Crime and punishment
Anyone who watches television or reads a newspaper has seen examples of the lack
of justice in America. We have a justice system that, though it may not be perfect,
was established as the most capable of punishing crime and protecting law-abiding
citizens. In the beginning, we punished criminals for their crimes, removed potentially
dangerous persons from society and protected victims while also seeing to it that
their losses were repaid by the offenders, as far as possible. We have all heard
stories from our grandparents how they felt safe going for late night walks, leaving
their houses unlocked and sitting on the front porch swing. However, all that
has turned into burglar bars on the windows, high-tech security and alarm systems,
remote car alarms and well-trained guard dogs. We live in fear of ruthless gangs,
drug dealers and drive-by shootings. Persons who fall victim to crimes, or even
witness a crime, are frightened to come forward for fear of retaliation from the
criminal. Most people do not feel that their local law enforcement can adequately
protect them. We have things like the "Witness Protection Program" because we
can not guarantee that even after a criminal is convicted, he will not return
for revenge against those that helped put him away.
What has gone wrong here? Why are criminals running the streets while law-abiding
citizens must lock themselves behind deadbolts and bars? The answer can be found
in the "new mentality" that permeates our society today. This new way of thinking
and analyzing has crippled our justice system and flooded our courts with frivolous
suits and hearings. We have reached a point in society where no one accepts responsibility
for their actions. Everyone wants to be a victim of something. They use this "victimization"
as a scape-goat to justify their actions. Many people are convinced that a criminal
who commits a haneous crime must have had some traumatic experience as a child
that caused him to act on this anger years later. Rather than punishing criminals
for their actions, we instead sympathize with them and attempt to help and comfort
them with tax-supported mental evaluations and treatment. We have even gone so
far as to use this "reduced mental capacity" excuse for criminals who commit crimes
while under the influence of drugs or alcohol they voluntarily took themselves.
This type of "there's always an excuse" mentality has no end. I would venture
to say we all have had some "rough" periods in our lives. How many of us were
picked on in school by a bully? How many of us have parents who are divorced?
How many of us lived poor in comparison to some of our neighbors? How many of
us have had some traumatic experience like a car wreck, becoming deathly ill or
loss of a loved-one? All of these and then some have been used as excuses for
criminals attempting to justify their crimes.
Our law-makers have even enacted legislation that continues to uphold these perverted
values where the criminals have more rights than the victims. The Supreme Court
has tipped the scales of justice in favor of the criminals at the expense of the
rights of law-abiding citizens. Punishment of crime no longer exists in this nation.
Punishment of crime is as necessary to securing safety for our citizens as having
police to catch criminals. Punishments should serve two purposes. One, they should
protect society while the criminal works out his problems; and two, they should
serve as deterrents to other "would-be" criminals. Instead, jails have become
mere warehouses for criminals where the quality of life far exceeds that of the
average citizen. Inmates enjoy satellite TV, well-equipped workout gyms, free
high school and college education, well stocked libraries and full medical coverage,
all at tax-payer expense. Jails were never intended to be used as warehouses.
Jails were designed to get criminals off the streets so they could no longer be
a threat to society. For those non-violent criminals who have a hope of being
rehabilitated, jail is a place for them to spend time working on their problems
and contemplating their actions before they are released at the end of their sentence.
Violent criminals and those with records of repeating their crimes have proven
that they are not safe for society. They should never be released back on the
streets, nor should they be "warehoused" in prison at tax-payer expense. These
criminals must be eliminated through Constitutional capital punishment. Their
only jail time should be spent waiting for trial and then awaiting their execution
dates once convicted. "Life in prison" should never be a sentence given a criminal.
Many people feel that capital punishment is against the Constitution. They argue
that the death penalty is "cruel and unusual" punishment. I say that such people
should go back and re-read the Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment very clearly
states that capital punishment is an acceptable form of punishment for certain
offenses. In fact, the Fifth Amendment mentions the "loss of life" twice as a
proper form of punishment when administered under "due process" of law.
We must also eliminate the endless appeals criminals are allowed. Anyone convicted
of a felony should be allowed one appeal if they can present sufficient evidence
for a judge to warrant such. After a second conviction on appeal, the sentence
should stand and be carried out fully. Such programs as early release, parole
and probation do nothing to serve the criminal or society.
"The demand of the hour in America is for jurors with conscience, judges with
courage, and prisons which are neither country clubs nor health resorts. It is
not the criminals, actual or potential, that need a neuropathic hospital; it is
the people who slobber over them in an effort to find excuses for their crime."
- Judge Alfred J. Talley
We must also return to the premise that once convicted of a felony, a person gives
up their natural rights except those presented at the time of arrest. The right
to vote, own a firearm and file law suits are forfeited until the sentence is
up and the person is released into society once more. Many criminals make a life-time
habit of bringing to court endless law suits for such things as better books in
the prison library, different food in the cafeteria, changing to the upper or
the lower bunk in a cell, or wearing different clothes other than the designated
prison outfit. These endless law suits, about 95% of which end up being tossed
out due to lack of any merit, cost the tax payers millions per year to defend.
Society should also hold a criminal accountable for the damages they do. Retribution
to the victim or society itself should be mandated in all criminal cases. Work
programs such as the so-called "chain gangs", where criminals repair streets,
pick up trash on the roadways and maintain parks, should become the "norm". Where
have we stepped on a criminal's rights when we expect him to pay back what he
took from society in the first place? I say we have not.