Monday, April 17, 2006
By Kevin Rothstein and Jessica Fargen
Joseph L. Gray’s violent death at 3:15 a.m. ended a life he had restarted in Milo, Maine, after leaving a troubled past in Massachusetts.
The family associate, who did not want to be named, said Gray had served time in the mid-1990s for sex crimes involving youths in Bristol County.
Police told Gray’s relatives the 57-year-old was targeted because of his status as a sex offender. But the source said there didn’t appear to be a personal connection between Gray and the alleged shooter, 19-year-old Stephen A. Marshall.
Maine State Police suspect Gray and another registered sex offender, 24-year-old William Elliott, were killed by Marshall, who shot himself last night on a bus headed into South Station.
Gray lived in Mansfield in the early 1990s, records show, and he has family that still lives in the area. Gray was also charged in Maine in 2002 with operating under the influence, a probation violation. He served three days in jail.
Elliott was arrested in 1999 on two counts of the misdemeanor charge of terrorizing and given a suspended sentence of 120 days in jail. He violated his probation 75 days later and his probation was revoked, according to Maine criminal records.
He was arrested in April 2002 and charged with sexual abuse of a minor, assault and obstructing the report of a crime. In June 2002, he was sentenced to four months in county jail. Elliott’s crimes were committed in Maine.
I'm not going to spend time prefacing this news report with a speech about the problems of people taking justice in their own hands, arguments that often drip with the hypocrisy of the privileged. Without knowing more about what Gray or Elliott did, if their deaths were crimes for justice, I'm just sorry Marshall killed himself. And if the day started with killing two perverts, not such a bad start after all. (And I won't bother posting all the recent gruesome sexual torture and murder crimes against children that have been making headlines - an infimal percentage of the sexual violence iceberg that nobody pays attention to normally. I will link to what many of you already know, most child abusers, sexual harassers, adult sexual criminals are NEVER even taken to court, in other words, the victims are completely robbed of any justice whatsoever).
What I want to focus on is what the above event is symbolic of and that we can glimpse through these stats:
More than 1/2 of all convicted sex offenders are sent back to prison within a year. Within 2 years, 77.9% are back.
-California Department of Corrections.
• Recidivism rates range from 18-45%. The more violent the crime the more likelihood of repeating.
-Studies by the state of Washington.
• 3 in 10 child victimizers reported that they had committed their crimes against multiple victims: they were more likely than those who victimized adults to have had multiple victims.
-BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991.
• Like rape, child molestation is one of the most underreported crimes: only 1-10% are ever disclosed.-FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
• The behavior is highly repetitive, to the point of compulsion, rather than resulting from a lack of judgment.
-Dr. Ann Burges, Dr. Nicholas Groth, et al. in a study of imprisoned offenders.
So, to discuss the matter, I will assume certain things about the people reported. If they turn out to be different when more information is supplied, my views are about all the other cases where these assumptions hold.
Take Elliot, who sexually abused a minor, plus he committed assault and obstructed the report of a crime - and for all of that he gets four months in a county jail? Four months? Assuming this was like many abuse cases, not some mild negligible action, but a griveous assault (or a prolonged period of them), we see that the lives of children and minors are cheap in this society.
We live in a society that is full of people who commit sexual aggression of various forms and of insensitive sexual nazis (people who endorse or promote various forms of sexual violence and degradation or who simply don't care about any of these problems, and consequently are an obstacle to changing the larger picture). This is a society where the justice system regarding sexual aggression and abuse often mirrors a Barnum & Bailey spectacle, the only justice some people are ever remotely close to having is if they take matters into their own hands. So, even though we may understand the problems with that, we can also understand the horrible circumstances that drive them to it.
The majority of victims are bludgeoned with a barbaric lack of possibility for justice and, not that infrequently, the profound destruction of very crucial parts of their lives or mental health. And, if some self-justice execution is carried out, then that crowd of insensitive sexual nazis sometimes comes out with the "shocked, SHOCKED! horrified, HORRIFIED!" cries since a victim of a vicious and profoundly destructive crime(s), entitled themselves, albeit in a problematic form, to their most minimal fundamental right, which is the right to justice, a right that they were previously completely denied.
Because what really irks the insensitive sexual nazis is not the abuse of adults and children, nor the preceding failure of society to prevent the crimes and to protect the victims, nor the failure of the Justice system to address the crimes they suffered after they have been tortured, nor the damages and losses the victims have to be ground to dirt with. No, what irks the sexual insensitive crowd is that a victim for once decides not to rest totally passive with the barbaric destruction of their lives and doesn't go along with the circus. Not only that, but a very salient aspect of the psychology of sexual insensitive nazis is that, more often than not, they identify with other abusers and not with victims. And they hate accountability for many or all types of sexual violence and degradation. And that is why often enough the moralist speeches about how awful it is for people to take justice into their own hands in these circumstances drips with a foul hypocrisy secretion.
See also this.