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They are not like us

One of the most persistent errors of people who set out to reform criminal law is the idea that the people who have committed the most horrible crimes are just like us down deep.  The Quakers created the "penitentiary" way back in the late eighteenth century believing that criminals, if confined, would be penitent and reflect deeply and remorsefully on what they had done.  After all, that is what the good Quakers would do if they had deeply sinned.

Well, they aren't like us, and they don't reflect deeply and repent.  John Christoffersen has this story for AP from Connecticut:

The Connecticut killer who once called himself one of the most hated men in America said in a death row interview that he tries not to think about the murder of a suburban mother and her two daughters, suffers no nightmares and has nothing to say to the only survivor of the brutal 2007 attack.

Joshua Komisarjevsky told The Associated Press in his first interview since he was convicted that there isn't anything he could say to Dr. William Petit "that will restore the lives lost."

He also declined an opportunity to express remorse for the killings.

"I guess my reaction is not the reaction society expected," Komisarjevsky said.

It's exactly the reaction I expected.


The shallowness of Komisarjevsky's reflection is typical. It's easier to live that way that face-up to what one has done.

If this interview had been published before the Connecticut legislature voted to abolish the DP prospectively, you have to think the bill would have failed. The media are, as ever, masters of timing.

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