Forget Mohammed Anwar, Be Kind To His Killers

By | April 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

D.C. Police Chief: “Prosecuting Teen Who Killed Uber Eats Driver As Adult Won’t ‘Bring Back The Lost Loved One”

This is true but irrelevant. Nothing humans can do will bring back anyone who is dead. Any idiot knows that. Well, no, some idiots seem not to know it. They believe that we should be merciful in punishing criminals because – well, just because. You can argue that a 15-year-old, and surely a 13-year-old, are too young to be tried as adults. I might agree.

But this has nothing to do with the fact that we cannot raise the dead. What we can do is try to recompense the victims of crime. In the case of theft, we can force the thief to work to pay back the victim. In the case of physical injury, we can force the criminal to work to pay the medical expenses. But what can we do in the case of homicide? Force the killer to work to support the survivors? Perhaps. But this is hardly sufficient.

Recompensing the victims is not the only – and not the most important – purpose of punishment. The primary purpose is to make crime so uncomfortable that fewer people will be tempted to become criminals. On a moral level, if any still remains, the purpose is to demonstrate to everyone that society strongly disapproves of criminal behavior. To use Star Wars terminology, the purpose is to restore, insofar as possible, the disturbance in the Force. Or to use obsolescent ideas, we punish criminals because God says so.

Attack the 68-year-old Uber Eats driver with a stun gun? Steal the car that is the Pakistani immigrant’s only way to support his family? Leave the grandfather hanging out of the car so that when it crashes, he is killed? Commit felony murder, that is, cause a death in the course of a violent felony, for which some states impose the death penalty or life in prison?

Not to worry. They’re basically good kids who just made some bad choices. Let’s go easy on them. Let’s show people how merciful we are. It’s all about us and the kids, isn’t it? Who cares about an old Pakistani guy anyhow? Pakistanis won’t riot and burn things down. No problem.

The Uber Eats driver was Mohammed Anwar. The Air Force vet shot to death at the Capitol was Ashli Babbitt. Remember the names, so that we can do our best to prevent a recurrence.


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