Have you read Sophie’s Choice by William Styron? It popped into my mind as apropos to choices in the justice system. The title character’s choice was the sort of decision we may sometimes be forced to make, even though not life or death. One that demoralizes. Sophie’s choice was a mother’s nightmare. At Auschwitz she was forced to choose one of her children to live and one to die. It’s been a long time since I read this book, but I think that the child she chose to live didn’t survive the camp either. An unbearable choice and then a life spent filled with the anguish and doubt that she made the wrong choice.
What if you are given two choices? Bad or bad? Which should you choose? The advice: Be pragmatic. Well, not in those exact words. Those offering you choices don’t see that one doesn’t hold weight over the other. They don’t understand the dearth of choice. Because the outliers, the innocent are removed from consideration. It is a psychological vise. So pragmatism holds sway, not for them, for you. You cede to a bad choice not knowing the future. You give the win. A hollow win for those who ever ponder the cost of winning. For those who just like to win, a win is a win.