On Monsters


He’s a monster; he’s not human—
He’s the devil in disguise!
The embodiment of evil;
You can see it in his eyes!
No iota of morality
No evidence of soul
Where a man should have a human heart
This demon has a hole.

His behavior was horrific—
Inexcusable, in fact;
No real human could have done it
It’s a horrid, beastly act
If he’d had the slightest conscience
He’d be overcome with shame…
So let’s sentence him to torture;
We can treat him just the same!

Let’s imprison him with Bubba
Where he never will escape
Take his time, to learn the lesson
On the other side of rape
We can chain him; we can whip him,
We can break a rib or two…
Cos he has to learn, these things are not
What moral people do.

Wow. Now that God finally saved those three women in Cleveland, it’s become downright unpleasant to read through the comment sections on news sites. The argument seems to be “nobody should ever treat another human being like this man treated those women, therefore we should treat this man like he treated those women.” Or “he’s a depraved monster for doing what he did; we should do the same to him.” Or “what kind of sick fuck is capable of such behavior, he ought to be flayed alive in the town square, suspended by his testicles over a hornet nest and beaten with hot pokers.” Because we are more moral than he is.

I have seen a handful of people calling out the would-be official torturers and those calling for prison rape as a reasonable sentence. They are accused of taking the rapist’s side, of course–because if you don’t want the skin peeled off of his face with a garden trowel, you are soft on crime and a liberal communist.

No sentence we could give him could ever pay back what he took from those women. That would be impossible. That cannot, and should not, be the standard we hold ourselves to. But we should not allow him to take our humanity from us as well. If what he did is detestable (and it is), it should be detestable for anyone to do it (and it is). The internet commenters calling for such treatment should take a good hard look at who they are choosing as their role model.

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    Very well said. Applicable to Jodi Arias (convicted yesterday) as well. The people cheering in the streets at the thought of her possible execution turned my stomach.

  2. busterggi says

    According to Jesus in the bible we should all forgive him and turn the other cheek. Good thing I’m an atheist.

  3. rq says

    Trebuchet, which is why the glee at Margaret Thatcher’s death also worried me.
    I wonder how many of those calling for the barbaric treatment engage in similar misogynistic objectification of women themselves?

  4. An anonymous girl says

    I’m a victim of sexual abuse myself, and I actually hope he does get his ass handed to him (pretty fervently, in fact.) In spite of the points you make in this post, I don’t really think I’ll ever stop feeling that way about people like him to be honest. Does that still in some way make me less human?

  5. left0ver1under says

    The argument seems to be “nobody should ever treat another human being like this man treated those women, therefore we should treat this man like he treated those women.”

    Somehow, though, I think you’d agree with me that it’s not excessive, vigilantist or vindictive to think he should be permanently locked in an 8×10 maximum security prison cell – walls, bed, toilet, meals and naught else. He’s of no value to society, so keep him permanently confined to prevent danger to anyone else.

    Or “he’s a depraved monster for doing what he did; we should do the same to him.” Or “what kind of sick individual is capable of such behavior, he ought to be flayed alive in the town square, suspended by his testicles over a hornet nest and beaten with hot pokers.” Because we are more moral than he is.

    Most death penalty advocates are as sociopathic as the people they want to see killed. The only difference is they don’t want to face the consequences for killing others, but would participate if there were none. They certainly do take glee in others’ deaths, blaming the victims for the actions of others (e.g. “He shouldn’t have been doing that if he didn’t want to be killed”, “She shouldn’t have been out of the house if she didn’t want to get raped”, etc.).

    The anger of those who have endured brutality (e.g. Anonymous Girl, #5) does not fit within that description. I don’t share it, but I understand it.

  6. Cuttlefish says

    Anonymous Girl #5– Sadly, it makes you very human indeed. And the thing is, our laws are not intended to protect us against monsters (they are rare, if all too memorable), but against humans.

    You and I both would *want* horrible things to happen to horrible people. But do we want our laws written to reflect the worst of us, under the worst of circumstances?

    I don’t, and can’t, think any less of you for feeling that way about people like him. And for his sake, I would not change how you feel. But for your own sake, I would; for your own sake, I would not have your assailant convince you that such behavior was in any way, for any person, under any circumstances, acceptable.

    And yes, I may be the utopian one here (in the “unattainable” sense), but I am also the utopian one here (in the “better world” sense). Not a better world for him. A better world for you. A world where he has no more power over your thoughts. (Again, not in any sense so that he is forgiven; I would far rather have a world in which your abuse never happened in the first place, than have a world where he could be punished to everyone’s satisfaction.)

  7. An anonymous girl says

    I don’t, and can’t, think any less of you for feeling that way about people like him. And for his sake, I would not change how you feel. But for your own sake, I would; for your own sake, I would not have your assailant convince you that such behavior was in any way, for any person, under any circumstances, acceptable.

    I think I’m getting some mixed messages here. Are you saying that you don’t blame me for wishing harm on Castro, but that it’s unacceptable all the same? I’m afraid that I can’t really change the way I feel about this, if that’s what you mean. Don’t get me wrong, I’m against the death penalty too, but I don’t have any qualms about hoping the world gives this guy hell.

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