Via NRT: Rich man’s justice

What sort of sentence do you get if you run someone over in a fit of road-rage, causing serious and lasting injury? Community service, if you’re a banker. But even better, you get the judge weighing in on your side, minimising your offending, and haranguing the media for taking an interest in the case


As with comedians, it seems if you’re rich and white enough, the humiliation of being charged with a crime which you actually did commit is sufficient “punishment” for deliberately mowing down a human being with your car.

I’m sure if someone had just contacted the Sensible Sentencing Trust they’d have been more than happy to excuse the act on the basis of the terrible frustration he felt.

Anyway, he clearly felt threatened, because the man he ran down “might have been carrying a weapon”.  After all, he could clearly see the man was Asian, and they’re all ninjas, you know.

Here’s the thing:  this kind of attitude, displayed by our judiciary and even our most fervent hang-’em-high proponents, is fucking dangerous.  It’s like LudditeJourno said of the efforts in Whanganui to stop Stuart Murray Wilson being paroled there:

People of Whanganui – you already have rapists living there.  I’m sorry, but you do.  It’s just that they don’t look like our imaginary rapist, they are not quite “beastly” enough, they are “good, kind loving family men” and/or “pillars of the community.”

When we say, oh, the poor little rich man, he’s such a contributor to the community, he’s got a spotless record, he really showed remorse, honest he did – all we are doing is setting ourselves up to let murderers and rapists and child molesters walk free.

You think Graham Capill would have gotten away with abusing as many children as he did if people didn’t assume, why, he’s a religious ex-police prosecutor, that makes him A Good Man!  You think BTK would have killed 10 people before being caught (largely due to his own ego) if he weren’t a Good Church Man?  John Wayne Gacy was head of his local chamber of commerce!  And a kid’s birthday clown!

Seriously, people.  Use your brains, stop assuming that if someone joins the Rotary his behaviour must be above reproach.  Stop assuming that if someone from a privileged background has a “clean record” that means he’s never done anything bad before.  To quote the great Terry Pratchett:  “I’ve got ten years’ good conduct!”  “No, that’s ten years’ Not Found Out.”