Skip

“Because we could forgive, people can say her name."
January 6, 2013 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice? This week, the magazine tells the compelling and difficult story of the Grosmaire and McBride families, who together sought an alternative approach to justice after Conor McBride shot and killed his girlfriend Ann Grosmaire in 2010.
posted by liketitanic (64 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
"the magazine" being the NYT magazine.

I find this notion to be morally troubling. It privileges the victim's family's interests over those of the state.
posted by dfriedman at 7:32 AM on January 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nice article, thanks for posting it; it's really useful for showing the personal sides in a case. In my forensic psych class one of the ideas that I try to get students to consider is whether people really are more than the worst thing they've ever done (from Bryan Stevensons's TED talk). Restorative justice depends on our believing that to some degree.
posted by bizzyb at 7:36 AM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Grosmaires have two other daughters, and they didn't want to be bitter victims for the rest of their lives, clutching a picture of Ann and demanding justice.

What a tremendous thing to do for their daughters, and in the end for themselves and everyone involved.

And this is a great way for a prosecutor to approach a case: "We participated in it because the victim's family felt it would be a form of solace for them and to a lesser extent a solace to the defendant's family," Campbell said. "If it's in my power to give you solace, I will do it as long as it's not contrary to what I think is the duty of the state attorney or justice and doesn't put other people in danger."
posted by headnsouth at 7:37 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Grosmaires have two other daughters, and they didn't want to be bitter victims for the rest of their lives, clutching a picture of Ann and demanding justice.

This. Carrying anger like that is positively exhausting. The longer you carry it, the more it eats you up inside. Forgiveness can be as much for—and even more for—the victim and the victim's family as it is for the person who committed the crime. In their simplest forms, anger is pain and forgiveness is healing.

At least, that's been my experience. I don't know that forgiveness is the right route for everyone in all cases, but I am glad it was the right one for me.
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston at 7:52 AM on January 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


culminating in the moment that McBride shot Grosmaire, who was on her knees, in the face. Her last words were, “No, don’t!”

Why, exactly, should this monster be forgiven?
posted by spaltavian at 7:57 AM on January 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I find this notion to be morally troubling. It privileges the victim's family's interests over those of the state.

What are those interests? Are the methods used to achieve them effective? Should they always take precedence no matter what?

There was a piece on the radio a couple of days ago about the use of RJ techniques in Oakland, CA schools in place of just suspending kids. Suspensions are going down and attendance is going up. Maybe more of that earlier will make for fewer people who end up murdered.
posted by rtha at 7:59 AM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I find this notion to be morally troubling. It privileges the victim's family's interests over those of the state.

Well, he's in prison for 20 years, and he has taken responsibility for his action -- no "It was an accident, it's all everyone else's fault, the world is against me" -- and I would assume the state's interest is in part to prevent recidivism, which restorative justice helps to do.

I don't think it should be compelled, especially for violent crimes, but it would be wonderful if it were always an option.

(That said, there's a limited amount of forgiveness the family can do, because the person who could do the forgiving is dead.)
posted by jeather at 7:59 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why, exactly, should this monster be forgiven?

Probably because he's not a monster, but a human being.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:01 AM on January 6, 2013 [32 favorites]


I don't think forgiving the kid who shot your daughter is the only way to not turn into a bitter victim. You can let go of all your anger and still be "I think the kid who shot my daughter does not need to be forgiven."
posted by 23skidoo at 8:02 AM on January 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


I find this notion to be morally troubling. It privileges the victim's family's interests over those of the state.

Note that not all governments treat criminals of similar sorts the same way. For example: In Sentencing Criminals, Is Norway Too Soft? Or Are We Too Harsh?
It’s not very often the concept of restorative justice gets much play outside scholarly publications or reformist criminal justice circles, so first, some credit for Max Fisher at The Atlantic for giving it an earnest look last week. In seeking to explain Norway’s seemingly measly twenty-one-year sentence for remorseless, mass-murdering white supremacist Anders Breivik—a sentence that is certain to be extended to last the rest of his life—Fisher casts a critical eye on the underlying philosophy that animates that country’s sentencing practices, finding it to be “radically different” from what we’re used to in the United States.
"Lock 'em up and throw away the key" is only one of many options for killers and other criminals of a serious nature.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:04 AM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Why, exactly, should this monster be forgiven?

"Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past." --Jack Kornfield

Forgiveness isn't a gift you give to the perpetrator, but a gift you give to yourself. It doesn't mean you condone what happened or approve of the person who did it. Forgiveness allows the victim and extended circle of friends and family to move forward instead of living in the past.
posted by QuakerMel at 8:05 AM on January 6, 2013 [28 favorites]


Who says they had to forgive him? They did of their own free will, and seem to be happy about the results of their forgiveness.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:06 AM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why, exactly, should this monster be forgiven?

Why, exactly, do you not think that the family are more capable of making their own decision in this matter than you are of guessing the circumstances based on a five minute read and 30 seconds of consideration?
posted by Space_Lady at 8:14 AM on January 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


Why, exactly, should this monster be forgiven?

The bereaved may do so. In principle we do not lay the burden of justice on the victims.
The state, however, should not.
posted by clarknova at 8:18 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I generally don't believe in the concept of restorative justice because I feel that it lacks empathy for the victims. They were the ones hurt by the crime, and we cannot know the full measure of their suffering. Therefore it is the victim who is best qualified to decide when a criminal has "atoned" for the hurt that they have caused. To do otherwise is to prioritize our personal perspective over the victim's perspective, which strikes me as arrogant and lacking in compassion for them.

Some people say that restorative justice helps victims heal, because holding anger and bitterness in your heart poisons you slowly from the blah blah blah. To those people I say, get over yourselves and stop projecting your own feelings onto other people. Human beings have different personality types: some of us are healed by forgiveness, others by vengeance. It's not for any of you to say your way is "better" than somebody else's - that should be the victim's choice. When somebody has been raped or murdered, who are we to (effectively) tell the victims or their family "Well, it's time for you to get over the past. You're only hurting yourself by clinging to it." It seems utterly heartless to me.

In this specific case, it's clear that the victim and her family wanted forgiveness for her murderer, and as confusing (and rare) as that may be, I think that request was entirely within their rights. What troubles me is that this highly "edge case" scenario sounds like it is being used to make a case for restorative justice overall. Regardless of where you fall on the restorative/punitive justice scale, I think we should all realize that using edge cases to make larger points can be problematic.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:20 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think forgiving the kid who shot your daughter is the only way to not turn into a bitter victim. You can let go of all your anger and still be "I think the kid who shot my daughter does not need to be forgiven."

Yeah, I agree with this, and I think the state of Florida should have pushed harder for a life in prison term. The whole concept of the idea of forgiveness coming out of what this father thought his daughter would have wanted is bizarre, to me, since the article really gives no evidence of it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:28 AM on January 6, 2013


"To do otherwise is to prioritize our societal perspective over the victim's perspective, which strikes me as arrogant and lacking in compassion for them."

Prioritizing the societal perspective is the entire point of 'justice' as opposed to vengeance or retribution. The justice system should be set up for the best societal outcome. Destroying someones life and livelihood with a felony conviction(as it is in the US) does nothing to help society once that person gets out.

Punitive justice to make you feel better helps nobody.
posted by TheJoven at 8:28 AM on January 6, 2013 [16 favorites]


it's clear that the victim...wanted forgiveness for her murderer

How is it clear what the victim wanted since she's dead?
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:32 AM on January 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I generally don't believe in the concept of restorative justice because I feel that it lacks empathy for the victims. They were the ones hurt by the crime, and we cannot know the full measure of their suffering. Therefore it is the victim who is best qualified to decide when a criminal has "atoned" for the hurt that they have caused. To do otherwise is to prioritize our personal perspective over the victim's perspective, which strikes me as arrogant and lacking in compassion for them.

It's not like the criminal justice system waits for the victims to decide if a criminal has atoned enough either. I don't think restorative justice can be the only option: to force someone to sit in a small room listening to the explanation a criminal gives is cruel. But if you choose to do that, for whatever reasons, I don't see that this is necessarily problematic. If it actually helps with recidivism, it's a net good.

I know there are problems with restorative justice. I don't think it's a cure-all, and there are issues with prioritising the rehabilitation of the criminals over the needs of the victims. But there are problems with the traditional justice system as well.
posted by jeather at 8:37 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Therefore it is the victim who is best qualified to decide when a criminal has "atoned" for the hurt that they have caused.

Victims are not required to participate in a restorative justice process.
posted by rtha at 8:40 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The discussion here is interesting. Typically the needs and interests of victims and their families are used to justify much harsher punishment, such as the death penalty. (E.g., "Just imagine how the parents of the murder victim would feel, knowing that their daughter's killer is out there enjoying his life. It's unjust.") Those arguments are pretty terrible, though. It's not clear to me that the desires of the victims should play any role in determining the nature or extent of punishment. I would think that ought to apply in cases like this one as well, where the victims (for whatever reason) prefer a reduced punishment for the criminal. But probably part of the reason there's disagreement here is that it's also not clear what the purpose of punishment is.


Victims are not required to participate in a restorative justice process.

That wasn't clear to me from the linked article. It sounded like one of the reasons that Baliga didn't think the case would be amenable to restorative justice was that the victim's family wouldn't want to participate. She only agreed to help out once she was certain that the victim's family was interested in joining the process.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:52 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


That wasn't clear to me from the linked article. It sounded like one of the reasons that Baliga didn't think the case would be amenable to restorative justice was that the victim's family wouldn't want to participate. She only agreed to help out once she was certain that the victim's family was interested in joining the process.

I assume that rtha meant that "It is not required that there be a restorative justice process. If the victims do not want to participate, there will not be one." and not "There can be a restorative justice process from which the victims exclude themselves".

Although I would have trouble with a justice system which is two pronged, where only some criminals got the chance at restorative justice. (Unless the prongs were "all juveniles do" and "not all adults do".)
posted by jeather at 8:57 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks for posting, good article and thought provoking material.

I think in this case, RJ was the right thing to do as all parties seem to have engaged honestly with the process. As Kate Grosmaire said "Forgiveness for me was self-preservation", it helped them heal and move on. Of course, the victim's family could have ended up forgiving him without RJ, but in this case, it helped them heal.

I'm a believer that whilst the perpetrators of crime should be punished for their actions, any sentence should necessarily involve rehabilitation, otherwise the cycle never breaks. Far better if through this process Conor can learn how to break the anger cycle and make amends through living a life serving the community.

Conor was prone to bursts of irrational rage. Ann never told her parents that he had struck her several times. Michael now feels, with searing regret, that he presented a bad example of bad-tempered behavior. “Conor learned how to be angry” is how he put it to me.

How do we learn to break the cycle of anger? How do we get the message across to people that if you're in an abusive relationship that it's OK to get out? If Conor hadn't learnt this anger from his father (who in turn would have learnt it from someone else), and if either of them had walked away from what sounds like a tumultuous relationship, then in all likelihood she'd be alive.

(There's also the question of him knowing how to access the shotgun, but I don't want to derail the conversation which is going well)
posted by arcticseal at 8:58 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who speaks for Ann? Some commenters on the NYT article point out two things:

1. This process involved a family that placed a high value on a daughter's life. What about a family that did not value the life of a daughter very highly? What about a family that did value the life of its slain child, but faced pressure from the family of a perpretrator of a higher socioeconomic status? Ultimately, the state as prosecutor is supposed to represent the victim itself. It very rarely works that way, but this kind of complicated situation is why it is meant to do so.

2. This is an extremely racially privileged situation, all the way through.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:07 AM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


And it wasn't Conor's gun, it was his father's gun--left easily accessible to someone his family must have known was an impulsive, angry youth. It doesn't really matter what Ann's poor parents fantasize that she "told" them after she was shot in the head: the responsibility isn't localized to the person they chose to forgive.
posted by Scram at 9:51 AM on January 6, 2013


Ultimately, the state as prosecutor is supposed to represent the victim itself. It very rarely works that way, but this kind of complicated situation is why it is meant to do so.

I'm not really on board with that formulation (I'm assuming you mean 'is supposed to' as in 'ought to', rather than 'is legally obligated to').

Why shouldn't the state represent the the best interests of the citizenry as a whole? Focusing on an individual victim seems like a surefire way to ensure draconian punishment and a distraction from reducing recidivism, which is in everyone's real interest.

This reminds me of the famous "would you support the death penalty for your wife's rapist and murderer?" question that Michael Dukakis faced in a debate. Political implications aside, I always thought that question really highlights why victims shouldn't be the only - or even primary - consideration in sentencing. Because who wouldn't support the death penalty in that case?

But if that's the paradigm, what purpose is the judicial system other than institutionalized vigilantism?
posted by graphnerd at 9:57 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My major issue here is that domestic violence is already treated as a lesser crime than similar forms of violence perpetrated against non-family members/partners. The pressure to forgive and understand domestic violence is huge. It stems from the devaluation of women and the normalization of violence against us. The last DV thread here was full of people saying not to judge someone else who executed his girlfriend because we could all be in his place.

In that context, I don't get the warm fuzzies about the prosecuter offering to let the guy off with five years for manslaughter and a parent laughing with their daughter's killer right after she is murdered.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:58 AM on January 6, 2013 [12 favorites]


My major issue here is that domestic violence is already treated as a lesser crime than similar forms of violence perpetrated against non-family members/partners. The pressure to forgive and understand domestic violence is huge. It stems from the devaluation of women and the normalization of violence against us.

TYRR: that is what disturbed me about this particular case, too. I am not against restorative justice - in fact, I think it is probably a good idea with many non-violent crimes - but I worry that restorative justice for a domestic violence perpetrator, specifically, might give the wrong message that DV is just some pippy-poo thing that is a strictly domestic matter, not something worth punishing (as it was in fact considered for hundreds of years).

Would Conor have gotten off with restorative justice if the victim wasn't his girlfriend? If this case sets a precedent for DV punishments, will women and their families be coerced into accepting restorative justice? Feminists and others have worked so hard to raise awareness of domestic violence as a crime worthy of punishment and DV victims as victims, not "she must have provoked him." I worry that this sort of thing will set back the cause.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:07 AM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Restorative justice is a good thing, but it is not and cannot supplant criminal justice.
posted by kafziel at 10:22 AM on January 6, 2013


This situation oozes privilege, yes, and the concerns around RJ being used in a DV case are valid. That said, I think this process went as well as it could have done. The state attorney in particular was completely correct in not stating a plea bargain "on the spot" in the RJ conference. If he was mainly reticent to do so because he was worried about how it would 'play' to the electorate, then hey, in this case the system worked.

This line in particular struck a chord:

Forgiveness doesn’t make him any less guilty, and it doesn’t absolve him of what he did, but in refusing to become Conor’s enemy, the Grosmaires deprived him of a certain kind of refuge — of feeling abandoned and hated
posted by pahalial at 10:32 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This subject is dealt with by Jared Diamond in his new book, The World Until Yesterday. He compares the approaches to dealing with offenses in the modern world with those of traditional societies. Restorative Justice seems like one way the people involved in a crime (both victim and perpetrator) can move beyond it and get on with their lives, as is the goal of the non-violent arm of traditional justice. He cites studies that show emprical success for RJ, in terms of the victims' feelings of safety as well as positive outcomes for the perpetrator.

I am only a short way into this book, but I can already recommend it.
posted by grubby at 10:40 AM on January 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


2. This is an extremely racially privileged situation, all the way through.

That's a good point. Thank you for making it! It couldn't have been otherwise--it happened to the people it happened to--but it did allow the situation to unfold in a particular way.

TYRR: that is what disturbed me about this particular case, too. I am not against restorative justice - in fact, I think it is probably a good idea with many non-violent crimes - but I worry that restorative justice for a domestic violence perpetrator, specifically, might give the wrong message that DV is just some pippy-poo thing that is a strictly domestic matter, not something worth punishing (as it was in fact considered for hundreds of years).

This is also a good point. Thank you both for making it. I wanted to highlight it.

Restorative justice is a good thing, but it is not and cannot supplant criminal justice.

This strikes me as more complicated, because American society has come to a place where we have closely woven our ideas about "criminal justice" with, and identify successful criminal justice processes with, deeply felt emotion. This is one of my scholarly interests and a subject of my dissertation, so of course I'm moved here to consider what we mean by criminal justice. Is it a process by which real "monsters" are imprisoned and good people are freed? If that's true, then maybe there was a CJ failure here, since the "monster" will be released one day. And if that's true, then restorative justice has no place. Defendants, in this formulation, do not appear as powerless as they are.

If, however, we think about criminal justice processes as (and here I quote the scholar Elayne Rapping) as ones in which "the state is forced to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt or let the defendant go free," then maybe there is more agency for the state here, as when the prosecutor, on behalf of the state, made the decision that he felt most appropriate before trial. When we think about criminal justice as a process that involves but is not driven by or responsive to emotional anguish, it becomes something different. The pain of violence, of crime--I think it's something different altogether. Very real, but not the driver of justice.
posted by liketitanic at 10:41 AM on January 6, 2013


Space_Lady : Why, exactly, do you not think that the family are more capable of making their own decision in this matter than you are of guessing the circumstances based on a five minute read and 30 seconds of consideration?

Because the family doesn't count as the primary victim here. The real victim can't forgive, for the obvious reason. Now, the family certainly counts as secondary victims in this case; and in that regard, okay, they have every right to wave their right to seek additional "wrongful death" penalties. But the core crime still happened.

Or let's look at this from the other direction, because I have to admit a level of cognitive dissonance here - In cases like this one, I would like to see the family allowed a few hours alone with the killer, no questions asked and no charges resulting for whatever happens. Yet, as the logical flip-side of that, we would need to let the family pardon the killer. Reflexively, if we let a forgiving family pardon the killer, we should also let an unforgiving one beat him to death.

Letting the state impartially handle the punishment in either case seems like the fairest way to handle it, unfortunately - I don't like it any more than you do, but that approach seems to best serve the interests of justice and of society.
posted by pla at 10:46 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


In that context, I don't get the warm fuzzies about the prosecuter offering to let the guy off with five years for manslaughter

You misread the article. Campbell didn't offer to let Conor off for five years for manslaughter. He was explaining to Ann's parents that as a prosecutor he had wide discretion in how to charge Conor. That he could, if he thought the situation warranted it, (but he didn't think that it did) charge Conor with manslaughter instead of murder.
As [Campbell] always does with victims’ families, he explained to the Grosmaires the details of the criminal-justice process, including the little-advertised fact that the state attorney has broad discretion to depart from the state’s mandatory sentences. As the representative of the state and the person tasked with finding justice for Ann, he could reduce charges and seek alternative sentences. Technically, he told the Grosmaires, “if I wanted to do five years for manslaughter, I can do that.”

Kate sat up straight and looked at Campbell. “What?” she asked. Campbell, believing she had misunderstood and thought he was suggesting that Conor serve a prison term of just five years, tried to reassure her. “No, no,” he said. “I would never do that.” It was just an example of how much latitude Florida prosecutors have in a murder case.
I agree with your points about domestic violence and restorative justice. It seemed to me that Campbell was the only one who was taking into account the fact that Conor was an abuser. Based on the article, it seemed like both sets of parents totally glossed over that.

I haven't looked into restorative justice much, but it seems like it would work best for minor crimes or crimes were the victims and criminal had a close relationship. Would the Grosmaires have been interested in restorative justice if they had not liked Conor or if Ann had been killed by a stranger?
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:07 AM on January 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Note that not all governments treat criminals of similar sorts the same way. For example: In Sentencing Criminals, Is Norway Too Soft? Or Are We Too Harsh?

I posted a wonderful quote I heard from a Norwegian regarding the term length at the time of the Norway shooting, but I figured I'd post again here, because I love the quote. NPR, our radical liberal news organization, was flabbergasted that the sentence was so light. So they asked a Norwegian their take on it:

"He may only get 21 years in prison. Don't you want to see this killer in prison forever?" The response: "No, the greatest punishment would be seeing him get out in 21 years and come home to a Norway filled with multiculturalism, with people of all races living together."

That's not necessarily forgiveness, there's still an element of revenge in there. But the difference in the type of revenge fantasy is amazing and inspiring. And their criminal justice system and culture is healthier because of it.
posted by formless at 11:16 AM on January 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


I find this notion to be morally troubling. It privileges the victim's family's interests over those of the state.

I agree with this. The whole reason why the government serves as prosecution in criminal courts is because there is this idea that these crimes threaten the safety, liberty and rights of all citizens. In that sense, crimes are offences against all of society.

If we only take into account the interests of the victim or place them above the interests of the state, we may lose the ability to protect society as a whole. The criminal system is not meant to carry personal aims - it is to protect society. Without a doubt, it is important what the victims want and to help their healing process as well, but I think there needs to be a fine balance.
posted by cyml at 11:16 AM on January 6, 2013


This is a huge dilemma, in my mind. Mentally, I can't get past is the inequality for perpetrators. There is so much inequality built into the system already!

The way we in the US treat offenders in our prison system is so shitty. Some of them deserve to be punished harshly, but the manner in which we do it-- the state of our prisons, the way the death penalty is implemented-- is so horrible, it degrades us all. This is especially true of young people getting life sentences, or being put on death row. Should we be cheered to think that a lucky few are going to be treated humanely, just because there is a family to step forward and advocate for it? It doesn't seem right to me. Yet it's possible that a case like this could be an impetus for general change.
posted by BibiRose at 11:16 AM on January 6, 2013


I think that the execution of justice in the US sometimes does unnecessary harm, and I think that there are many occasions when those who are affected by a misdeed are hobbled by their hard-heartedness. I was very affected by this story, and frequently recommend it to others. I think that our slowness to forgive has something to do with our inability to recognize our own faults.

But then there are stories like one from my hometown, where a bank executive charged with embezzling money bludgeoned his family to death with a baseball bat, left a message saying that his family was in heaven, and then killed himself the next morning. The husband/father was buried alongside his family in an act of forgiveness. I cannot wrap my head around this.

I do not believe in an afterlife, and do not believe that the interests of the murdered family members are harmed by that act of forgiveness. But I also don't believe that men should be buried alongside the families they've killed. Doing so removes a disincentive (however small) against worst-case domestic violence. I don't know how you balance that harm against the solace brought by forgiveness.
posted by compartment at 12:09 PM on January 6, 2013


This is a huge dilemma, in my mind. Mentally, I can't get past is the inequality for perpetrators. There is so much inequality built into the system already!

I've benefited greatly from that inequality. I spent some time in jail for property crimes. My defender was surprised at how easily I got off. Part of that was because I'm pretty good at talking. When I broke the terms of my supervision and was back in front of a judge, and still got off lightly, it seemed that the reason I got off so easily was because I didn't have a mustache. That's what it looked like, seeing how people before and after me were treated.

And I have to admit that I've also committed violence-- that there are a number of actions I've taken that have been criminal, and it's only because of the forgiveness of the victims that I was never arrested for those acts.

I've also been the victim of serious violence, far beyond what I've ever committed. The people guilty were never caught, at least, not for what they did to me. The truth is, I'd rather they weren't caught. I don't think jail does anything good for anybody. I only reported the crime after discovering that somebody else was seriously beaten at around the same time, in case there was a group of people who weren't going to stop until they were caught. (Because I believe that nearly all people stop even in the absence of justice.)

I don't think that the decision to commit violence, or nearly any crime, is a carefully considered rational act, taken in full understanding of the potential costs. It's not one that "disincentives" discourage. Somewhere out there, there might be a real person (not a TV character) who considers a year in jail an appropriate risk, and not five, but I believe that person to be the exception.

Forgiveness--or the option-- is not just a good idea from the perspective of benefit to society. Violence, and crime in general, is about eliminating people's choices. The decision to forgive is one of the few choices that the victims retain. If we deny victims the power for consequential mercy, or conversely, coerce mercy, we deny one more choice to those victims. In part, because of that, I think forgiveness should be seen in these cases as something of a selfish act. That allows us to recognize the benefits we accrue in forgiveness, and it helps to prevent shame in those who choose not to forgive.
posted by nathan v at 12:48 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm just going to steal this NY Times comment at the bottom of the article:

Suzie Siegel - Tampa, FL

I need to amend my will to say, "If someone shoots me in the face with a shotgun while I'm on my knees begging for my life, please prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law."

Ann was the victim, not her parents. Murder is a crime against the state. Domestic violence often involves a cycle, in which person X abuses person Y, X begs and receives forgiveness, time passes, and then the cycle begins again. We know Conor was controlling, obsessive and occasionally violent, although this story generally describes their relationship as mutually destructive. The story echoes the perspective of the abuser: I'm sorry! I don't know what came over me! Please forgive me!

Conor says what happened before he murdered Ann, and this is repeated as if it's fact. But only parts of his story can be verified. Maybe Ann was trying to leave, and he prevented her. Maybe he got the shotgun to kill her and made her get down on her knees. We don't know.

In some societies, "restorative justice" means rape victims are pressured into marrying the men who rape them. In our society, rich people can "settle" with victims and buy their forgiveness. How will prosecutors and judges sort the pressures on victims and their families?

I'm much more comfortable with restorative justice when it involves theft or vandalism, not violent crimes.

posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 1:25 PM on January 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


MegoSteve: Why, exactly, should this monster be forgiven?

Probably because he's not a monster, but a human being.


These aren't mutually exclusive.

Space_Lady Why, exactly, do you not think that the family are more capable of making their own decision in this matter than you are

Well, for one, I'm not basing the decision to do so off of an imaginary conversation. But the only person with any standing to make this decision is dead; which is pretty much why murder is unforgivable. He didn't dent someone's bumper; he removed a person from existence.
posted by spaltavian at 2:35 PM on January 6, 2013


Ann was the victim, not her parents. Murder is a crime against the state.

Was Ann the victim, or was the State the victim? If we allow for multiple victims, where do we draw the line on who "counts" as a victim?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:41 PM on January 6, 2013


Or let's look at this from the other direction, because I have to admit a level of cognitive dissonance here - In cases like this one, I would like to see the family allowed a few hours alone with the killer, no questions asked and no charges resulting for whatever happens. Yet, as the logical flip-side of that, we would need to let the family pardon the killer. Reflexively, if we let a forgiving family pardon the killer, we should also let an unforgiving one beat him to death.

What the hell? How does this follow at all?

----------------

Restorative justice is a tremendously complicated subject because, fundamentally, it makes us as a society ask what we hope to gain from a criminal justice system.

Seriously, ask yourself: why do you want a criminal justice system?

I imagine most people would give some combination of the two:
1) Punishment for breaking a law
2) Repayment for the victim--essentially, making the victim feel better via sentencing or some form of reparation

Why punish? To establish consequences for a negative action. Why are consequences necessary? We want to maintain an ordered society. We want a society where people do not commit crimes willy-nilly, where they follow some established rule of law. We hope that punishment will provide deterrence for these crimes. We hope that punishment will stop lawbreakers from breaking the law again--that is, we hope by punishment and threat of punishment the lawbreaker will become an orderly member of society. We also hope to stop future lawbreakers before they break a law, and hope to make them continue to be orderly members of society.

Why repay the victim? It is revenge, essentially. When you burgle someone's house we don't just want you to return the items and their full monetary value. When you attack someone, you don't just give them money for the hospital bills, vacations they missed, work they missed. You have now violated someone's trust, made them feel unsafe in their own home, caused them pain, we recognize there are things that have been harmed that cannot be repaired with money and materials. So we cause you pain, in the hopes that by causing you pain we recognize the victim's pain, and perhaps alleviate it.

So, at the essence, when looking at the effectiveness of our largely punishment-based criminal justice system, we must ask ourselves:

1) Are people deterred by these punishments? Do criminals stop committing crimes once punished, and do threats of punishment stop people from committing crimes?

2) Does our sentencing make the victims feel better?

-------

I think any cursory assessment of our justice system would say that we are failing at both #1 and #2. Punishment for crimes certainly is deterrence--up to a point. But it is pretty clear that simply locking a guy in a cell in the American prison system as it exists for umpteen years does not ensure when the person leaves they are a better, more orderly person, who has learned new coping skills and is ready to become a productive member of society. The very fact that people are so unwilling to hire felons fundamentally indicates we do not trust our justice system to truly rehabilitate criminals. And given America has the largest prison population in the world as a percentage of our population, clearly, threat of prison and punishment is not stopping people from breaking the law. Whatever is going on in prison is not encouraging people to become orderly citizens.

Question #2 is more holistic, and dependent on the victims of a crime. It seems clear that punishment alone does not necessarily change the attitudes and feelings of the criminal. So, if a criminal is not changed in attitude, or guilty feeling, or approach to the world, does beating (as pla suggests) or locking someone up provide healing, comfort, and peace to a victim? Or would a victim prefer a process that forces the criminal to truly, deeply understand the emotional pain they have caused, to truly feel deep guilt, to live with it, and then to never commit their crime again?

I believe the power of restorative justice is it provides a venue for victims to process their own feelings and more fully convey them to a criminal. It also acknowledges that lock a guy in a cage with nothing but his resentment and a whole other boatload of other criminals you do not have proof when he exits he's going to have achieved a magical epiphany that causes him to change his habits. In fact, if the cage is bad enough, you may make him worse--his worldview will be further warped by the other criminals he's locked in with, he'll resent any hurt, pain, degradation perpetrated on him during his time, and when he leaves it may be so impossible for him to get a job he may feel he's being forced to commit crimes again.

If you want a criminal to change, you need to teach them how to change. People have difficulty enough changing their eating habits, becoming more organized, or stop biting their nails or picking their nose. Changing your entire worldview--how you approach living in poverty, how you approach anger, how you approach being abused as a kid, how you approach alienation, how you approach women, or men, or kids, or negative behavior, or being disrespected--how can we expect that to spontaneously change in someone simply because we put them in a cage? Lock them up to make them focus on this change, sure. But there needs to be a way for them to focus on the change. They need to have the psychological guidance. They need to truly feel the guilt of their actions. "I don't want to be in this cage again, so I guess I'll muddle through coping strategies on my own until I find one that works" obviously has not been doing a good job for us. Maybe it is time to consider something different.

I thought this excerpt was very powerful: Forgiveness doesn’t make him any less guilty, and it doesn’t absolve him of what he did, but in refusing to become Conor’s enemy, the Grosmaires deprived him of a certain kind of refuge — of feeling abandoned and hated — and placed the reckoning for the crime squarely in his hands. That is the resentment and anger of prison I'm talking about. That can build if you don't have someone there by the perpetrator's side guiding them through it to a more realistic, productive approach to their crime and themselves.

-------------

RJ is much more complicated, much harder, and perhaps more expensive (given how much it costs to imprison people, it might not be). I don't think we should be pressuring victims to seek RJ if they don't want to, and I don't think we should be forcing everyone to hug and make up. But there has to be a better way somewhere in between "Hugs for all", and what we've got now. Certainly something better than "Let the victim beat the perp to death." Maybe even if it's just a more compassionate look at prisons with an approach focused on reducing recidivism rather than just making prisoners feel as miserable as possible.
posted by schroedinger at 2:49 PM on January 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't make any judgment about RJ based on the article, because the circumstances are so unusual:

* Both sets of parents had a longterm, almost familial connection based on their children's relationship.

* The victim's parents derive a great deal of support from a religious structure based on forgiveness.

* The murderer owns up unconditionally.

I'm pleased that everyone involved in this horrible situation has reached some sort of emotional equilibrium.

I have no fucking idea how this story, or RJ in general, is supposed to apply elsewhere. If that was the point of the article, it failed.

Googling "restorative justice" was far more informative.
posted by dogrose at 3:26 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having read the article and noticed the 'days of fighting', I wonder if these children were mature enough to be in an intimate relationship. Age - 19 - is just a number. They seemed to want more from each other than was possible.
posted by Cranberry at 3:28 PM on January 6, 2013


2) Repayment for the victim--essentially, making the victim feel better via sentencing or some form of reparation

I agree with most of what you wrote, but I think the helping the victim aspect of justice is a bit more complicated than just retribution or revenge. Because in many cases, when someone is the victim of a crime, the effects go beyond just that one event and one instance. People whose homes are broken into and burgled may feel less secure and more anxious; likewise for victims of violent crimes. The attention to the victim's (or victims') needs in this case I think should focus on the victim's needs. That is, revenge really focuses on the perpetrator, not the victim. Throwing someone in jail for a very long time can make a victim feel a bit better that that one particular person who did a bad thing is no longer out there. But from what I read and from talking to other people, it seems that one of the consequences of being a victim of (especially a violent) crime is a sort of loss of overall innocence or trust in other humans or in society, beyond the specific perpetrator(s) of the specific crime. So what victims need is some process that will help them restore that overall trust, and that, in my understanding, is what restorative justice focuses on in part (on the victims' end of things at least).

See also this link in the thread on the recent rape case sparking protests across India, about the distinction between victim and survivor.
posted by eviemath at 3:45 PM on January 6, 2013


Seriously, ask yourself: why do you want a criminal justice system?

I imagine most people would give some combination of the two:
1) Punishment for breaking a law
2) Repayment for the victim--essentially, making the victim feel better via sentencing or some form of reparation


This is part of the challenge of this conversation. Neither of those is at all why I want criminal "justice". I want it to:

1> Prevent future crimes
2> Maximize future health, happiness and prosperity for everyone involved

Now, in considering #1, incarceration is often the only apparent way to achieve the goal. And in considering #2, given the imperfect information about how the future will unfold I'll gladly prioritize the victim's health, happiness and prosperity over the criminals. But, fundamentally, if there is an answer that ALSO gives the criminal an opportunity to reform and be a future productive member of society I want to give it due opportunity.

Punishment and repayment is just another way of saying vengeance, and I don't think that is a necessary role of our legal system. Vengeance is satisfied by forgiveness, not from a pound of flesh.
posted by meinvt at 3:47 PM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


schroedinger : What the hell? How does this follow at all?

Because if nothing else, the law needs to apply uniformly. Everyone gets the same treatment, every gets similar punishments for similar crimes, and everyone can (if they take the time to research it) basically know the outcome of choosing to commit a given crime. We don't live in that perfect of a world, of course, but we strive for it regardless.

So... If we allow for subjective modifications to the law based on the feelings of the victims (or secondary victims when the primary ones can't speak for themselves), those modifications still need to apply in an even-handed manner - Both positively and negatively.


meinvt : Vengeance is satisfied by forgiveness, not from a pound of flesh.

That sounds good. It sounds like what Mom, Jesus, and Officer Friendly would want you to say. It also sounds like complete BS. When someone robs you, you want your stuff back; you don't get "better" by coming to terms with someone else having your stuff.

But, fundamentally, if there is an answer that ALSO gives the criminal an opportunity to reform and be a future productive member of society I want to give it due opportunity.

In your opinion, then, can someone commit a crime so bad we don't want them to ever come back to society? That they deserve some form of permanent, unalterable punishment, not just a few years in the time-out corner?
posted by pla at 4:01 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is part of the challenge of this conversation. Neither of those is at all why I want criminal "justice". I want it to:

1> Prevent future crimes
2> Maximize future health, happiness and prosperity for everyone involved

Now, in considering #1, incarceration is often the only apparent way to achieve the goal.


The comment was long, but I mentioned the "punishment" aspect is what people assume results in the larger goal: deterrence and preventing recidivism. But even basic psychological studies indicate punishment only goes so far. And our overflowing prison systems indicate punishment alone is not working for us as a society.

I agree with most of what you wrote, but I think the helping the victim aspect of justice is a bit more complicated than just retribution or revenge. Because in many cases, when someone is the victim of a crime, the effects go beyond just that one event and one instance. People whose homes are broken into and burgled may feel less secure and more anxious; likewise for victims of violent crimes. The attention to the victim's (or victims') needs in this case I think should focus on the victim's needs. That is, revenge really focuses on the perpetrator, not the victim.

What I was trying to say, and perhaps did not get across clearly, is in our current incarnation of justice we're hoping revenge and punishment adequately satisfies not only the material damage of the offense but any psychological pain caused to the victim via lack of trust, physical pain, etc. I am doubtful that it does. What this story illustrates was the victims seemed to find more closure via confronting the perpetrator and having the opportunity to clearly communicate the damage caused to them in a way the perpetrator understood. This seems more effective than saying "I lost my sense of trust, so now you're in jail."

This kind of approach is by no means applicable everywhere. And certainly not all victims will want to directly confront the perpetrator. But I think a victim may feel more closure with the entire process if they know part of the process of being in prison would be sessions with a therapist or counselor where ideally the end result was a psychological overhaul and a full understanding of the pain the perpetrator caused.


So... If we allow for subjective modifications to the law based on the feelings of the victims (or secondary victims when the primary ones can't speak for themselves), those modifications still need to apply in an even-handed manner - Both positively and negatively.


This is a ridiculous twisting of the the concept of restorative justice as it was applied to this case. RJ, on a fundamental level, is a dialogue between victim and perpetrator to allow for mutual understanding along with a suggestion of a particular sentence. The state is then free to mete out the actual sentence as it wishes. The equivalent would not be "allow victim to beat perp to death", the equivalent would be "allow a system where a victim could voice their desire to beat a perpetrator to death, and then the state would choose whether or not that was acceptable" (which it would not be). Note that the state ended up giving Conors twice what the girl's parents actually asked for.
posted by schroedinger at 4:16 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


schroedinger : This is a ridiculous twisting of the the concept of restorative justice

I didn't describe RJ, or any other pop-cultural fad of "soft" justice. If anything, I took exactly the opposite stance, that justice must remain blind for it to work at all.

It doesn't matter if the killer had a bad day. He made someone else never have any more days. It doesn't matter if the parents forgive him, because the victim doesn't have that option anymore. It doesn't matter if his parents abused him, if he did poorly in school, if he never got that puppy as a boy, because seriously, WTF? None of that changes what he did in the slightest.

So when we start invoking legal fashion for allowing justice to peek, I would only point out that she needs to peek from both eyes, not just the one that sees a need for leniency.
posted by pla at 4:39 PM on January 6, 2013


So when we start invoking legal fashion for allowing justice to peek, I would only point out that she needs to peek from both eyes, not just the one that sees a need for leniency.

Justice

That justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.


- Langston Hughes
posted by eviemath at 4:54 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't describe RJ, or any other pop-cultural fad of "soft" justice. If anything, I took exactly the opposite stance, that justice must remain blind for it to work at all.

I didn't think you were. I was saying you were using false equivalence in an effort to critique RJ.

1) What is "justice"?
2) What do you hope to accomplish with our justice system?
3) Do you feel the current system is working to accomplish #2? Why or why not?
posted by schroedinger at 4:57 PM on January 6, 2013


that justice must remain blind

It's blind now? Currently? The criminal justice system?

As has been pointed out, the prosecutor could have brought a charge of manslaughter, with a sentence of five years, and he's doing a longer pull than the family wanted.
posted by rtha at 5:04 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you for posting this article. In most cases, I prefer RJ over what's being called above "criminal justice" (where the state applies a set of rules somewhat consistently) because I believe the criminal justice system doesn't do a great job of meeting the needs of the victims. The vandal may spend 21 days in jail but that doesn't repair my car.

But the concept of RJ in murder cases is extremely difficult for me to understand. What could he restore?
posted by salvia at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2013


Three thoughts:

1. When the sentence was revealed "20 years + probation" I assume I was supposed to be shocked at how light it was. I don't really follow American criminal law but the idea that 20 years in prison ISN'T a harsh sentence for murder to that community speaks to our differences in worldview.

2. The concerns about DV are absolutely on point. But traditional criminal justice isn't working out too well either for the survivors. Maybe if the consequences remain high but also the perpetrator faces the real impact of their actions? But many survivors of DV go back to their abusers even after criminal charges are laid - they may not be the most reliable narrators or the best choice to hold someone with such power over them accountable. It is really tough to know what the best choices would be.

3. I know, and support, community justice here (part of my job involves trying to solve legal problems outside the adversarial justice system through collaboration and mediation). But the power imbalance between victims and perpetrators must always be at the forefront - can you imagine what community justice would look like in Stuebenville where there is such a closely tied community, little true confidentiality and social repercussions on the victim for any decisions made?

4. I lied. One more thought. Unless these meetings are minuted and made transparent the case law and precedent will be lost - in other words "community norms" won't really be known. If they are published and accessible the participants would be less likely to be forthcoming and honest (such as the perpetrator revealing traumatic history and how it affected their life decisions).
posted by saucysault at 6:44 PM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK, guys.

Here's the deal.

There are three levels of crime.

Crime against yourself.
Crime against others.
Crime against the state.

The state provides, as a service to the citizenry, enforcement against the first two classes of crime. Part of this is because the citizenry demands the service. Part of this is because if the state does nothing, the citizenry will do something.

If it's bad, it's super inefficient and damaging. Messiness is expensive.
If it's good, well, it competes with the state for legitimacy.

We've got a human instinct that, in the case of a crime, Something Must Be Done. Whoever does it is perceived as legitimate authority. Pretty slick piece of neurological code, really. Want to be perceived as legitimate authority? Avenge something that there is consensus was bad and needs avenging!

In this context, everything makes sense. Restorative Justice is about providing superior vengeance to those affected by the crime, in that there is greater relief of pain. It's the state providing a better service.
posted by effugas at 5:00 AM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, in a murder, the victim is simply not the only victim. Kill one, scare a thousand isn't a joke. You change people's brains when you kill their friends. Social networks are real.
posted by effugas at 5:02 AM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Also, incentives are really really weird once you get into prison systems, and that's before profit shows up. The cheapest thing for the state to do would be to kill prisoners, but then all that pain a murderer causes? That's distributed throughout his social network, and directed at the state. AWKWARD. So you can't minimize costs. Then you've got this weird thing going on with recividism -- once someone's let out, if they commit another crime the victims blame the state for unleashing a monster. So the system kind of lurches towards life imprisonment, which is optimal for...almost everybody. YIKES)
posted by effugas at 5:11 AM on January 7, 2013


"I imagine most people would give some combination of the two:
1) Punishment for breaking a law
2) Repayment for the victim--essentially, making the victim feel better via sentencing or some form of reparation"

This is part of the challenge of this conversation. Neither of those is at all why I want criminal "justice".


Well, with all due respect (and I apologize if this sounds harsh), what you want shouldn't matter. Neither this world nor this society belong to you - they belong to whomever has the power to shift enough beliefs in the direction that they want society to go in. So while you may not believe that punishment or repayment are important elements of the criminal justice system, there are certainly enough people who believe it that it is nonetheless so. Furthermore, a victim's desire for punishment and repayment are perfectly valid desires and I don't see why anybody should ever feel ashamed for feeling those natural emotions. Obviously the needs of the state must take precedence over the victim's emotional restoration, but when there are pragmatic ways to satisfy both parties (e.g. life in prison) I don't see any practical reason why one would argue so vociferously against it. There are plenty of ethical reasons, to be sure, but that takes us right back to the arrogance of imposing your own ethical beliefs or morality onto other people. Just because you believe vengeance should be completely separated from justice doesn't mean the rest of us need to buy into your arbitrary system of morality.

So I would like to ask: do you have any practical reasons why life in prison would not work (in terms of minimizing societal harm), or are all your arguments ethical/moral in nature?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:00 AM on January 7, 2013


Just because you believe vengeance should be completely separated from justice doesn't mean the rest of us need to buy into your arbitrary system of morality.

Yours (collective yours or yours in particular, wolfdreams01) is not any less arbitrary. It's just that it's a long collection of sometimes conflicting punishment/rehabilitation practices that we as a society have piled up somewhat messily over the generations. Our criminal justice system has gone through various phases of being more punishment/less rehabilitative and vice versa; it's even that way right now, depending on jurisdiction - committing a crime in County A might bring a charge that could land you in the pokey for several years, while committing the same crime the next county over might get you a suspended sentence + drug/alcohol rehab + restitution. If you commit a death-penalty eligible murder in San Francisco, you will not face the death penalty, because we keep electing DAs who won't bring it. Cross the bridge to Alameda or CoCo, though, and it's a different story (I think this is true for San Mateo county as well, so you wouldn't even need to cross a bridge).

Practical reasons for not wanting life without parole: It costs a lot. It costs less than the death penalty, but it's not like it's cheap. In this particular case, would it be more cost-effective to keep him in prison for, say, 20 years while giving him opportunities for rehabilitation, or would it be more cost-effective to lock him up and toss the key? Should *all* murderers get life without parole? We already have different ways of distinguishing levels of crime, and prosecutors have discretion over what the charge will be.
posted by rtha at 9:10 AM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


In this particular case, would it be more cost-effective to keep him in prison for, say, 20 years while giving him opportunities for rehabilitation, or would it be more cost-effective to lock him up and toss the key?

I'm not talking about this particular case (which is certainly a very "edge" case and not representative of most murder cases) - I'm talking about punishment for murderers in general. And yes, I know that other people's morality is no less arbitrary - that's precisely why ethical arguments tend to be so pointlessly tedious. It's similar to the "which band is better" argument - it's highly subjective and there's never any conclusive way to get an objective resolution.

As far as practical reasons go (rather than ethical reasons), is cost genuinely your only objection? Because when you factor in the costs of things like paying therapists or administrative staff for reintegration programs, rehabilitative justice actually seems like it would be a lot more expensive than life in prison, with the added down side of exposing society to a certain level of proven risk. Granted, I haven't done all the calculations, but I don't know of anybody else who has - most analyses that weigh the costs generally don't factor in the cost of rehabilitation. Therapists are expensive, so I can't see that as being a particularly cost-effective option. Any more data you could offer on this would certainly be appreciated.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:49 AM on January 7, 2013


So, from this, there's this breakdown:

According to the [California] Legislative Analyst's figures, it currently costs $19,663 to provide security for inmates each year; $12,442 to supply them with health care; $7,214 for prison operations like maintenance and record-keeping; $3,493 for administration; $2,562 to feed inmates, clothe them and provide activities for them, including spiritual programs; $1,612 for rehabilitation programs and $116 in miscellaneous costs.

Total: $46,986.

Now, obviously, these figures represent the choices we make about how much to spend on what. Those choices are based on politics, results of union negotiations, and possibly a sprinkling of evidence-based policies.

I will excerpt from a longer comment (with link) I made in this thread: Today, 70 percent of that budget [California Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation] goes to pay salaries and benefits to the union and staff. Just 5 percent of the budget goes to education and vocational programs — the kind of programs that study after study in the past 10 years has found will keep inmates from returning to prison.

Many people convicted of murder get out of prison at some point. What can we do to make it less likely that they will commit another crime when they get out? What can we do to make it more likely that they will not only not commit another crime, but also be a productive member of society - a tax-paying, stuff-buying, economy-driving person? What are we willing to pay to make these things possible?
posted by rtha at 10:44 AM on January 7, 2013


I had a friend in high school whose father was a coke dealer and mother was a very devout Christian. A man shot his father (and mistress) in the head. While there was no intervention in the prosecution, within a week or so, his mother went to visit the killer in prison and give him a bible. I don't know the end of the story, but this gesture alone made a very profound impression on me.
posted by nTeleKy at 3:30 PM on January 7, 2013


Thanks, rtha - this is exactly the kind of data I was looking for.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:20 AM on January 9, 2013


« Older Green And Blue Mars   |   Cosplays with Color Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post