Two reports from different Harvard University research teams hit the press on the same day:
- one on top professional athletes, almost half of whom have confessed (anonymously) to taking banned drugs or performance-enhancing methods, and
- one on the 26 inmates currently scheduled for execution by the State of Ohio, almost all of whom have been found to have histories of serious childhood abuse, brain damage or severe mental illness, with their original legal representatives failing to bring up these issues at their trial.
Society tends to idolise some categories of human beings, such as sports stars, and demonise others, such as those who have committed shocking crimes.
But it is surely shocking in itself, if not criminally biased, to take a far more lenient view of law-breaking and cheating by one popular group of people who enjoy all the advantages of health, talent and the finest professional support – not to mention fame and fortune – than of mentally ill, vulnerable and traumatised human beings, sentenced to endure the harshest punishments the State can devise?
Something here has gone awry and urgently needs to be put right.