Slava Novorossiya

Slava Novorossiya

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I bought a kindle book by Professor Robert Blecker called, Let The Great Axe Fall. I read it with interest and have read it thrice. To know more, please read here:

For 12 years, Robert Blecker, a Harvard trained criminal law professor, wandered inside Lorton Central Prison, without guards, armed only with cigarettes, a tape recorder, and the assurance of leading convicts that “Slim Rob” was “alright.” After thousands of hours kicking back with convicted street criminals, mostly killers, probing their crimes and the meaning of their lives, Robert feels forced to morally refine his own views on the worst of the worst who deserve to die.

Through the voices of his teachers, including Plato and Kant, “Itchy”, Leo, and “Papa Bear”, take a journey through the mind of a famed retributivist who tests legal philosophy against the reality and wisdom of street criminals.

Robert Blecker’s debut Kindle Single “Let the Great Axe Fall” teaches us that justice is richer than the rule of law, that the past counts and we must keep our covenant with the dead — but most of all that the answer to the excruciating question of capital punishment is vastly richer than a simple yes or no.
As a Tufts University undergraduate who knew that Hitler deserved to die, Robert Blecker fled the Philosophy Department chaired by America’s leading death penalty opponent. Scorned by his fellow anti-Vietnam war protesters for supporting capital punishment, he insisted we were killing the wrong people. Tufts produced his three one-act plays and created the Balch Travelling and Playwriting fellowship for him. After college, he taught American Culture and Creative Writing at the University of Vincennes. Harvard Law School awarded his thesis on Game and Sport the Oberman Prize as best of the 1974 graduates. He returned to Harvard for a year as a Fellow in Law and Humanities.

After a brief stint as a Special Prosecutor attacking corrupt NYC cops, lawyers, and judges, Robert became a New York Law School criminal law professor where he co-teaches death penalty law with leading opponents, as well as Constitutional History. His American history play, “Vote NO!”, premiered at the Kennedy Center and travelled to 16 states. Every audience but one — including the ACLU, and cadets at West Point and Annapolis — immediately after performance voted to reject the U.S. Constitution. For 12 years, he wandered freely inside Lorton, the Nation’s only all-Black prison system, interviewing convicted killers, no officers present. He has since documented daily life on death rows and maximum security prisons in seven states. Robert has long been a leading public voice appearing in national and international media and many documentaries urging a morally informed death penalty for those who deserve it. The feature and TV documentary “Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead” (available on Amazon) portrays his unusual relationship on Tennessee’s death row with condemned killer Daryl Holton. Robert is working on his own documentary, “The Death of Punishment.” He hopes his stage play “Joseph Warren” will help bring America’s greatest forgotten Founding Father back to life.

If you do not have a kindle, download software for your iphone, PC, Mac, Blackberry, Android HERE.

I soon recalled the axe used for incapacitation during the medieval times. I got the information from Wikipedia, and as the same time, I remember that 1995 Mel Gibson’s film, Braveheart. William Wallace was beheaded by an axe and he died a martyr. Please note, my friend helped me to get a weapon closest to the executioner’s axe, a Dane axe. I want to thank him very much for his help.

The Dane Axe is an early type of battle axe, primarily used during the transition between the European Viking Age and early Middle Ages. Other names for the weapon include English Long Axe, Danish Axe, and Hafted Axe.

                        Replica Danish axe head, Petersen Type L or Type M, based on original from Tower of London


Most axes, both in period illustrations and extant artifact, that fall under the description of Danish Axe, possess Type L or Type M heads according to the Petersen axe typology. Both types consist of a wide, thin blade, with pronounced "horns" at both the toe and heel of the bit. Cutting surface varies, but is generally between 20 cm and 30 cm (8 and 12 inches). Type L blades tend to be smaller, with the toe of the bit swept forward for superior shearing capability. Later Type M blades are typically larger overall, with a more symmetrical toe and heel.

The blade itself was reasonably light and forged very thin, making it superb for cutting. The thickness of the body above the edge is as thin as 2mm. Many of these axes were constructed with a reinforced bit, typically of a higher carbon steel to facilitate a harder, sharper edge. Average weight of an axe this size is between 1 kg and 2 kg (2 and 4 pounds). Proportionally, the long axe has more in common with a modern meat cleaver than a wood axe. This complex construction results in a lively and quick weapon with devastating cutting ability.

Based on period depictions, the haft of a Longaxe for combat was usually between approx. 0.9 m and 1.2 m (3 and 4 feet) long, although Dane axes used as status symbols might be as long as 1.5 to 1.7 m (5 to 5½ ft). Such axes might also feature inlaid silver and frequently may not have the flared steel edge of a weapon designed for war. Some surviving examples also feature a brass haft cap, often richly decorated, which presumably served to keep the head of the weapon secure on the haft, as well as protecting the end of the haft from the rigors of battle. Ash and oak are the most likely materials for the haft, as they have always been the primary materials used for polearms in Europe.


The Danish axe on the Bayeux tapestry.

In the course of the 10-11th centuries, the Danish Axe gained popularity in areas outside Scandinavia where Viking influence was strong, such as England, Ireland and Normandy. Historical accounts depict the Danish Axe as the weapon of the warrior elite in this period, such as the Huscarls of Anglo-Saxon England. In the Bayeux tapestry, a visual record of the ascent of William the Conqueror to the throne of England, the axe is almost exclusively wielded by well armored huscarls. These huscarls formed the core bodyguard of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. The Bayeux Tapestry also depicts a huscarl cleaving a Norman knight's horse's head with one blow. The Dane-Axe is also known to have been used by the Varangian Guard, also known as pelekyphoros phroura (πελεκυφόρος φρουρά), the "axe-bearing guard". One surviving ivory plaque from the 10th century Constantinople depicts a Varangian holding an axe that is at least as tall as its wielder.

Although the name retains its Scandinavian heritage, the Danish Axe became widely used throughout Europe from 12th.-13th century, as axes gained acceptance as a knightly weapon, albeit not achieving the status of the sword. They also began to be used widely as an infantry polearm, with the haft lengthening to about 6 feet (1.8 m). The 13th. and 14th. century also see form changes, with the blade also lengthening, the rear horn extending to touch or attach to the haft. The lengthened weapon, especially if combined with the lengthened blade, was called a sparth in England. Some believe this weapon is the ancestor of the halberd.

While the Danish Axe continues in use in the 14th. century, axes with an armour piercing back-spike and spear-like spike on the fore-end of the haft become more common, eventually evolving into the Pollaxe in the 15th. century. The simple Danish axe continues to be used in the West of Scotland and in Ireland into the 16th. century. In Ireland, it is particularly associated with Galloglas mercenaries.

Famous historical figures associated with the axe

Iron age bearded axe head from Gotland.

After the Battle of Stiklestad, the axe also became the symbol of St. Olaf and can still be seen on the Coat of Arms of Norway. However, this is because the axe is the implement of his martyrdom, rather than signifying use.

King Stephen of England famously used a Danish axe at the Battle of Lincoln 1141 after his sword broke.

Richard the Lionheart was often recorded in Victorian times wielding a large war axe, though references are sometimes wildly exaggerated as befitted a national hero: "Long and long after he was quiet in his grave, his terrible battle-axe, with twenty English pounds of English steel in its mighty head..." - A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens. Richard is, however, recorded as using a Danish Axe at the relief of Jaffa. Geoffrey de Lusignan is another famous crusader associated with the axe.

In the 14th. century, the use of axes is increasingly noted by Froissart in his Chronicle, with King Jean II using one at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and Sir James Douglas at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388. Bretons were apparently noted axe users, with Bertrand du Guesclin and Olivier de Clisson both wielding axes in battle. In these cases, we cannot tell whether the weapon was a Danish axe, or the proto-pollaxe.


NOTICE: I will post a quote from a Christian in favor of capital punishment every fortnight.

QUOTE: "If a man is a danger to the community, threatening it with disintegration by some wrongdoing of his, then his execution for the healing and preservation of the common good is to be commended.  Only the public authority, not private persons, may licitly execute malefactors by public judgment. Men shall be sentenced to death for crimes of irreparable harm or which are particularly perverted." St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 11; 65-2; 66-6.

AUTHOR: Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (1225 – 7 March 1274), also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Roman Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus ([the] Angelic Doctor), Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis. "Aquinas" is not a surname, but is a Latin demonym for a resident of Aquino, his place of birth. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Thomas is held in the Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood. The works for which he is best-known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles. As one of the 33 Doctors of the Church, he is considered the Church's greatest theologian and philosopher. Pope Benedict XV declared: "This (Dominican) Order ... acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the special praises of the Pontiffs, the master and patron of Catholic schools."


QUOTE: “Countries that give up this penalty award an unimaginable advantage to the criminal over his victim, the advantage of life over death.” [Mr. Kaczynski said in July 2006. His coalition partner, the far-right League of Polish Families, wants to change the country’s penal code so that pedophiles convicted of murder will face execution.]

AUTHOR: Lech Aleksander Kaczyński (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlɛx alɛkˈsandɛr kaˈt͡ʂɨȷ̃skʲi]; 18 June 1949 – 10 April 2010) was a Polish lawyer and politician who served as the President of Poland from 2005 until 2010 and as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005. Before he became a president, he was also a member of the Law and Justice party. He was the identical twin brother of the former Prime Minister of Poland and current Chairman of the Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński. On 10 April 2010, he died in the crash of a Polish Air Force Tu-154 while attempting to land at Smolensk-North airport in Russia.

APPLICATION: The late Polish Prime Minister can debunk what Desmond Tutu said, “To take a life when a life is lost is revenge not justice.”
            When a country abolishes the death penalty, murderers have advantage of life over death on their victims. In this sense, it is a mockery of justice. Immanuel Kant will agree to that.


NOTICE: The following article is written by the author itself and not by me, I am not trying to violate their copyright. I will give some information on them.

ARTICLE TITLE: Endless debate over death penalty
AUTHOR: Tariq A. Al Maeena
AUTHOR INFORMATION: Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He was educated at the University of Denver. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
DATE: Sunday 25 December 2011

      Tariq A. Al Maeena

Endless debate over death penalty
Despite western criticism, most urban dwellers in Saudi Arabia do not see this act of retribution as inhumane if the crime is ghastly in nature
By Tariq A. Al Maeena, Special to Gulf News
Published: 00:00 December 25, 2011

Several international human rights organisations have expressed outrage over the execution of a Saudi woman earlier this month. The western press joined the fray with some editorials condemning the putting to death of Ameenah Bin Salem, tried and convicted of practising witchcraft and sorcery, according to the Saudi Ministry of Interior.

In a statement, Philip Luther, interim director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa chapter, described the execution as "deeply shocking" adding that ‘while we don't know the details of the acts which the authorities accused Ameenah of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion".

This year alone, there have been reports that close to 80 people have been executed for committing violent crimes. The number of actual executions would be much higher had it not been for the practice of accepting ‘diya' or blood money in lieu of execution, according to Sharia.

It should be noted that Amnesty International regularly targets Saudi Arabia with regard to the execution of some of its criminals and for the "charade of a trial which most of the victims receive". Amnesty claims that more often than not, the accused are not judged in accordance with the basic norms of international law and court sessions are held in secret. 

Mentioned in the Old Testament and carried over to the subsequent faiths, the ‘eye for an eye' view can and often does thrust people on opposing sides of the fence. The law of ‘an eye for an eye' is usually called the law of retribution, or lex talionis, or the law of equivalency. In Saudi Arabia as elsewhere, capital punishment is still being meted out to those proven guilty of a variety of crimes. 

Serious crime
In that the crimes for capital punishment by the state are clearly defined — terrorism, drug-trafficking, kidnapping, armed robbery and rape — there exist crimes against people that can place the aggressor under the sword of the state or the mercy of the victim's family. The state often has no say in such matters. 

Take the case of a homicide. If the perpetrator is proven guilty, the state demands his incarceration for a minimal time, while he awaits his fate based on the demands of the victim's relatives. In the case of a full pardon by the victim's family, he is let off scot-free. This is often the case when there is no indication or cause of pre-meditation for the crime. 

Pardon can come in the form of mercy from the victim's relatives, pressure from the extended family or the community, or the payment of ‘diya' or ‘blood money', an amount that can range from hundreds of thousands of riyals to several million. 

However, if the victim's family decides that the aggressor committed an unpardonable crime, no law in the land can intervene if the relatives remain unmoved in their wish to see the guilty one executed. And in that case, the sword is used to deliver justice. 

Most urban dwellers that I have encountered do not perceive this act of retribution as inhumane if the crime in itself is ghastly in nature. The kidnapping and molestation of a child, or the rape and murder of a defenceless woman, or a greed-motivated pre-meditated murder will not elicit any form of sympathy for the assailant. 

Although they may quote verses from the Quran in the form that forgiveness is divine, few would march in defence of and against the execution of a proven criminal for gruesome deeds. 

Others may point out to the relative safety from bodily harm prevalent in the kingdom to further their conviction that capital punishment does indeed serve as a deterrent in keeping heinous crime rates low. In that people can for the most part walk freely without fear of being accosted by an armed robber, there is no question in their minds that such executions play a big role. 

Where in some countries the innocent have been reportedly put to death after flawed investigation, raising public indignation over the role of such state-sponsored executions, such errors are minimised here through self-admission or witnesses. And testimonies are usually scrutinised in several tiers of the legal system before a final verdict is issued. 

Rarely do we hear of someone whose life was ended wrongfully because of flawed testimony, the absence of a high-profile legal team or the perpetrator's social status. The law applies equally to one and all. 

Today, as the Gulf rebounds in growth and business ventures, there may be those tempted to make gains through the pain of others. How often they pause to reconsider their intent in view of the existing and terminal laws of justice may be of social interest. 

So is capital punishment justified? It depends on which side of the fence your sentiments are on. 

My comments: Well done, Tariq, I agree with your article but I personally do not support the death sentence for sorcery, I only support for it for heinous crimes and only those crimes that are death-related. You are absolutely right when you mention that Saudi Arabia has a low crime rate, I respect the Saudi Arabian justice system for wiping out evildoers in the country. As mentioned in earlier post, that the Saudi executioners are one of the bravest people in the world who take pride in the job. I respect them and they should not just be doing the job in the country but should be hired to do so in any country if no one wants to do the hangman’s job. My friend lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and told me how safe your country is.


QUOTE: Observe, O man, and see whether the dog goes after the bitch after she has conceived. Look at the cow or certainly at the mare, and notice whether the bulls or stallions bother them after they are with young. Obviously, they forego the pleasure of intercourse when they sense that they are unable to produce offspring. Therefore, since bulls and dogs and other kinds of animal show such regard for their young, it is men alone, whose teacher was born of the Virgin, who have no fear of destroying and killing their little ones, made in the image of God, just so that they can satisfy their lust. This is the reason why many women practice abortion before their term is complete, or certainly why they discover means of mutilating or damaging the tiny and still fragile limbs of these little ones. And thus, as they are impelled by their incentives to lust, they are first murderers before they become parents. [Letter 96, Letters 91-122, Fathers of the Church: Medieval Continuation, Owen J. Blum, O.F.M., 1998, Catholic University of America Press, pp. 62-63, ISBN 0813208165 ISBN 9780813208169. Editor's note: “Here we have one of the few references, perhaps the only explicit one, in Damian's letters, to the practices of abortion. And to the horror of post-modern feminists he puts the blame on ‘the many women who practice abortion,’ charging them ‘with being murderers before they became parents.’ This discussion and its context are important evidence from the Central Middle Ages, reflecting the constant opposition of the Church to abortion from the Council of Elvira (ca. 302) to the present.”]

AUTHOR: Saint Peter Damian, O.S.B. (Petrus Damiani, also Pietro Damiani or Pier Damiani; c. 1007 – February 21/22, 1072) was a reforming monk in the circle of Pope Gregory VII and a cardinal. In 1823, he was declared a Doctor of the Church. Dante placed him in one of the highest circles of Paradiso as a great predecessor of Saint Francis of Assisi.