Monday, November 8, 2010

Stick A Needle In

Steven Hayes was sentenced to death by a Connecticut jury today for his role in the deadly 2007 home invasion that killed Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters. This was a unanimous decision. Not 41 minutes after the decision came down, someone posted on Facebook the following comment which was immediately followed by series of "likes" from the woman's friends...
"Steven Hayes gets the death penalty! Thank God! Erase this bastard from the planet!"

It's comical to me how some Christians (this woman does in fact list her religious identity as "Christian" on her Facebook profile), would "thank God" for "erasing someone from the planet." If there is a God, and I certainly do not profess to know, I am certain she/he/it/spirit/wildflower/cloud-of-magic/jesus/allah/buddha would NOT advocate death in any form including the USA'S government sanctioned death penalty. Granted, what this man did was savagely cruel, barbaric and beyond my heart's understanding. However, finding the solution in erasing him from the planet leads me to research just where we as a society went wrong starting with documented reports from the Educational System...
"Steven was hyper-active and on medication by second grade. It was noted he instigated bad-behavior in others, consumed inedibles (WTF?) and had a very short attention span. He got mostly D's in Special Education Programs and rarely went to class in middle school and high school, dropping out by 12th grade." He is quoted as stating he "just didn't fit in." His younger brother, Matthew Hayes, recounted in a letter read today in court, how the man now facing a death sentence burned him on the stove and held a gun to his head when they were children.

According to Eric Goldsmith, the psychiatrist who interviewed Hayes for about 37 hours on eight occasions, Steven was beaten on a regular basis by his father, molested by his babysitter and turned to marijuana and other substances as early as 10 years old to self-medicate.

Goldsmith traced much of Hayes’ behavioral problems to his abusive father. Goldsmith said young Hayes saw his father beat his mother regularly and that he, too, was hit, along with one of his brothers, Matthew. Whenever the father thought Steven or Matthew had done “something bad,” the two boys were forced to go into a room together and “duke it out” until one of them admitted to the misdeed. The “guilty” son would then be severely beaten by his father.
Goldsmith said Hayes reported Matthew suffered a broken leg in one such assault.

Hayes’ mother became increasingly depressed and alcoholic. She decided to leave her husband before he could physically abuse their youngest child, Brian.
The father and Matthew moved to New Jersey, while the mother raised the other two boys. But Goldsmith said Steven's behavioral problems continued.
He was committing burglaries by age 14 to support his drug habit and was sent to a facility for troubled juveniles.
At 15, Hayes was sent to a psychiatric hospital. Upon release, his drug habit continued and his crimes became increasingly more barbaric and extreme; the worst being the rape, torture and murder of the Petit women in 2007.

So, how can one find comfort and solace? Well, simply erase this bastard from the planet, apparently, and stick a needle into his veins.
Yet, does that really bring consolation?
We have found no solution in holding the educational system, the juvenile court system, the law enforcement system, his parents, the babysitter at all accountable. THEY in fact will not have to look at how and when there was a break-down and just where their own responsibilities lie.
Absolutely no one was there for Steven as a child! NO ONE!
You call me a bleeding heart liberal?
Hell yes! My heart IS bleeding, first and foremost for The Petit women, but also for Steven, and for a nation whose social systems are broken, malfunctioning and dare I say, to blame.


  1. here here valerie...and I personally do not even believe that his death will "erase him from the planet."

  2. You just described the Sociological Imagination perfectly. I'm so happy that I am majoring in Sociology as it has really opened my eyes to the wider social structures that impact our lives, and in this case, Steven's life. People tend to judge others so quickly without first gaining understanding of their background and grasping the conditions in their lives. Powerful words here, Val.

  3. !!!!!!etagnihc