Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Too Say The Powerful Never Pay for Their Crimes Is Insane!

I often try to explain to my students that the reason they think criminals are poor people of color is not because poor people of color commit more crimes than anyone else, but because they are prosecuted more than anyone else. If you actually look at the numbers in terms of money lost, injuries/illnesses, and deaths caused, white collar crime is by far more harmful to our society than are all other crimes combined.

Yet we rarely prosecute white collar crime, and when we do, the punishment is rarely proportional to the crime. The example I always use is that the CFO of Enron, who stole in the billions of dollars and destroyed thousands of lives and was convicted of 109 felony counts, for which he received 10 years in prison. In contrast, in California under their three strikes rule, a poor Hispanic man named Leandro Adrande stole two VHS tapes from a K-Mart and received a 50 year sentence. Why? Well, one was rich and powerful, and one was poor and of color. Hopefully you can fill in the dots from there.

Well, another great example of this is unfolding right now. Dick Cheney has come out of his secret hiding spot to hit the political talk show circuit and has been proudly touting his support for and instigation of the use of torture. The problem is, torture or conspiracy to torture is a federal offense punishable by death.

Yet we all know Dick Cheney is in no trouble of ever coming in front of a judge, let alone facing the death penalty (we tend to reserve that kind of thing for the poor people of color we're all so afraid of). Yet here he is, going on national television to repeatedly talk about the federal crimes he committed and how proud he is of them.

But I suppose only a crazy radical leftist could see any injustice in that...

1 comment:

The elder woz said...

I hate to say it, but President Bush was not completely useless. He perhaps single handedly, or perhaps with help, kept Chenney somewhat under wraps. If Mr. Bush had been a weaker president, who knows how many wars we'd be in now. Great blog.