Kill! Maim! Send them to federal “pound-me-in-the-ass” prison! Make them suffer for the crimes they have committed against not just us, but humanity!
Sigh. The world is a sick place, and we are supposed to be above it. Not as a country; current state of affairs aside, history has proven that when assembled into a large group, people are idiots. But as individuals, we’re supposed to be good people. We’re supposed to want good and decent things. But we don’t. We suck at understanding justice.
See, the thing is, we have a mind built on revenge. We are built on revenge because we have a wacky and unswaying sense of equitablity. See, we believe things have to be “fair,” whatever that is, and as such, we believe in payment for misdeeds.
Let me stop being so cryptic and complex. Kenneth Lay died today, and people are screaming that they wanted him to go to prison. They wanted him to suffer. I have a friend in prison. He was convicted of a fairly public crime that made national news, but in the end, he was just a small piece of a much larger story of irresponsibility. And yet, people wanted BLOOD. They wanted him to suffer. They wanted revenge.
But see, the problem is, people misunderstand justice. Punishment for crimes NEVER works. It doesn’t. We’ve proven it. Punishment doesn’t deter crime or criminals. It’s simple risk vs. reward. The odds of getting caught for most crimes are low. So, most of the time, particularly if you have a family you need to provide for, or if it’s a small, “justifiable” crime, you can convince yourself to just go for it.
The thing is, we punish criminals. But that’s not right, by any measure. What we ought to do is rehabilitiate them. This is where I go from hard left to hard right. If we can’t rehabilitate them, then they can’t live in our society, and we need to either jail them or execute them. But punishment doesn’t work.
Now, you might be saying – how do you rehabilitate people? And I’d tell you that it’s not a simple answer. See, our whole justice system is based on punishment with little to no care about rehabilitation. In fact, we operate on the presumption that time served in enough of a deterent to motivate people to act according to law, and figure that time served will scare someone straight in the future. But why, then, are most inmates repeat offenders? Simple: becuase punishment didn’t work.
If a person commits a crime unknowingly and is judged to be a nonthreat to society, what’s the point of prison? So we, as taxpayers, can give that person a semi-luxury lifestyle for a few months? No, I actually advocate that on a case by case basis, we determine what would be the appropriate rehabilitation for a person. It may be no time served, but rather, community service or classes or something.
I think if we had a healthier attitude towards crime and justice, we’d have a healthier nation not so fucking war torn and blindly nationalistic.