THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
“Once again I must repeat, that I understand that the crimes that many of these criminals have committed are heinous in the extreme but it does not give the State the right to take their lives. Imprison them yes, kill them no...”
Their guest speaker had been talking in monotone for almost forty minutes now. At least the speaker on world famine had had some amusing stories to tell about his adventures as a missionary in Africa but this guy was just droning on, feeding them his opinions as gospel fact. Stifling a yawn Tristam wondered if this was actually the guy they were supposed to get, maybe the real speaker was a home with the flu and he had sent in an understudy.
The auditorium had been built sometime in the fifties, a low ceilinged block of a building; it existed primarily so the younger students could put on school plays. At times like this however it was the closest thing Blessed Heart had to a place of general assembly - aside from the chapel of course. The chapel however was never used for anything of the sort, the surviving nuns wouldn’t have it. So here they were and Tristam found it fairly creepy to be listening to a speech about capital punishment in a room painted in cheery blues and yellows.
“You see the death penalty is merely the final tragic epilogue on a culture obsessed with violence. Violence in music, films and video games translates to violence in deed. It exacerbates the already violent tendencies of certain individuals and when they lash out how do we respond? With understanding? No. We railroad them onto death row, and believe me these trials are not fair. The public defenders are at best incompetent and overworked; at worst they are in league with a system bent on murder...”
Oh I see. We have to let the murderers go but put the people that make the ‘Friday the Thirteenth’ movies in jail. Makes sense. Tristam rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. He could feel his ability to stay awake crumbling, his neck no longer had the strength to support his sleep-heavy head. He blinked long blinks, their darkness seductive and inviting.
“The only way to end this cycle of violence is to rethink the way our culture uses violence metaphors in its art, its language and its education....”
He rubbed his eyes, coaxing them to stay awake. It was not enough. Pulses of sleep began to obscure the speaker’s voice. It was a dangerous thing to fall asleep during an assembly, he might wake up with gum in his hair or his shoes tied together
“...topics as diverse as organized sports...
“...greater leniency for the mentally ill...”