An article From the Antelope Valley Press on Friday, February 2, 2007, with the following headline: "Theft not Enough for Burglars, Perpetrators Stuff Chihuahua in Freezer, Urinate on Clothes", brought back memories of things long past I'd rather forget but probably never will and it is the reason why I am writing this. In my youth I discovered that burglars/trespassers had made themselves at home in my grandfather's house while he was traveling. Apart from ransacking the house, slaughtering chickens and leaving the entrails, feathers etc.
all over, they put glasses onto every surface in the house and filled them with urine so that whoever moved them, had to spill pee all over everything. Burglars who broke into my home in Austin, Texas not only stole everything of value, they also defecated onto the floor in the bedroom, stepped into it and got it all over the house, and smeared it on the walls and furniture, even the baby's crib. For any normal person and I mean normal compared to totally depraved, it seems not possible to understand why anybody would do such a thing. Actually, I can see why someone would steal, they want things. I can also see, not to be confused with understand, putting the dog into the freezer, he might have barked and got into their way. What I can absolutely not see, understand or comprehend is urinating on the clothes, messing up the victim's home or what ever else these sick minds came up with.
The worst part in all this is, that these criminals steal a lot more and something much more precious than just things, they steal peace of mind. One can never feel quite as carefree as before and will always remember with an uneasy feeling and lingering fear. Especially because of causing those feelings and for stealing the peace of mind in another human being every perpetrator should get punished not just for the burglary but also, and to a greater degree, for robbing the victims peace of mind.
So far I have talked only about burglaries. How much worse is the effect on the victim in the case of murder, child molestation, rape and other violent crimes? Not only on the victim, the whole family, sometimes whole communities will suffer for the rest of their lives. Here just one example. My friend's daughter, a bright, happy girl, a freshman at Pepperdine University in California was raped half way through her second semester. From then on she skipped most classes, hiding in her darkened room. She did not tell anybody what had happened to her until much later, after a suicide attempt.
It has been years and she still suffers from depression and she never did finish her degree. All the time she suffers, her family suffers and even we, her friends suffer when we see how this whole family's life has been altered, if not destroyed. Should the perpetrators not be punished for that even more than for their original deed? When will society wake up to the fact that the effects of crimes on the victim and their circle of influence are much worse, certainly longer lasting, than the crimes themselves? Anybody who has ever been a victim will have to agree with me and everybody who is for real justice should demand that our courts take into consideration what emotional damage crimes cause and that they hand out punishment accordingly. Sadly, judges, lawyers, psychologists, ACLU, bleeding hearts and other organizations seem much more interested in the criminals' emotional past and his rights rather than the emotional future and rights of the victims. I say, it is time to reverse that trend. High time!.
Antelope Valley Press past articles http://www.avpress.com/#inpast Defending victim's rights but not extra punishment for effects of crimes on victim's emotions http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/archive/topics/aag/messages/vrights042003.htm