Every once in a while, I have an experience that reminds me that I do live in Nebraska. This morning, that epiphany occurred while I was listening to 89.7 The River's morning show, Spicoli and Rocco's Morning Fiasco. Omaha is in a bit of an uproar about the death of a 22-month old girl at the hands of her mother's boyfriend. The perp kicked the child across a room and killed her. The story can be found here (registration required).
Given the tragedy and brutality of the crime, it's been a hot topic for discussion, and Spicoli and Rocco were discussing it this morning. People are outraged, and for good reason.
One caller this morning provided an insight that reminded me that the white trash of Nebraska and Iowa are alive and well. White trash have a fundamentally different view of the criminal justice system than the rest of the population. I think this might be related to their more frequent experience with crime and punishment either personally or among their friends and family, but that's simply a theory.
Whenever a whiskey tango talks about a person going to jail, as was illustrated by the caller on the radio this morning, their assessment of "does the punishment fit the crime" has nothing to do with bail amounts, time of sentence, or the amount of the fine. Nope. Trailer trash finds comfort in knowing that because this guy is a child murderer, he's going to get gang-raped daily for a good part of the rest of his life.
This is a pretty common theme in talking to the NASCAR crowd. It's almost like they view prison sex as a mandatory part of the punishment and worse than the death penalty. This makes perfect sense to me, as I would much rather be electrocuted or shot than force-fed sausage from a guy named Meat Grinder.
Nonetheless, it's interesting that when an uneducated lady who makes meth and shoots squirrels for a living makes public comment about punishment for a murderer, her primary observation is that she's glad he's going to get lots of traffic up the Hershey turnpike.
I think the white trash of America have a good point here. I would even argue that prison rape is probably one of the greatest crime deterrents in this country. At least for midgets anyway.