A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!

Apr 26, 2023

An Argument in Favor of Executing Hackers

The sick joke of sick-jokesters

By Ed Goldman

Most of my liberal friends and many of my conservative ones (a more equally divided number than you might guess) express surprise at my support for the death penalty. To those who argue it’s not a proven deterrent to murder, my point is that being executed will deter at least one person. (The executee, if I need to spell that out.)

I’ve never really expected to expand on this topic—this column’s meant to be fun-based journalism—but I read a horrifying story in the Wall Street Journal a week ago. It reported that hackers were demanding a ransom of five million dollars from a hospital to not release nude photos of its cancer patients.

Edgy Cartoon

Fatal distraction

One cancer patient was upset enough to sue the hospital to demand it pay the ransom. Another said if people saw her nude (clinical) photos, her office mates “would download them (and) joke about it at work.”

First things first: Let’s find, prosecute and execute the hackers. There’s no reason people like this should be allowed to take up the valuable real estate of civilization.

Second: Let’s encourage the immediate firing of anyone who would view nude photos of cancer-stricken colleagues and “joke about it.”

I think it’s long past time to end the incredibly stupid and useless lives and antics of computer hackers and cancer jokesters, respectively (and respectlessly).

As I’ve revealed here before, my wife of 29 years died more than 16 years ago after a nine-year battle with cancer. During that near-decade of failed hopes, she was subjected to being x-rayed and photographed many dozens of times, often in the nude. If I found out that some masturbatory morons had got hold of these images and were either hoping to profit from them or laugh about them, well, I won’t clarify the course of action I’d take—that would count as “premeditated” when I went on trial—but let’s just say I’ve been assured by my neighbors that they’ll testify I was ”a loner,” “a nice enough guy,” and that the news of my actions made them “shocked and deeply saddened.” These are the key phrases to use for the news media.

I’m also practicing this phrase for when I’m arrested: “I heard voices.” Yes, I’d go for the inanity plea.

These hackers—well, damn near all of them—are unconscionable and cowardly. They’re sick individuals. While they may not be as deeply disturbed as the people who wander into schoolyards, department stores, places of worship and picnics with assault rifles—sometimes leaving behind “manifestos” to be pored over, allowing cops, psychologists and politicians to read them and come to the staggering conclusion that these people may have been in serious need of help—their senses of morality and humanity are just as twisted.

To be a hospital patient is to submit to humiliation at almost every turn. Not just undergoing the constant and frightening X-rays, MRIs and CT-scans, but also being forced to re-describe your condition and symptoms to every non-physician you encounter as you’re referred hither and yon for “follow-up” (rarely, follow-through) care. (My May 1 column will feature an interview with Carol Burger, owner of 15 rehabilitation-therapy clinics, who laments the disparate procedures of hospitals and insurance companies: the lack of a “continuum of care.”)

I realize that my venting herein will alter nothing in the vast perverse we call social media. (Remember when the word “social” usually followed something positive, like “studies,” or preceded something lovely, like “ice cream?”) It won’t stop other pimply-brained kids or mindless misfits from engaging in deplorable acts. But I found I couldn’t sit back and calmly read another story about the further deterioration of our junk culture without weighing in, however futilely.

Friday’s column will be about the silly things you might wish to add to your résumés. Please feel free to joke about these with your office mates. Thanks for listening.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


Before this month slips away from us (Monday at 12:01 a.m.), I’d like to say a few words about National Volunteer Month, which April has been and still is.

Dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism, the month provides an opportunity to recognize the importance of service to others– and the power that generously giving of one’s time, talents and treasures have to build stronger communities and make the world a more wonderful place.

Some history for you: The National Volunteer Week was officially established in 1974 by executive order of Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. The commemoration has grown since then, as every year marks a growing celebration of the millions of Americans who volunteer their time, energy, hearts and services.

“I urge all Americans to observe that week by seeking out an area in their community in which they can give to a needy individual or a worthy cause by devoting a few hours, or more, each week to volunteer service,” President Nixon declared on April 20, 1974. If you want to look it up, it’s Presidential Proclamation 4288 (88 Stat. 2476).

Golden Pacific Bank, a division of SoFi Bank, Inc., proudly encourages and supports volunteer time for all of its employees, and especially during April.

Latif Yusufi, Sacramento Branch Manager of GPB, recently volunteered at Sacramento Loaves and Fishes, a place providing homeless survival services since 1983. “The experience was very enlightening and satisfying,” Latif tells me. “It was a direct way of giving a helping hand to the unhoused people of our community.”

I hope this week’s blog finds you, too, well-ensconced in assisting your fellow humans.

Latif Yusufi at Loaves and Fishes

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