Justice or Revenge?

Today the Associated Press reported that a man shot and killed the man who had sexually molested his daughter in 2001.  His daughter was seven-years-old at the time of the molestation.  Raymond Brooks was the man who was shot and killed.  In 2002, he was convicted of sexual abuse and sentenced to five years in prison but later was placed on probation.  The exact reasons for the shooting were unclear at the time the report was published.  No clear connection between the sex offense conviction and the shooting has bee made.

There are lots of “ifs: to this story.  If the shooter killed Brooks because of the sex offense he committed, was he (the shooter) justified?  Many people would say “no” because the law had taken its course and should not be interfered with.  Some would say “yes” because a brief prison sentence cannot compare with the lifetime of anguish experienced by the victim of sexual assault.

The question of what do we do with convicted sex offenders again rears its head.  Sentences are sometimes less than those experienced by those in possession of drugs.  Should consequences be more intense?  Is it wrong for victims to mete out their own punishments given the extreme damage inflicted upon them by offenders?  Will stronger sentences deter others from committing similar crimes?

The public must decide how it wishes sex offenders to be dealt with and consequences must be swift, appropriate and consistent.  If this ever happens it may not be necessary to evaluate the behaviors of the shooter who killed Raymond Brooks.

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