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Article ID: 9757

VoxAcct: 258483

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

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Responsibility Sometimes Means Being Tough

Author: Carissa Stormbringer
Posted: June 5th. 2005
Times Viewed: 5,793

I love my fellow Pagans, but it broke my heart to read that there were some in the Pagan community who were defending the teacher who desecrated our sacred circle by ďmarryingĒ a 14-year-old student. I must admit that I am biased when it comes to this subject. Iím not a psychologist, so all I have to go by is what I see and observe. Without whining or going into details, Iíll simply state that I suffered many kinds of abuse as a child. Through hard work in therapy and with the help of modern medicine (thank you, Lord Asceplius Ė I love you), Iím able to lead a mostly normal life.

I remember very clearly the people who hurt me and what their mindsets were. Yes, these mindsets were taught, but thatís little consolation when I go into a panic attack or wake up screaming in the middle of the night. My abusers found it gratifying that they were getting away with what they were doing. They even laughed about it. There was nothing in their words or mannerisms that indicated remorse. They got away with their abuse of me while I got a hefty case of PTSD. I have to say, there is no justice in that. Rape without a weapon usually only carries a two to three year sentence. I donít think thatís fair or just. What makes the problem worse is that light penalties like the one I just mentioned arenít limited to rape. Murder no longer makes front page news in most areas, and is commonplace in large cities. This isnít the kind of America my ancestors worked to build. What good is freedom when youíre afraid to even go outside of your home?

As a Pagan, I always strive to be kind, but when faced with someone who has shown no regard for law or human life, my opinion is firm. I support capital punishment in all cases of proven (and I do mean proven) rape and multiple murders. In other cases, I think the penalties need to be tougher. I wish that sadists didnít exist, but the hard, cold reality is that they do. I think the clinical term for the most brutal rapists is ďdacrophilia, Ē which means ďarousal from tears.Ē Some people simply enjoy hurting others, and thatís just not acceptable.

I run a rape and sexual abuse survivors group, and some of the stories are hard for even a fellow survivor like me to stomach. The worst case Iíve ever heard of is what happened to a girl Iíll call ďRachel.Ē Rachel was kidnapped and tortured for three days. Iíll try not to be too graphic here, but her attacker ruined her face and injured her so badly that she nearly died and spent two weeks in a coma. The man who did this to her also attacked other women. I wonít make an issue of the light punishment that he got, because this didnít happen here in the States, but I dare anyone to convince me that someone like that deserves my pity or my tax dollars.

As a Witch I realize that there are different shades of gray in this world, but even in the very worst cases, criminals spend forever on death row before they are finally killed. Many of them profit from their crimes by writing books and selling paintings and movie rights. They get free college when the rest of us have to pay for it. They get recreational facilities when the rest of us have to pay a membership at a local gym or YMCA. In most cases, life in prison is better than life on the streets, so there is nothing to deter criminal activity. This is all done out of pity for the criminal because of their mental illness and upbringing. Well, you know, I had the worst kind of upbringing a person can have, but I have a $235 a month student loan bill, a $75 a month bill for my martial arts classes and I work every day to pay for my food, clothing and housing. I donít expect society to take care of me because my parents failed in their duties. The very thought of doing so is ludicrous to me. How can we expect people to fear prison when it offers more than they already have out on the streets? How can we defend Mother Earth without also defending our fellow citizens? It just doesnít make sense to me.

Itís my opinion that I have a responsibility to the victims of violent crimes, not the criminals. We donít live in a perfect world, and our failure to stand up against violent crimes is making it worse by the minute. I donít know who coined the phrase ďThe best way for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing, Ē but I firmly believe that itís true. As Witches, weíve been gifted with special abilities. Iíve sworn an oath by the river Styx to use my abilities to help society and protect the innocent. I always strive to be kind, but when faced with evil I have no problem using my art against it. Waiting for someoneís karma to catch up with them simply isnít feasible in cases where the person is an immediate threat to society. In real life, there are hard decisions to make. I wonít refuse to make them out of a selfish desire to keep my own karmic slate clean. This is my world as much as it is anyone elseís, and I have a right to live free of crime.

In my life Iíll make the best decisions I can, and count on the Gods to grant me wisdom. If and when the day comes when I have to sit on a jury and decide another personís fate, Iíll have no problem doling out a hard punishment if the evidence shows that that person unduly harmed another. To do otherwise would be to give license to these crimes, and eventually destroy law itself, which must be the foundation for any civilized society. When we identify more with the criminal than the victim, we are in essence telling the victim that their pain isnít important. When we let violent criminals out on the street we are telling the victim that the criminal is more important, and in essence that vice is of more weight than virtue. This isnít the kind of America that I want to live in.


Carissa Stormbringer

Location: Georgetown, Kentucky

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