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Re: Jerry Sandusky

October 10, 2012

I’m tired of hearing comments like, "I hope they put him in general population."

Sandusky, a convicted child molester, went to prison. He’ll probably die there, barring a successful appeal or long lifespan, because he’s in his sixties and must (if I understand correctly) serve at least thirty years. You’ll hear no complaints from me about these things. The prison system is doing its job: keeping violent criminals like Sandusky away from free society.

Feel free to point out the flaws and injustices in the system. I’m not claiming that it’s perfect or even close.

However, I don’t want one or more inmates to shank Sandusky. Why not? Simple: if it’s okay for one guy to be subjected to vigilante justice, we’re saying that it’s okay for the rest of us to live by the same rules. That could not possibly appeal to me any less because restrictions and separation of powers ensure that the American system metes out justice in specific, generally tolerable ways.

We do not let the law-enforcement officer who pulls over a speeding car determine if the driver is guilty or innocent; that matter’s settled in traffic court or when the defendant says, "Screw it" and pays the fine/takes defensive driving/whatever.

We do not let the judge or jury hand down any sentence they please; they don’t get to say, "Hey, this guy stole a candy bar? Death penalty!"

We do not let violent offenders act as executioners. They don’t have the right to determine what should happen to other inmates, particularly when their solution involves beating, stabbing, or otherwise maiming people.

We aren’t supposed to act like savages. There’s a Grand-Canyon-sized difference between vigilante justice and defense of the innocent.

I’m all for using deadly force to stop violent attacks in progress. I’m all for the father in Shiner, Texas, who caught his daughter’s attacker in the act and used violence to stop the bastard. In fact, I strongly encourage people to, when absolutely necessary, defend ourselves. Why? Because we have that right. Criminals have no right to violate that.

So, yes, put Sandusky in administrative segregation, where it’s much more difficult for inmates to get their hands on him. Even though I’m of the opinion that child molesters are diseased, infectious waste who should be humanely escorted out of this world, it isn’t my job, or an inmate’s, or the warden’s, to make that call. The prison system’s duty includes protecting Sandusky which, despite being a waste of perfectly good tax dollars if you ask me (again: free trip off this planet), is the right thing to do within the system’s framework.

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