Responsibility Sometimes Means Being Tough
Article ID: 9757
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,245
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Author: Carissa Stormbringer
Posted: June 5th. 2005
Times Viewed: 4,806
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 “marrying” a 14-year-old student. I must admit that I am biased when it comes to this subject. I’m not a psychologist, so all I have to go by is what I see and observe. Without whining or going into details, I’ll 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 – I love you), I’m 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 that’s 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 don’t think that’s fair or just. What makes the problem worse is that light penalties like the one I just mentioned aren’t limited to rape. Murder no longer makes front page news in most areas, and is commonplace in large cities. This isn’t the kind of America my ancestors worked to build. What good is freedom when you’re 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 didn’t exist, but the hard, cold reality is that they do. I think the clinical term for the most brutal rapists is “dacrophilia, ” which means “arousal from tears.” Some people simply enjoy hurting others, and that’s 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 I’ve ever heard of is what happened to a girl I’ll call “Rachel.” Rachel was kidnapped and tortured for three days. I’ll 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 won’t make an issue of the light punishment that he got, because this didn’t 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 don’t 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 doesn’t make sense to me.
It’s my opinion that I have a responsibility to the victims of violent crimes, not the criminals. We don’t live in a perfect world, and our failure to stand up against violent crimes is making it worse by the minute. I don’t know who coined the phrase “The best way for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing, ” but I firmly believe that it’s true. As Witches, we’ve been gifted with special abilities. I’ve 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 someone’s karma to catch up with them simply isn’t feasible in cases where the person is an immediate threat to society. In real life, there are hard decisions to make. I won’t 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 else’s, and I have a right to live free of crime.
In my life I’ll 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 person’s fate, I’ll 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 isn’t 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 isn’t the kind of America that I want to live in.
Location: Georgetown, Kentucky
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