Let the punishment fit the victim!

February 24th, 2006

A bicycle courier in Colombia has been given a four-year jail sentence for grabbing a woman pedestrian’s bottom, a TV station has reported.A judge’s ruling – criticised by some as being too harsh – ruled the courier had committed an abusive sexual act.

Diana Marcela Diaz told RCN that the courier had cycled off after groping her, but had been caught by passers-by.

When he was arrested, she was given the option of slapping him, letting him go, or filing a complaint.


Wow! I was very taken with the idea at the end here. To think, you could be given a choice as to how to punish those who offend against you.

Someone nicks your car, you get to (a) send them to prison, (b) make them do community work (c) punch them in the face 3 times or (d) take any 3 items you like from their home.

Vigilante justice, proscribed by law. What a lovely concept!

Mark Leyner, in ‘Et Tu, Babe’, has the main characters punished for stealing a phial of Abraham Lincoln’s morning breath by random punitive confiscation. At regular intervals, police would turn up and take one item from their home, without telling them what it was. Sometimes it’s obvious, like the TV. Sometimes you don’t find out until you need it, like an ironing board, or a waffle machine. Confiscated items cannot be replaced, under the terms of the punishment.

I like that idea.

My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist is my favourite Leyner book.

Especially the chapter entitled ‘Fugitive from a centrifuge

‘There were no longer Italian neighborhoods, or Cuban neighborhoods, or Irish or Greek neighborhoods. There were Anorexic neighborhoods, and Narcissistic neighborhoods, and Manic And Compulsive neighborhoods.’

One Response to “Let the punishment fit the victim!”

  1. Barrie Says:

    This is a pretty interesting (and dangerous!) idea. There definitely would have to be some kind of limit to the punishment one could choose to dole out (which this case seems to have). If I felt like it would be just to break my robber’s legs, that would probably cause an unecessary drain on the health care system. This sort of thing would really be a test for the average citizen in “turning the other cheek.”
    Thought experiment: how would white-collar criminals, who maybe have harmed the lives of hundreds of people, be handled in such a case?
    This a pretty awesome concept, though.

    Also, the comment system is pretty rad since it won’t choke up the main page with all one topic.

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