Crime and Punishment

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and I feel like the week is almost done—must be time for a coffee talk!!

So I was watching the news and thinking how unfair it is that crime and punishment don’t match. Crazy chick drowns her kids? Ok. I say we drown her. And then revive her. And then drown her again… do it at least once for each kid, or maybe as many times as they were old. But noooo… we let her sit in jail, feed her, educate her, give her free lawyers. It ain’t right. And it’s not the only case I could cite with some great ideas of what should be done to the guilty parties, but that would take up space and we want to get to the question. So yeah, I was watching and thinking and twisting my sick little writer mind around the idea when I realized that in fiction we’re allowed to do whatever we want. And we often do. Because we can. Cool!

So… what’s the best punishment you’ve ever read? How about the other side, the more realistic side—do you recall a situation in a story where you really hoped the writer would go overboard and really punish someone, but they didn’t? What’s the weakest and the meanest you’ve read? Which do you prefer?

Sometimes when writers gut or torture or do whatever to a character, there are factions out there that call it extreme. They say we push boundaries… go too far. Do you think there’s such a thing as too far [in the context of punishment, warranted punishment] in fiction? Or is it just a lovely, happy little playground with merry-go-rounds and swings, and guts strung over the monkey bars and blood splattered all over the slide that allows the freedom to abuse characters, bring back vigilante justice, and do what the legal system would never allow… all in the name of entertainment.

HA… how’s that for a coffee talk? Hope you’ve had at least a cup… or five!

0 Responses to Crime and Punishment

  • Joseph Mulak says:

    First of all, I really don’t think there’s such a thing as too far with punishment in fiction or real life, as long as it suits the crime. As a matter of fact, I truly believe that in North America, we are too lenient on criminals. Which brings me to my favorite punishment that I have read. Jack Ketchum’s “To Suit the Crime” is my personal favorite. I won’t go into details about what happens because the story centers around it and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who has plans to read it (it’s in his collection PEACEABLE KINGDOM), but let’s just say if we did that to rapists, there’d be a lot less of them in our world.

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