Thursday, April 27, 2017

Montana: Headlines v. Intelligent Understanding

Gov. Bullock
The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) cannot help itself. "Montana Governor Grants Clemency to Man Convicted of Rape" is such a great headline. It catches the eye. It sells papers. It is the kind of headline that Governors loathe. Consequently, it is the kind of headline that keeps people in jails and prisons who belong elsewhere, and allows the cloud of post-conviction to hang over the heads of persons who have "served their time" (if they ever even had any) and prolongs and intensifies their efforts to reincorporate into society as law-abiding, productive citizens.

The Governor has pardoned a rapist ! OMG !

As it turns out, the conviction was over two decades ago, when Russell Foster was 19-years old and his "victim" was 15. Both Foster and his "victim" said the crime was actually consensual. What is more, after Foster was released from prison, they married (now for 17 years) and now have four children together. That's why the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole was smart enough to recommend clemency. How utterly stupid it would have been for Governor Steve Bullock to act otherwise!

So, what's with the headline? Why not these kinds of headlines:

Governor Follows Board Recommendation

Mercy Well Deserved

Clemency Sees What Law Cannot

Board, Governor Pursue Justice

Board, Governor Temper Justice with Mercy / Common Sense

See story here.

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