Some call vengeance evil. Others call it justice. I think it depends on whose eyes you are looking through, and whether they have shed a victim’s tears.
I was thinking of this as I listened to a New Jersey judge render sentence against Dharun Ravi, the young man convicted of invading the privacy of Tyler Clementi. Clementi threw himself off of the George Washington bridge when he realized that he’d been spied on having sex with another man, and that his Rutgers roommate was the architect of that cruel act.
Ravi was also convicted of witness tampering, hindering an investigation and other similar offenses. But Ravi was neither charged with, nor convicted of, killing Clementi.
And yet, the media and special interest groups hijacked the narrative and pounded out the message that Clementi killed himself because he was ashamed of being gay, and that Ravi was the catalyst to the act. It is almost as if they believed Ravi was standing behind Clementi on that bridge, and either whispered in his ear, or pushed him off.
There is no question that this case was the result of a perfect storm. First, you have the increasingly intrusive state of technology which eliminates any private corner in our lives. Then, you have the epidemic of suicide, particularly among young people. And finally, you have society’s increased focus on bullying, particularly when the victims are-or are perceived to be-sexual minorities.
Dharun Ravi had no chance of being treated as a normal defendant. He became the whipping boy for a lot of social causes. He was not a young man who made a forgivable mistake, as so many young defendants (many of whom come from the inner city and blame drugs and poverty for their crimes) have been labeled by progressives.
Had Ravi been sentenced to significant prison time, he would have faced certain deportation. Had he not been sentenced to some detention, he would have faced the anger of the advocates for those ‘social causes.’ And so the judge did what judges are supposed to do: he rendered a just decision.
Ravi will get 30 days detention, as part of a probationary sentence of three years. He will get community service. He will pay fines. But he will not be the sacrificial lamb to those ‘social causes’ which have motivated a despicable and dangerous slew of ‘hate crime’ laws.
This time around, vengeance was replaced by compassion. And it looked like justice.