Shame and Guilt: Is There a Difference? Essay

As soon as the judge ruled and sentenced an adult woman to four years and 394 day of jail, many people outside the court were outraged. The adult lady killed a construction worker, while on her way to a party. The thing is she was driving drunk, and due to her drunkenness, she didn’t notice the “construction ahead” signs. As a result, she ran over a construction worker, who after being severely injured, didn’t survive. So you might be thinking that justice was made and that’s the end of it. Well no. for those people outside the court, justice wasn’t made.

Why? Because that woman who killed that worker can buy herself out of jail and out of her responsibility. If she had been given five years, then she would have to serve her sentence in jail, but since she was only sentenced to 4 years and 395 days then she can go on with her life as though nothing happened. And you know what her fee is? 1500 dollars. The man’s family and neighbors are mad and so am I. I think that she should definitely be more years in jail. That she shouldn’t be able to buy herself out. What happens to his family?

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What happens to his parents, to his wife, but mostly to his children? According to author June Tangney, in her essay “Condemn the Crime, Not the Person,” we should make people like this woman feel guilty but not shameful about what she has done. As far as I am concerned, that woman should feel both guilty and ashamed of what she did. That because of her irresponsibility of driving drink she left children without their father, and parents without their son. As the number of crimes increase, punishment for those that are caught should also increase. In the essay “Shame Is Worth a try,” author Dan M.

Kahan explains a few examples of how shame as a punishment is worth to try. He explains how people that are found drinking and driving in Florida or Texas can get ordered to place bumper stickers in their car stating their previous DUI. Why couldn’t something similar be done with this case? Of course no bumper sticker will ever compensate for the damage done, but it will at least make everybody else aware of the danger they might run into. According to Tangney, “Feelings of shame involve a painful focus on the self—the humiliating sense that I am a bad person. Tangney also tries to argue how psychologically this affects the person, how it doesn’t motivate any changes and therefore doesn’t approve of this as a punishment. I believe that in order to learn from your bad choices, it is important to feel ashamed and guilty. People who commit robberies and other similar crimes should be humiliated and made feel guilty of what they have done. Only that way will they ever think of not doing it again. What if the woman in the case I mentioned earlier paid her fee and had to do some type of community service?

What if she was sent to some DUI classes and then go help with campaigns to prevent drunk driving? Well I wouldn’t be so happy about this. Tangney provides examples of how people in similar cases can be sent to these kinds of events instead of publicly shaming them. But then what happens to those persons who really volunteer for those good causes like helping the elderly and cleaning parks? What happens with them? Ideas like Tangney’s seem like an insult to those who volunteer from their heart and not because they have to or because they were ordered to do so.

In paragraph seven, Kahan agrees on how community service is seen as a punishment by criminals and how it insults those that offer their services to these causes, not only that but it is also seen as an I insult to those who benefit from these activities. What I propose is for a better way to take care of our growing community criminals. I propose more time in jail, and no paid fees. It is simply not fair that while a family suffers, the one that is at fault can leave without being punished. It’s not something absurd or new. These kinds of ideas and injustices have been going on for a while now and it is time to do something about it.


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