Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dad kills man who molested his two year old daughter

A lawyer climbed through a neighbor's bedroom window and stabbed him to death after being told by a family member that the man had molested his 2-year-old daughter, authorities say.

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(I started to write more about this yesterday & had a problem crop up on the computer.) What strikes me in this story is the commentary, rather than the story itself. Feelings apparently run strongly that "this country is too soft on pedophiles" and vigilanteism is basically ok because the law just doesn't do the job.

What people forget is that in our free and democratic society, we do presume that people are innocent before convicting them based on the babble of a 2-year-old, translated by her mom to a dad who already thinks the neighbor is a pervert (see the story for details about previous complain of seeing too much of the neighbor's flesh). We also should presume innocence on the part of the dad. One could imagine any number of scenarios of how violence might have erupted between these two men, and who might have been worried about his own safety first. But there is no scenario that makes the dad a 'hero, ridding the world of a pervert." Every possible scenario makes him a hot-head, and most make him a likely killer.

I'm not a parent, but I can understand the parents who think they would like to take such a situation into their own hands.Unfortunately, I've also read too many books like "The Crucible," where people are convicted and killed or imprisoned by a mob mentality rather than evidence.

I know there are people out there who would like to see the death penalty for peoel who molest/torture/kill/maim children. And people who would like the see th death penalty for people who do that to women, men or anybody else. And as much as I do not wish to have my tax dollars fund their cable tv, air conditioning and good, nutritious food for a lifetime, I also don't want society to have the power to kill.

I have looked into the remorseless eyes of a serial killer, smelled his sweaty body as he stodd staring at me in a courtroom where I was covering his guilty plea. Because homicide detectives think it's very funny to haze young female reporters, I have seen murder scene photos that still give me nightmares. And yet, I still don't want society to have the power to kill. First, because it's all too easy to make mistakes in the name of 'closing a case" (think Jon Benet ramsey in the last few weeks). Second, and I've said this before somewhere, it's wrong to kill a helpless person, even if the only reason they're strapped to that gurney is that he's been found guilty by a jury of his peers.

In this case, the capital punishment was meted even before a jury had a chance to decide that circumstantial evidence pointed to guilt. It's a sad day for all involved. I have to say that I hope the killer -- whoever it may be -- spends a long time either in jail or in a suitable mental hospital.


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