Yesterday at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City, Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison for his heinous crimes against Elizabeth Smart. Following the sentencing, Smart said
Today is the ending of a very long chapter and the beginning of a very beautiful chapter for me...I want you [Mitchell] to know that I have a wonderful life now. No matter what you do, you will never affect me again. You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned. But I know that in this life or the next, you will be held responsible for what you have done and I hope you're ready for that when it comes.
If only other Utahns could have handled the sentencing with as much grace and aplomb as the victim.
Maybe it's a result of so many of us having become jaded in the face of torture of enemy combatants, I don't know. But I was very disturbed yesterday to hear caller after caller on the Rod Arquette show in Salt Lake City opine--sometimes with glee, other times with faux righteous indignation--that Mitchell should be "...held responsible for what [he has] done..." by deserving the same kind of abuse--that they expect he has coming--in maximum security federal prison.
'The kinds of people that other inmates hate worst', said one caller, 'are rapists and pedophiles. So I can imagine that when Mitchell gets there, there are gonna be a lot of other prisoners wanting to get a piece of him. And I think that's good.'
Subsequent callers agreed that he deserves what he's got coming--and then they described quite graphically how they hoped he would be beaten, tortured, and raped, so that he could feel the pain of what he did to Elizabeth Smart.
Elizabeth Smart doesn't want that. To be sure, she was very happy that her abuser would be behind bars for the rest of his life. I agree that he deserves to be behind bars. She deserves to be happy. But Elizabeth didn't express any glee or indignation similar to the radio show callers in expecting Mitchell to 'get what he deserved' in prison.
Elizabeth Smart is not that cruel. No one should be.