If you watched Tuesday night’s Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, you watched us discuss that horrific home invasion case out of Connecticut, and if you’re a regular reader here, you already knew what I was going to say! If you missed my last post and/or the show, I spotlighted three critical lessons from the case that every American viewer/judge/juror/citizen should learn:
1) There are people in this world who will knowingly, willingly, inflict terrible pain and suffering on innocent others purely for their own self-gratification. They’re the people about whom I’m always warning you because one of the most dangerous things you can do is underestimate their ability to make themselves appear harmless until it’s too late. (And while I’m here, authorities investigating the string of killings on Long Island, NY’s Gilgo Beach now publicly acknowledge that they’re looking for three, perhaps more, such individuals, three or more distinct killers, but they’re not the first ones to say that — the first person to say that on national television, all the way back when the first bodies were discovered on that beach, was…yes, you guessed it, me).
2) There is no mental illness, no childhood history, no substance abuse, nothing, that forces a person to behave that way — it’s always a choice. (And while I’m here, speaking of substance abusers, it looks like actor Charlie Sheen is going to settle his wrongful termination case against the producers of Two and a Half Men for a “severance” paycheck of around $25,000,000 — not bad for a guy who disrupted his workplace repeatedly for years with his substance abuse. I was glad to see the ratings skyrocket this week when the show resumed without Sheen.)
3) We’ve got to stop catching and releasing these people. Both of the Connecticut perpetrators were out on parole. As usual, we had them in custody, and then we let them out, and then they did this. “Catch and release” might work for certain kinds of fish, but it doesn’t work for psychopaths and violent criminals. I noted that a federal appeals court recently overturned the sentence of convicted terrorist Jose Padilla, telling the trial judge to do it over because the original sentence wasn’t long enough. We need more of that and less parole, probation, 2nd, 3rd, 4th…chances. (And while I’m here, surprise, surprise, the poster girl for the failure of “catch and release,” “actress” Lindsay Lohan, fresh out of her most recent “house arrest,” as I predicted, is already accused of assaulting someone in a New York nightclub by throwing a glass at the person, but I digress.)
While we were discussing the Connecticut case on Tuesday night’s show, I didn’t get a chance to respond to another guest’s assertion that the police should’ve stormed into the family’s home before the perpetrators set it on fire, but I wanted to weigh in on that. Yes, there was a 911 call alerting police to the hostage situation in the home prior to the arson, but in the cops’ defense, if they had burst into the home sooner, and if one of the family members had been shot, that same guest very well might’ve been saying that the cops rushed in too soon when they should’ve tried to negotiate the family’s release. Of course we wish the cops would’ve burst into the home now that we know that the perpetrators were going to set it on fire, but hindsight is 20/20.
I also didn’t get to talk about some amazing quotes from the Connecticut trial thus far. Defense counsel actually referred to the surviving husband/father and friends/family of the victims as the “Petit [the family’s last name] Posse.” That reference is so offensively stupid that I almost wonder whether the attorney was intentionally trying to sneak in a basis for an ineffective-assistant-of-counsel appeal if the defendant gets the death penalty.
Dr. Petit, the husband/father, testified that he heard one of the perpetrators tell the wife and daughters, “Don’t worry, it’ll all be over soon.” If that was said — and I believe it was — it clearly demonstrates that the person who said it had full knowledge of what was happening and of the suffering that was being inflicted on the innocent victims.
Finally, the defendant has been quoted to have said that a death sentence would be “merciful.” Great, it’s a win-win then — why doesn’t he just change his plea to guilty, stipulate that he deserves the death penalty, waive all appeals, and be out of here by the end of the year? Bet he won’t be doing that. This isn’t a quote from the trial, but Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf was once quoted as saying, in reference to Usama bin Laden, something like, “I don’t know what God does with people like him, but I’ll be happy to arrange the meeting.”