New York State Governor Pataki appears to be hero to many who have similar knee jerk reactions to the crime problem and the responsibility of the justice system to clean up everybody else’s failures.
By that, I mean, that many people, including the Governor, see the role of judges and District Attorneys as keeping life sweet, streets safe, the economy on the rise. When a poorly educated, financially stressed, abused and neglected child grows into a dangerous psychotic, all the Governor and his admirers have to do is call out “hey you guy down in the courthouse, clean this up, execute that bum, at the very least put him in jail for life without parole”. Which course of action, of course, permits those who messed up in the first place, with peace of mind, to continue screwing more things up.
It’s like a little guy, who has his big, strong older brother along for the ride, starts a brawl in a bar, and then expects big brother – who is minding his business, trying to score points with a cute trick – to wade in and take on some bull who’s been enraged by helpless junior.
Think about it! Anti-social psychotics do not pop out of phone booths full grown and full blown. They were babies, children, went to school, sat next to some of you, in front of the same teachers, had home lives, parents, listened to clergymen give sermons, had coaches, guidance counselors, the whole works – just like real people. Only they turned out to be psychotics.
Psychos aren’t model children who suddenly have a recessed evil micro chip activated. They begin turning sour right while they’re wearing short pants and having cookies and milk at school. Only nobody did anything constructive about it to try to turn what begins to appear as a warp back onto the straight and narrow. No, too much trouble, too much work. Let it go. And they do. And, sure enough, it gets worse.
I’m sure many of you recently read about the little girl whose own mother is accused of torturing and killing her. Everybody saw and heard the problem develop right while it was happening, neighbors heard the child scream, family members heard the child beg not to be returned to the mother. Social workers saw the abuse. Who did anything about it? Nobody. Not the teachers who saw it, not the social workers, not the family.
And now, lo and behold, our hero and his constituents make tough sounds – like the little guy with the big brother in tow – you judges, district attorneys, do your job, clean this mess up, even if you just sweep the mess we made under the rug.
No. You who have the initial bite at that bad apple, you do your jobs. All of you. You parents, teachers, social workers, clergy, cops on the beat, family, friends. Don’t call for more jails. Call for more schools. Don’t call for lethal injections, call for counseling, social programs. Do you hear anyone calling out to spend the millions it takes to fuel the jail system, or to build more prisons, in order to build new schools, recruit able teachers, pay them a decent wage?
Do you know it costs as much, per year, to keep someone in prison as it does to send them to Harvard for the same year. Is our hero calling out, send them to school, educate them. No. Send them to jail, kill them.
The District Attorney, the Judge, they’re at the tail end of the line. They don’t get the psycho until he or she is a full blown problem, a problem that grew a little at a time, right under the watchful eyes of a lot of people. And if nobody had enough energy to do anything about it, how come they have so much voice to bitch and moan about why the justice system is letting down the rest of society?
Get real! Get a life. Don’t take one. Don’t watch one totally mis-directed in its formative stages, fester and putrefy. Do something else besides starting fights you need someone else to finish for you.