One evening as I was recently watching the Twilight Zone, you know, the series that originally aired from 1959-1964 with host rod Rod Serling, but was more recently aired with newer episodes. The series focused on ordinary people who suddenly found themselves in extraordinary, usually supernatural, life changing situations. It is to this day one of my favorite shows, and me being a syfy and treky nut, well, it got added to the list. Anyway, in this particular 2002 episode, “The Pool Guy” actor Lou Diamond Phillips plays an underpayed lower class pool man who gets hit on by his rich bosses lusty wife. The boss sees her making these advances toward him, gets angry and ultimately shots him right in the chest on the spot. But when he gets shot he suddenly wakes up gasping, only to realize that it was a dream. Or was it? Because the exact same thing happens again, and again, night after night, as if he were in a dream within a dream. And each time he gets shot he wakes up with an actual wound on his body from the shot that occurred in the dream. He begins to think he is going crazy and tries to get help from his room-mate, his friend, his doctor who refers him to a psychiatrist, who turns out to be the same guy that shot him each time he repeated the dream only each time the guy had on different clothing. There was no help and there was no relief to be found for him anywhere. He wakes up the last time only to find himself in a research lab, laid out on a bed with probes attached to his head and body. But he is in a manually force induced comatose state initiated by the judicial system and officials of the prison that he has been incarcerated in for several years, for murdering his rich boss, whom he shot.
His punishment for his crime was not to be put on death row for years and years sucking the system dry of its resources. Nor was he to be incarcerated for the rest of his life, living a life of 3 meals a day; weight lifting privileges; television; computer access; the ability to go to school while in prison and to complete his high school education and receive a diploma; and having the opportunity to continue his education and earn his bachelor’s or masters degrees, all while being supported by the taxes of the very citizens and the society he has violated. His punishment was worse. His punishment was to re-live the crime that he had committed, only it being done instead to him instead, over and over and over, in a torturous induced dream state. No guards were necessary for this prison because he nor any of the other inmates of that prison system, (and there were many), had any way of coming out of the state of their comatose dream unassisted. And everyday, he had to re-live his crime in his own mind. He was forever locked, in an ever existing virtual psychological prison. Never to be freed from his own crime in his own mind.
Now, I know that this was science fiction, and it sounds really crazy, and that it may never become a reality. But if this were a perfect world that tolerated no degree of foolishness; like a 6 month old baby being raped and killed. Or young girls and boys being snatched off of the street in their own neighborhoods. Some being held captive for years, being raped and tortured? Or people going off in rampages and deciding to shoot up movie theaters or schools, or shopping malls. Or even setting off bombs, killing and maiming innocent people. People who had not idea what your cause was and why you were so angry. Or people who kill blatantly and blame it on insanity or even worse, self-defense. As a matter of fact, in a perfect world, the punishment should fit the crime. So perhaps we should begin to look futuristic and begin to make some drastic and unconventional changes in our judicial system. Because to me, it seems like we live in a world gone mad, with no silver lining in sight. More and more prisons are being built, yet they are still filled to capacity even before they are completed. And more and more crimes are being committed, with what seems like just a slap on the wrist as punishment. And more and more, people are seeming to be going all kinds of crazy. So maybe it’s time to stop being so humanistic. And maybe it’s time to stop being so thoughtful and nice and kind and caring to these people and their civil rights; rights they have so callously taken away from their victims, and start taking the crazy back to the crazies. I believe that the fear of a more stern and rigid, and yes even harsher punishment will stop a lot of the crazy that is going on in this society. I may be wrong, but THAT, is what I believe.
Now, tell us what YOU think,