purple fish guts

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Capital punishment

I like to give Z a heads up about important current events when they happen. I want her to say when she's older, "I remember when that happened." I also want her to have some idea what grown-ups are talking about. The other day we were in the car listening to the news of Saddam Hussein's execution, and I stated that a very bad guy had been executed. Her response, of course, was, "What does executed mean?"

My reply was, "You know when grown-ups do bad things sometimes they have to go to jail? Well, if someone does really, really bad things the government decides it is better to kill them."

Her eyes got really wide and she asked, "What did he do?" (I think she wanted to make sure it was nothing she had ever done.)

I replied, "He killed lots and lots of people. People who lived in his country were scared for many years. Sometimes he would try to kill everyone in a whole town. He was a really bad guy."

She was thoughtful about that, and we talked a little more about capital punishment. (She was relieved to learn that her dad and I don't agree with capital punishment.) The conversation eventually turned to another topic.

Later the same day, she said out of the blue, "I know why policemen carry guns! That way if you do something really bad they can just shoot you."

I think we set her straight. I think our next civic lesson might be the 5th and 6th Ammendments.