Of Mountains, Molehills, and Numbers

Once upon a time, there was a woman, who, together with her husband, engaged in several acts of what might be termed criminal environmental activism, or, by some, eco-terrorism. She and her husband didn’t like Monsanto, and other companies and organizations and even individuals associated with the production and development of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. And, really, who can blame her? GMOs are the suck. Thing is, she wasn’t content just going around telling everyone “GMOs suck, don’t buy or support them”; no, she apparently felt the best course of action was burning things down to make her point.

A little immature, perhaps, but I guess it gets the point across pretty well.

Eventually, as tends to happen to people who’d rather craft firebombs than sternly-worded letters, this woman and her husband were arrested, and charged with crimes, and pled guilty, and went to jail. The husband cooperated, and got nine years. The woman got a divorce… and twenty-two years in jail.

Now, there are a lot of people around the country who are organizing support for this woman, as they do for all other martyrs to the environmental cause. They write letters and craft websites and put together “zines” railing against the gross injustice that has been served against this woman, because – waily, waily, waily – she got twenty-two years – twenty-two years! – in jail for burning stuff down. Her supporters like to pull random numbers out of their asses to show how great of a travesty this is – some will tell you the average conviction for arson is only three years, or five, or seven; others will point out that murderers – people who kill others, for crying out loud – get sentences averaging eight or nine or twelve or twenty years, and that people who carry out racially-motivated assault get ten or twelve, but she gets twenty-two for mere arson?

What her supporters seem to either forget to mention, or gloss over really, really quickly in the hopes you won’t notice, is that she wasn’t sentenced to twenty-two years in jail for one arson. No, she confessed to thirteen different acts of property damage. Thirteen, okay?

People who confess to thirteen hate crimes don’t get ten-year sentences. People who confess to thirteen murders don’t get out of jail alive.

Now, to be fair, she wasn’t actually convicted of all thirteen acts, as her supporters are quick to point out. So what? She confessed, you morons. She admitted guilt and accepted responsibility, and that was duly taken into consideration at her sentencing. She wasn’t sentenced based on “accusations”, or random fairy farts the judge pulled out of his or her arse, but what she admitted she did. This woman got something like twenty months per crime she confessed to. When you look at it that way, hers isn’t the the longest sentence ever given an environmental activist, most of whom only committed one or two acts, but is actually one of the shortest. Miscarriage of justice? Not at all.

I know these things fuel the almighty persecution complex that’s so prevalent among activists, but, please, for crying out loud, being hysterical idiots doesn’t help anything, okay?

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, History | on April 28th, 2009| Comments Off on Of Mountains, Molehills, and Numbers

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