July 05, 2015

Source: Dominique Cottrez

As is often the way with Internet discussions, opponents hurled a few insults at each other but, unusually, kept mainly to the point. One commentator called down anathema on his head for having called human life sacred, and was accused of using religious terminology, being asked for evidence that it was sacred”€”though in fact the French penal code says something similar, using the word inviolable rather than sacred, as if such a statement could be demonstrated in the same way as that earthworms have no backbones. There followed a brief excursion into the history of French atrocity, as if the St. Bartholomew Day’s Massacre could in some way exonerate Dominique Cottrez. You can do anything you like, as long as you can find something worse in human history.

I found myself leaning to both sides of the argument, though I am by temperament and experience a hard-liner with regard to crime. I have no difficulty with punishment in such a case, because the argument for justice is not utilitarian and punishment is not therapy. It is something else. On the other hand, when I saw pictures of the woman sitting in court, a human mastodon, I could not entirely expunge pity from my heart. I know that she became as she was through her own agency, but what must it be like to be such a person? Deep inside me there beats a heart of mush.


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