He’s the guy who decided to go to North Korea for vacation and then tried to swipe one of their propaganda banners. For which, he’s just been sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
On one hand:
The punishment is totally ludicrous. Insane. It was a single banner. It’s theft, but we’re talking a banner that, at absolute most (and I’m picking an absurdly high number) $100/USD.
It’s possible he didn’t do it. North Korea is just fine with coercing prisoners to make false confessions and has done so in the past.
There’s zero chance that he got anything resembling a fair trial.
On the other hand:
What kind of moron chooses to go to North Korea for vacation anyway? Seriously…if you go, you’re kind of inviting that kind of trouble. And yes, I’m quite aware I’m blaming the victim. There’s a point where the victim is so obviously stupid that the victim deserves some of the blame. If you decide to go into a building that’s on fire so you can take a selfie, I’m not gonna be surprised or all that sympathetic when you get burned.
It’s morally reprehensible to give tourist dollars to an evil, totalitarian regime like North Korea’s. So, minus sympathy points for that too.
On neither hand:
He’s 21–he’s a grown up, not a child. I’ve seen articles implying he’s a kid.
His (possibly forced) confession said that his family was suffering from hard times and he’d been offered a $20000 bounty for it by a church group(??? Wha?). So? It’s a dumbass risk if true. Some articles are implying this is a mitigating factor.
My sympathy ultimately is with the guy, but there’s a kernel of annoyance at the fact that he was dumbass enough to choose to go.
Anyone else have thoughts on this?