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Marilee J. Layman

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05:41 pm: Fundamentally Decent -- A Troubled Person -- Good Catholic
What do these phrases have in common? They've all been used to defend people who did bad things.

The first is from a letter sent to the judge in Lewis Libby's trial. Lots of people wrote, saying he was a good man and shouldn't be punished.

The second is from a columnist writing about a woman who recently ran her car through a festival in DC causing the most pedestrian injuries DC has ever had in one event.

The third is from 2001 here in Manassas. While the mother and oldest of 13 children were away, the 21-month-old was left in the car by her father and died. Impartial report Catholic Article Kevin Kelly was called a "good Catholic" by many people who spoke at his trial. Apparently that was supposed to alleviate his negligence of his child.

It amazes me that people think that just because people are basically good means they shouldn't be punished when they do bad things. Do they believe that only thoroughly bad people do bad things? We have lots of evidence to the contrary. Is the ongoing good that a person does enough to balance something bad? Probably not. You don't build up good points that can be used against a bad event.

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Comments

[User Picture]
From:ritaxis
Date:June 8th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
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The thing is I don't think we've got a unified idea about our goals in criminal justice. What are we really trying tio do? Punish wrongdoing? Prevent further wrongdoing? Alleviate the pain or harm (not necessarily the same thing) caused by wrongdoing? Fix people? Get the harm or pain paid for?

As long as we remain conflicted about our criminal justice goals, we'll get gibberish commentaries.

(I don't have a glib answer)
[User Picture]
From:kip_w
Date:June 8th, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC)
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I've been good for a long time, so I think I'm entitled to rob a bank now.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:June 8th, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
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LOL Interesting if it worked that way, huh?
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From:cakmpls
Date:June 8th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
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Did the father deliberately leave her in the car, or forget she was there? If the former, yes, he's in a category with the first two; if the latter, not. I would like every parent who has never done something forgetfully or distractedly or exhaustedly that could have resulted in disaster for their child to put up their hands. I'll bet there are few, and mine isn't one of them.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:June 8th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
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He forgot her, but there were five earlier incidents where he left or forgot one or more of the younger children while shopping. He should have learned to count them. Part of his excuse for this was that his wife and oldest child (daughter) were away and they usually took care of the kids so it wasn't his fault.

In addition, he got the other toddler out of the car seat next to Frances and took him inside.
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