Thursday, April 20, 2006
crime and punishment
What is the purpose of penal code laws ? A society without some limitations or consequences for bad acts could be one that keeps its members in fear or exposed to danger is the bottom line. (Yet look at the Netherlands with some of the most liberal penal code laws and their extremely low crime rates.) How do you define a bad act ? What are legitimate fears or dangers ? That is where I think modern American society risks losing good members of its population. When people get unjustly punished they sometimes lose their desire to contribute positively. When people are having their lives ruined because MADD has encouraged a legal system in which anyone who drives with any alcohol on their breath despite their sobriety ends up in jail due to nonscientific tests that are designed to fail anyone who submits to them and the players (the police) who carry out these acts are rewarded for their numbers all irrespective as to whether or not the individual was actually committing a dangerous act (driving when in no condition) or not metabolically a threat to anyone (mere consumption of alcohol alone does not create menaces to society) we are going overboard. Yet we yank their driver's licenses (ability to make a living and live freely), penalize them with minimum $3k surcharges by Texas DPS (who now is in the business of making money outside of what happens in the criminal court) and load them up on probation filled with alcohol rehab classes designed for those who really have problems (not the guy or girl who responsibly enjoys drinks to enjoy life and doesn't harm themself or anyone else nor qualifies as someone in need of treatment) or worse yet imprison those who are safer drivers in their sober state (sober does not mean one cannot consume alcohol) than fatigued drivers- what are we doing except ruining people's lives in a very lasting, permanent way ?? Sadly enough, although there are plenty of DWIs that are very deserving of punishment and rehabilitation of some form the greater number of them today are just illogical carried out acts of dogmatic ideology that only aims to punish people out having a good and responsible time. I see it as retribution from those in society who are so deprived in life that they must punish anyone who has learned to really enjoy their lot in life with common sense and the simple pleasures of responsible social drinking. In modern society, the have nots who live and die by depriving themselves of everything good in some blind and misguided faith are taking out their personal shortcomings by salivating on opportunities to hurt those who are not deserving. There is nothing wrong with good, responsible fun or the letting off of a little steam to deal with the daily challenges each day presents. Those who let this get out of hand or who are irresponsible where it risks others' safety should meet responsibility in a just fashion; but a responsible society cannot punish those who drink and then drive just because others are not having as good a time in life. I think the world would be a much better place if we all used a little common sense for the good of our fellow man. It is not right to have "office policies" when it comes to DWI and treat every one and every case the same. It is not right for cops to arrest everyone who has been drinking just because they can't pass the field tests when they know the person is sober and couldn't pass them on any given day. It is not right for judges to feel that they cannot use their discretion when they have the opportunity to do so and justice demands. It is not right that prosecutors continue to prosecute drinking but sober people because their bosses say they have to(their oath is to administer justice not seek convictions in every singe case). It is a shame when the state of Texas with a budget in the red decides to make up for it by asking for ungodly sums of money (minimum of $3 to $6k per conviction) of those convicted of DWI simply because DWI arrestees are people who can pay. All we are really doing is creating a huge class of uninsured motorists on the road with no liability policies. We have a deceptive and misguided public policy campaign so powerful that no one dares to stand up to it (legislators). I have never advocated irresponsible acts of drinking and then driving nor shall I ever; but this modern witch hunt is not right and our laws and its aims must be proportionate to what is just and right- not what's popular for the day. Slavery too was once popular but that did not make it right. I truly wish that everyone just learn how to enjoy their life- take in a good bottle of wine with dinner with friends, enjoy ice cold beer with spicy crawfish at a backyard crawfish boil, raise up a martini to toast the promotions and accomplishments of life, crack open a 24 pack of Shiner Bock with friends over ribs and a pool party among the other ways of enjoying people and letting off a little steam. There is nothing wrong with abstaining from alcohol where that is one's personal choice but it shouldn't equate to a life of self denial in every regard for everyone. My favorite prosecutors, judges and cops are those that know these lessons well. They can enjoy life and it puts everything in persective including being good to people and bringing justice to the world. We all live and die, those of us who are smart are going to have fun while doing it and making others happy in the process. The older I get, the more important I find it is to have a good time..... of course responsibly ! If we were all good to people, there would not be a need for crime and punishment in the first place.