death.
       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 zones.
      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.

Lethal Injection Gurney

     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 her atrocities."
     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."

David McCampbell, 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 rewarded for 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 of Vigilance.
      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 to sleep."  
        They saw his "God's Kid" coming to life at the moment of death


Nov. 14--When Is A Just War Just

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