Monday, December 8, 2014

Pardon the Tolerance

image from Boston Globe 
There was a discussion a few days ago on Facebook that followed after a liberal sort—we're talking ACLU—had posted a link about the news that the actor Mark Wahlberg had applied for a pardon for crimes he committed as a young 16-year-old.

The crimes were horrific, no doubt. A man lost an eye in one of the assaults. Nevertheless, I was surprised at the near unanimous objection to a pardon on the part of the commentators. I suspect, like the original poster, many or most of them are liberal.

Was part of it class resentment? I suspect some. As much as the next populist, I resent the ease with which money allows a person to escape many of the jump-through-hoops demanded by society. It will be far easier for rich Wahlberg to get a pardon than would have been had he still be in Dorchester working as a plumber instead of becoming a successful film star.

But crime and punishment should be about rehabilitation, except for the psychopaths who should be locked away forever. 

As far as I know, Wahlberg isn't in the tabloid news for various escapades. I think I've read he's the sort of Roman Catholic who tries to attend Mass daily. He has a family. He's gainfully employed. He hasn't been in trouble since the original crimes.

Personally, as suggested in this column from the Boston Globe (which is generally anti-pardon for the class-reasons noted above), I would have no problem with a pardon so long as Wahlberg made an apology to his victims and paid restitution to them and to the state, and I am surprised at the (apparent) source of opposition I saw on Facebook.

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