Trigger warning: discussion of rape, rape culture, ableism

“He killed someone. In my opinion he shouldn’t have any rights.”

“When she decided to take a life, she decided to give up her rights.”

I see this attitude a lot. A lot more in pagandom than I’d like to, frankly. I guess people don’t realize how many things are so incredibly problematic with that idea.

For one, you can’t shade it. The idea that committing a crime causes someone to forfeit their human rights requires black and white thinking.

But the people who say this don’t want to admit that, oh no. If you question them on their position — “Do you think the same way about someone who robs a bank?” — they’ll evade, hem and haw. “Well it’s not that simple; nothing’s black and white; it’s a situational thing.”

Yet every time someone gets killed, you see this same attitude get trotted out by the same people.

Because all deaths are exactly the same. Because murderers don’t need help. They’re just evil. Or mentally ill, and obviously mentally ill people shouldn’t have rights. Like you, Morag. You shouldn’t have rights.

Do you see this slippery slope we’re on?

That’s not all, though. There’s more wrong with this picture.

“When she decided to take a life, she decided to give up her rights.”

Oh, so she’s no longer entitled to a fair trial, in a court of law, by a jury of her peers? She’s no longer entitled to due process

Well that makes things simple. Just throw her in the electrical chair! Don’t have to pay to feed and clothe her or rehabilitate her. We’ll just kill her, so people know that killing people is wrong, and you get punished for it.

Of course, this is what people are getting at when they say criminals have given up their rights. They are saying that murderers should not go to jail, because it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars. They’re saying we should just kill these people.

Still want to tell me it’s not black and white thinking?

But wait. There’s more.  Continue reading