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Crime and Punishment
A Public Shaming in Ohio

Is America going to bring back the pillory? A judge in Ohio is dusting off an old tradition by having a man accused of abusing his neighbors stand on the corner of the street all day holding a sign confessing his bad deeds:

His sign reads: “I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in.”

Among the many people who stopped to see Aviv serve his sentence was Alex Simmons, 21, a former neighbor who said Aviv would call out racial slurs to people passing by.

“Parents told us to stay away from the house. He would just stand on the porch and just call us names,” Simmons said, adding, “Justice had been served.”

Aviv was accused of calling the neighbor, Sandra Prugh, “Monkey Mama” as she held her adopted, disabled African-American children and of smearing dog feces on their wheelchair ramp.

Yes, in this case, justice is done (even though the man in question appeared to not be particularly repentant while talking to a reporter).

Making a public example of a scofflaw can deter crime, and overall it’s a hell of a lot cheaper for society than locking up huge numbers of people for years—both in terms of running a grotesquely bloated prison system and in terms of human costs. Shame: it’s actually one of the things that makes society work.

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  • gabrielsyme

    I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do
    not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I
    live in.

    As much as I approve in theory of the pillory (and I have no objections to its particular use here) this kind of language of denunciation is quite troubling, since it is precisely the same language secularists are using to denounce anyone who has not accecpted our Brave New World. Given the rise of “hate speech” laws in Canada and other Western nations, and the willingness of secularists to expand their inquisition into the realm of privately held belief (witness Brendan Eich), it is not difficult to see this kind of thing used to shame those who continue to dissent from liberal orthodoxy.

  • Corlyss

    Let me guess. This fatuous proposal was authored by one of the staff with either tongue firmly in cheek or serious Europe envy. Europe has decided that it really can’t afford to punish criminals any more, so it’s devised a facade of drooly compassion in which almost any jail time is labeled cruel and inhuman and relegated to the ranks of Medieval torture in favor of social therapy. Then they lie about their crime rates to make it appear that their solutions are more effective that incarceration.

  • lhfry

    That the pillory could be punishment for thought crimes is troubling, but how about crimes like fraud? The pillory would publicize and shame the bad actors whereas jail time or fines have little or no public consequence. Often that means that the fraudster can do it again.

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