The blessing of a suitable punishment

June 8, 2016

As the entire world discusses the rape committed by Brock Turner, my thoughts turn to George Zimmerman. And to why I know the word “affluenza.” In each of these three crimes, if the young perpetrator had been treated appropriately by the justice system, we never would have heard their names. If George Zimmerman had been arrested on the night he shot Trayvon Martin, there would be no national uproar, even if he was still eventually acquitted. If Ethan Couch’s parents had allowed him to be punished fairly, instead of drumming up a questionable psychiatric diagnosis, and smuggling him out of the country, his outrageous crime would have remained a local story. And now, whenever somebody Googles the name Brock Turner, a virally posted mugshot will be the first result that comes up. Probably for a very long time. Perhaps his father, who dismissed his son’s crime as “20 minutes of activity” and claimed that his son wasn’t violent (without excluding the rape) would have been more help if he had argued for an appropriately long sentence and started planning for how his son would construct a life after getting out of prison.