The Petit murder case here in Connecticut should open your eyes to a plethora of ways that society works. Interestingly, the points that deserve the most focus have been highly ignored.
The case has received more than enough publicity. It is always the same story however. It becomes a story of the bad guys against the all-american family. Obviously, the two killers are scumbags. There is no arguing that. Because of that you don’t have to continually be reminded of how bad they are. That is also why they won’t be recognized by name in this article.
It should also be noted that maybe the bank teller shouldn’t have let Jennifer Hawke-Petit out of the bank. It is pretty common sense that if you have two people holding a family hostage, you want to keep them separate. The two murderers distanced themselves and once they did so, shouldn’t have been allowed to get back together.
The bank teller shouldn’t face a big brunt of the blame though. That should be reserved for the police. This wasn’t a small town that maybe couldn’t handle such a case. That, combined with the fact of how much time was involved, is atrocious. What is the purpose of having the police if you have to wait more than a half-hour to feel safe? By then, the damage will have already been done.
Still, there is an even bigger point that doesn’t seem like it has been discussed anywhere. I recently did an article on Charles Bizilj, the father of the 8-year-old boy who shot himself accidentally at a gun show. A few people have told me that Bizilj is a smart guy. Obviously, I was a little confused. Their reasoning was based on the fact that he is a doctor.
It is crazy how much we base our opinion of somebody based on what they do for work. Just because Bizilj is a doctor or works in a hospital doesn’t mean that he is always a smart guy or, in fact, ever intelligent. We, as a society, think way too much about titles and money earned and equate that with success or greatness. They really are not indicative of anything.
That leads to the Petit case. If William Petit was not a doctor, would this case be getting the publicity it has? Americans hold doctors in high esteem. What if Petit was a janitor? There probably wouldn’t be all the outrage that is seen. It was simply made into a case of evil vs. pristine. Petit deserves the compassion that he has received. However, this should be true in every case, no matter who suffers such a loss.
Would it though? It is doubtful. Americans are trained to respect certain people because of their titles and wealth. You just have to look at the reaction following 9-11 and compare it to the lack of sympathy following Hurricane Katrina to see a prime example of how we feel bad for those fortunate who lose but really don’t care when lowly people feel pain.
It’s like we think the rich are these great people who stand high above us. We feel lost without them. If they don’t feel good, we feel bad for them (more than we care about ourselves in many cases). However, if there are poor people involved, we lose our empathy. We treat those below us like animals. They don’t have emotions.
This extends to an infinite amount of areas of life. There are the people who would rather tax themselves than ever raise taxes for the rich. There are those who would vote on American Idol but never cast a vote in a real election. You also have to include those who would be immobile if they heard that Sarah Palin was broke but could care less if they lost all their own money.
Let’s flip the switches in the Petit case. If those two morons had been killed by the Petit family in the same exact way that they murdered the Petit’s, would anybody feel sorry for them? They probably would have just been looked at as low-lifes that nobody cared about in the first place.
That is the part that isn’t fair. If a doctor murders somebody, they will hire the top lawyers to help them get off. Maybe they’ll even be related to a famous politician and be automatically excused.
Everybody’s life should be equally important. It doesn’t matter what you do for work or how much money you have in the bank. A life is a life. That is the most important thing that should be remembered in all cases.