Saturday, September 3, 2011

Attempted Murder - Our Amazing System of Justice

As you know, I collect quotes. I have thousands of the most memorable, significant statements in human history. And none of them are homilies or worn-out anonymous sayings. But the truth is, I actually like some of those worn-out sayings, because they're so true. One of my favorites - "It's a jungle out there."

I was sitting at the kitchen table eating my flakes and blueberries and sipping my coffee and I noticed an article in the paper about a 28-year-old man who had been arrested for robbing a convenience store and shooting the clerk in the chest. I know, I know. You read articles like that yourself all the time and you've heard about incidents like this on the evening news a hundred times. So what, right? I should move on to the sports page, right?

But it happened. The clerk didn't die, so the perp won't be charged with murder. If our system works, he'll be sent to the slammer for a bunch of years.

I have two questions.

But first imagine that you're the guy with the gun. Imagine asking for the money and stuffing it into your pockets. Imagine that you point the gun at the guy's chest and pull the trigger. A loud bang and you take off. Now imagine the police cornering you and putting handcuffs on you.

Or imagine you're the clerk. Loud bang.

Pretty hard to imagine, huh? It's because even though we share a common humanity with the man with the gun, he isn't anything like you. He's a danger to you and to me.

Okay, the two questions...

1. If he would do that, what else would he do? It's a reasonable question. Think about it. Is there anything he wouldn't do?

2. What kind of system is this? Is this the kind of system you want? After he serves his time, the dangerous man will be back on the street. What else will he do? You think he'll be able to find himself another gun?

They don't pay convenience store clerks enough. It makes me want to drive an extra couple miles to the grocery store.

Memories of crimes against my family...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use image purchased from

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