Shelly Aldean: Bizarro World revisited
When I was a child, I spent much of my idle time during summer vacations immersed in comic books. Although they were by no means great works of literature, they were entertaining and surprisingly well-written which helped me improve my vocabulary and reading skills.
It was during these forays into fantasy I was introduced to Bizarro World, a fictional planet created by DC Comics in the early 1960s. The premise was everything and everyone on Bizarro World was the opposite of its counterparts on Earth. It was essentially an alternate universe where it was a crime to make anything perfect; good was bad and bad was good. Salesmen sold bonds at a record pace because they were guaranteed to lose money. I’m sure you get the general picture. In popular culture, “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite of expectations. In other words, life in the second decade of the 21st century!
Why, for example, is anyone concerned about the self-inflicted death of Scott Dozier, a killer who was sentenced to die in December 2007 for the brutal murder and dismemberment of a 22-year old man? For 12 years the state of Nevada was unable to carry out his execution even though eventually the prisoner himself asked to be put to death.
Based on a psychological evaluation, Dozier was deemed fit to negate his own rights in his quest to have his death sentence imposed. But, as a result of legal battles over the composition of the lethal injection to be used, the court-ordered execution was never carried out. Frustrated by numerous postponements, the twice-convicted killer attempted on several occasions to take his own life, finally succeeding on Jan. 4 of this year.
While some suggest the angst caused by a prisoner’s placement on death row is inhumane and the mental equivalence of torture, given the fate of his last victim, to me, this seems like a fair and just punishment.
The one thing I’m certain of in this life is the existence of free will. Since Dozier used his free will to commit murder, he should have been allowed to use his free will to take his own life more easily as final recompense for what he did. Allowing him to simply swallow a handful of barbiturates would have been a far more merciful way of ending his life than forcing him to hang himself with a bedsheet in his cell.
Another example of how our world is oddly inverted, is illustrated by the increasing number of attacks on Christianity by American atheists who justify their actions based on the First Amendment to the Constitution. The basis for the separation of church and state was described by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. With reference to the First Amendment, Jefferson explained the Bill of Rights prevented the establishment of a national church. As a result, the members of the association had no need to fear government interference in their right to express their religious conscience.
Despite this clear and compelling explanation of our Founders’ intent, we continue to see examples of attempts to infringe upon religious freedom (primarily of Christians) whether its reading the Bible near government offices or displaying crosses on public property. Perhaps the secularists among us can simply accept the Bible as a grand work of literature and the cross as the symbol of the crucifixion of an important and transformative historical figure, Jesus of Nazareth, while acknowledging the world would be a far better place if we all observed his ethical teachings of loving thy neighbor and refraining from hatred and lust.
Shelly Aldean is not a member of any organized faith