I had lunch with the kids today, at a local fast food joint. The kids picked the table while I was getting the food — the picked one right under a TV.
The sound was almost off, but the news of the hour was the release of the video of the hanging and death of Saddam Hussein. I wasn’t about to draw attention to the news by forcing us to go to another table, bu I did position the kids so that they really didn’t have a good view of the screen.
But it was still on.
We had almost made it through lunch, talking about all different kinds of things, when my son asked me about what was on the screen at the moment. It was the memorial, near Tikrit, and the burial of Saddam Hussein. I explained what it was, a burial and memorial service for a guy that had died the day before.
“Did he want to die?” my son asked me.
Wow, what a question. No, I said, he didn’t. “Then why did they want to kill him?”
I guess the sound could have been lower. I explained that Saddam Hussein had been the President of Iraq, and that he had been a very, very bad man. I explained that after we had invaded Iraq, the Iraqis had arrested him and he can be tried for killing a lot of people. He had been found guilty, and the judge had decided that his punishment should be that he be killed.
My son didn’t even bat an eye. “The judge should have picked a different punishment.”
“A little bit late for that,” I said. But, we then went on to talk about the idea of murder, of killing someone else, about our religious beliefs, and just a little bit on whether a judge should be able to order that someone be killed for crimes that committed. And we talked about how it’s a topic (capital punishment) of great debate in many societies, and how different peoples, different countries, and different cultures have different views on capital punishment.
Not a conversation I thought I’d behaving with my kids so early in their lives. Sharp kid, though.