for three days i’ve been on autopilot, reading books and articles and running errands and sleeping and driving. i went to the store today, and when i got back to my car, it occurred to me that i didn’t remember walking through the parking lot. i didn’t black out or lose memory or anything, because i felt the passage of time and i can recall what i was thinking about, but i can’t remember anything visually about those few minutes.
death, it seems, is everywhere. i’m thinking about the woman who drowned in a downtown elevator on friday night. my god, what it must have been like to drown alone in a tiny enclosed space. i’m not sure i can even imagine the panic she must have felt.
at sxsw this year, i was at the omni bar having drinks with billy, ryan, jeffrey, carole, matt, nick, and an acquaintance of billy’s, and we were talking about the death penalty. billy’s acquaintance told us that his brother had been murdered, that the murderer was caught and sentenced to death, and that he and his family went to the prison and witnessed the lethal injection. according to him, death by lethal injection does not merely consist of receiving a few injections and then passing out. according to him, recipients of lethal injections thrash around and foam at the mouth and are in horrible pain before they die. i don’t know if that’s true or not, but if it is, it happened this morning to timothy mcveigh, and i’m not sure i can imagine that, either.
both nature and the united states government have portioned out death over the last three days. the deaths of kristie tautenhahn and of timothy mcveigh happened under very different circumstances to two very different people. i am, however, really bothered by the fact that while our government has the power to kill just as gruesomely as nature does, it also has, unlike nature, the power to kill discriminately, maliciously, and for revenge.