In Re MJ

2005-04-09 20:44:02

I'm sure it's obvious to anyone with at least a room-temperature IQ that if Michael Jackson is found guilty and sent to prison, he's gonna die.

Now, I'm the last person who's gonna defend child molestation, but with this case so much in the public eye of late, I've been thinking on it and I have to wonder: does he really deserve an effective death sentence for what he's done?

Oh, yeah, I can play the "what if it was your child who was molested?" game and -- I honestly don't known how I'd react, but it wouldn't be pretty. But I can state with 100% certainty that I would never let my child play with Michael Jackson in the first place. And I don't know anyone else who would, either. I find it difficult not to hold the parents partially culpable for some form of child endangerment.

And -- unfashionable though it may be -- I tend to agree with the viewpoint expressed by Malcolm Gladwell in his essay Getting Over It: people are a lot better at getting past Bad Stuff than we give them credit for, and I don't think any of the kids MJ has spent time with are going to grow up with severe and permanent emotional scars.

No, if he's guilty I don't think he should get off free: it's a vile act that needs to be punished. But does he deserve to die for it? I'm a staunch advocate of the death penalty, but I'm not sure I can answer "yes" here.