Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I hate crime

This semester, I've been working at a borough district attorney's office. Suffice it to say that I love it. It's easily the best internship I've ever had, which is why I've kept my mouth shut up until now. It's just that much easier to complain.

But one thing I will say is that people have come at me lately with all sorts of snide comments about how prosecutors are so judgmental, and how they just couldn't choose sides like that. I'm well aware of the usual arguments in favor of criminal defense work: you're not protecting the defendant, but rather the Constitution; you don't want the innocent to get locked up; even the most horrible person should be given the presumption of innocence; blah blah blah blah. To all those who believe any of those things, I say, go spend an afternoon in the criminal court. Better yet, leave your purse on a bench in a courtroom within the criminal court and go away for ten minutes. Come back and let me know if you feel the same way.

Someone said, "I just couldn't sit in judgment of people. Just because someone does something bad doesn't mean they deserve to go to jail - we all make mistakes."

Yes, we all do make mistakes, and I know that I couldn't judge people either. That is why it's not a prosecutor's job to judge people. It's a prosecutor's job to assess crimes. There's a difference. At a certain moment, everyone makes a choice: do I take this gun and shoot this Dunkin Donuts employee for the $50 in the cash register? Do I sell this gram of cocaine, knowing that someone may overdose on it? Do I smoke crack on a street corner? At that moment, if the answer is "yes," then that act is susceptible to being judged. And I don't care what anybody says, if you do something heinous and illegal, you deserve to go to jail. I don't care who you are. I don't care where you come from. If you fuck with society, as far as I'm concerned, you're done.

Nobody is perfect, and nobody should pretend to be G-d and judge others. That's why, luckily, no one is required to do that. (Least of all me, because obviously I'm harsher than most.) But I do believe that some acts are inherently bad, and some people are too - but that's just harder to tell. That's why I confine myself to worrying about those acts, and not feeling bad for the people who commit them.

That's my Law and Order morality for today.


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