This I Believe

patrick - USA
Entered on November 21, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: citizenship
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

A friend and I were recently discussing torture and it’s apparent legality as of late. He believed that the new law was important and necessary. I disagreed. He is married with no children and no desire for any while I am married with two small girls. He was incredulous that I felt the way I did and immediately started detailing scenarios where my child or family are in danger and the suspect is in custody and the only obstacle to their salvation was this person’s confession. I mentally pictured this situation and tried to explain that if this were ever the case, I would be right there chopping of fingers if it could save an innocent person, but once I had ruined or violated this person to whaterver extent, I did not think it was right to hide behind some bullshit law. Being an adult means accepting responsibility for your actions or in some cases, inactions and I would willingly stand trial for my indiscretions. More and more, blame is displaced to some other person or alcohol or poor judgement because we all want a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Legal torture is dangerous. Combined with the black hole of being labeled an enemy combatant, truly innocent people will fall prey to paranoia. Torture will never disappear and I know that, but the the law should be there to protect people from would-be torturers. We will always have to manage with our inherently violent tendencies. I would hope the law would save us from ourselves.