Sunday, March 21, 2010

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - the "Guilters"

The so-called "Guilters," those who post vicious blogs showing no understanding of the case, are truly perverse.

Even if someone is guilty of a crime (and I strongly believe Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were viciously persecuted and wrongfully convicted,) it is their reaction, to hate and to spew cruelty on the internet, that speaks to who and what the "Guilter" is. To be guilty of a crime is to have fallen into error. The purpose of a civilized justice system is to rehabilitate and correct. While that is occurring, we sometimes need to confine offenders for the protection of society. This is understood and acceptable in a compassionate society.

There are many reasons for criminal acts. Where the cases involve substance abuse, anger management issues or lack of education and opportunity resulting in poverty (for example,) these can be addressed and can be addressed successfully. They can only be addressed with compassion and fairness, however.

This also is why we have a criminal justice and corrections system and don't have victims (if still alive) or their families dispense justice. This is, in fact, historically the reason for legal systems. Back in the days of absolute monarchy, the monarch didn't want his kingdom disturbed or his friends killed by blood feuds. So the king's "court" assumed the responsibility for dispensing justice.

There is only one acceptable outcome for most victims (or their families) and that is "an eye for an eye." Now that we have clawed our way only slightly out of the Dark Ages, we recognize that society as a whole has an interest and an obligation when it comes to justice. We recognize that offenders can be rehabilitated. Not all, but some. Most can be improved at least.

Judging by the "Guilters," it may be that the only material difference between the criminals in prison and those still at large is opportunity, means or luck. I have some experience to support my opinion that most criminals, when caught and treated fairly, will accept the outcome. I have direct knowledge that most criminal prosecutions are disposed of by guilty plea. Where the police and prosecutor do their job competently and fairly, it is usually "no contest."

I am not a fan of pop psychology, but I recall watching a few moments of the Dr. Phil McGraw show. In it he made a good point. We do in fact teach others how to behave toward us. Cruelly abusing others (whether in the justice system or by perverse blog posts of the kind that have been all too common in this case) does nothing to help our society. If we are not going to execute every "criminal," which thought is so barbaric that the majority of the world has rejected capital punishment outright, and if we are not going to warehouse people for jail terms in multiples of their life expectancy, which is so utterly ridiculous it makes those who support those sentences look stupid, we must do what is necessary and right to ensure that the "criminal" is restored to society better than they were when they offended. This, if nothing else, is for our own protection. Having prisoners released without correction and rehabilitation but with an additional burden of anger resulting from cruel treatment, puts everyone in danger.

The question of whether an inmate will be a better person when released than when they committed the offence can only be answered by considering what opportunities he will have for correction and rehabilitation. I firmly believe that a reasonable parole system, which does not deprive inmates of hope and, in fact, offers them opportunities for early release depending upon how well they participate in programs for their rehabilitation and how well they behave while in custody, can only strengthen the likelihood of successful correction. It also provides a major incentive for prisoners to be compliant and keep the peace while in custody.

I have analyzed the Meredith Kercher murder case carefully. I know what I am doing when I consider the reliability of evidence. I have no doubt the convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are wrongful.

To the "Guilters" I say again, that many of you are the real criminals, though some may be simply misguided or incapable of rational analysis. If we take your words at face value, YOU tell us you are capable of acts of cruelty, brutality and murder. At the very least, your words prove you are capable of inciting others to commit acts of cruelty, brutality and murder against another human being.

I would have no hesitation in welcoming Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito into my community or having them work in my office. I would rather share my community and workplace with them, than with "you."

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