Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Disqualified from human race?

Stories like these (this link really could cause you nightmares, think before you click) occasinally make me wonder whether I am wrong in my disapproval of death penalty.

Short summary: Robert Williams forced his way into a woman's apartment, raped and tortured her for 19 hours, threw bleach in her face, slashed her, made her swallow lots of Tylenol (she did, and it caused liver failure), tried to make her gouge her own eyes out with a knife (she didn't, try to kill herself instead, failed), then when she lost consciousness, tied her down, set her apartment on fire and left. She regained consciousness, melted her restraints on the fire, and escaped. He, being apparently way on the wrong side of the IQ bell curve, immediately used her ATM card in an ATM with a video camera, and was arrested a week later during a burglary in Queens.

It's not that I think that all rapists should be killed. I am sure that most rapist are just people like everyone else (uhm, not really) and that after a few years of prison most of them are capable of understanding that what they did was wrong, or in any case that the price/performance ratio of this kind of fun is rather poor.

It's when rape becomes one of the least serious crimes on the list that I start wondering whether they should be in fact disqualified from human race for shoving.

Let's see what else Mr. Williams has accomplished in his 31-year-old life. Apart from raping, torturing, mutilating and trying to kill that particular woman:

- in 1996 he shot a neighbor 4 times while trying to rob him of a chain. The neighbor survived, and so, unfortunately, did Williams. He got 8 years for the effort.

- during the 8 years in prison, he has assaulted other inmates and guards, and thrown shit at people. He committed 28 infractions and was denied parole 3 times. In the end the parole board had to let him out. They wrote in his file "as a candidate for your release at this time, your readiness is in doubt" when they released him.

- he was also tried for attempted murder as a juvenile. The outcome of this trial is sealed, and I am sure some people are wrongly accused, but somehow I doubt he was a just choir boy in the wrong place.

- he has committed unprovoked assault on somebody in a street a couple of years ago.

- he was arrested six days after the rape, at he scene of a burglary in Queens. Just passing by, I am sure.

This is not a post in favor of death penalty, but I think it's quite enough here to figure out that this guy is never going to become a real person. Not to the point of deserving be released, and not to the point of deserving any human contact. I just hope that when he is convicted, they put him in a single cell. Your average rapists and murderers don't deserve that for a roommate.

(Yes, I am aware that I am getting ahead of the events, and he is just a suspect so far. However, when a suspect has been identified by the victim, a neighbor and an ATM camera, and left some of his DNA on the scene, I think I am justified in making an educated guess on the outcome of the trial.)

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