Saturday, July 17, 2004


What a Strange World We Live In

Case in point:
Martha Stewart, in one of the all-time great boneheaded moves, sells her shares in ImClone, a biotech/pharmaceutical firm, after receiving a call from her broker.  The broker called to tell her that the CEO of ImClone, Sam Waksal (a good friend of Stewart's), was selling his shares.  This was done on the eve of an announcement by the FDA that a key cancer drug of ImClone's, Erbitux, was not going to pass its latest trial.  The decision by Stewart to sell saved her $51,000.
Yesterday, a judge sentenced her to 5 months in prison, followed by 5 months house arrest and a $30,000 fine.  ImClone, which she sold at about $60, trades at $80 following Erbitux' successful completion of FDA trials.  Stewart was forced to resign as CEO from the company she built, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and later resigned as a board member after she was convicted.  So she made a dumb move, tried to cover it up, and got nailed.  As quoted in the article on Canoe's website:

But she said a prison term was appropriate because "lying to government agencies during the course of an investigation is a very serious matter, regardless of the outcome of the investigation."

2nd Case in point:
Dr. Leslie Griesdorf, a Toronto dentist, was arrested in early 2003 after Toronto police were informed that he had used a credit card on a known child pornography website.  Upon searching his house they found (again sourcing from Canoe):

...a four-square-metre vault with seven locks on a thick steel door hidden behind a wood facade in the basement of the dentist's Catalda Court house. They needed 16 hours to remove 2,000 VHS tapes, between 30,000 and 50,000 photo re-prints, 185 8-mm films, 20 reel-to-reel movies, plus a 30-year-old magazine collection and six computer hard drives.

The article goes on to document more specifically the content of some of these items, which I will not go into here. Anyways, he was sentenced on Thursday.

"Sentenced" to 18-months conditional and 9 months house arrest. He is allowed to own a computer. If he does not re-offend, he will not be required to go to prison.

I have officially had it with the Canadian justice system. The Crown, citing Griesdorf's willingness to co-operate with the police as well as a psychiatric evaluation that stated he we not likely to be a repeat offender, didn't even PURSUE a prison term. Doesn't anybody get it?

This guy spent 30 years amassing an enormous collection of child porn, exploiting the members of society we, as adults, should feel most strongly about protecting, and gets a slap on the wrist. And let's not forget, this guy was a DENTIST, who probably treated kids.

Martha Stewart does nothing to hurt anyone, but does break laws. For that, she was fairly punished. Griesfeld exploits kids and encourages others to hurt and abuse kids so he can get his jollies. For wilfully damaging society, he gets nothing.

Maybe we should propose a sentence of one day for each image/film/book owned. That seems fair to me. I feel the need to DO SOMETHING. I just haven't got the foggiest idea what.

I feel dirty. I think I'll go shower.