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Drunk driving and the purpose of punishment

Aug 12, 2009

From John G. Spragge's entry on Open Hand/Open Eye:

....But I know this too: that the justice system makes no sense at all when it makes distinctions not between harms but between instruments. The law ought to discriminate between harm done by negligence and harm done by malice. But the courts ought not to make a distinction between a child killed by negligence with a car bumper and negligence with a Glock.... 

Whether we want retributive justice or restorative justice, we should apply it fairly and consistently, and without regard for the instrument by which the criminal committed the offence. We should not have one law for a thief with a pry bar and another for a thief with a calculator and an account book. Similarly, we ought not to have one law for a killer with a gun and another for a killer with a car or truck.....

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