So, a friend of mine posted on her facebook a link to Senator Greg Ball’s petition that “Cop-Killers” (i.e., anyone who is convicted of murdering a police officer) should not be eligible for parole ever. I’ll put a link to the petition at the bottom of this post for anyone who wants to sign it, but I want to share a couple of thoughts first.
My first thought on reading about this proposed legislation was opposition to it. Harsher penalties don’t discourage crime. There’s no reason to expect that eliminating parole for cop-killers will result in fewer officers dying on the job. The measure smacks of vengefulness— garnering conservative support by stomping on the people society has decided are Bad People.
My second thought was confusion. See, knowingly killing an on-duty police officer in New York State is classified as Aggravated Murder, which already carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole. In other words, cop-killers are already not eligible for parole. So what the heck is this legislation supposed to accomplish?
Well, I looked a little deeper. Apparently this petition is half of a two-part campaign by Senator Ball, the other being a petition to prevent parole for a specific convicted murderer, Joseph Comfort, who was up for parole this year after serving 33 years of a life sentence for killing a cop in 1980.
If you’ve been paying attention so far, you might be confused by this— if knowingly killing an on-duty officer precludes parole, why was Joseph Comfort up for parole after 33 years? Well, as the court records from his 1985 appeal state, the situation was this: Comfort and his brother Larry were drug dealers in fear for their life because they had pissed off some other drug dealers. While the Comfort brothers were fleeing their home in a car, they were chased and rammed by two undercover officers, out of uniform in an unmarked car, who did not identify themselves as officers. Thinking they were about to be killed, Joseph pulled a gun and shot, killing one of the officers and wounding the other.
They were arrested, tried and convicted of second-degree murder and a handful of other crimes. It was second degree murder and not aggravated murder because the two had literally no way of knowing that the two men who had just rammed their car were undercover police. They were sentenced for the crimes of which they were convicted, and the possibility of parole was part of that sentence. Larry Comfort was paroled about a year ago.
So now here comes Senator Ball, opposing parole for Joseph Comfort, not because of how he behaved in prison or any expert opinions on his rehabilitation, but only because of the crime for which he was already convicted and sentenced. He is trying to turn a sentence for second degree murder into a sentence for aggravated murder, thirty years after the conviction, which is not only morally reprehensible, but also unconstitutional under both the ex post facto clause and the Fifth Amendment.
And what’s even worse, he’s trying to impose statutory legislation to do the same to anybody in the same situation. Because remember, knowingly killing a police officer in the execution of his duty already carries a mandatory life-without-parole sentence. Even though Ball touts it as a measure to discourage killing police officers, all the proposed legislation could possibly do is penalize people who did not even know that’s what they were doing.
Anyway, here’s the Senator’s petition, if you want to sign it:
perfect depiction of advantage. hard to see that platform you’re on, eh advantage-holders? sorry, i will never be sorry for bringing it up.
this post is making cis people angry everyone reblog it
Well in that case better reblog it twice
So you’re gonna tel me that even though some of my best friends are outside the binary, I am pansexual with a bisexual girlfriend, and I am currently working o name project called “breaking binary” in which I use public, peaceful methods to supports trans people and extra-binary people, I’m a horrible person just because I’m cis? This is why there is still hate for trans people. I like the symbolism of sylveon. Its pretty fucking awesome, actually. So fuck you too, for DISCRIMINATING AND HATING AN ENTIRE GROUP OF PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY WERE BORN A CERTAIN WAY, because it is EXAXTLY the struggle that trans people are STILL going through. How dare you respond to hate with hate.
Hey nerdreject. I can tell from your blog that you are not actually attempting to be an asshole here, so I’m going to be level with you. In my opinion, from one cis guy to another, you are way, way out of line on this one.
First and foremost, because you explicitly blame trans*phobia on the actions of trans* people. “This is why there is stil hate for trans people.” No. No, it’s not.
The reasons that hate for trans* people still exists are the same as they have always been: xenophobia, blind adherence to conservative dogma, unwillingness to deal with anything that challenges our preconceived notions, and plain old bullying of anyone that seems vulnerable. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the minority of trans* and nonbinary individuals who express a dislike for cis people, and saying otherwise is just classic victim-blaming.
There is, in truth, one subset of people that actually might swing their opinions on trans* people based on something like what you’re responding to here: so-called “allies” who act in solidarity with trans* people only as long as they are recognized for doing so. Being decent and supportive to trans* people is just the price they pay to hear the words “Thank you for being one of the good cis people.” These people, of course, are no allies at all. And you should be aware that many people will see what you have posted here as an admission that you are one of these fake allies, whose support for the trans* voice only goes as far as it doesn’t implicate them personally.
I get why you’re upset by jabs at cis people, I do. I don’t like being hated any more than the next guy. But as someone who has close relationships with trans* people, you must be aware of the level of abuse they receive at the hands of some cis people, while most other cis people live free of that abuse, entirely unaware that the whole thing is going on. No wonder some non-binary and trans* people experience anger and resentment toward cis people! My god, one lukewarm poke against cis people caused you to curse out a trans* person and blame trans* people in general for their own oppression. Perhaps you can see from that experience why people experiencing daily abuse by cis people might take a dim view of cis people in general.
As members of an oppressor group, you and I have no business policing how members of an oppressed group express their anger toward the system that is -literally- killing them. When we do, we go from being members of an oppressor group to being oppressors. We become part of the system that is abusing and killing trans* and gender-divergent people in our own communities.
My advice to you, if you care to read it, is this: Keep your support for trans* rights (including the right to say mean things about cis people) public, and keep your disagreement private. If you ever feel stung (as I think we all do sometimes) by some anti-cis attack made by a trans* person, try to think of how much worse it would feel to hear it from all sides, every day, and do your best not to participate in that barrage of anti-trans* abuse.
Oh, and for goodness’ sake, don’t try to use the fact that you have non-binary friends as some sort of shield against criticism. Aside from the fact that anyone who thinks you’re anti-trans* will simply assume you’re lying (it’s a common troll trick to claim to have friends in the group in question), it’s not good to exploit one’s friends that way. Friendship is its own reward, it’s not a defense against being called an asshole.
I follow Shaenon Garrity’s comics fairly religiously, but it was still Tumblr that alerted me to the existence of this (good, if sad) one. Shaenon’s website has more of her comics listed (though not this one even though the original file is on the site). And I have to mention that she is the creator of Monster of the Week and Skin Horse which I have plugged before.
I’d dropped Shaenon a line asking if she’d mind if I cut up the comic I previously blogged to make it more tumblr friendly, but I see I’m behind the curve here. Hurrah, etc.