Pithy Post: The Death Penalty Re-imagined

Seven year-old Bran looked on as his father, Lord Ned Stark of Winterfell, executed  a condemned criminal. On the ride back to the castle, Ned tried to explain to his young boy:

“Do you understand why I did it [instead of a paid executioner]?…we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die….A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.”  A Game of Thrones, 16.  Read more of this post

Who Occupies Your Heart?

On Friday, as I walked onto UC Berkeley’s campus and toward the nocturnally abandoned remnants of the Occupy Berkeley cardboard protests, the seriousness of the movement struck me for the first time. Now, I am not saying that I agree with all the rhetoric, the hype, the tactics being used, or even the philosophy underlying Occupy Wall Street (if there is one such philosophy). What I am saying is that there is a reason it has become a movement: it resonates with something beautiful in the souls of human beings.

As I wade into the deep and turbulent waters of commenting on the Occupy movement, I am painfully aware of something: Like most contemporary issues in my beloved country, this one divides people. Read more of this post