Electrocute Martha Stewart
Some would say that Friday, October 8, 2004, was a banner day in the history of American justice, for that was the day that Martha Stewart reported to prison to serve a 5-month term for lying to the FBI in regards to her suspicious sale of ImClone stock. Though she was not actually convicted for insider trading, it seems quite clear that she got some inside information that led her to sell her stock immediately before the share price plummeted.
Though Stewart was reportedly strip-searched and made to squat so she could be thoroughly checked for doilies and baking items prior to entering a federal facility known as "Camp Cupcake," the meager punishment for thumbing her nose at fairness and the American Way isn't enough. It isn't even remotely enough.
Martha Stewart should be electrocuted. That's right, Martha should be put to death. Publicly.
While this isn't so much a punishment that's appropriate for her particular crime, it's a justifiable means to address the threat to the principles of fairness currently under assault by many of the country's richest businesspeople, who seem to believe that they are not only justified in ripping off their fellow Americans, but entitled to it. Stewart herself seems to feel not only that she's been falsely accused, but that she's some kind of patron saint for the innocent. Somehow, people like Stewart need to be made aware that their actions are wrong so that future generations of financiers and superwealthy businesspeople get the message that the rest of us aren't going to allow them to crap all over our American values.
How deluded is Stewart? She told Barbara Walters in a recent interview, "I didn't cheat the little people... We're all little people." In another interview, she proclaimed, "There are many, many good people who have gone to prison... look at Nelson Mandela."
One way to deal with people who cling to this kind of righteousness is to electrocute them. Americans love to fry people and I submit that moral righteousness is the most dangerous force on the planet.
In no way am I saying that Martha's crime deserves the punishment of electrocution when viewed in isolation. I'm suggesting that flipping the big switch would be a sacrifice for the greater good. As a way of making a statement and dissuading others from the path of financial fraud, it's a deterrent that could actually work. Unlike murderers, who often have nothing to live for, businesspeople are usually afraid of death. They like their mansions and their Beemers. Being electrocuted isn't in their life plan.
If we had made a statement long ago with a really good, high-profile electrocution, would Ken Lay have been so brazen in ruining the lives of so many at Enron by defrauding his own employees and the public out of billions of dollars? Would Bernie Ebbers, former CEO of Worldcom, have been so willing to rip off stockholders for his personal gain? Would Neil Bush have made decisions that ended up costing the taxpayers $1.6 billion to bail out his Silverado Savings and Loan? Would Jeb Bush have defaulted on a $4.56 million loan from Broward Federal Savings in Sunrise, Florida, leaving the taxpayers with a $4 million bill if he knew that a meeting with a couple of high-voltage electrodes was at the end of the road instead of the governership of Florida? What if the punishment for the rich and politically powerful for completely and mercilessly fucking people over were the same as that for rapists and murderers? Perhaps if these folks knew that instead of a couple of easy months at "Camp Cupcake" they'd get a massive electric current passed through their body, they'd think twice.
The thing is, frying Ken Lay or Bernie Ebbers doesn't do anything because they're not famous enough. We're a media/entertainment society. They're not pretty enough. Nobody will care if they're turned into crispy critters. Two years from now, nobody will remember. Fry Martha Stewart and everybody will remember it for the rest of their lives. Then the next time a bunch of good old boys are sitting in their boardroom discussing how to screw the employees and the shareholders, maybe one of them will pipe up and remind them, "Don't you remember when they fried Martha Stewart?"