Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kirkwood, Part 2

The Kirkwood police station is closed for ordinary business. A purple drape hangs over the door. The first picture below is a detail of the door. Note the signs that say "Free Gunlocks Available Here" and "No Firearms Allowed." The last photo is a paper sign put up by the community. Click on the picture to read the detail.

Today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch's lead editorial is a meditation on philosopher Hannah Arendt writings on "the banality of evil." It speaks about this incident and others, including the recent murder of a retired Post-Dispatch journalist during a botched burglary in her home in a middle-class suburb. Although the editorial is not optimistic about the human condition, it is worth the time to read.

Another murder of a Kirkwood policeman affected me in a small way. Three years ago, a twenty-year veteran of the force was murdered while investigating a report of illegal fireworks. While questioning three juveniles in his car, a man came to the window and shot him three times. The officer managed to drive a short distance, seeking help. The assailant came back and shot him dead.

The gunman was charged with capital murder - the death penalty. 160 potential jurors were called. I was on jury duty that week and was among the first people interviewed by the lawyers and the judge. The prosecutor asked if anyone would never vote for the death penalty, no matter how horrible the crime. I raised my hand. Murder by an individual and murder by the state are equivalent to me. The judge quickly dismissed me, along with several people who shared my view and others who said they would vote for no penalty other than death. The murderer was eventually convicted and sentenced to die by lethal injection. That's how it is here.


Petrea Burchard said...

Based on your text, I'd say black and white was a good choice for the lead photo.

Jen said...

I think it is only proper to post the good and the bad. It is what makes up a city.