Friday, November 20, 2015

Did Jared Fogle Get What He Deserves?

Jared Fogle became the face of Subway after he reputedly lost an ungodly amount of weight on a Subway sandwich diet, and he was, for a time, arguably one of America's most beloved pitchmen. But now he's become America's boogeyman in the wake of a 15 years and 8 months prison sentence resulting from a plea deal for soliciting and paying to have sex with minors and for possessing and trading in child pornography.

As one might expect, people are alternately vilifying him and celebrating his judicial fate. But I take no more pleasure in Fogle's predicament than I do from contemplating the harm he's caused his family and the children he allegedly abused. For I believe that Fogle's actions were the result of a sickness he couldn't resist and that this makes him as much a victim of that sickness as are any of the children he may have molested.

Thus, I have grave misgivings about his harsh sentence if it was imposed for retributively punitive reasons, because it seems to me unfair and unjust to inflict retributive punishment on someone for doing something he couldn't help but do.

I also doubt that such a lengthy sentence is a significantly larger deterrent than a much lesser sentence would be. I wonder if any research has been done in the area of the comparative deterrent effect of various prison sentences for these kinds of crimes.

One thing that such a long sentence WILL accomplish is prevent Mr. Fogle from abusing any more children for the duration of his incarceration. But if it were possible to know with certainty that he wouldn't abuse more children after he got out, I'd support letting him out far sooner.

It's my understanding that federal sentences like this tend to be carried out to the full or nearly so, and, indeed, I've read that Fogle will have to serve a minimum of 13 years no matter how well he behaves himself behind bars. And then he may face an even sterner test upon release as he confronts extreme social ostracisim and feelings of profound shame as well as the severe residential restrictions, occupational limitations, and other monumental hardships that attend having to register as a sex offender for the rest of one's life.

So, I'm thinking that he has a tremendously difficult road ahead of him as a result of his sickness, and, again, I feel sorry for him as well as for the children he abused.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why Don't More Christians Act Christian?

I have long maintained that the reason why so many champions of Christian teachings don't act nicely is that these teachings ring and very possibly are false and that there is probably no Holy Spirit to inspire the supposedly sanctified to exemplify the more salutary tenets of their faith.

That is, we're all only human, with very human urges to act badly at times, and there may well be no God within or without to help us override our human foibles.

Therefore, we might be well-advised to find the resources within ourselves and each other to override these foibles, and belief in highly dubious gods and religious worldviews might often be more of a hindrance than a help in this effort.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ronda Rousey Is Human, and So Am I

Ronda Rousey finally lost. I didn't want her to. I'd hopped on her bandwagon a long time ago, and I wanted to hang on tight as I rode it all the way to her retirement from MMA as the undefeated champion she repeatedly boasted she would be.

Yet, poor Ronda not only lost, she was dominated, even more than I secretly feared she might be, in every way from the opening bell. Holly Holm made this heretofore MMA goddess and self-proclaimed and media-touted "greatest fighter in the world" look like a hapless novice. And just as Ronda took some concussive blows in the Octagon last Saturday night, so did my faith in idols.

I've had an almost lifelong tendency to single out certain athletes, musicians, intellectuals, and so forth and regard and revere them as idols who not only can do no wrong but are superhuman in their transcendent talents and skills.

I don't know why I've done this. Maybe I've just wanted the human equivalent of that "shining city on the hill" to serve as my glittering inspiration to aim higher, or to at least let me vicariously experience the glorious success and greatness I could never hope to achieve for myself but that the little boy inside me continued to crave.

But I may have difficulty doing this after what happened in Australia and what has happened on other fronts, and maybe it's for the best that I stop placing people on towering pedestals and start respecting myself as much as I do anybody and everybody else. Maybe when I stop worshiping other people as gods, I'll also stop feeling so feeble and inferior by comparison that I lack any motivation to cultivate my own talents, hone my own skills, and fulfill my own dreams.

I still like and respect Ronda Rousey, and I hope that she gets a rematch with Holly Holm and maybe even wins it. But I doubt that I'll ever see her or anyone else again the way I've seen her and other previous and recent idols of mine, and I think that's probably a good thing.