Sunday, January 23, 2011
A STRANGE CUP OF COFFEE
So it's 15 degrees outside, icy sunshine, 3 inches of snow on the ground. I'm inside the warm house in my nightie, enjoying being off work. Time for a cup of morning coffee.
While the coffee heats (I guess coffee doesn't perk any more, does it?), I snap together the components of the candle-making machine, setting up my work station in the kitchen. Sipping the steaming drink, I websurf candle supply companies, researching soy wax prices, deciding which scents to buy first, planning which new scents I can create. One company's site -- www.house-of-soy.com -- offers candles with aromas such as chocolate cinnamon, chocolate Italian spice, chocolate marshmallow, and chocolate pumpkin, in addition to popular chocolate scents. Intriguing to me was chocolate suede, described as having a "hint of soft sandalwood." It takes a true chef/perfumer/artist to create such exciting new blends, and I can't wait to join their ranks once I know what I'm doing.
Swallowing a mouthful of my stimulating brew, I become aware of voices emerging from the tv. LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT is on. The plot examines the murder of a man killed by multiple stab wounds with a large knife that was also used to cut off his genitals. As it turns out, he was a military officer in what used to be Yugoslavia. He not only was involved in the machine-gunning of men and boys of all ages, but also in selecting girls for his own use, serially raping them for weeks before tiring of them and shooting them. When he was too drunk to keep an erection, he used a wrench or broomstick or pistol. The female detective, Mariska Hargitay, finds it difficult to invoke the law against the young woman charged with his murder. The issue, of course, is law versus personal ethics. The detective has dinner with her mother, who was herself the victim of a rape that resulted in pregnancy. The baby born of that pregnancy was her daughter, the detective. I asked myself, and now ask you, the same question they discussed about the butchering of the rapist, "Would you have done it if you could have?"
Some will unequivocally say, "YES!" Some will thoughtfully say, "No."
Some, like me, are not sure. If there were rational and fair justice for all, if one could feel secure in relying upon justice being done, then one might back off from personal vengeance. On the other hand, in a society where the amount of justice depends on many factors such as race, gender, residence, citizenship, economic status, social connections, etc., then one faces defining "justice" before making a decision. Is there truly a need for retribution beyond satisfying one's emotions? What are the criteria? Animals live without justice or retribution. Whatever happens, happens. If one believes in a god, should that god be the one who handles the situation, or should the decisions be left to humans to fill the roles of judge, jury, and jailer? If to humans, then which ones?
So, my coffee cup is empty. It began with thoughts of chocolate candles and ended it with thoughts of cutting off a rapist's genitals.
And so starts this day, the continuation of our lives.