Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Dear Jack,"

wrote Norman Mailer in his open letter to JFK.

"Obviously, I hoped you would get in..."

Let us leave the rest of that letter until the celebrations are over. I, too, am celebrating. For what it's worth.

6 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

Mailer helped a murderer get out of prison who then slew a citizen right in the street. And JFK was popped by Lee Harvey from the book building.

Oy vey.

I just hope nothing like that happens. I just hope this country doesn't start shooting one another.

Thomas Basbøll said...

I think Mailer was rejecting as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

Kirby Olson said...

Sadly, he was mistaken, at least when it came to the murderer he helped get back on the loose.

Obama's about to free all kinds of people.

Will he end up like Dukakis?

Thomas Basbøll said...

Like I say, the choice between freedom and security is a false one.

Every time someone gets murdered we can ask why we didn't lock everyone up preemptively in the first place.

Cheney recently said 4,500 dead Americans and 100,000 dead Iraqis has been (literally) "worth it".

If Obama's policy of not locking people up for things they haven't yet done (and that's really what Mailer proposed not to do to Abbott if you think about it) allows some people to kill some others then, well, that's just going to have to be "worth it" too.

Abbott may have been a bad piece of work, but that does not mean it was the state's job to keep protecting us from him. He had, argued Mailer, served his time for the first murder. Once out he was, in the nature of the thing, free to do it again. There was no way to know.

Kirby Olson said...

Probability dictates that a man who has committed one grievous crime will commit another.

We could let all the murderers go and hope for the best. You know know know never never, but I hope logic will prevail in the courts.

Thomas Basbøll said...

As I understand it (and certainly here in Denmark) murderers get out of jail and commit no further mischief all the time. That's the whole point of long but ultimately limited sentences. And parole.