On Saturday I saw something on the TV that made me rethink my previous stance on capital punishment. I’m a pacifist at heart, a man who prefers to think things through from the side of the offender, to judge whether we have the right to judge based on our ability to understand that which has been done and the person who has done it. I have previously felt that I can not judge someone whose acts I can not understand, whose upbringing I have not experienced and whose mindset, as a result of their upbringing, their experience and their genes, I can not comprehend. I have always felt that we should not judge people who break our rules, who transgress our moral codes, but rather we should act in a manner that will keep society safe from those we can not understand.
All that I’ve said was all fine and dandy and simply flew out the window the moment I saw Adam McPhee strike Robert Harvey. Ok, I wasn’t in the best of moods when I saw it, I had just played a full game in unbelievable conditions (constant rain and a ground that looked like a large serving of mud soup gone wrong) and my side had suffered its first loss of the season. I was sore, tired, hungry, angry and I think a little concussed when I got home, rang Dad to talk about my game and sat down to watch the afternoon’s game which, of course, featured Essendon and St Kilda.
I’m not exactly sure what Dad and I were talking about at the time, but it was interrupted by my outraged voice saying something like, “Some mug’s just whacked Robert Harvey!” His response was, “Yeah, McVeigh.” Slightly angrier, I said, “He’s an animal.” I didn’t change this statement when I discovered that the offender was McPhee and not McVeigh, it didn’t change anything, McVeigh was still an animal, the new information was that McPhee is a dirty thug.