Quick question, was your husband aware of the reprecautions for having child porn on his computer? I'm sure he knew it is illegal and what could happen if he got caught. He took the risk didn't he? You should be angry with him, not with the system.If my husband didn't want to go to prison for four years, he should have simply not looked at child porn. That answer satisfies the self-righteous but The Most Boring Radical asks us to think about how that reasoning could be used to excuse all kinds of draconian punishments.
We could argue, I suppose, that a woman in Saudi Arabia who doesn’t want to get stoned to death just shouldn’t commit adultery. That a person in China who doesn’t want to get thrown in prison just shouldn’t own a Bible. That a young man in Somalia who doesn’t want his hand cut off just shouldn’t steal. That, in the 1950s in America, a gay man who didn’t want to be arrested just shouldn’t have engaged in sodomy.
We could argue those things, but we’d be wrong. We’d be demonstrating a limited, immature form of ethical thinking. We’d be acquiescing our sense of right and wrong to the state.Unless you have been exposed to the workings of the justice system, it is easy to assume criminals get what they deserve, that the laws properly identify what is a crime and what is not. It is easy to let the justice system hum along in the background of your life, without noticing how it works. However, you are responsible for thinking about whether justice is served.
This should not be the way we understand justice. As long as we keep the mindset that there is no such thing as a too-severe consequence because the consequence can be avoided simply by obeying the law, we are handing our own powers of moral reasoning over to the government. We have succumbed to totalitarianism. And, as soon as we do that, we have set the stage for even greater injustices in the future.Is it fair that streakers can end up on the sex offender registry? The sex offender registry did not begin with streaking listed among registrable crimes but the registry set the stage for even greater injustices in the future. Are we sure that streaking and public urination will be the end of those added injustices?
Back to the comment I quoted, No, my husband was not aware that he could spend years in prison for a first offense of looking at videos of teen-aged girls. Even his relatively short sentence is unthinkable.
If Morton Berger knew he could be sentenced to 200 years for twenty child porn images, does that make his sentence just?