Bass Ackwards

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.

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