The New Zealand Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) is a victims organisation dedicated to revenge. I feel sorry for them because they are traumatised people seeking peace. Unfortunately society, rather than offering them help, fuels their rage with stupid posts such as this one from Trade Me. People refuse to think about what Justice means. To borrow a phrase from this excellent post, we have autocorrected the word “justice” to “prison sentence”.
Used by unscrupulous politicians
SST is used by unscrupulous politicians who further traumatise them to get elected on Law and Order platforms. Laura Norder loves them for it. Here is a disgusting example where Judith Collins tries to accuse people concerned about human rights of undermining justice.
It makes me very sad to see victims coming out of court being cuddled and comforted by SST people who are feeding their sorrow with thoughts of revenge. I really don’t like the lies which SST peddle either. They don’t want us to understand why some justice systems are better than others. They want mandatory sentencing despite the overwhelming evidence that it is wrong. I have worked with victims whose family members have been murdered. Most victims get their lives back together. Others fuel their rage with SST hatred, lies and stupidity and never learn to heal.
5 examples to think about
I hope the SST can consider these 5 examples and ponder if mandatory sentencing and revenge is the best answer. They are from Sam Harris’s book The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values.
1. A four-year-old boy was playing with his father’s gun and killed a young woman. The gun had been kept loaded and unsecured in a dresser drawer.
2. A 12-year-old boy who had been the victim of continual physical and emotional abuse took his father’s gun and intentionally shot and killed a young woman because she was teasing him.
3. A 25-year-old man who had been the victim of continual abuse as a child intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend because she left him for another man.
4. A 25-year-old man who had been raised by wonderful parents and never abused intentionally shot and killed a young woman he had never met “just for the fun of it.”
5. A 25-year-old man who had been raised by wonderful parents and never abused intentionally shot and killed a young woman he had never met “just for the fun of it.” An MRI of the man’s brain revealed a tumor the size of a golf ball in his medial prefrontal cortex (a region responsible for the control of emotion and behavioral impulses).
Hate and pain
As Kim Workman, former policeman and later Assistant Secretary (Penal Institutions) Department of Justice has said, some members of SST “become trapped in their grief by the Trust and are unable to ever reach peace. These victims are being fed with this retributive agenda from McVicar and from politicians trying to oust one another to be tough on crime. It’s just alienating and full of hate. Its not helpful at all.”