Monday, June 25, 2012

Death Penalty

So over the weekend a former football coach named Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of molesting young boys.  I frankly haven't been following the case that closely, but from what I've read it was a terrible, harrowing crime against many innocent kids.  Nobody's going to be taking up a collection for a Sandusky defense fund.

At the same time, there were some disconcerting remarks made in the great desert known as the internet hoping that Sandusky is (there's no gentle way to put this) raped in prison so he can get a taste of his own medicine.

Sandusky in jail for life makes sense.  But a prison system where being raped is widely considered part of the punishment package, not so good.  Years ago I knew someone who was tossed in the clink as a teenager for stealing a car.  He spent a week in jail, where he was sexually assaulted by another inmate.  Needless to say, he shouldn't have stolen the car.  But the punishment in that case certainly didn't fit the crime, and the experience left life long mental scars on someone who has otherwise been on the straight and narrow ever since.. 

I don't believe in the death penalty (too many chances for mistakes) and I also don't believe two wrongs make a right.  Hoping for more crime -- raping a rapist (or anyone behind bars) -- is not the sort of American "justice" we should be cheering...  


Blogger Muldfeld said...

Here, here. I once asked Chris Hedges and other folks talking about prison systems how it came to be that rape became acceptable as part of imprisonment. They seemed shocked by my question, and said that it has always been understood as part of that sort of punishment -- that prisoners have been subjected to rape from time immemorial.

I must confess, though, that, when my blood's boiling about a particularly cruel person, I'm not one to show the restraint you do and wish vile things on people I honestly feel deserve it.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Muldfeld said...

At the same time, it's so hard to for to understand child molestation that I don't intellectually comprehend hate toward them. Obviously, if this happened to me or a loved one, I'd feel tremendous rage, but I can't relate to it at all.

I can understand the desire for violence or theft or wanting food or sex from a beautiful woman, but I've never found young girls attractive (or to sexually-orientedly flip it, young boys) when I stopped being a boy. To desire that, one must be insane. So, I feel sorry for child molesters because that kind of appetite isn't something our society works help cure. And it's hard enough for me to lose weight!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

I understand the impulse to want bad things to befall bad people, but life in prison combined with nationwide condemnation seems like a just punishment. It's another reason I don't care for the death penalty... seems to me that spending your life in a cage without possibility of parole is a worse fate than death. But maybe that's me.

I also understand that keeping these prisoners alive potentially threatens guards/prison employees, but that's a problem with inmates across the board and not just the ones that are death penalty-worthy.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Muldfeld said...

I fully agree. I can't imagine a fate worse than imprisonment. I remember watching this A & E series "Behind Bars" back in 1996 -- back when A & E actually cared about doing SOME decent stuff and not just exploiting people. In it, there were death row inmates whose date of execution kept getting pushed ahead, and they said it was torture.

It's so tragic what society allows to befall the poor and working class, especially, while all those statesmen, who are just as bloodthirsty in manipulating others to do their dirty work for them, and all those Wall Street hucksters roam free.

I remember a "60 Minutes" piece on a guy that was going to prison for 25 years because of Bill Clinton's "Three Strikes and You're Out" law; his 3rd offense? Stealing some double A batteries from a store.

12:54 PM  

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