View single post by ijontichy
 Posted: Sat Oct 27th, 2007 04:56 am
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ijontichy
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Despite having the John C. Frémont avatar, I come from the George B. McClellan school of personal philosophy: moderation, self-restraint, compromise and rational consideration (it's a daily struggle, I must confess). So I look aghast at the vigilantism and barbaric forms of punishment proposed in this thread. Might as well get out the pitchforks and do some witch burning, too, if we're serious about rolling back the gains of civilisation.

When it comes to classifying a crime, especially for the purposes of punishment, I ask only one question: did the crime involve physical and/or emotional violence against another person? If yes, then punish severely with a long sentence (including life for murder or attempted murder); if no, then try to seek an alternative to a prison sentence, such as community service, fines or something more creative. For the most serious of non-violent crimes, a period of confinement may be necessary and desirable, but in this case do not place these criminals in the same prisons as violent criminals. Violence has no place in a civil society, and our justice system must clearly reflect this.

The other interesting aspect of this thread is the apparently unanimous belief that we should treat child molestors more severely than other violent criminals. I am against this purely emotional (or evolutionary) response. To me, a 28-year-old father is just as human as a 65-year-old grandmother, and a 38-year-old single man is no less valuable than an 8-year-old girl. We are all equal: black or white, old or young, rich or poor, tall or short. The only rational conclusion I can come to is that the punishment of a violent crime should not have anything to do with the identity of the victim; we should be solely focused on what intentional harm was done to the victim by the criminal.

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