You Have to Start Somewhere

Blue_iron bird_2013-03-17

2013-03-17 – My opinion of the criminal justice system in this country is somewhere lower than whale dung. We send people off to vile prisons for crimes that often victimize . . . only themselves. We have ridiculously long sentences. And often, the perpetrators of victimless crimes serve more time than those violent offenders who have truly destroyed other people’s lives. And don’t get me started on white collar crime.

So yesterday’s conviction of two high school football players in Steubenville, OH who raped a drunken 16-year-old girl brings me mixed feelings.

On the positive side: you have to start somewhere. If our society is going to punish rape, you have to punish these guys. This is not the case of a victimless crime.

It doesn’t matter that they are football players or that they are good students. And here’s where we get to the negative. It is very easy to let these high school boys pay the price. They are rapists, after all. But what about all the folks that stood on the sideline cheering? The press that seems to have a good boys will be boys attitude. And I am especially including the adults who covered this one up. They are going to let these kids take the fall.

And they will go off scott-free, just like lots of other people in power go off scott-free for all sorts of crimes.

I’m glad their sentences are fairly short.

In general, I think that long sentences stack up as even more barbaric than Islamic penalties that the West likes to complain about. We don’t cut off a limb. We cut off the whole life.

The problem with barbaric penalties is that people don’t like to enforce them. Or they don’t like to enforce them against “certain” people. So prosecution becomes very arbitrary. Deals are made. Real crimes are ignored, or covered up.

A swift and short penalty avoids that. Too bad there aren’t some swift and short penalties for the folks who create the atmosphere to allow this sort of thing to go on. I’d rather see them go to jail than some poor kid who smokes some weed.

But you know, it wouldn’t take many higher-ups going to jail before they all started to change their tune.

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