LA Times follows up SD revenge killing life verdict

In addition to the webmaster’s comment on the main blog about media coverage, I’d just like to re-iterate my own stuck record about revenge just not working. This has no basis in religion and forgiveness whatsoever, merely practicality.

Movies make revenge look glamorous and consequence-free, which we know is nonsense. There’s always a trial in the real world and since the offender has been killed, that just leaves you. Even if you were protecting a loved one, you may still go to prison just to have the process of justice taken out of your hands and returned to the state. Marvel Comics promote the other extreme where they repeat over the past few decades that revenge brings you down to the level of the attacker in the first place. Repeating this helps to keep the now-Disney-owned company in a family-friendly light – despite printing The Punisher comic strip which is all about a revenge-driven character.

Last week the LA Times followed up a story from South Dakota about a man who let a locker-room prank that was embarrassing and an act of bullying if it really happened 50 years ago, to fester for half a century until he tracked down the person whom he accused of putting a jock strap on his head and shot him, that is murder pure and simple. Considering it’s his town’s first murder in 95 years and a confession was volunteered the town handed down the formal life sentence in June.

Bullying at school may stay with a victim for years, but having another half-century to get help and having no record of having sought therapy means, this was a grudge killing. Prior to this, you’d have thought that teens bringing guns to school to settle with their bullies was something that had begun within the past 20 years. That is a world away from any lasting pain seemingly carried by the revenge-taker throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and noughties, to the end of January this year.

It’s a tragedy for the close knit town where everyone knew everyone else. The killer has his revenge, but at a price affecting the entire small town in a ripple effect from his freedom and then both immediate families, outwards. So if you’ve been abused and want revenge? File a police report. Anything more active than the legal process may put you in jail before (or instead of) the person that attacked you and anxiety and depression wouldn’t justify more direct action.


*Personal opinions may vary from that of the webmaster.

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