Let’s start by granting the point that it was at best awkward to seem to defend someone who apparently derives sexual pleasure from at least fantasizing about killing women and then eating them. With that out of the way, Gilberto Valle was just convicted of plotting to do that or arguably just talking about it. (Details of the story here.)
The defense, not totally plausible, was that these were just fantasies. But he’s now been convicted and faces a possible life behind bars. So it does force us to ask on the question: should it be possible to spend your life behind bars for talking about doing something but not actually doing it?
I should note that the prosecutors said he was actually surveilling women he intended to hunt and researching them on a law enforcement database. So I am really not trying to suggest the guy got railroaded. People get convicted of conspiracy all the time. But it does make me wonder.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.