Redemption Song? Or Something…

Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto received a lot of flak this week because he tried extending an olive branch to Donald Trump, which turned out as predicted. El presidente already has a not-so-great reputation as it is, but at least he was trying to do something good. Although this far from makes anything else he did acceptable, I feel that at least trying says something. Then a few days ago the wonderful Brock Turner left jail after serving half his six-month sentence. That guy infuriates me so much.

I am a very vengeful person if you can’t tell. I hate injustice and wish there was a machine that can probe into people’s souls so it can determine who is guilty and give appropriate sentencings. But that’s just me. I know there are people like me out there but there are also people who disagree.

I hate talking to my mother. She’s a smart woman who makes me see things from the perspectives of others. She knows I don’t like listening to other people’s opinions but she makes me do it anyway which I suppose makes me a better person. I haven’t discussed the whole Turner nonsense with her because I know she’d probably agree that the douche should probably spend more time in jail but she’s also from the old school generation who grew up blaming victims for almost anything from assault to robbery. Personally, with crimes like those, the criminal already decided to do something so it makes little difference what a victim does.

I’m digressing from my original point. I wrote a character who’s overall a bad guy. Racist, participated in a murder or two, but after everything he goes straight and makes a better life for himself, doing the best he can to stay that way. This character does not receive any punishment for his crimes. On the contrary, while he faces discrimination for his actions, he becomes depressed because he knows he will never break free of who he used to be. After I had written a monologue for him, I wondered if I had justified forgiveness for people who perform such heinous things. Though it does make me think about rehabilitation and if people can truly change if given the chance.

Prisons in Sweden and Norway look more like college dorms and have an amazing rehabilitation rate compared to American facilities which are the definition of prison. I brought this up in my public speaking class and stirred up quite a few emotions. One girl noted the unfairness of it, that a prisoner can have three meals a day, a comfortable bed, and a flat screen while many people who obey the law struggle to even pay bills. It does seem unfair. It also seems like a vicious circle. Crook does bad thing, they get just punishment, now the world hates said person and, at a lost for resources and lack of people skills, goes back to their old ways.

Frankly, I think the problem lies within the issue that we as Americans tend to take advantage of the system. This is not to say we all do it. But the fact that there are people who abuse resources given to them ruins it for the rest of us who don’t do it. People who don’t understand the severity of what they have done or simply don’t care about how they hurt others. Those are the ones, I believe, that ruin it for everyone else just trying to better themselves. If we did go about the Nordic route, I feel there will be criminals who will commit crimes just so they can go to jail. Heck, that happens now.

What do you think? Is Sweden and Norway onto something? Can people who have done terrible things in their past be redeemed? Or are they doomed to be outcasts for the rest of their lives? Should we even give them a chance? Share your thoughts below, and as always please be respectful!


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