Letters to the Editor

 

Written by Terry O’Neill, former alderperson and Lake Geneva activist.

 

Will there be “Justice for James,” the young man assaulted at Popeye’s Restaurant? The answer is “No”, nothing can undo what was done and the purpose of our system is not “justice” if it were, then it would be an eye for an eye and the state would do to the assailant what he did to James.

Even that would fall short of justice because this crime, like most violent crimes cause lingering repercussions in their victims. For true equality in “justice” the assailant would have to experience both the brutal assault, fear of death and the emotional repercussions of the crime that he caused; however, we are a nation with compassion and not vigilante revenge. We are more concern about preventing or discouraging the repeat of the crime than administering a harsh punishment for it; however, this lax and lenient law enforcement that works well for moral people who make a mistake, often enables thugs to victimize another victim and then another one and another one until the thug is finally stopped.

Violence is not being properly evaluated and treated in this culture. A second time DUI without injury will generate a stronger punishment than this business owner will ever receive for violating this young man. James is not his first victim, and likely will not be his last. Often the most devastating and the longest lasting repercussion of a violent crime is the loss of the feeling of personal security that violent crimes inflict on their victims. Trust in one personal security is the foundation of our personal world and it is a foundation of personnel relationships. That trust or the lack of it effects everything. It effects our thoughts, feelings and actions. With that trust there is a sense of peace, confidence, and security. Without it there is uncertainty, fear and paranoia.

It is so fundamental to our life that events that threaten it, create and leave emotional scars in their wake. Assaults, rapes and other violent crimes shatter one’s personal security and it spreads uncertainty, doubt and fear into every part of one’s life. Like people in a park with kids happily running and playing when a land mine goes off. Immediately that carefree activity will be changed from one that is enjoyed to one with fear, where every step becomes frightening. It is most devastating when one is young in experience. With time the wounds, physical and emotional will heal, but they leave a scar that never goes away. Although the emotional impact will diminish with time, reliving a remembrance of the emotions and fear that one felt can be triggered at any time. When it occurs let it trigger empathy for similar victims rather than anger at their attackers for empathy adds to one’s life and anger takes it away.

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