This posting acts as a full reconsideration. More a sequel than the second posting was (that was more episode 1 1/2).
This was brought about by a quotation from NORMAN PORTER, JR. VS. SUPERINTENDENT, etc (Read from this article, of course). On page 115, testimony is quoted as to him stating, after he killed Mr. Piggot, “Now you know I mean business.”
This was not available to me, at least to the degree I searched (and it definitely wasn’t up during the first couple months). And while an article with the quote had been published in Chicago Magazine (on page 2 of the article), I never bought that magazine and had begun a separation from the Chicago poetry scene that would last until today (April 2, 2008 ) at the least.
And I do remember looking up Norman Porter and J J Jameson on the Internet. The quote never came up, and there were plenty of news articles and news from the Chicago Poetry community. Even now, looking up both names in themselves you don’t find anything with the above quote in it. You have to use the quote itself to find it.
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So how does the quote above change things? Collapses them, in fact, to this:
Can you rehab a murderer?
Not “should” (as in “is there a moral responsibility?”). Not “could” (as in “do we have the money, time and gumption to?). “Can” (as in “is it possible?”)
Many societies and places kill wild animals who have killed people on the theory that one they’ve killed a human and tasted human blood, they no longer fear humans and therefore will kill and eat humans again. And while we make heroes of men who kill during (a victorious) war, everyone knows very well how much of a struggle it is for former soldiers to fit themselves back into society. Even those who come back to welcomes and embraces end up suffering; ask a WWII veteran who now suffers continual flashbacks from memories held back for sixty years (yes, they exist).
So what about the man who kills with malice and intent? And I count the quote above as showing intent, as it implies that Mr. Porter/Jameson had thought through his actions and understood what they might mean. While Piggot wasn’t an intended target in any way, his being shot was more than the bad luck of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
And, of course, if one can doubt whether a killer can be rehabbed, it’s that much harder for a killer to rehab himself. Even with the effort put forth, there’s still the issue of the core of the being. If people who kill for God (and/or Country) can have trouble, imagine the trouble from a man who’s killed for personal gain. Even if he comes to repent of his actions, can he repent of the man who had gone and done said action without denying himself? In short, is the only way to cure the killer part is to kill yourself (or have yourself killed)?
Never mind the fact that Porter had to literally remake his past to gain entry into the land of the living. When you attempt to throw away an old identity and replace it with a new one, stuff ends up having to be covered over or just plain unexplained. Amongst other things, that would explain why his poetry was always obtuse and impossible to see through. It always seemed as if he was working his hardest to put up barriers in his poetry.
In the end, my point is this: I’m beginning to think that there IS such a thing as unforgivable sin. Not suicide (which is unforgivable ONLY if you succeed), but sin which soils the heart so deeply and so strongly that you can’t rid yourself of it no matter what you do to right it. Stuff which you can’t repent of because the heart, upon letting the sin touch it, won’t let go no matter what.