Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 2:17 pm | Fair 76º


Diane Dimond: Readers Get Their Turn to Vent About Crime, Justice

Some columns and topics have touched a nerve with people

Some of you have been delighted with me. Some of you want to strangle me. So this column is dedicated to your thoughts about my recent musings on crime and justice in America.

It’s your turn to vent.

No column lately generated as much heat as the one about women caught up in repeated domestic violence who refuse to press charges. I told the story of a New York police officer who lost his life responding to a victim’s 12th call for help. I concluded: “Society cannot remove an adult woman from a perilous domestic situation. She must walk out on her own resolved to find a better way of life.”

Cheryl wrote to tell me, “If you are going to spout off about a topic, then it is your responsibility to get yourself educated about that topic before spewing misinformation!”

Cheryl apparently missed the section where I wrote that I, too, had been victimized.

Justin wrote, “What about the women who do press charges and go forward into the court system, (and) find their entire life on trial and dragged through the mud, much like a rape victim?”

There were dozens more letters taking me and the system to task, but reader JF 12 summed it up best: “Perhaps a longer-term solution ... would be for women to stop being attracted to violent men.”

I got lots of comments on the column about allowing older college students and professors to carry guns on campus. Some readers worried that it would lead to a spike in student suicides or endanger innocents in some way.

“I’ll tell you something. The second guns are legal on my campus, I quit,” wrote a reader named Egghead. “Higher education is a tough enough place to be. It is not worth it to me.”

Reader TN Keating responded, “There are currently about 70 college campuses that allow concealed permit guns to be carried. ... No deaths have occurred at any of these campuses because of firearms.”

About the column revealing that prisoners had used uninspected outgoing mail systems to file for $38 million in tax refunds they weren’t entitled to, retired white-collar crimes detective Gunhild Vetter wrote to say the total is likely higher. “I would say that prisons need to monitor not only outgoing mail, but the computer usage by inmates. Seems they have too much idle time. Maybe they should have to grow their own food if they want to eat.”

When I wrote about that — getting prisoners to perform tax-dollar-saving jobs — it sparked an angry response from Jack Fecko. “I spent three years in a prison work camp in Liberty County, Fla. About 300 of us would go out and cut grass, lay sewer pipes, do construction, etc. There are several work camps. ... I calculated that prison labor saved the county $1 million a month! It is slave labor.”

Sorry, Jack. In these economic times, we all have to sacrifice.

Every time I write about the inconsistencies in America’s death penalty — 16 states and the District of Columbia now ban it — I get a slew of mail both pro and con. The Rev. Jack Fairweather told me he stood in a death chamber and watched an execution in the 1960s and has struggled with the issue of vengeance vs. forgiveness ever since.

Hanna Yoo, with a group called Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, wrote: “We all oppose the death penalty based on varying reasons. Some have been through the process and realize it doesn’t accomplish what they were hoping it would; some want greater punishment in the form of life imprisonment; some think of the murderer’s family; and some forgive.”

It comforted me to know others also grapple with shifting feelings about the nation’s ultimate punishment.

After July’s not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony murder case, I wrote that perhaps it was time to consider professional juries. Mary told me I was wrong.

“In a perfect world, it would be one thing, Diane, but ... our governments and too many of those who attain power feel emboldened to stamp on our rights and freedoms because they aren’t punished or held to account. We can’t afford to give them even half an inch more of an opportunity to spread more corruption.”

Reader Kris disagreed, “After the Anthony trial I firmly believe that some kind of training should be mandated for juries to better understand the legal proceedings of the actual trial they are sitting on.”

I got heart-wrenching emails after writing about America’s nearly 200,000 untested rape kits and the $1,500 cost to process each kit. This one from Sarah struck me.

“When I was raped, I didn’t have the courage to go to the hospital and have a kit done; I didn’t tell anyone it happened for over three years. ... It makes me want to hold a huge fundraiser at $1,500 a table, and make sure to tell everyone that the table they’re sitting at just allowed one rape kit to be tested. It’s a lovely little fantasy of mine.”

I like that idea, too, Sarah.

I also like that so many of my readers take the time to write. Be they positive or negative comments, please know I read them all.

Diane Dimond is the author of Cirque Du Salahi: Be Careful Who You Trust. Click here for more information. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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