Wednesday, March 22, 2006

On what happens after justice

Okay, so following the sentencing of the OC gang rapists, defense attorney Joe Cavallo shows that he really does have no soul. That is, in case anyone was really wondering, after his behavior during the trial.

Courtesy of Pinko Feminist Hellcat,
"Only 10 to 20% of what we had on Jane Doe and her family came out during the criminal case," Cavallo said. "They're going to rue the day they brought me into this case."

Now, I do understand someone who is the subject of a lawsuit wanting to defend himself as effectively as possible. But this? This is hatred. This is anger and rage. This is a guy who, after everything his client did to Jane Doe, and after everything he himself did to her during the trial, wants so badly to continue hurting her that he doesn't even care how he looks to the non-bastard public.

Cavallo is still at it because he truly believes, at the bottom of his heart, that Jane Doe was just some teenage slut, and his client and his friends were just boys being boys. He believes, as so many other people inexplicably do, that the victim was to blame for her victimization and that rather than trying to seek justice, she should have been hiding herself in shame, like any other slut who's gotten what she deserved. He went after a sixteen-year-old girl and her family, he stalked, harassed and slandered her, he coerced and bribed witnesses not because he felt his client deserved a thorough defense but because he was going to put that slut in her place. And now that said slut brazenly refuses to stay in her place, he's going to put her there again.

There's a certain very fine but very persistent vein of that mentality running through society, and things aren't going to get any better until it's we've managed to work through or past it. It's the thought, beyond just the idea of women as second-class citizens, of women as dirt, as Jezebels, as temptresses just lying in wait to give a man an apple. Beyond seeing womanhood as a handicap to overcome, men like Cavallo see it as a character flaw to be punished so that she can obediently return to her intended life as chattel, vapor, a walking sex toy that happens to cook. A diluted version of this mentality can be found in some hateful men as a foundation for the basest of misogyny; Cavallo has it running through his veins in its purest form.

The things that those boys did to her were horrible, and I don't think the sentences they received were anywhere sufficient to be called "justice," but then, what could be? Legal justice can only be served by a fitting and appropriate punishment as determined by a judge and a jury of their peers. Beyond that, we're moving from justice and into revenge, which is initially satisfying but has no constructive effect. At this point, the best we can do is rely on karma, eventual judgment by a higher power (if you go for that) and the knowledge that, even in a state prison, rapists are considered the lowest of the low and these boys will not have an easy time of it.

But what those boys did, they did because they were cruel and unfeeling. What Cavallo has done and is doing, he does because he's something far worse. He's vicious, calculating, hateful, and very angry. He's not a boy with poor home-training and an inexcusable streak of cruelty; he's a grown man who, as a defense attorney, has probably seen the worst of the worst in his life and has chosen to join them. When I walk downtown at night, I'm not afraid of men lurking in dark alleys. I'm afraid that, should I encounter a man in an alley, he's going to be backed up by someone like Joseph Cavallo. A civil case can wring the money out of him until he hurts, but as with his client, karma is looking like the most satisfying prospect.

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