Monday, May 10, 2010

A Digit A Day

As my efforts to make Louisiana a more humane and less brutal place when it comes to the use of capital punishment have been largely unsuccessful, I am considering taking a new tack and instead proposing the use of physical, bodily mutilation as a deterrent for criminals and as a way to encourage law abiding behavior among the criminals that prey on Louisiana's defenseless citizens.
No, I have not changed my view on Bobby Jindal's proposal to mandate castration for child sex offenders and remain opposed to such a sanction on the basis that it would demean our contemporary standards of decency while being entirely ineffective in deterring sex offenders, most of whom do not expect to be caught and therefore are unafraid of an improbable punishment.
I propose that, instead, we save such punishments for the corporate executives of the companies that exploit our state's natural resources. With the largest oil spill in history gathering and expanding in the Gulf of Mexico still spewing oil, three weeks after the initial explosion at the Deep Water Horizon oil platform, I have a proposal that is penologically sound, that will encourage a quick resolution to the continuing flow of oil, and which will deter other corporate heads from allowing their companies - all rational actors, I was taught in law school - to allow similar catastrophes.
Here is what we shall do: For every day the oil continues to flow up from the sea bed - destroying the lives of tens of thousands who rely on the Gulf for their livelihood, ruining the habitats of hundreds of species of birds and animals that lives in the wetlands and barrier islands, further degrading wetlands that protects south Louisiana from hurricanes which were already undermined by oil company canals and pipelines - British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward loses a digit. A digit a day. He can choose, start out with pinky toes if he wants, but if doesn't do something to end the flow quickly, he'll find himself with no fingers or toes left and we'll have to get creative. Either with him or maybe we'll start with the Transocean or Halliburton CEO's.
There guys are all Conservatives, I am sure, big believers in accountability who, when they achieve political office, have no regard for the "whining" of my clients on death row. They are the ones that believe that harsh punishments like mass incarceration and the death penalty are the only social programs worth keeping to solve our societal ills. And it's not like we are going to kill them. We'll just leave them fingerless, toeless lessons to corporate heads everywhere that the people who are impacted by their choices are not simply abstractions that exist in profit and loss statements. And, also unlike my clients, these guys are people who we can expect really take risks and contingencies into account before they act so our brutality will have a genuine deterrent effect. Maybe it will put a little fire under Hayward ass, get a solution to this month old problem before the elderly and children along the coast have to be moved inland to protect them from the carcinogenic benzene wafting in with the afternoon breeze. And if it doesn't, at least my anger that my city smells like a goddam gas station will be appeased, however slightly.


  1. I'm not one for cruel and unusual punishment, but, hey, if we could get away with this I'd be up for it. Those Halliburton jerks should already be fingerless and toeless.

  2. Said it before and I'll say it again - some BP execs ought to have been tossed in with the rubber garbage they tossed down on the leak in the Top Kill attempt. Garbage is all they are at this point.

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