Yesterday afternoon I watched the move “An Eye For An Eye” on Netflix. It came out in 1996. The cast included a much younger Sally Field, Ed Harris, Joe Mantegna and Keifer Sutherland.
Keifer Sutherland’s character (Robert Doob) is a young criminal whose path in life is to hurt others. He tortures dogs and laughs when they cry. Unfortunately he works as a grocery deliveryman and knows the homes he delivers to well.
This kind of work affords him opportunities to go into people’s homes.
He pushes his way into the McCann’s home where their 17 year old daughter is alone on the afternoon of their younger daughter’s birthday, getting things ready.
Among the party supplies and the cake daughter Julie has just put on the table, he rapes and then kills her.
Sally Field (Karen McCann) was on the phone with her daughter Julie, stuck in traffic, as they discussed the upcoming party.
She listened as her daughter answers the door, and then is a silent party in a horrible traffic jam as the man rapes and kills Julie, the phone having been dropped to the floor.
Karen McCann screams her daughter’s name, but is unable to do a thing but abandon her car in the midst of traffic and run willy-nilly across the lines of traffic trying to find someone else with a phone.
When she finally gets someone to lower their car window she tells them to call the authorities because she can’t bear to hang up her own. It is her only communication with her child.
But she doesn’t get there in time.
Robert Doob is picked up for the murder and the authorities have his DNA.
Karen and Mac McCann (Sally Field and Ed Harris) go to the first pre-trial hearing only to learn that the prosecution had not given the defense the sample of DNA to have checked out themselves by their own forensics people.
The judge can’t do anything then but throw the case out and Robert Doob, (Keifer Sutherland), is set free. He smirks at Karen McCann as he walks out of the courtroom.
Of course every man (or woman) deserves a fair trial. And to ensure that fairness, due to some technicality they may never have to pay for their crime.
It is set up this way because they say it is better to let a guilty man go free than convict and possibly execute an innocent one.
To be more factually accurate, in criminal law Blackstone’s ratio, also known as the Blackstone formulation as expressed by William Blackstone in the 1760s, is the postulation that:
It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.
Karen McCann cannot accept that her daughter’s murderer is walking free.
She finds out where Richard Boob lives and begins to follow him. She sits in her car down the street watching one day as he delivers groceries to a young Spanish woman.
She then watches Boob as he walks around the corner and urinates on the property, like a dog marking territory.
She tells the detective he must do something, that she knows Richard Boob is going to kill again. But he tells her that his hands are tied, that Boob was let go a free man not guilty of a crime and they can’t charge him again.
Karen thinks she might just kill him herself. She gets a gun and takes lessons on how to use it. She takes a class on how to protect herself. She does not tell her husband Mac because she knows he won’t approve.
Her little girl Megan, whose birthday party never took place that fateful day, feels as though she has lost her mother. Because Karen McCann is caught up in a web of anger and despair and can’t separate herself from it.
Robert Boob spots Karen following him. To give her the message to leave him alone, he goes to Megan’s school and finds her on the playground and talks to her.
When Karen picks her daughter up Robert Boob appears from behind a tree as they’re walking toward her car and taunts her about the only child she has left, saying how beautiful she is.
Driven by grief and the failure to make Robert Boob pay for his crime, she puts together a plan. She gets her husband to agree to a vacation.
Then on the day they’re leaving, she makes sure there is a problem at her work and tells Mac and Megan to go on without her. She will catch up with them at the cabin that evening or the next morning.
But in actuality she goes to Robert Boob’s rat hole of an apartment and tears it apart. She leaves her cap behind. When he comes home he recognizes it from her following him.
And come nightfall he heads to her neighborhood once again and breaks into her home.
The shower is running and the shower curtain closed. Robert Boob thinks this will be an easy one. He will catch her unaware.
But she has outwitted him. She has hung towels in the shower to make it look like she’s in there. But in fact she is right behind him with her gun.
When he realizes what’s going on and that she might kill him, he tells her that it’s nothing personal, what happened the last time he visited her home. The daughter he violated and murdered was just a random girl to him.
But to Sally Field it was very, very personal.
They struggle and she ends up with the gun and finally ends this sad saga of another criminal who got a walk out of jail free card and thought it gave him the right to repeat his crime.
Sometimes the words sociopath and psychopath are used interchangeably. But there are differences.
A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to.
A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. He or she may know that taking your money is wrong, and he might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop his behavior.
Both lack empathy, the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel.
Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are more likely than are psychopaths to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society.
Psychopathy can be thought of as a more severe form of sociopathy with more symptoms. Therefore, all psychopaths are sociopaths but sociopaths are not necessarily psychopaths.
Unfortunately a lot of people on the psychopathic continuum aren’t in jail or prison. In fact some individuals may be able to use psychopathic traits, like boldness, to achieve professional success. And thus they are apt to become CEO’s of big companies.
“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.” ― William S. Burroughs
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