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To be perfectly frank, though, getting hung up on the specific method used to dispatch Elian (garroting, immolation, firing squad, hemlock, toy-stuffed cargo container) can only be counterproductive. I suggest appointing a committee to explore the options and put forward a recommendation. With her credibility shining like a proud beacon, Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin would be an ideal fit to chair the committee. I'm confident we can find a compromise that is both humane and entertaining, and that doesn't cause us to lose sight of the real villains in all this.
I'm sure some readers must be saying, "DeFede, are you insane? You can't possibly be serious. Killing this innocent child would accomplish nothing. Why not secretly train Elian to be the world's youngest assassin, so when he returns to Cuba and is embraced by Castro, he could throttle el tirano with his bare hands? You know, a midget Bruce Lee."
Good point. Unfortunately after reviewing the curriculum at the Lincoln-Martí school Elian attends, we've learned that children only begin learning assassination techniques in the fifth grade. Apparently there's no point in teaching them to kill before they're taught to hate Jews and gays and communists. Besides, Elian wouldn't be able to get his tiny little hands around Castro's throat. Trust me, we've thought about it.
Now you're probably thinking: Okay, if we can't train him to be a pint-size assassin, why don't we surgically implant a powerful bomb inside him that could be detonated by remote control when Castro hugs him? The answer is that Castro could be expecting this. We can't take a chance that Cuban surgeons might simply remove the bomb, then return the child to his father.
The only logical choice left for Elian is martyrdom. It's God's will.
Remember the dolphins who beached themselves in the Florida Keys and died? Many in the exile community believe those were the same legendary dolphins who protected Elian while he was drifting along in the Gulf Stream waiting to be rescued. After their contact with Elian, the dolphins evidently decided it was better to die here in a free country than return to the waters off Cuba. Clearly a sign from God.
Once Elian is deceased, you can expect Pope John Paul II to expedite the canonization process. We mortals can do our part by naming streets for him, erecting statues in his honor, marking his birthday as an official holiday in Miami-Dade County, and immortalizing him in song, verse, and political pontification.
Best of all, Elian will remain forever young and innocent. He will always be the adorable little boy scampering around his front yard with his puppy. In death he will become a timeless image, an enduring icon, a symbol ripe for effective exploitation.
Just as he was in life.