Punishment is a Crime
It’s Sunday morning, the wife and I, over fifty, don’t sleep in past seven o’clock anymore so we’re up, each of us at our computers. On Twitter, I see, a Dr. Roger D. Jones has added one of my blog posts to his online psychiatry newspaper – that’s a great start to my day, but not for long. My wife is fascinated by all manner of tragedy, the bigger the better, and she’s reading about the Residential School scandal, the dark, most recent chapter in the story of Canada’s genocide of its Aboriginals. She tells me about a kid who, for the crime of speaking in his own language – a high crime for the genocidal – was beaten and thrown into a root cellar for two days and when they went in for him, they found he had died of his injuries.
An horrific story all around, and not at all rare and extreme as these Residential School tales go. The violence, sexual and otherwise of those schools seems to have been the fucking point of them. Perhaps that is where the church knowingly placed its most sadistic and evil staff, and the urban church scandals were perpetrated by priests who never made the cut for the big game against the still extant native North Americans.
Flatly disgusting. Personally, I would give Canada’s First Peoples half of Canada’s land, and not just the Barrens, either, the good stuff, the coasts, the farmland. When we are two strong nations – then maybe we can think about integrating, when it’s a merger of equals. Otherwise, with no balance of power, there can be no integration, only assimilation – the larger part of which is genocide – when you’re dealing with the aggressive, world-domination driven, white Christians of Europe. Yes, I know you don’t want to hear it, but that’s what we are.
This is not my field of expertise, however, those are opinions, and the revelation the story of that murdered kid gives is the point here. Apologies, but I have to scream it:
Don’t even tell me what the victim of abusive punishing did to earn it. If you beat a kid to death, I have no interest in HIS crime, we are talking about WHAT YOU DID, we are talking about YOUR crime.
Of course, I don’t deal in one-off situations, I don’t concern myself with random phenomena that require specific individual explanations; I like to think I deal in principles. Anyone who for whatever reason seeks to understand me had better know this, that on the very same principle,
Don’t even tell me what the object of punishment did to earn it. If you are treading on another person’s rights, if you are bringing pain and or deprivation to people intentionally, THEIR crimes are not subtracted from yours. We will deal with them and their crimes, meaning that we will work to solve poverty and ignorance and teach our children how to live – but we will also deal with you and your crimes. That means ‘correction’ will no longer be a moral defense for your crimes of punishing.
I know, I’m going after a basic tenet of our societies, the legal/moral point that criminals forfeit their human rights. First of all, not so much. Despite the baffling and inexplicable fact that no-one is listening to me, that is already improving everywhere. Of course, in the former First World, prisoners have a reduced suite of human rights, it’s not that they have none at all, at least in theory if not in practice. The state has to work very hard in America for instance, to strip you of your right to life. Still, it’s a weird definition for ‘rights.’ Certainly it makes our rights very alienable, whatever that means. Apparently, we reserve the right to suspend your rights if you misbehave – clearly a breach of our inherent human rights, which is a logical fallacy no-one would ever allow if it weren’t beaten into us.
I tell you now, this is not a logical conundrum humanity cannot escape, we can. We have to want to, of course, which means we need to understand it first. I think we have no idea of what we’re missing, I think a world where every crime doesn’t automatically replicate itself and become two crimes instead could be a much better place to live.