The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 9, 2010

Could a Halloween haunted house be classified a torture chamber?

Associated Press


A recent national story revealed a former CIA agent is in trouble for scaring a terrorist by holding a drill near the guy’s head. It sounds like this agent was trying to intimidate the terrorist by running that drill.

He never put the drill on the guy’s head, mind you. He never touched the guy. He just revved it up, scaring the poor terrorist.

I’m not for torture. But to me, there is a difference between scaring someone and actually torturing them. And, I guess I’m not as squeamish as my more liberal friends about scaring the hell out of a terrorist.

When I think of torture, I think of actual physical pain. Some say the waterboarding technique was torture. I’m still not convinced of it, but it is probably closer than the drill incident.

 When I think of torture, I think of scenes from Rambo where they give Rambo electric shocks or take a red hot poker and scar him with it. Or chop off his fingers, or something horrible like that.

I don’t think of torture as playing loud music all night long or of holding a Black and Decker drill close to a guy’s head. I don’t think of torture as intimidating a terrorist.

I mean, if holding a drill close to someone and revving it up is torture, then I submit this Halloween, we can’t let any people or kids go into those haunted houses that always spring up.

You know what I’m talking about. In those haunted houses, they usually rev up chain saws to scare people. What about the people who jump out at you? What about the scenes you see or the screaming you hear.

It’s scary, even though you know some of it is coming. Yet, it sounds to me like haunted houses could possibly be classified as torture chambers.

Of course, there are different techniques to getting information from terrorists. Some respond better to having a feeling of safety and security. Others, I’m convinced, you just have to scare the hell out of.

I know most of us would never think of treating human beings in an undignified way. I know most of us would like to believe that these terrorists actually have a conscience and a heart.

Some of the lower-level ones do. Some of them are forced into participating in terrorism due to threats made against them or their families.

But, there are those terrorists who have nothing in their hearts other than hate and malice.

I appreciate our nation’s efforts to treat prisoners humanely. But, it’s my opinion this instance does not reach the level of being classified as torture.