Friday, March 19, 2010

Crime and punishment

Bernie Madoff has been beaten up in prison, to the deep satisfaction, if not glee, of many people.

A fellow inmate at Butner federal prison brutually fulfilled the fantasy of millions by savagely beating the piss out of ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, reports WSJ. (source)

From Facebook (Identities redacted to protect the innocent):

The *ss-whipping took place in December. The prisoner officials are just now making it public. Ah, it couldn't have happened to a better guy.
I agree he deserved to be punished, but I'm not happy at the glee people are finding in news of what is, after all, vigilante action, especially from people who would normally object fiercely to such.
Normally I am anti-vigilante. In this case, he needs more than just incarceration. The pain and suffering he has personally caused he deserves to be beaten daily.
He wiped out an eight MILLION dollar fund's worth raised over the past forty years by two generations of rabbis at my uncle's temple in NYC... whatever he gets, he richly deserves.
Its human nature to want to see retribution on those who hurt others. This guy didn't just steal from celebrities and the ultra-rich. He wiped out the savings of people set to retire. Elderly folks who will be forced to work beyond their years, now hoping they don't end up destitute. We can say we object to vigilante justice, but the good person ... See Morein all of us want to see justice at the end. Incarceration is punishment, but in his case, a far cry from the level he deserves. He'll get 3 square meals a day and a warm bed. Some of these poor people are still trying to figure out how they will make it past the next few years.

The glee is justified. The beatings he gets should be the tip of the iceberg. If there is God/Karma/Cylon-god, whatever,..then the rest of his time of earth should be a living hell.
This is a fascinating thread for a couple of reasons. Absolutely fascinating.

First of all, the notion that it's OK to wish this person to be beaten -- to continue to be beaten -- over money. So many times, we sneer at people who get more upset over monetary crimes than we do over murder or other crimes of violence.

And one of the notions I'm constantly encountering in the health care debate is that the health care industry should not be paying so much attention to money. Don't ask how we're going to pay for care, just make it happen. Doctors shouldn't be so worried about money anyway.


Second, and rather gratifying, after the argument I had over on Live Journal regarding waterboarding the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, it's so nice to see such full-throated support of something that is not even debatable -- beatings *are* torture.

But it seems odd to me that so many people in society are squeamish about pouring water on the face of someone who plotted to kill thousands of innocent people, and personally cut the head off of Daniel Pearl, but they're perfectly fine with torturing someone whose only crime is cheating greedy people.

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