Last Update: 19 Mar 00
Return to "Crime and Punishment" essay
REPLY #9 TO
"CRIME AND PUNISHMENT"
(R) Again, I agree with most of what you are saying, however, have you read your Constitution lately? The rights these folks refer to are Constitutional right. Have you ever been in prison? I spent five days in a county jail for something I didn't do. I received not so much as an apology for the five days of lost freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Jail is no picnic, so I have to disagree with your "country club" arguments.
(MB) I'm not saying that all jails are the same or that it is a pleasant experience. It is also unfortunate when people are jailed incorrectly. That's going to happen if we want to vigorously pursue and punish those who *do* commit crimes. The only way to ensure that no undue jailings occur is never to arrest anybody. I doubt that the general public will go for that.
Yes, everybody has rights. However, rights are the benefits that are granted by the government to those who adhere to its laws. When one breaks that law, he has abrogated at least some of his claim to those rights in the eyes of the law. That's the main rationale behind imprisonment as "punishment". My beef with "country club" prisons is that many of them provide better lives for inmates than they would have in "free" civilian life. What sort of punishment is it to upgrade one's life when he commits a crime?
(R) I agree that the punishment should fit the crime, but let's be real. "Let a member of the victim's family pull the lever. Defray expenses by letting people pay for the right to help build the gallows?" This isn't punishment for a crime, this is vengeance.
(MB) Punishment *is* vengeance. Without the vengeance factor, it somebody stole your car, he would only be faced with returning it to you or paying for a replacement. My comments were not meant to be entirely serious, but it would be interesting to see how they would work if they were ever implemented.
(R) Call your local Police Department to find out what our legal system thinks of vengeance.
(MB) Don't confuse "vengeance" with "vigilantism".
(R) I almost guarantee that if I witness a man attacking my wife that man would not ever see trial, but if he did live to stand trial, I would accept the court's verdict and go on with my life.
(MB) As would most reasonable people. What would you do if the court offered you the opportunity to pull the lever?
(R) Sorry for the apparent harshness of the above rebuttal, but the Constitution of the United States is my "Bible," and I feel your statements attack the essence of the document.
(MB) I didn't think your rebuttal was harsh at all. I understand your concerns and also defend the Constitution (especially since I'm a military man). It's just that the Constitution provides for the rule of law and grants rights that are forfeited, in whole or in part, by society's misfits in the interest of preserving those laws and the rights of the law-abiding.
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