Wednesday, July 6, 2011

doing justice?

I'm no longer a smoker. I imagine if I were still a smoker, I would smoke in a variety of places where "you're not supposed to." Eventually, someone would have to arrest me, or possibly someone would just beat me up.

Why? Because in their wisdom, the people of the state have chosen to make the behavior as illegal as possible without being totally illegal, and now they will have to pay the costs of enforcement.

I heard a recent story about a man urinating behind a grocery store. Now he's classified as a "sex offender" and must register his residence for the rest of his life. I heard a story this morning about a man who visited a whorehouse and was arrested. Since he was on probation for a different offense, this violated his probation, and now he's back in prison. So, as my friend Bill from Wnnco says, now society will pay $32,000 a year to host this prisoner who heretofore had a paying job, just because he paid to get his jollies in the wrong place.

Our prisons are full. We keep building more. Isn't there someway society could begin to make better punishments and better choices than just locking up anyone who might have infracted our particular whims?


Irene said...

I agree that people are being put away for petty things. Some drug possession laws fall into that category too. I don't know how urinating in public is classified a sex offense. However, I think you are confusing the issue by mentioning smoking laws. If there was a product that killed more than half the people that used it and even some that didn't, it use would be banned completely. But, there are so many people addicted that they can't simply ban it. making it illegal won't help - how did prohibition work? The point is to minimise the risk for non-smokers and to stop young people from taking up the habit. As far as the costs of enforcement - you might also complain about enforcing drink driving laws, spped limits - other laws in place meant to protect the community.

Bill said...

As pertains to the smoking matter, the issue is quite clear; money. Enough of the 535 in Washington have been bought so that smoking will never be totally outlawed.

The other items truly need more attention. A lot of the decisions and laws are made by people in power that suddenly get a thought that "we should do something about that". The problem here is that they do not realize that people that do not think well should not think too often.

These matters such as the public urination, the "John" (Even though his name is Bob.), and other low impact offenses should be dealt with in some form of appearance tickets, fines, tether, or some other method of low impact judicial process. Instead of these continous expenditures, the government could transfer the costs of the infraction to the offender not the public. This would be like the new motto of the police departments; "Serve and protect? Hell no.. ticket and collect!"

Bud said...

Thanks for the comments. I have not smoked in more than 10 years, and whether or not that means I've escaped the horrendous consequences of having smoked at all is an open question. I shutter to think that I harmed or killed other people while smoking, but I have protected my conscience by thinking that's all nonsense.

My point was, as Bill says, whether or not in their hurry to ban that which they do not personally like, law makers go overboard and violate the rights of others. We are in such a hurry to throw people in jail when maybe what most of them need is a better education and possibly a good spanking.

Alice said...

Wait till the prisons are totally privatized and the welfare programs mostly illiminated. Crime goes up and judges get heavily pressured to impose stiffer sentences so the private owners of the prisons can collect more of our tax dollars. Won't that be peaceful fun?!

Dashmann said...

As an adamant non-smoker all these years, I was overjoyed when the workplace smoking ban was put into place. I was forced to breathe that crap for 35 years until GM decided the offices would go smoke free. If smokers had simply smoked at their desks, allowing me to avoid their noxious fumes, I could have co-existed with that, but most smokers insisted it was their right to smoke anywhere they wanted to, non-smokers be damned.
So common courtesy was legislated, since clean air people out numbered dirty air people.
The conflict is this --- I really do feel some type of compromise could have been worked out, to allow some smoking in bars instead of an outright ban.
Smoking was part of the atmosphere in some places and it seems cruel and inhumane to shove smokers outside in the Winter months. As a former engineer, I am certain most places could have accomodated both factions with a few ventilation changes.
But bars could see this legilation coming ahead of time --why didn't they head it off with a compromise solution of their own such as I have described ????

Dashmann said...

I wonder why every comment I make seems to result in a dead-end for that thread ???? I thrive on opposing rebuttals !!!!
As W used to say, " Bring Em On !!! "

Bud said...

I know you do. You thrive.

Maybe -- could you accept this possibility? -- that many times you end the thread because you have made the best argument and no one wants to tangle with you.