Check out this story from right here in the Kansas City area: http://www.kmbc.com/news/29104837/detail.html It’s the story of a complete piece of human crap who admitted strangling (non-fatally fortunately) his pregnant girlfriend (reportedly warning her during the attack that he had killed past girlfriends) and killing her three cats (crushing one and drowning two). That’s horrendous, heinous behavior — the kind of behavior that’s likely (psychologically and statistically speaking) to escalate in its lethality.
So what did we (society, through our justice system, administered by a judge) give this piece of crap as punishment for this horrendous, heinous behavior? How did we send the message that we won’t tolerate anything like this out of him ever again, let alone anything worse? Probation. That’s right, probation. Oh, and an anger-management class.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is how we (society, through our justice system, administered by judges) help people, especially women, get killed — by not coming down hard enough on killers-to-be when their violence is still in its non-lethal phase (when there’s lethal violence, there’s almost always an escalating history of prior sub-lethal violence). I would bet my farm (if I had one) that this piece of crap in Kansas City will eventually be a rape and/or homicide defendant. If/when that happens, it won’t be anyone’s fault but his, however, we will have helped to facilitate it by blowing this chance to have prevented it.
And, surprise, one of his past girlfriends disappeared four years ago and hasn’t been seen since. Might she be one of the past girlfriends whom he reportedly claimed to have killed? (He hasn’t been charged with that…at least not yet.) Oh, and she, too, reportedly had complained of prior violence in her relationship with this creep. So, guess what we (society, through our justice system, administered by a judge) did for her? We issued a restraining order. That’s right. We just told him to stay away from her.
Like I always say when I see those stupid “no guns” signs on businesses’ front doors, if someone intends to commit a violent felony, it’s absurd to think that that person’s not going to commit a misdemeanor (e.g. ignore a court order, ignore a “no guns” sign, etc. — in fact, because only law-abiding citizens obey “no guns” signs, all those signs do is ensure that the only armed people on the premises are potentially-violent criminals, but I digress).
Yes, of course I wonder how pieces of crap like this Kansas City guy get girlfriends in the first place. And yes, of course I wonder why the girlfriends don’t get themselves and any minor children that they may have out of harm’s way at the first signs of violence. But those secondary issues are for another day (in fact, I’ve already written about them and talked about them on TV many times).
The bottom line today is that this Kansas City case is a perfect illustration of why I’m always saying (usually as I’m discussing a woman’s murder) that we need tough, mandatory minimum sentences for the kinds of sub-lethal crimes that this guy has already committed (i.e. stop giving our judges broad enough discretion to let creeps like this guy off with probation when they belong in prison). If we came down a lot harder on people like him earlier in their lives, it’d be better for everyone, including him (because it’d give him a better chance of not ending up in prison for life eventually).
We’re not likely to convince a guy like him — not in some stupid anger-management class, probably not ever — that it’s wrong to violently assault women, or anyone for that matter. So, the only way that it’s even semi-reasonable to think that a guy like him might not repeat and/or escalate his sub-lethal sociopathic behavior is if we make it impossible for him to repeat it (e.g. by separating him from law-abiding citizens with concrete and steel) for a lengthy and extremely unpleasant period of time (e.g. no TV, no air conditioning, and no workout equipment, but lots of hard work), and then, whenever that time period’s up, we make the consequences of recidivism certain enough, swift enough, and severe enough for him to conclude that it’s in his own best interests to obey the law. Until we do that, we’re going to keep having murders that we could’ve and should’ve seen coming and prevented.