The Eagle Blog

Crime and punishment!

Now THAT is a heavy topic! However, never being short of an opinion or two I thought I would vent a little about one of my pet peeves.

This week in my home town of Ottawa there was a front page story about some youths who, during Canada Day celebrations, “peed” on a National Memorial. Obviously not a good thing … but you would think they had tried to assassinate the Prime Minister with the amount of hype this received. The “mob” was stirred up and there were calls to track down these criminals and make sure they felt the full force of the law!

So why was this blown up to such proportions? The media hyped it up, with front page stories and radio talk shows stirring “Joe Public” up.

As one more astute reporter wrote … maybe it would be nice if we devoted a similar amount of effort into finding the person who has recently been roaming local neighborhoods and made three separate attempts to abduct young girls!

In recent years we have been bombarded with the incredible wrongdoings of executives at large publicly traded companies. Many people were charged for their part in accounting scandals. Bernie Ebbers from Worldcom was recently sentenced to 25 years in jail for his part. Kenneth Lay from Enron was found guilty and was due to be sentenced in October. Speculation was that he would get 20 to 30 years, however he died yesterday. The stories of these and other executives who abused the public’s money is terrible, and yes they deserved punishment … but if they deserve 25 years why do murderers and rapists get less? In Canada there was the infamous case where Karla Homolka got 12 years for rape and murder, while her husband accomplice got life (whatever that means).

I think perhaps that society’s values are shaped by those who speak loudest. We have a very powerful media that in its quest for “news” stirs up the vocal masses to create firestorms in teacups. It would be nice to just get some common sense back!

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