Friday, January 29, 2010

Punitive

Murdering an abortion provider is obviously inexcusable and horrific, but all the expressions of liberal glee over the murderer's conviction and life sentence are disquieting. If a human must be locked up, the least we can do is be sad about it.

16 comments:

Rachel said...

Oh cmon. All those posts said were, essentially, "good" and I think it was pretty clear they weren't as much thrilled by the whole situation as they were relieved that the alternative, the jury finding him not guilty as jury nullification and it setting off a wave of vigilante murders, didn't happen. Maybe a shade more gravitas was called for, but that's still a long way from glee.

Plus it should be "are disquieting"

Jenny said...

I agree with the above: what would you rather see be done with him if I may ask?

Ethan said...

Thanks, fixed the conjugation.

It's not that I necessarily want something different to be done with him, but it's just yet another expression of the general love of punishment that American progressives seem to have in such abundance. I think it is a terrible tragedy whenever a human being is sent to prison, particularly for life, and while in our society as it exists now it may sometimes be more desirable than the alternative (and if ever there has been such a case, this is one), it is never something to be celebrated.

That's all.

Rachel said...

Fair enough, but you need better examples if you're going to pick on specific people.

Ethan said...

Maybe you're right. I chose Melissa McEwan, Tristero, and PZ Myers because a) they're the people who annoy me regularly enough, in such an amusing way, that I read them frequently, so they're the posts I saw, and b) the similar wording of all three, and the non-wordiness of them (as opposed to each writers' usual lengthy, professorial declamations), creeped me out.

Normally the three of them go on and on and on about why they think the (often batshit) things they think, but here they felt no need--all right-thinking people will agree, I saw them thinking. What more can be said? There's such a tone of "We're locking up the right people!" to it. Particularly coming from Tristero, who has written long and hard about how awful Mike Huckabee is for releasing people from prison, it's hard to take.

I don't know, maybe what I'm seeing there is entirely a product of my own personal context for each of the writers, and of the fact that I read those three posts in quick succession. I certainly don't mean to defend the murderer. I just don't think that "Good" or "Thank you" is ever the right response to a person's imprisonment.

Rachel said...

It could be - god knows I share your dislike of those particular writers, and for many of the same reasons (that and the chiding tone they take - characterizing anyone who disagrees with them as a petulant child), but I think it's probably more likely their lack of wordiness here is from a rush to post something about it. But maybe I'm too generous.

Ethan said...

It could be that you're too generous, or it could be that I need to be more generous. Quite likely both.

Soj said...

The difference here is that you find the "justice system" itself is a kind of tragedy, wherein locking away a large percentage of the population is the only "solution" to a number of "problems".

I think the writers you reference are more in the camp of a) at least he wasn't tortured/rendered/enemy combatant and b) presumably he will be locked up and therefore unable to repeat his actions (killing doctors).

In their minds, a sentence of being detained for life (or possibly even executed) is the BEST resolution out there, hence the celebrations.

Other people might consider it the "least bad" resolution and therefore be somewhat more muted on their overall glee.

d.mantis said...

I think it goes hand in hand with the liberal title.

The people mentioned are so damned used to exalting the least bad alternative that they have no other perspective from which to communicate.

Ethan said...

Least bad, yes!

JRB said...

Ethan,

I notice you have more women represented in the comments portion of your blog than anyone else in our entire circle-jerk of proglessive blogs. I can only take from this that whatever you are doing, you are doing it best.

Thanks for leading the way.

Ethan said...

Considering that I owe pretty much all of my commenters to you (and also that I'm not sure I have enough commenters to draw conclusions from), I'm not sure how much credit I can take. Thank you nonetheless.

Jenny said...

Also can I ask about your Polanski stance: where do you get the idea that it hasn't been proven? there's testimonial transcripts where the girl confesses Polanski did indeed rape her. And just because she herself doesn't want to be asked about it does not mean it should be abandoned entirely

Here's the smoking gun transcript:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/polanskicover1.html

Ethan said...

Honestly I regret much of what I said about that, a great deal of which was said in ignorance and a knee-jerk I-like-his-movies silliness.

I do think it's irritating when people act like Polanski himself confessed (he did plead guilty, but as a plea bargain for a reduced sentence, which bargain was reneged upon by the judge--which is why Polanski fled), or like the horrifying part of the whole thing is that Polanski had sex with a minor (rather than the likelihood that he raped someone, regardless of age). And, again, the delight many people take in punishing people is sickening to me, regardless of what the person has done.

Jenny said...

Why run away though? There's such a thing as appeals.

Ethan said...

I'm sorry...I really don't feel the need to rehash it any further. Like I said, I think most people's takes on it (mine included) were wrong, in various respects. I sympathize with anyone's urge to avoid imprisonment, and that's all I really have to say about it.