For years, I reported on the atrocities committed by Joe Arpaio when he was Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona (here's what I wrote about him in Harper's Magazine), so I'm pleased that he has been convicted of criminal contempt of court. That's the least of the crimes he's committed, but it could get him six months in jail, and I have friends who're hoping that it does.
I don't want to see him get any jail time at all. I don't believe in punishment of any kind, and I think the only valid reason for locking someone up is that they're dangerous. Arpaio, at 85, is no longer Sheriff, and is a pitiful figure. To incarcerate him would be in line with his childish, cruel philosophy. I think the best way to show contempt for his regime is to refuse to indulge in punishment — i.e. petty revenge — for its own sake.
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