Revenge fantasies

April 25, 2012

My latest offering on DKos has to do with an execution scheduled for…well, right about now, in fact, here in AZ. Another inmate set to be killed and not much news at all about it, really, because it’s one of those cases where the possibility of injustice or innocents being killed is rather unlikely. It doesn’t inspire the outcry of a Troy Davis or Cameron Willingham.

I wonder sometimes if the penchant for revenge fantasies in our entertainment doesn’t teach us to seek revenge as a society. I like a good Kill Bill or High Plains Drifter as much as the next fellow. It’s just that these neat capsules of precision-applied justice are so far removed from reality. Whether it’s Iron Man in his movie using computers to identify hostiles in a split-second and shoot down a half dozen of them without so much as a scratch to their hostages, or justice on a timer in CSI or Law & Order

Society teaches us about the reliability of criminal justice such that we may have a completely false impression about it, and then reinforces it by burying contrary evidence, hiding the prison system from us, and offering token stories in the media seemingly designed to assuage any doubts that might bubble up. It’s nasty work and it’s killing people. Some of them may be outright bungled executions of innocents, although I question whether anyone cares enough to merit calling it a ‘mistake,’ but I don’t know why any of it is necessary.

Afternoon edit: The diary got rescued for community spotlight and the Abolish the Death Penalty crew, some folks I greatly respect, also picked it up. Always nice to get read a bit.


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