In the wake of Brock Turner’s stint in jail and subsequent release, America has not behaved very well. Like the cluster of schoolboys ganging up to neutralize the playground bully, their actions are understandable but not helpful to the ultimate goal of ending the violence.
What is the ultimate goal in regard to Brock Turner? Surely it is that he has learned his lesson and will not commit another sexual offense.
What is the broader goal in regard to the community and society? Surely it is that public safety is enhanced.
Groups of armed vigilantes outside his home and hate messages scrawled on his sidewalk fall far short of contributing to either goal, and many of those not close enough to strap on their weapons and descend on the Turner home are cheering on those who are. Additionally, some media reports all but encourage and applaud such behavior.
What will contribute to both goals? Culling from studies and experts who have worked for years toward these goals, who have made the choice to be part of the solution, it is this: successfully integrating the offender back into the community. And what works toward this? That is best answered by looking at what destroys it: isolation; shaming; rejection; ostracization; hatred; vilification.
Neighbors with guns, reminiscent of lynch mobs several decades ago.
Brock’s neighbors are not expected to welcome him with apple pies and invitations to backyard barbecues – at least not now.
But if they too want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, they will leave him and his family alone.
They will look within themselves and find the grace to consider the greater good of society rather than reacting out of a media-whipped, frenzied belief that he wasn’t punished enough – a judgment call that was not theirs to make in the first place.