Go Go Godzilla

I had a conversation recently with a woman who had accused her husband of hitting her. I was explaining her position in the criminal case: “You won’t have a lawyer, since you’re not a party. You’re a witness.” “I’m not a witness,” she replied indignantly, “I’m a victim.”

This is, I’m afraid, the spirit of these American times: if victimhood isn’t acknowledged, the victim is offended. There is value in being a victim. It’s a point of pride.

Intertwined with this victims’ pride, there is a movement of victimocracy afoot in America. To the victimocrats, not handling victims with kid gloves is an impeachable offense. To the victimocrats, it is appropriate to to honor the dead with destruction or by naming laws that will put people in prison after them.

Houston has a victimocrat-in-chief, Andy Kahan (who has found a way to make victimocracy pay) thinks victims’ rights should be constitutionally enshrined, and that victims should be treated with respect and dignity . . . unless they are the victims of false allegations. The victimocrats even have their own week at which they celebrate fictional inflated numbers of crimes.

The victimocrats’ only tool is fear. “I am a victim,” they say, “and if you don’t pass this legislation you will be one too.”

How are the victimocrats doing? Consider President Obama’s appearance on the 1000th edition of America’s Most Wanted, about which Norm Pattis writes:

The president sat for an interview with one of the angriest and most self-righteous men in the United States, John Walsh. He’s the father of Adam Walsh, a little boy abducted and murdered several decades ago. Since then, we’ve all felt the pain of the Walsh family.
. . . .
President Obama’s decision to appear on America’s Most Wanted was not the reasoned and measured response of a commander in chief committed to rule of reason. Obama sat with Walsh and was lectured by the talk-show host about the need to take DNA samples of every person accused of a felony. The president listened to a man who has lent his son’s name to controversial federal legislation that has been declared unconstitutional in some federal courts and is destined for a Supreme Court challenge. What was Obama trying to accomplish with this appearance?

We had eight years of fearmongering in D.C.; as Norm says, “It’s looking more and more like the same old stuff. Yet another American president cosseting the fearmongers? Ho hum.

This is the American victimocracy, flexing its political muscle. It’s reptile writ large.

Are those of us who believe that love will triumph over fear deluding ourselves?

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0 responses to “Go Go Godzilla”

  1. As an attorney this interests me. In Florida, we have constitutionalized “victim’s” rights. They have a right to avoid sequestration, they have a right to be heard at sentencing, and they have other rights. Butm their name appears nowhere in the charging document as a party to the case, other than as a witness. The “State” is listed as a victim. Because the “State” is the plaintiff/victim, statements the person whose purse was stolen cannot be entered against them as a party opponent, ostensibly because they are not a “party” to the proceeding. This among other evidentiary matters. I think they should be included as party opponents- State of Florida, obo Jane Victim, Plaintiff v. Jack Badguy, Accused/Defendant. And yes, I have been the victim of a very bad crime since becoming a defense attorney. I have no problem with treating victims respectfully, but we should get rid of the legal fiction that they are not “party opponents.”

  2. I have started routinely filing motions in criminal cases that the complaining witness not be referred to as a “victim” until and unless there is a conviction. I had only one judge (Don Stricklin) deny it, but the State realized she was wrong and never referred to the CW as a victim.

    The State loves to refer to the “victim,” “victim this,” “victim that.” Every time, they are stating that the defendant is a victimizer.

    Language matters. Calling someone a victim assumes the defendant is guilty; for there to be a victim, there must be a victimizer.

    In cases where identity is the issue, of course, I leave this out.

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