You may remember this story from earlier in the year of a woman who was killed when she tried to stop a robber and her friends insisted that she would not have wanted him to go to jail because she was into social justice.
Jen Angel, a beloved local bakery owner and social justice community activist, died on Thursday from injuries she suffered in a violent robbery, according to her close friends. She was 48…
“As a long-time social movement activist and anarchist, Jen did not believe in state violence, carceral punishment or incarceration as an effective or just solution to social violence and inequity,” her loved ones wrote on a GoFundMe page after the brutal crime.
Her family is “committed to pursuing all available alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as restorative justice,” the post said.
“We know Jen would not want to continue the cycle of harm by bringing state-sanctioned violence to those involved in her death or to other members of Oakland’s rich community,” the family added.
The trend is spreading to celebrities.
One of the drug dealers tied to the overdose death of “The Wire” actor Michael K. Williams was sentenced to just two-and-a-half years in prison Tuesday after the HBO show’s co-creator David Simon asked the judge to show him mercy.
Simon earlier this month asked Abrams to go easy on Macci, saying that Williams “bears the fuller responsibility” and noting his actor pal’s opposition to mass incarceration and the war on drugs.
Macci, who has 23 prior drug convictions, has been locked up for about a year-and-a-half.
Whatever Michael K. Williams believed in the abstract, he, like Jen, might have had other thoughts while dying.
This trend where people forgive criminals in the name of the politics that their victims allegedly had is obscene. Speaking in the name of the dead is risky business and no one has a right to forgive in their name.
Furthermore, setting aside their politics, we prosecute criminals not just because of the harm they caused, but the harm they might cause. There are also the lives of future victims at stake.
We don’t have a ‘pick the punishment for your offender’ system. Instead, we have clearly stated laws and objective prosecutions based on the offense. Or at least we ought to.