From 36,000 feet

Okay, I will admit that this is a bit cool.


A couple of people have previously suggested that I should spends some of my time on planes writing, but I’ve never really gotten into it for a number of reasons.


Firstly, sitting on a plane is one of the few times I get to watch movies. For example, Gone Girl is pretty good. So is that other one I watched yesterday but I have forgotten literally everything beyond “I watched a good movie yesterday”.


I usually schedule my flights to be overnight. That really isn’t hard when your going from Sydney to Europe or the States; it is always night somewhere. So I use a lot of flights to catch up on sleep.


But last night I had an early night; asleep by 2200. And my flight today, whilst early (0915 departure), was not so bad as I stayed in the airport hotel. It’s also Sydney to Japan so there is no “overnight” part. So I thought I’d give it a crack. AG Chapter 28 is my first “Mile High Chapter”. Enjoy it. See if the oxygen deprivation has made any difference.


I also have a free WiFi card. That is pretty awesome. I’m writing this as we dodge a thunderstorm over Indonesia. That doesn’t happen everyday.


I’ve flown over Indonesia thrice this week, and the current big news story is about the Bali Nine; a group of Australian drug smugglers that were arrested in 2005. Two of them were sentenced to death, and their imminent execution by firing squad has been all over the news in Aus over the last few weeks.


I will admit that I’m not a fan of the death penalty for any crime. I think taking a stand on life or death is uncompromising. As soon as you make an exception, like Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot, then it doesn’t take long for the exceptions to wind all the way down to crimes where no-one is even killed.

Sure, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that killers or war criminals should go unpunished. Heck, you should be studying these people to find out how to prevent that kind of lunacy again. But in my mind as soon as you say that it is alright to kill someone then you are condoning murder, and I’m not down with that.


Being executed is probably my greatest fear, as unfounded as it is (says the guy who watches Air Crash Investigation before boarding planes). There is something unbearable about knowing the exact moment of your death and being able to do noting about it.


When I was in year 2, we were told to do a project on a “Celebration,” a little project to teach us how to use a library to look up information. I’m not sure what possessed me at that time. Maybe I had seen something on TV or read it in a book, but the topic of “Public Execution” came to my mind. This kind of behaviour was typical of my entire schooling; I would deliberately find ways to bend our instructions whilst still staying within the teacher’s parameters…. but I digress.

A 7-year-old Crud hit the encyclopedia hit the books, dragging on a couple of unsuspecting kids along for the ride. At the time I thought nothing of it, but we studied about five different methods of execution that had been used in public, such as beheading, hanging, the electric chair and such…

Anyway, the teacher did that barely-contained-rage-grin that they do when they want to smack you for being a shit stirrer, but knowing that their instructions were fully complied with, and the incident was forgotten.


But those few encyclopedia pages still stick in my mind. I think it is fair to say that I have a bit of an imagination, and since that time I have had visions of being led down those hallways and strapped into a gurney or chair and getting the fuck killed out of me. Even now, writing this, my pulse has skyrocketed at the thought.

And then you hear the stories of the people who were exonerated after the fact. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but there was someone executed in the US for allegedly burning down his house with his kids in it. He maintained his innocence until he execution, and after the fact real arson experts concluded that there was no way that he could have done it. But, through some circumstantial evidence, he too was murdered by the state.


I’m not really going anywhere with this. I know that this topic is a controversial one, especially considering that most of you are American, where I know public sentiment is different to that in Australia. Our last execution was also a case whereby the prisoner was most likely innocent. I usually keep my opinion on the topic quiet. Like most political or religious topics, it usually tends to degrade into name-calling, and you can end the day with fewer friends than you started with. But with all of the hype at the moment, and the proximity to some of my doomed countrymen, I thought that I should at least say something.


I hope you’re enjoying AG. I’m only just now realising that I forgot to make Kate read her mysterious note. I guess that is for next week/month…


One thought on “From 36,000 feet

  1. Don’t usually comment, but I just wanna say I really enjoy reading your thoughts about different things, in addition to AG. Not sure how much feedback you actually get, and I realize lack of support can be discouraging. Keep up the awesome posts!

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