Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Molester "Touched Many Lives"

Apparently my local, and liberal leaning, college town is a bunch of hateful jerks who don't care about social issues. Why? A judge passed down a long prison sentence to a guy who molested an 8 year old for nearly a year. In spite of a psychiatric evaluation afterwards not indicating any intent for self-harm, he killed himself 12 hours later. Apparently there wasn't enough sympathy or outcry in this case (warning: link may induce vomiting).

The article was mainly in response to the local news obituary and guestbook linked within. If you made it through that, you probably saw my response, but I'm posting it here for those who didn't or want to skip ahead:

A lot of assumptions about what “we” do or don’t do in this odd piece. Assuming “we” just don’t want to think about issues as opposed to the obvious reasons why this case isn’t a great one to rally around for mental health and prison reform is more than a little insulting. The man molested a child for nearly a year and admitted to the sex acts, so even if there had been a mental health confinement, it would almost certainly have to be of long duration. Rehabilitating pedophiles is difficult to impossible and without rehabilitation they remain a threat to the children they have contact with. Even with needed reforms it may have been possible that he remain confined to an institution for the rest of his life.

Does any of that change the fact that there are serious reforms that need to be made with our mental health and prisons (which have sadly become the largest mental institutions themselves)? Nope. Does it get anybody off the hook for negligence for prior suicides or this one if applicable? Nope. Even the fact that he passed a psychiatric evaluation after the sentencing, while not supportive of an argument of negligence, doesn’t necessarily rule out any other evidence that people might have or may later present.

Bashing the community as if “we” don’t care about these social issues isn’t productive. Ripping on the community as if “we” are hateful because a judge passed down a harsh ruling for someone who sexually molested a young child over the course of months upon months, isn’t inspiring. And any appeal for leniency for child molesters should not begin with how they “touched many lives.“ It’s insensitive and wince-worthy. Words of wisdom? Ugh…

While most of my mental health posts have been in relation to veterans care, it's a topic along with the justice system that deeply concerns me... especially due to the fact it continues to leave people out to dry or doesn't deal with the problem until they're incarcerated and it's too late. Trying to use this case of all things as a rallying cry to get people involved is just mind boggling. While it's reasonable for family members to be upset given the loss, lashing out at the community as hateful and using embarrassingly insensitive language in the process ain't going to endear you to anyone.

As a general rule it's not very compelling to go on about how nice people were in other aspects of their lives when the crimes involve manipulation, gaining and violating trust. We've heard it before on everything from pedophiles to serial killers, how nice they were outside of that recent raping and killing stuff we found out about. This is not a hill to make your stand on. It sure as hell isn't the place for parenting tips. "We only teach them to hate." Puh-lease.

1 comment:

Gnightgirl said...

I'm speechless, and thankful that you are not. Bravo.