Now It’s Your Turn to Vent

by Diane Dimond on August 22, 2011

Time To Hear From You!

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 that 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.”

Reporting Sex Crimes Needs Follows Through

Cheryl wrote to tell me, “If you are going to spout off about a topic that 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 drug 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.“

Guns on Campus Don't Add to Death Toll

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.”

Cheating Uncle Sam From Behind Bars!

About the column revealing that prisoners had used uninspected outgoing mail systems to file for 38 million dollars 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 idol 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 3 years in a prison work camp in Liberty County, Florida. 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 dollars a MONTH! It is slave labor.”

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

Time to Re-Think?

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. Fr. Jack Fairweather told me he stood in a death chamber and watched an execution in the 60’s and has struggled with the issue of vengeance vs. forgiveness ever since.

Hanna Yoo with a group called Murder Victims’ Family Members 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.

How Did She Die?

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 e-mails after writing about America’s nearly 200 thousand untested rape kits and the $1,500 cost to process each kit. This one from Sarah struck me.

DNA Finds Rapists

“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 $1500 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.

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa Nagel August 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I read your column – this is my personal opinion: our system isn’t perfect, but it’s the only system we have. No matter how we do it, no matter the verdict, you will never make everyone happy.
I’d like to think that if society would change some of it’s thinking, perhaps the system would also change. I was raped by a boyfriend when I was 23. I didn’t tell anyone, including my husband, until almost 20 years later (we had been married almost 13 years then) – because I was ashamed of what had happened and I wasn’t ready to handle the ‘blame’ that would come..and it did. Maybe if we start to place the responsibility on the perpetrator and not the victim, things will be different

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Bob Burtis August 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Diane,
I enjoy all of your columns and agree with you a large percentage of the time 80-90%. It is refreshing to hear a commons sense and practical viewpoints on some of the more challenging issues. In addition I like the style reporting on Television. Some or most of your colleagues in journalism feel like they have to shout to get their point across. It is similar to people who try and speak loudly to people who don’t understand the language.

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Diane August 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Facebook Friend Barbara Silberfeld August-Spitzer writes:

“In all the years I have been a fan of yours I never disagreed with you because you always tell the truth.”

Reply

Diane August 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Facebook Friend Steve Sacco writes:

“Diane followed since your days at CBS 2 at The Margaret Kelly Michaels trial. You were the consummate professional reporting outside the Newark courtroom on such horrendous child abuse. Any updates on that since the release of Michael’s and the case overturned?”

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Diane August 22, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Steve – I think I read that she got married and still lives somewhere around the NE corridor. I’ll see what I can dig up on that! ~ DD

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Diane August 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Facebook Friend Michele Davidow writes:

“Have always respected your opinion Diane. There won’t be much “slapping” from me.”

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Diane August 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Twitter follower BluizeMargie writes:

“@DiDimond I like the idea of training jurors.And the fundraiser for rape kit cost.That is outrageous that those rape kits never tested!”

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Doug Mould, Ph.D. August 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Two disparate comments.

What happened at Virginia Tech could never have happened when I was an undergraduate at the University of Texas, 1969-1973. I was one of three on my dorm floor–dorm floor, not dorm–that had a pistol in my dorm room. Of the three of us, one, not me, carried his pistol daily in his backpack. I should note that Wednesday night was open shooting at the ROTC firing range on campus where non-ROTC students could shoot. Even though I am a liberal democrat, to me, gun free zones are also potential kill zones.

Now, to the other issue, which I am sure will tick a bunch of your readers off.

It seems reasonable to me that if we are going to effectively intervene in a social phenomena, it is axiomatic that we begin with accurate data. Unfortunately, the data on domestic violence has been used as a tool to further feminist politics. Now, I say that as one who always did, and still would, support the Equal Rights Amendment.

The data are very clear; women initiate domestic violence more frequently than men do. It is true that women are injured more often; that is a reflection of facts of physics. But study after study has shown that women initiate domestic violence, indeed, serious violence than men. I understand that assertion is very disturbing to a whole bunch of people, but it is undeniably true. Folks who want to check-out the validity of my assertion can google my name, Doug Mould/IPT to see my original paper on this. That paper, incidentally, was solicited by Cindy Struckman-Johnson, Ph.D., and Pete Anderson, Ph.D., for a book they edited and was published by Guilford. Guilford required that my chapter, and that by Warren Farrell, Ph.D., be deleted from the book.

Now, I don’t know the answer to this question, but to bring the issue more up-to-date, we all know the vile and racist things Mel Gibson said to his girlfriend. Do we know her side of the conversation? Do we know what she was saying to him? Now, maybe we do know that because she also recorded her side of the conversation. I do not recall that was the case. What she might have said does not justify what he said to her, but it might make it understandable.

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