Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gimme That Old Time Justice

Ameneh Bahrami was a 24 year-old electronics student in Iran when 19 year-old Majid Movahedi through acid in her face and burned out left eye. It seems that Majid was pissed that Ameneh just wasn’t that into him.

Majid was arrested and convicted, and, in accordance with Iranian law, it is up to Ameneh to determine his sentence. She was given two choices: she could ask for financial compensation or she could demand an eye for an eye. To her credit, Ameneh chose the latter. Not only will Majid be blinded in his left eye, but his right eye too will be burned out, as ten drops of sulfuric acid will be applied to both his eyes.

Now that is what I call justice. The Hebrew Bible also calls for an eye for an eye, and while the rabbis insisted that Jews interpret this financially, it is clear to me that God was an Iranian. It makes perfect sense.

Imagine someone commits armed robbery by breaking into a convenience store, shooting and killing the store clerk, and making off with $75 and a package of Slim Jims. If the punishment is 15 years in a cell with three meals a day, exercise privileges, and color TV, the guy is probably better off in jail than on the street. So for him it is win-win. But if the punishment is having to fork over $75, work in a Slim Jim plant until he has actually made a Slim Jim, and then get shot in the face, that’s justice.

Sure it may be cruel, and I am not in favor of cruelty. So, I’d let him slide on having to make the Slim Jim. But isn’t it more satisfying to know this asshole is dead than imagine him watching Law & Order in HD and laughing his head off?

There is something very satisfying about this. Think of the AIG people. Taking away their bonuses is nothing. Let’s strip them of everything they own just the way they did millions of Americans. And Bernie Madoff in jail? What a waste. Make him work off the billions he scammed by being a greeter at Wal-Mart.

The true genius here isn’t the punishment, however, but who gets to determine it. In Iran the victim rather than the judge determines the fate of the wicked. I think we should establish this rule in the United States as well. Let the victim set the sentence. Or, if the victim is dead, the victim’s next of kin. Or, to be even fairer, people could write into their will just who they designate as their avenger. I’d choose the meanest SOB on the planet. In fact I can see a whole new industry emerging for psychopaths. Ala the television show Dexter where a serial killer limits his kills to other serial killers, people with killer tendencies would be employed to kill criminals at the behest of their victims. This would keep these psychopaths employed, out of jail, and sated on evildoers rather than stalking the rest of us. Another win-win.

I know some of you think I am kidding, but I’m not. And to prove it I’m going to pretend to incorporate an imaginary company called True Avengers. Our mission is to determine and carry out the punishment of those convicted of harming you or those you love. For an annual retainer of $10,000 True Avengers will go after your enemies and exact vengeance on your behalf. All you have to do is tell us who they are, where they live or work, what they did, and provide proof of their conviction, and we will take care of the rest. True Avengers even hires incarcerated individuals so that if your guy goes to jail before we get him on the street, we will still get him behind bars.

When it comes to justice those Iranians may have something to teach us. I say we ought to learn it quick and apply it soon.


Grégoire said...

We (Mormons) used to have a group like that. We called them the Danites. A little like Murder Incorporated, only they were subsidized by the church leaders and worked on a sliding scale. They'd hold a trial in absentia for your assailant and if found guilty, they'd ambush him on the side of the road and separate his head from his body.

Personally, it wouldn't make me feel any better to do what Bahrami did; but, who am I to judge? When in Iran... and all that...

Julie said...

Yuck... don't love it... :) so much for the evolving spirit of compassion :)

Rabbi Rami said...

I knew there was a reason I liked Mormons: lots of wives, lots of vengeance. Who could ask for more?

AaronHerschel said...

WHo knew? The Iranians are just like the Jews. An eye for an eye, plus interest!

Patti said...

We should all invest in prosthetics now, for I fear we will all be without eyes and fingers soon! ;0)