REPLY #7 TO
"CRIME AND PUNISHMENT"
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) I read your essay on "Crime and Punishment" quite thoroughly and I agree
with many of your points and opinions. I especially agree with you on the
section of your essay where you talked about how prisoners have no rights for
the period of their sentence.
(MB) Thanks for your support! Now, if we can only get a few more judges, juries, and lawyers to agree with us on this....*grin*
(R) I have some questions and I am very interested in your answers...
(MB) OK, it looks like you have some good questions coming up. Let's jump right in and see how many ACLU folks can be offended in one message.
(R) 1) Do you think rehabilitation has a place in our prison system? and do you
think criminals can really be rehabilitated?
(MB) Yes, I believe that rehabilitation has a place and I do think that *some* criminals can be rehabilitated. This comes from the realization that most convicted criminals are not habitual offenders. One-time and small-time
offenders are the most likely candidates for successful rehabilitation. After
all, most of us make mistakes and deserve another chance -- taking into account
the seriousness of the offense, of course. However, rehabilitation should be a
part of the process of paying the legal price for one's crime and should not
*replace* such payment.
(R) 2) On the case of juvenile offenders: how do you feel they should be
treated? Do you think they should be treated as adult criminals or differently?
(MB) Again, this will depend on the seriousness of the offense(s) that they commit. I fully believe that any juvenile offender who commits a felony
(especially one involving a violent act) should be tried as an adult. Such
offenses go beyond the level of "pranks" and shouldn't be excused by claiming
"ignorance of youth". Better that a clear wake-up call be sent right away.
(R) 3) Do you agree with the philosophy of judicial restraint or that of
(MB) This will depend on the circumstances of each case. However, as a general rule, I favor judicial restraint. My reasoning for this is that judges are supposed to render their judgments in accordance with the laws. They are not supposed to render laws in accordance with their judgments.
(R) 4) Do you think the Jury System should change?
(MB) I think that our jury system is fine as it is. It's not perfect, of course, but I don't think that ideal can be achieved. The main problem in the system is that the necessity to have unbiased juries often results in an excess
of uninformed and ignorant people being selected.
(R) 5) Given the scarcity of resources, how would you allocate society's limited
resources between educational needs and prison needs?
(MB) Education, without any question, must take top priority. Everybody needs a good education while only a small minority of the population will ever be locked up. I also believe that improved education leads to fewer criminals. I
see little reason why many prisons couldn't be largely self-supporting.
(R) 6) What is your position on Gun Control?
(MB) This is another broad topic. First, I think that we already have plenty of gun control laws on the books. What we really need is more enforcement of existing laws rather than more laws. It's been reported many times that the
Columbine High School shooters broke at least 18 state and federal weapons laws
during their rampage. What purpose would more laws have served?
Second, I support the right to keep and bear arms. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that there should be absolute freedom to own any type of weapon that one could possibly purchase. I also would not go so far as to claim the
absolute Constitutional protection for this right. I believe that the Second
Amendment was enacted to provide the legal basis for the establishment and
maintenance of the type of citizen militias that were so instrumental in helping
to win the Revolutionary War. I don't believe that the intent of the Founding
Fathers was to enable Joe Sixpack to turn his home into a personal armory.
Third, I would support gun registration and operator licensing rather than restriction. This process should be no more invasive than what we must do to register our vehicles and be licensed to drive them. Too many gun owners have
no training in how to use the weapons correctly and safely and this leads to
many tragic accidents.
Finally, I support the right to carry a concealed weapon so long as that weapon is registered and the owner is licensed and trained. In accordance with this right, police should be able to conduct spot checks for proper registration
and licensing in the same way that they are allowed to set up checkpoints to
ensure compliance with vehicle license, registration, and insurance laws.
(R) I am really anticipating your answers and assessments regarding these
(MB) OK, here they are. Your comments?