What does crucifixion mean as an EPA policy approach?

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2012 — Al Armendariz, President Obama’s appointee for the EPA region encompassing Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66Tribal Nations, recently summed up the Obama Administration’s policy toward the oil and gas industry – crucify them.

Al Armendairz’s use of this, the most dreadful, humiliating form of capital punishment ever imagined to describe a policy approach reveals a disdain for the American people and the energy solutions emerging from the free market, in spite of the Administration.

Crucifixion is not a joke and a government willing to use that sort of imagery is dangerous.

What does crucifixion look like literally and as a policy metaphor?

A video (above) captures Al Armendariz recollecting telling his staff about punishing and controlling the oil and gas industry, using the analogy of cruxification to bring them to line:

“…I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said. It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

Since the video surfaced, speculation has ensued as to whether using crucifixion as an analogy for good policy is merely a slip-up or actually an apt description for how Obama’s agencies view industry.

Armendariz did apologize for his analogy choice but said nothing to indicate he does not still believe in a “crucifixion” approach to achieving his policy goals which can be interpreted that “punishment” should be used as a motivational tool to force industries to support President Obama’s programs.

What is crucifixion?

Crucifixion is a form of capital punishment involving first the beating and then nailing of a person to a wooden cross. The four-inch crucifixion nails are hammered in at the wrist and then ankles.

In the History Channel’s very graphic program on the topic, they state that crucifixion was a symbol of power, terror and intimidation.

According to the National Institute of Health, “crucifixion was considered one of the most brutal and shameful modes of death.” Actual death took from six hours to four days, usually by way of asphyxiation and cardiac arrest hastened by compulsory scourging (beating), dehydration and shock induced by pain.

Australian attorney and writer Mel Jay  writes, “Crucifixion was so degrading and horrifying a punishment that it was used on the worst of criminals, traitors, rebels and slaves who had turned against their masters. It was used to send a strong message of deterrence to anyone who wanted to challenge a ruler or regime.

Crucifixion was an extremely public death. There was no dignity in it. This was so even after death, as the corpses were often left hanging as warnings to others. It was the utmost in humiliation as far as execution goes.

Despite popular depictions, the victims died naked with the whole world to see them losing blood, sweat, urine and feces as they slowly dehydrated, swarmed by flies and insects.

It is no wonder the word ‘excruciating’ stems from ‘crucifixion’. “

Who uses crucifixion as punishment?

Historical evidence suggests that the Assyrians and Persians crucified criminals. However, Alexander the Great, who established an empire that stretched from the northwestern coast of Africa into India, really popularized the most horrible form of death ever known to civilization. For example, Alexander crucified 2,000 Phoenicians in 332 BC after capturing the city of Tyre. 

The Romans are of course the most famous of all crucifixion practitioners, perfecting it for 500 years until Constantine I ended it in the 4th century AD. The Celts, Britons and Scythians dabbled in crucifixion as well.

In modern times, the German Nazis crucified Jewish inmates of the Dachau Concentration Camp. The Khmer Rouge crucified his people in Cambodia. The Japanese crucified Chinese during the Sino-Japanese War.

Under Islamic Sharia Law, crucifixion is legal but only rarely used today.

Why does EPA need a crucifixion policy?

The boom in natural gas development, driving costs from a post-Katrina $7 per million BTU to $2 per million BTU in 2012, primarily due to the technological breakthroughs associated with hydraulic fracturing, has been a real upset for those who want to push the world toward non-fossil energy sources by making oil and gas very expensive. If your answer to every problem is more government, then a free market solution such as cheaper and increased production of natural gas does not sit well.

In a Senate floor speech Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, “Not long after Administrator Armendariz made these comments in 2010, EPA targeted US natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.

In all three of these cases, EPA initially made headline-grabbing statements either insinuating or proclaiming outright that the use of hydraulic fracturing by American energy producers was the cause of water contamination, but in each case their comments were premature at best – and despite their most valiant efforts, they have been unable to find any sound scientific evidence to make this link.”

EPA head, Lisa Jackson, confirmed that no evidence has yet been found to link hydraulic fracturing to water supply contamination when questioned about EPA’s crucifixion policy.

A government willing to “crucify” is dangerous.

For Christians, using crucifixion as a metaphor to portray a policy approach is particularly poignant. Jesus Christ, crucified by the Romans on behalf of Jewish leaders of the day in 33 AD, was killed for speaking a truth that aggravated party line. He represented a better, simpler way. The gospel he brought humiliated the legalistic, self-aggrandizing religious rulers. They feared his ability to free people, so they killed him in the most humiliating, inhumane means possible – crucifixion.

The crucifixion of Jesus backfired because he really was who he claimed to be and rose from death making true believers out of his followers, most of whom suffered death themselves.

In this context, the resurrection can represent the irrepressible nature of truth.

EPA can attempt to crucify and frighten the oil and gas industry, but if that industry is truly providing a safe, inexpensive path to energy independence, they will prevail.

There’s also an important warning that Obama and his crucifixion style regulators should heed regarding the American people, one learned and spoken of by our greatest of presidents, George Washington.

After witnessing a miraculous reenlistment among his starving, freezing, beat-up, unpaid Continental Army, Washington wrote, “A people unused to restraint must be led; they will not be drove.”  

Carla Garrison follows current events with one eye on history and the other on the future.  Her goal is to encourage people to know the truth and use it as a call to personal action. Read more at Truth be Told.

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Carla Garrison

Carla writes about current issues and events with an aim toward telling the truth, using the writings of great thinkers, dead and living, as well as common sense.

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