I’ve received many thoughtful, if critical, comments lately, including a few from people who tell me they are offenders.
But I have also been hearing more frequently from people who write to protest that I am not meeting the minimum daily requirement of gratuitous empathy for criminals.
To the latter, let me say, from the bottom of my allegedly chilly vascular system: you’re going to have to look elsewhere for that. There are countless places on-line to find like-minded bleeding hearts with whom to commiserate over the specialness of homeless sex offenders, or gun criminals’ contributions to society, or to discuss that great poem written by Death Row Childkiller, if that’s the type of thing you’re looking for.
This blog ain’t one of them.
Actually, I don’t believe for a moment that the types who feel moved to castigate me for not loving predators enough really care about them all that much themselves. I think they care mainly about trumpeting their sensitivity towards people they label “downtrodden,” an exhibitionism that carries not only its own smug rewards, but warm approbation from certain institutions — universities, media circles, portions of the legal profession.
Second only to the trumpeting, there’s the carping, preferably at soft targets like this blog. “Soft” because it is safer, after all, to try to police the feelings of some blogger than to broadcast one’s positive emotions directly to the above-mentioned downtrodden. For, while it is unlikely that I will do anything more threatening than report you to the bar association for your anonymous attacks on my character, actual predators, apprised of the proximity of a soft underbelly, might do far worse.
The enthusiastic belief that it is morally wrong to judge offenders in any way seems to truck with other predictable stances: anti-police, anti-authority, Maileresque rebelliousness. Sadly, anti-authority does not imply anti-authoritarian: it’s almost comical, how an intense desire to police others inevitably seems to percolate through the veins of people who otherwise vocally revile policing.
Or rather, it would be comical, in the case below, if only the underlying subject weren’t so grim. The following letter writer accuses me of mental illness on the grounds that I deigned to express mild outrage over a judge releasing a cold-blooded killer to await his next trial, a favor the killer then repaid by shooting an innocent woman and beating her infant against a wall “like a baseball bat.”
Whoever wrote this should seek counseling for your unresolved anger issues. Life is too short to walk around with this kind of hate inside. Anger and bitterness is a poison that destroys the pot it is kept in.
Well, thank you, “Scott,” whoever you are. I will certainly monitor the integrity of my pot, if you promise to work on subject-verb agreement. But I have to ask: did you also use that fine rhetorical talent to draft a letter to the killer, similarly chiding him for his unresolved anger issues? Or is merely criticizing a fatal judicial mishap simply that much worse, in your worldview, than slaughtering an innocent shop clerk over a ten dollar t-shirt, shooting a woman in the chest, and battering an infant’s head to a pulp?
Or making excuses for the same?
I’m not 100% certain that the writer of this letter is a defense attorney. I’m just 98% sure. In either case, the point is this: when you become hysterical at criticism of powerful people who carelessly let a predator loose to attack more innocents, you’re not on the side of justice. Or righteousness. Or angels. Or freedom fighters.
Or even naifs.