Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Empathy Classes

So. According to the Star Tribune (www.startribune.com) today, the judge in an assult case has sentenced the six men convicted of beating the shit out of a father last summer (protecting his daughter at Valleyfair from their harrassment) to LESS THAN 6 MONTHS IN JAIL and EMPATHY EDUCATION.

Seriously? IF you have no empathy to begin with, how exactly is sitting in a classroom talking to someone about it going to give you empathy? This begs the question whether empathy and compassion are learned or ingrained in people: if you can harrass a 15 year old girl inappropriately (note all the men except one were over the age of 18: one was 20 at the time) and then as a mob beat down and repeatedly kick her father on the ground in an amusement park parking lot, where the hell are you supposed to LEARN empathy?

I'm all for the idea of rehabilitation and learning from mistakes and giving non-violent offenders a second chance, but I don't see how 4-5 months in jail (most of which is time already served) and sitting in a class room is going to convince them that what they did was wrong. Seems to me such a light sentence only encourages continued bad behavior, since they got off so lightly.

One of the defense attorneys said his client was upset that the name and address of the victim was sealed because he couldn't "properly express remorse to the victim directly." Really. I can't imagine why the victim wouldn't want the gang of men who put him in the hospital and threatened his wife and daughter to know where he lives.

Empathy training. Unbelievable.

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