It was nothing of what I had expected. In fact, it was a whole lot worse than I had ever imagined and now, because of it, the image is indelibly etched in my mind. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since. My appetite has diminished to the point where I could almost be considered anorexic; and my demeanor has changed so drastically, my family is doing all they can to avoid me, at a time when I need them the most. Still, I don’t blame them.
Yet, I have no one to blame but myself. It was my decision and my decision alone that I put myself into this position, however unexpected and undesirable the results. Whether my decision stemmed from ego, pride or arrogance or a combination of all is of little consequence being the effects are all I experience at the moment. Even without a conclusive answer one way or the other, the notion that my choice may have been born from hatred has entertained my thoughts for hours on end.
In absolute honesty and my only means of self-defense, can I say that never, at any stage in the process, did I fathom that my life, my family and my career would be jeopardized; for had I had the slightest inkling of such, my decision would have been different. The question now remains and begs an answer as to whether or not I can salvage it all. Do I want to?
Naturally, I don’t want to lose everything, so I’m faced with the dilemma of having to make yet another decision and, as easy as it may seem to others, I’m struggling to make it. Insane also, as I very well know it to be, I keep trying to find justification in my action; the same justification that had always soothed my conscience.
Justification that, regardless how satisfying to others, will never be for me again because my decision reached its finality. It cannot be revised or reversed. It can never be resolved in my heart now that I have fully witnessed the stark reality of what my words have done.
The power of words I have enjoyed using no longer possess their magic or hold true, for they have mutated into a grotesque psychological monster that haunts me and leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. I call myself human. How I have lied to myself. My only consolation being that I will never again utter such inhumane directives. During my life I have heard the phrase, “live by the sword, die by the sword”, but that always applied to others, not me. Hindsight lets me see that that’s exactly what happened to me and I willingly, yet blindly, embraced it.
My arrogance blinded me and seduced me into believing that I was righteously carrying out my duty. I readily sought what I perceived would be the pinnacle of my career. I was convinced that if I enforced everything I valued and believed in, it would make the world a better place; only to discover that I’ve contributed to an absolute horrific part of it. In my pompous efforts to rise above the rest, I have, in all actuality, brought myself down to a most base level. I have copulated with the devil and bequeathed him my soul, for what else I can attribute my sleeping with the same evil actions I staunchly abhorred.
Actions that others deemed too barbaric to carry out themselves yet felt the need to praise me for having accepted the sole responsibility to do so. They are the Pontius Pilates who have washed their hands of it and rest their heads on their pillows and peacefully drift off to sleep. Why shouldn’t they when there’s a fool to eagerly place himself on the pedestal and commit the act for them; a fool who, unlike themselves, is unable to justify his actions; a fool that had trained and prepared himself throughout his entire career to do just that.
At least that’s what I had brainwashed myself into believing until I opted in my egotistical mind to go one step further and fully participate in the process. I would see it to its end. I would show the strength of my position, the strength of my commitment and the strength of my character. I’m quite positive that that’s exactly what those who attended saw that day. As for myself, I’m appalled at what I had become; ashamed of my lack of human compassion; and immensely sorry for my inhumane actions. That day, I witnessed the end of my life as I’d know it.
I had sentenced a man to death by hanging, the customary punishment for someone convicted of murder. He wasn’t the first I had meted out such a sentence, but he was the first I had attended. It will be the last. For the first time, I’m able to speak of it, but only in its most general terms.
Instead of it being instantly ended with a quick snap of the rope and neck….the muffled groans and twitching body…and…such…it lingered on for what seemed an agonizing eternity. It was the most horrendous, inhumane sight I have ever set my eyes upon. I will end up by saying that as tormented as I may be and rightfully so, there is one positive note ---- I am grateful. Yes, grateful. Grateful because I will never again sit behind that bench and condemn someone to death. My only hope being I’ll heal and find my humanness again and, this time, use it to save lives.
Chelle Munroe ©
January 22, 2014