Bernard Madoff is “slime, sleaze, scum, etc.,” said Patrick Edaburn in The Moderate Voice, and “I am thrilled beyond words” that after confessing to 11 counts of fraud Thursday, he went straight to jail, where he will likely spend the rest of his life. But it’s hard to accept that his unfortunate victims were “completely innocent dupes.” It didn’t "set off alarm bells” with these investors that no matter the market conditions, they always got double-digit returns?

Americans who’ve been hit by the market crash probably took “vicarious pleasure” in seeing Madoff plead guilty, said USA Today in an editorial. But the “sad fact” is that the “great harm” done to the markets was not caused by criminals like Madoff, but by the financial players who, legally, are guilty only of incompetence: bank boards and executives, investment bankers, mortgage brokers, and many others.

Hold on a minute, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. “Madoff is a crook,” but the financial sector “is not a criminal defendant.” Some prosecutors and politicians, seeking “vengeance” or promotion, are blurring the line between “true crimes” like Madoff’s and “bad management decisions.” They need to “back off” for the markets to recover.