Sunday, October 29, 2006

Poor Choices

This past week I have thought about how I feel about crime and the way we punish and even dispose of those individuals who commit crimes in this country. I had to ask myself if I was objective when looking at this problem. The answer I've come up with is NO, I am not.

A few months ago I was a witness to a premeditated violent crime. I was three feet away from a friend who was stabbed in the back with a steak knife taken from a restaurant that we had just been inside of. It only took moments....but at that moment.....time just slowed down to a crawl. Right now even as I think about it, things continue to move in slow motion.

The knife penetrated my friends back three different times...Once only millimeters away from his spinal cord. Another, just a shallow blow. The third punctured his lung.

I remember hearing screaming.....Was that my voice? I recall thinking my friend is being killed. I remember the flash of metal of the knife blade in the lights of the parking lot. I remember the faces of other friends as they pulled the attacker off of my friend, relieving him of his knife. I remember seeing my friend laying there bleeding.....his blood all over the hood of the car. I remember being the one to have to call his Mom. Waking her from a sound sleep to tell her that her son had been stabbed and was being life flighted to a hospital 60 miles away. I remember the sound of her voice..the fear in it.

But this isn't about me or what I felt or remember. It is about knowing that the guy who stabbed my friend had been arrested before. In fact 3 times prior to the attack. All three times during an 8 month period prior to the stabbing of my friend. That he had been arrested for drugs and assault. That on each occasion he had been arrested and then released on bond. Which is why he was out walking freely the night he decided to stick a steak knife in my friend.

The simple fact that this man in question, the attacker...was at home with his family before my friend even was able to leave the hospital from his injuries was offensive to me. The fact that this man shows no remorse or guilt for what he's done.

Proof of that is the way he walked into a store while my friend standing at the counter paying for his purchases...He walked up behind my friend, getting as close as he can get with out touching him and stands there. Almost as if daring my friend, his former victim to say something...to react in some way. That is not a man who has remorse or feels guilt over what he's done. That is a man who's saying "I'm walking around free what are you going to do about it"? Knowing all to well that there is nothing that we can do to him or about him. He's laughing at us. At this system.

So am I objective about crime and punishment?? The answer would be..... NO I AM NOT.

I believe that most of the people in our prison system right now deserve to be there. I also believe that most were given multiple chances to straighten out before being locked up for good. So no, I have no sympathy for those behind bars. Its not a question that they may have made bad choices. Of course they did....they are in prison. Maybe there are even those individuals who have remorse for what they have done.

But you know what? Most of us go out into this world every single day and we make a choice to abide the law and not to commit a crime. We may want things, but we don't just take them if they aren't ours. We have people who make us angry and we make a choice not to pick up a weapon as a response to that anger.

So forgive me if I don't feel all touchy feely over someone else's poor choices. Or the need to give each individual a "do over card" because they made a that poor choice. I don't give a damn about your poor choices. YOU were more than likely taught the difference between right and wrong just as I was. YOU probably knew before you did whatever it was, that it wasn't the right thing to do. YOU knew, but you did it anyway. You got behind the wheel of that car after drinking....You took drugs or sold them...You took something that didn't belong to you.....You hurt another person because you didn't like them or were angry. What ever your reason for what you did...YOU DID IT. You made the choice to screw up your life. Deal with the consequences of it.

I have made my share of mistakes in my life. Luckily for me..none of them have been bad enough to land me in jail. But having said that, even I have some family members on my all too colorful family tree that have first hand knowledge of a jail cell...I have one family member that's even spent time in prison. Did I like it that this happened to them? No. Did each of them do something to deserve being in jail? YES THEY DID. They broke the law. I knew it..they knew it. Did I have sympathy for them being in jail..NOPE.

YES I felt disappointed that they made a poor choice. That the were stupid enough to get themselves arrested. I suppose there was even a part of me that wished that they had actually used the few brain cells God had given them and weren't out doing bone headed things. Things that not only hurt them...but their families as well. But the bottom line is...they didn't think..they did it..and they deserved to be where they were.

There is NO such thing as a victimless crime. Because as a tax payer as a citizen..each time someone makes one of those "poor choices". I pay for it. I pay for it by having a prison built in my back yard. I pay for it with my taxes, that house, feed, entertain and even educate that prisoner. I pay for it by having to lock up everything I own so that no one takes it from me. I will pay for it by not being able to let my future children play outside by themselves in their own neighborhood. That those same children cant go to school with out walking past a metal detector. That they cant wear backpacks any longer, just in case someone wants to bring a gun to class. I pay for it when I cant even go out to have breakfast at night with a group of friends without one of them ending up in the hospital.

Do you want to know the truth? I'm tired of paying for it!!! When are the people who make good choices going to matter more than the ones who don't?

WHEN ARE THE VICTIMS GOING TO MATTER MORE THAN THE CRIMINALS?

19 comments:

Hulabelly said...

OH MY GOSH are you okay? That's awful!!

Really? Are you okay?

Jen said...

hulabelly
Yes Im ok. More importantly so is my friend. Although..I will admit it bothers me that this person is walking around free. It bothers me because hes not a rational thinking person.

I have to ask myself..when he does this again. And he will..will the next time be with a gun? If so..who will that gun be pointed at?

Adrian said...

SHOOT EVERY CRIMINAL DEAD.

Bastards.

Mamabear said...

Sorry Hon---that is truly horrible. And that is the reason the world is in its current demise.

Bullies of the world. It is oh so sickening.

Good, peaceful ppl have to fight back. Have to reach inside to become what even they do not want to be.....or, be dead. If it is me or them....I would choose me.

Were it me I'd most likely go to a range get proficient on targeting a weapon, get a permit to carry with the blessings of the police dept. (with the reason why in ink) and not live in fear.

Letters would go to all my relatives, my insurance agent, the court system......you name it. Telling them that I am in fear of my life and why...statements and every incident documented.

We can no longer be protected by the police, every citizen is on his own and must take his safety into his own power.

What is the alternative?

To me to live in fear is to be dead already.

And maybe I didn't get it from the story. But why is this guy out on the street again?

I would make sure alllllllll my elected officials were aware of this travesty of justice. From local to state. So's the next time this guy so much as twitches it's the Klink for him. He needs to get bullied by some stronger. It is the only thing types like that understand. Power and the applied use thereof.

Agree with Adrian on this one.

Mamabear said...

In direct answer to yer question "when will the victims matter more than the criminals" I say this.

They will matter more when they are loud, vocal, pissed as hell, and put their time into the system and hold it accountable. You MUST be proactive in yer own safety, get educated, ask for advice. Get a lawyer, know the law. Maybe a restraint order can be issued.

Do not be cowed by this rotten apple. Turn and confront. STOP! As scary and confrontational as it is, it must be said.

I am not in this situation so I realize this not being my reality words come cheap. However, doing nothing invites more disaster not less. Darkness must be confronted and stopped. Or we all lose.

I am so sorry for yer friend and for yer loss of innocence at such a young age. Prayers of strength and courage to you and yer friend.

The prayer that I say daily and got E thru a war-zone will now be said for you and yer friend and I shall pour my energy and spirit into it. Have faith. The world is not all darkness......

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May
God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, oh Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and the other evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Amen.

Faith drives out fear. There are strong spiritual forces working in yer behalf. Believe it.

Love to you and yer friend.

Jen said...

Adrian
Unfortunatly..this guy isnt even considered a criminal until hes convicted of something.

And from the looks of things who knows when or if that will ever happen.

Maybe he actually has to kill someone before he can be kept in jail for good.



mamabear
I dont disagree with not letting someone bully or intimidate you. But there are people out there in this world who arent right...They dont think or feel the way rational people do.

This is the type of guy who wouldnt stop and think Hmmmmm they dont want me around. This is the kind of guy who if hes pushed pushes back harder. He had a knife the last time..in a public place. Whats to keep his coked up ass from taking a gun to someone the next time?

With a gun, you dont even have to get close..all you have to do is drive by.

And as much as I hate this feeling and this position..I am not ten feet tall and bullet proof.

Mamabear said...

I know Hon, I know. It just made me so mad I had to vent a bit.

Don't really know what I'd do either.

Mad as hell would prolly get me dead.

exMI said...

Attacks like that are why sometime sit is a good thng to be carrying a gun. Two or three qucik bangs and he is off the street for good. At little or no cost to the taxpayer either.

Anonymous said...

What you're saying is exactly why I have no problem with "prejudice" on a jury. Every person takes life experiences with him into every decision he makes. The victim of a crime should have the right to influence a jury. And if someone was a victim of a different crime, their experience should only make them more qualified to understand and interpret.

Jen said...

mamabear
I know exactly how you feel. I am still angry everytime I think about it.


exmi
I have no problem with someone carrying a gun if they know how to use it.

But having a gun and actually pulling the trigger are two different things. I have wondered often if I would be able to not just point but shoot another human being.

Maybe at that point if your feeling threatened you dont think..you just do it.

But then I have to also wonder..is that the best way to be firing a gun at another human being..with no thought just lots of adrenalin.


Lia
How can a person live in this world and not form some sort of opinions or thoughts on things. Unless you live in a cave or on a deserted island we all have preconceived ideas or views based on our own life experiences.

The idea of non prejudical jury..is silly. All they can do..is try and be objective and not let there personal feelings interfer with the facts they are presented with each case.

And even still.. we are humans..can anyone really do that completely?

exMI said...

OH yes Jen, if you have any doubt about your ability to pull the trigger when faced with the need DON'T carry the gun. Doubt and hesitation willge the gun taken from you and you will be a victim. Adrenalin is a lousy determiner of need because you are shaking scared and can't AIM. Practice, practice , practice. And when the time comes pull, aim, shoot. Talk and think later.

Joshua said...

YEAH! Great post, Jen. And just in time for elections too! I'm glad that I'm a conservative Republican or else I'd really be nurseing some bruised balls over that little diatribe.*grin* Sock it to 'em, kiddo!

Adrian said...

(sigh)

Make me Supreme Commander of the World and this guy is TOAST.

mamabear said...

Next time you go to dinner with yer friend invite E along. I'm sure he has been trained in the 111 ways to kill (oops, I mean hurt) bad guys. And since coming back from Iraq he has the "edge".

His hand wouldn't shake and he would not have to think too hard. His reaction would be instantaneous, like a cough or a sneeze. Viseral and attending.

Problem. Solution.

Well, it suits my injustice mood to contemplate the downfall of one soooo vile.

Stay safe. Great post. What would one do when confronted with such evil?

Anonymous said...

i'm with adrian...

shoot em'

Megan said...

I'm a liberal democrat and I still agree with you on this. I'm sick of those shows that show the prisoners whining about how they are treated and how bad prison is. I mean, DUH.

What I really hate are the ones who are like, well we're poor we have to steal/sell drugs/etc for money. There are a lot of poor people who never broke the law and never hurt anyone else.

This guy you are talking about though sounds like a total nutjob and they need to lock him up and throw away the key.

JgStephan said...

Jen, you know already my thoughts about this topic and I agree totally with Adrian, shoot every criminal dead!

Some years ago I was at a party in the city Hamburg and I drunk some beer, therefore I had to drove with the bus and not with my car. I was alone at the bus stop, three muslim guys(I think Turks) walked along. They yelled Nazi and other things to me and I said I'm not a Nazi and I didn't want trouble. I have thought it's better when I reverse, but then the three guys hit me in the back. They tried to steal my cell phone etc. and hit me several times. They had also a knife but they didn't stab me. They throw me in the window of the bus stop and the glas shiver. I bleeded out of several wounds on my head and hands.
I drove with the bus into my city and walked to the hospital. The doctors removed many splinters out of me. I hate such criminal guys...

The German laws are even worse than the American laws. A murderer get nearly 10 till 12 years prison in Germany and sometimes he can leave the prison even earlier. 10 year for kill a poor human, hurt all family members and friends...I can't understand such laws! Again and again you can read horrible stories in our newspapers. A guy raped and killed two little childs and after 18 years he could leave the prison. The psychologists said he's healed...two months later he raped and killed a 8 year old girl. Kill such criminal scum, that's my opinion!

In the moment are Florida's laws in our news. When somebody come into your house and try to hurt you, you could shot him. The people here in Germany think this is self-administered justice and very bad. I think it's a good law, you can protect yourself and family members when a criminal would like to do bad things.

Drew said...

First off, I must say that is a terrible thing to go through, and I hope your friend is alright, and I hope you can get past that horrible experience.

"shoot every criminal dead..."

huh. okay, yeah, I have been arrested, and no, while it wasn't a violent crime I wasn't wrongfully arrested. It wasn't in the U.S.

My point is, I do not do what I was arrested for any longer.

Maybe I'm the liberal of the bunch, which is funny, because for my personal life, I'm usually in agreeance with all of you. But why are we showing that murder and violence is wrong, by using violence and murder. I agree, there are criminals who should be prosecuted, and stopped. And releasing them is hard for victims. But who is going to pay for all these criminals to be jailed?

We must look at the problem of the cost of keeping criminals. It is more expensive than most are willing to pay, and there are not enough prisons. Oregon is having a huge problem with this. But if someone wants to raise taxes, everyone screams and throws fits. In the end, these issues often boil down to money.

just my 2cents. cheers.

Adrian said...

DREW: When I refer to criminals, I mean the REAL criminals. Murderers, rapists, and paedophiles- the REAL bastards of society.

I suppose this is because I come from a violent country and one that has experienced a soar in the crime rate with the abolition of the death penalty. And I apologise for not expressing myself more clearly in thisinstance and apologise for causing any offence.

Now to respond to what you asked:

"But why are we showing that murder and violence is wrong, by using violence and murder?"

This is one that can easily be answered. Its because:

A DEAD MURDERER, RAPIST OR PAEDOPHILE CANT MURDER, RAPE OR ABUSE EVER AGAIN.

And thats a guaranteed success rate thats a whole lot cheaper and assuring than a reform system.

And it only gets better. Because guess what? The price of a bullet is a lot cheaper than a life time of rent for these savages to live it up in a State Prison.

So I guess thats TWO PROBLEMS SOLVED with ONE solution.