I've not written for long enough that I'm out of practise, so just a couple of quickies.
First is, if you have any interest in mental health as it relates to the justice system (and if you vote, you should), but haven't done a lot of research in those areas, you should take an hour and listen to a recent CBC podcast, "The Enright Files - Mental Health Maladies". They touch on a lot of issues that I discussed in a paper I did for class last term, which I hope to eventually discuss further here. The popular theories of justice, the opinions of the courts regarding justice, and the ideas of mental health professionals are all at odds with one another, and all of this is coloured by societal attitudes towards mental illness. Enright also talks to an English prof who has a great deal of interest in things like social dysfunction disorders and the DSM. The show originally aired on Ideas, I caught it on the podcast of The Best of Ideas on 4 February 2008.
The other thing I wanted to point to is something I wish I'd known about while I was writing that paper. It is a Chronicle of Higher Education article on redirected aggression. I was reminded of it this morning watching my cats; my cat was stalking my wife's, but my wife's cat can't really take him on, so instead, she went over and hit my stepdaughter's cat.
We might also want to reconsider "justice" and ask what is really going on when victims demand punishment, nearly always claiming, of course, that they are not out for revenge. But, in fact, aren't they insisting — although not in so many words — that their pain be offloaded onto someone else?
Something to think about.
This post brought to you by the letter R, and the words retributionism and redirected aggression.