Thursday, January 10, 2008
The Right Kind of Victim
CT has been going through the usual "horrendous crime, horrendous reaction" plotline, but, get this, the governor and other policymakers have not decided to go to more prisons as the answer. One of the reasons why? The husband and father of the crime victims, despite his great loss, reportedly refused to give in to irrationality. The gov talked with him (not a good precedent) prior to her proposals, but he recognized what made sense and what didn't. He's not going whole hog on "three strikes" but does make the logical point that three violent crimes really shouldn't have to happen to get you put away forever. In OK, we still think the "first time your fault, second time mine" kind of thing, and doing a third strike on these habitual AND violent guys is what prison was made for. Thanks to this tragic but reasonable man, the state has a chance to avoid what the CA's and OK's and other places that went overboard in response to similar crimes, and revenue will be available for the more effective criminal justice efforts and for poor kids to go to college, elderly to get care, eaters to avoid the e.coli diet, etc. To maintain the social conditions that keep these crimes more limited and infrequent. In doing so, he's leaving his loved ones a much better and long-lasting legacy than those who insist on draining social resources for all the things we need to invest in to justify their grief. Let's hope he has the strength to keep it up.