Memo to ex-Mayor Kilpatrick: you’re not supposed to enjoy punishment


OK, I’m trying to understand this, but it’s a little difficult.

Kwame Kilpatrick, our disgraced former mayor, now says he needs a break. Specifically, he says that the court-ordered restitution payments that he has to make every week to compensate (somewhat) for how badly he ripped off the City of Detroit are simply too much to bear. Oh it’s not that he doesn’t understand he needs to make restitution, it’s just that he now apparently believes he is being asked for too much restitution. So Kilpatrick is asking if, like, maybe the court can dial back that amount of $6,000 per month just a bit so that he can breathe? You know, ’cause, like, a brother gotta eat and pay the bills too. You know.

And you know what? If, like, maybe it wasn’t for the fact that Kilpatrick is living in a neighborhood defined by Forbes magazine as the most expensive suburb in the entire nation? And if his mother hadn’t like, you know, thought it was the right thing to do to fly her son to his new home in a private jet? On a congresswoman’s salary? A congresswoman who as far as we know wasn’t born into family wealth and didn’t marry into it either so where the hell did that private jet cash come from? And if a whole bunch of other things about this didn’t reek? Then yeah. Sure. Maybe then I would consider feeling sympathetic for poor little Kilpatrick.

But what this man still can’t seem to fathom is the concept of punishment for wrongdoing. Somewhere along the line Kilpatrick never quite internalized the lesson that when you screw up – especially to the massive degree that he screwed up – there are consequences. And consequences for wrongdoing usually aren’t intended to be either convenient or comfortable. Punishment isn’t meted out according to your schedule so you can slot it in where it works best for you.

Some warm and friendly advice for Kilpatrick and his lawyers

Some warm and friendly advice for Kilpatrick and his lawyers

Likewise, you don’t get to determine what your desired lifestyle will be first, and then ask the court to structure the punishment around the ideal way you would like to live your life with your wife and children. The way this works, Mr. ex-mayor, is that the level of punishment dictates how you’re gonna live your life. So if the payments being asked of you are so high that you say you only have about $6 left when it’s all over? Then that means you have to make some radical changes in how you’re living your life. Like maybe you’d better choose a neighborhood that’s more in line with your level of take-home income. OK, so maybe you don’t get to have a house with a pool, but I think you’ll live. I don’t have a pool either, and I’m doing just fine.

I do realize your lawyer said something to the effect that the judge doesn’t have the right to require Kilpatrick to wear “sack cloth and ashes”, or something clever like that. Lawyers can be so clever. But I think there’s a bit of a gap – about the size of the Grand Canyon – between a life of sack cloth and ashes and living in the nation’s most expensive suburb paying nearly $3,000 per month just on the mortgage alone. Nobody’s asking for your client to wear sack cloth and ashes, Mr. Lawyer. All that’s being asked is that your client act like he’s got some level of common sense. We’ve all been told for so long about how incredibly bright this guy is but, well, he doesn’t appear to be acting like it right now. Perhaps as his lawyer you should advise him of such.

And while you’re at it? You might also want to advise him to grow up. Or maybe you should tell him to man up. Yeah. That’s more like it.


~ by Keith A. Owens on March 30, 2009.

4 Responses to “Memo to ex-Mayor Kilpatrick: you’re not supposed to enjoy punishment”

  1. Outstanding commentary Keith! Right on point. I wonder if the former mayor ever googles his name?

    peace, Villager

  2. Thanks Villager!

    But I’m tellin you, if I were Kilpatrick? I don’t think I’d wanna know what folks were saying about me…

    This would seriously be a time when ignorance could be considered bliss.


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