This is the statement that Bernard Madoff made in court today, as he pled guilty.
Which leads me to ask the same question I have been asking for years: is it too much to ask that a high profile public apology for criminal acts of this magnitude be written by the person who is actually apologizing? For years “repentant” offenders have simply mouthed the handiwork of attorneys and public relations experts whose “rhetoric of deep regret” is as phony and unmistakable as a $2 bill.
I am not saying that Madoff had nothing to do with this statement, but it is packed with the kind of morally empty boilerplate that really is no apology at all.
I have a half-serious idea: When someone pleads guilty and wants to apologize for his or her crimes, he or she should be be handed some paper and a pen by the judge and asked to spend an hour writing a hand-written apology.
Of course this doesn’t even slightly guarantee sincerity. But isn’t it about time we end this charade of supposedly remorseful people reading statements actually written by other people?
What happens to genuine contrition in a world where crafting apologies has become an occupation?