The above person was found guilty of kidnapping and repeated rapes of three women in Cleveland Ohio, over a 10 year period for some of them mind you, and last week found a way to hang himself in prison, allegedly while under 30 minute watch in solitary confinement. Note the prison did not see him in a position to be under a suicide watch, and that could be debated as a poor versus realistic decision by prison officials, but it is what it is.
What I found disturbing following his death was not the gleeful cheers for his demise, but this pathetic, ignorant, and plain insensitive support by this persistent minority in this country that think criminals have equal, if not greater rights than the victims who were harmed. As an example, in a mental health site, there was this post and thread (which I commented on and will comment on further here now):
First, in the post, was this:
“This [armchair psychologists and redundant policies] will pass. Eventually, people will grasp the fact that this man who successfully hid multiple felonies for several decades probably also had the skill to hide a planned suicide attempt. Your colleagues in other parts of the country will step up to the plate to remind the media, and the general public, that correctional and forensic psychiatrists are taking an active role to implement suicide prevention policies and training that have dropped the correctional suicide rate substantially in the last twenty years.”
Having done brief but very illuminating correctional psychiatric work, I can tell you this, there are people in jails and prisons who are unfortunately in a terrible place for crimes that are not worthy of the punishments exacted, but, there are also people in jails and prisons who aren’t there long enough. Yet, for physicians to think that everyone deserves equal concern and welfare is as clueless as the system that puts people convicted of felony charges in prison irregardless of circumstances.
I fairly much despise the legal system for it’s black and white approach to judgment. Guilty versus not guilty, right versus wrong, good versus bad. I could do another post on the idiot judge who convicted a man for repeatedly raping a 14 year old to 31 days in jail, but that matter is being reviewed now after a public outcry a bit too late in happening. However, sticking to this case, and the pervasive assault and abuse this man put on at least three women we know of directly, why shouldn’t there be people who say “who cares”, or even more harsh but realistic, “good riddance”.
The suicide issue to watch those who are in the midst of acuity with handling incarceration is valid, but, this blanket assumption we owe it to protect every single person incarcerated is not realistic, nor acceptable per what brings the person into the correctional system. That needs to be said. And as I probably poorly joked at another post outside the above blog mentioned about this issue , does a suicide after being convicted of a horrendous crime provide absolution and reconsideration of a more positive afterlife? Doubtful, but, how many unmarked graves has society used to bury those who should remain nameless and unworthy of remembrance? Think about that.
But, where in the linked post above was there ANY comment about what the victims went through, and even if not really appropriate, consider in some fashion an assumption how they might feel about their perpetrator being dead? Why is it there is this persistent voice we should care that indecent, immoral, vile people who commit horrendous crimes against humanity be given consideration for pity and concern? What is this oath that a physician has to care about every single person who walks through the proverbial door of the provider? We are not priests, pardon the pun, but god I am sick of this twisted and false analogy forced on us as doctors. Especially by colleagues.
And by the way, the post’s author raising some twisted analogy that my comment in the thread was similar to advocating denying people care in acute medical settings was, well, rude. Prisons are not ERs, but I encourage readers read it all above and form their own opinion. Just beware of those who advocate that any patient has to always be your patient. That black and white attitude does not have traction with this provider.
I am glad no one killed the above perpetrator, that much I say because that risks possible martyrdom. But, when do people step back and see that sometimes, not just once in a blue moon, there are people out there who validate why we have prisons and graveyards? And while I do not advocate we deny prisoners any care or civilized living arrangements, they do not get pity nor absolution. On a CASE BY CASE basis, we examine the facts and history of who has been incarcerated and try to help those who want to help better themselves, so if they are released back into society, their trip to the hell of incarceration was a one time experience. Sorry, 10 years of horrendous mistreatment of people isn’t going to get my pity. EVER!
But, to those who not only create their own hell and want to ensnare others into that vile life, but also want to further prey on compassion and empathy by others to give perpetrators the chance at a free pass for more misery, well, good luck with that advocacy, supporters of perpetrators.
Let’s finish with this image for those who see the full picture of this travesty:
I look forward to the post that offers how we help them assimilate back into a society that not only supports and nourishes them, but rejects any and all tolerance of entrenched perpetrators. Yeah, think about that concept of sanctuary that Judith Hermann wrote of in “Trauma and Recovery”. Think people feel sanctuary should they read of pity for the violators??