Some thoughts rolling around in my head:
1. If Brock Turner the rapist, the rapist’s father, and “Judge” Aaron Persky were all on fire and I had 4 large vats of water, I would use the water to open a lemonade stand and invite people to watch the motherfuckers burn.
2. Item 1 notwithstanding, I do not believe in state-sanctioned death even in extreme cases where the perpetrator fully admits to guilt.
3. I am against mass incarceration.
4. But why am I against mass incarceration? The main issues are that we live in a discriminatory, structurally racist system, and that incarceration does not work. I am much more in favor of non-carceral avenues of punishment where possible and where effective, and I am interested in the possibility of a restorative justice model rather than a one-dimensional focus on retributive punishment. For justice and punishment to be effective, they have to address the cancer at the core in addition to the punishment itself.
5. I believe incarceration and detention are necessary for the safety of society in limited circumstances. These include repeat violent offenders and people who cause immediate danger to their surroundings. I cannot say whether a long prison sentence / life imprisonment is more or less humane than the death penalty for a person who has repeatedly raped / murdered / etc. other people and, by the laws of our country, “deserves” his sentence. But, as with the death penalty (which I oppose completely), it is impossible to separate our current carceral system from our rotten structures that feed on minorities first.
6. This case makes me white-hot with fury because Brock Turner raped a woman and he deserves punishment. He has escaped what the legislature has deemed adequate punishment because “Judge” Aaron Persky lives in a world, both real and imagined in his brain, where what a woman drinks and what a woman wears is more relevant to her violation than what her tormentors did to her. In addition to this case, see the 2007 De Anza Rape Investigation. The reasons behind Brock Turner the Rapist’s egregiously light punishment are structural, racist, and sexist.
7. Nonetheless, does prison time deter rape? Does it “fix” rapists? Does it teach them a lesson? Does it educate our children? I do not know anything about the deterrence factor as a matter of statistical analysis where it comes to sexual offenses, so if anyone can shed light on that, I would be really interested.
8. I do not see this case as analogous to the drug smuggling case in which the judge sentenced the defendant to probation because she would be suffering the collateral consequences of a felony conviction for her whole life. Drug offenses are subject to insane mandatory minimums. I won’t say that drug offenses are victimless crimes, but they are not rapes. From a global perspective, people of color suffer for drug offenses for being people of color (the punishment for crack versus cocaine was a 100:1 disparity before the Fair Sentencing Act and can you guess why?).
9. Brock Turner the rapist probably will experience some collateral consequences as a result of his being a convicted felon and a registered sex offender (although if I recall correctly, depending on the state, some sex offenders are not, in fact, registered forever). As long as Google search optimization remains the way it is, a search for his name will immediately turn up this rape. There is a reason I have explicitly referred to Brock Turner as a rapist or referred to his act of rape in every instance of his name here.
10. Brock Turner the rapist’s father’s letter talking about “20 minutes of action” is a mockery of justice and of humanity. Brock Turner, a rapist, will experience consequences, but none of that comes close to suffering. They don’t have a right to even think that word.
11. What should be done? What should be done to him?
12. This was a “good” case, as far as rape cases go. The cyclists passing by intervened and chased the rapist off. The police department did its job, for once. The jury convicted Brock Turner of rape. Everything went right, as far as a rape case can go right, and yet Brock Turner escaped punishment for his rape. This is a clear message, and perhaps the most compelling reason to explain my rage. It is a clear message that our suffering means nothing. That the best the law can do, even when it works correctly, is give us this: a white man, Stanford alum, who puts greater weight on the mystical “potential” of this star athlete-rapist than on actual justice. This is the best our world can do for us.
13. It kills me that this entire twisted thought exercise does not exist if Brock is not white and not an athlete.
In essence, I am having a lot of difficulty reconciling the part of my brain that wants my brand of justice—pain, and a lot of it—inflicted immediately, and the part of my brain that wants a better society, and the part of my brain that says but maybe a better society means these motherfuckers need to have pain, and a lot of it, and the part of my brain that says but SmillaQ, you are not God, you are not the victim here, it is not for you to say.
I welcome your thoughts.