Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be Careful What You Think

Trey Smith

“I was going to be tied up by my feet and my throat slit and they would have fun watching the blood gush out of me because I was young,” the wife of 28-year-old NYPD “cannibal cop” Gilberto Valle testified at his trial.

After she installed keyboard-tracking software on his laptop, Kathleen Mangan-Valle went on, she found that her husband planned to stuff one of her friends in a suitcase and murder her. Two other women were “going to be raped in front of each other to heighten their fears,” while another would be roasted alive over an open fire.

Planned? Or fantasized?

There’s no evidence that Officer Valle, on trial for conspiracy to kidnap, torture, kill and eat women, ever acted on his voreaphilia, a cannibalism fetish. If convicted, however, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

George Orwell called it “thoughtcrime”: punishing people for their thoughts rather than their actions.
~ from Does Your Brain Have a Right to Privacy? by Ted Rall ~
While I'm sure that a lot of people hope that Mr. Valle is convicted and sentenced to the max, it will set a slippery precedent. When laws of this nature are drawn up, authorities tend to look for a case that will revile the vast majority. When the defendant is viewed as vile and disgusting, not too many people will take the time to consider the broad implications. All they care about is that another deviant will be locked up.

But is arresting and convicting people of their fantasies a good idea? At one time or another, most of us have fantasies that aren't ready for prime time. Is simply thinking bad thoughts a crime against humanity?

There is another issue here as well. While these sorts of laws may target cannibals, rapists and torturers in the beginning, who knows what the state will consider deviant next. Maybe fantasizing bad things about the President, Congress or a CEO of a major corporation will land a person in court.

Are you ready to go down that road?

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