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Prison rape is not justice

By Scott Tibbs, April 4, 2016

A man in Owen County is charged with and confessed to the horrifically brutal rape of a one year old girl. He deserves to die. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the death penalty, and I cannot imagine a case where someone deserves to be executed more. But as much as capital punishment is justified here, I am very disturbed to see people openly and publicly calling for the perpetrator to be gang raped, beaten, tortured and extra-judicially murdered.

I understand that at least some of the people openly hoping for Kyle Parker to be gang raped and murdered are letting off steam at an absolutely unbelievable act of demonic evil, and when it comes down to it they would not support vigilante "jailhouse justice." But many of them are gleefully serious in hoping other prisoners inflict the same brutality on Parker that he inflicted on that baby.

Does Parker "deserve" to be gang raped? I would have absolutely no sympathy for him if that happened. But the issue is not whether or not an extraordinarily evil man "deserves" to be raped, tortured and murdered. The issue is what kind of state, nation and culture we want to be. The real issue is who we are, and the moral standards we hold, rather than whether we should sink to the level of the most evil among us to ensure they get what they "deserve."

We should not be a nation where we allow anarchy to reign so that we can wash our hands of it while feeling a smug satisfaction that "justice" was served. Why not just go the whole nine yards and repeal the Eighth Amendment so that we can legally sentence him to be sodomized to death with a nightstick? At least then it would be administered under the law instead of having thugs and degenerates do it illegally in prison. At least then we would not be hypocritically ignoring the system of laws we have set up to protect the human rights of even the worst among us.

Prison rape is a serious issue, but it is too often laughed off. As Radley Balko points out, "We’re not just comfortable with prison rape, we often find it humorous... or we revel in the thought of inflicting it on people we abhor." But think about this: Many of the victims of prison rape will not be spending their entire lives in prison. They will be released eventually. Do you think that failing to protect their basic human rights will make them less likely to commit crimes, or do you think they will be filled with rage and looking for an opportunity to release that rage on innocent people? We are making things more dangerous for society by mistreating our prisoners.

We should be a nation of laws bound by civility and (yes!) Christian morality. We should not be a nation that wantonly tortures, threatens rape, or allows other criminals to do our dirty work. We should execute those who need to be executed, and that should happen much more quickly than it does in our corrupted legal system today. But we should be restrained and limited in how we treat our criminals (even the worst criminals) rather than going down the road to totalitarianism. Remember, once we give the civil magistrate the authority to rape, torture and extra-judicially murder (or allow the same to be done by other criminals) that power won't be confined to child murderers. Tyrannical regimes always target the innocent eventually.

Finally, I cannot help but notice that many of the people who damn me for enthusiastically supporting the death penalty have absolutely nothing negative so say about people who gleefully advocate that someone be raped, tortured an extra-judicially murdered by other inmates. Apparently, these hypocrites find years of gang rape and torture followed by an extra-judicial murder to be not as bad as a humane execution at the hands of the civil magistrate. The hypocrisy and special pleading is utterly repulsive.