Read an interesting 'human interest' story about crime in our society at a personal level. Find out how the 'moral high ground'of the liberal ideas of the past can give way to new ideas that are based upon compassionate conservative thinking that deals with life as it is in practical ways rather than as we want it to be in idealistic ways that provoke programs that fail.
Compassionate Conservatism and crime
or How to be practical with the losers in society
By Richard R. Tryon
Among the many reasons that so-called Liberal Democrats have claimed the ownership of the so-called ‘moral high-ground’ in American politics is the incessant claim that only the liberals care for the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden or otherwise disadvantaged folks of America. Claiming that the opposite political group is full of conservative characters who have it made for themselves and do not have any interest in sharing their wealth or position with any of the above afflicted persons. Truly, they claim, the Democrats care for the poor and they are prepared to invoke all sorts of programs aimed at solving any and all social problems as perceived by their own think-tank experts or by any special interest pressure group that claims to be somehow given the ‘short-end’ of the economic or any other stick.
When the do-gooders address the problem of crime, they easily find that far too many in jail are minority victims of racist judicial activity. That is not to say that our system can’t make mistakes or that it can’t do it more easily with some groups than others for even racist reasons. Yet, the mistakes should not cause us to panic and let all criminals go free. True, we need to always strive to make sure that the police and the courts apply the laws in a proper manner even when the accused often easily fit into far too familiar patterns.
Over zealous prosecutors need to be carefully watched and taken out of their position of trust when it is shown that they disregarded the rights of the accused. As an evidence of how such courts work in northern Michigan, I recently visited a Criminal Court in which a trial was taking place of unusual personal interest.
I went because someone had given me a report that castigated Hillary Clinton for her role in the late 1960s, when she worked hard to free and rehabilitate several zealous and overly coercive members of the Black Panthers. I paid attention to it because her role in her early years has not been much advertised. Here is what the letter said:
“Forgotten Facts ?? (Conveniently)
Back in 1969 a group of Black Panthers decided that a fellow black panther named Alex Racily needed to die. Rackley was suspected of disloyalty.
Rackley was first tied to a chair. Once safely immobilized his 'friends' tortured him for hours by,
among other things, pouring boiling water on him. When they got tired of torturing Rackley, Black
Panther member Warren Kimbo took Rackley outside and put a bullet in his head.
Rackley's body was later found floating in a river about 25 miles north of New Haven, Conn.
Perhaps at this point you're curious as to what happened to these Black Panthers.
In 1977, that's only eight years later, only one of the killers was still in jail. The shooter, Warren
Kimbro, managed to get a scholarship to Harvard. He later became an assistant dean at Eastern Connecticut State College.
Isn't that something? As a '60s radical you can pump a bullet into someone's head, and a few years later, in the same state, you can become an assistant college dean! Only in America!
Erica Huggins was the lady who served the Panthers by boiling the water for Mr. Rackley's torture. Some years later Ms. Huggins was elected to a California School Board.
How in the world do you think these killers got off so easy? Maybe it was in some part due to the efforts of two people who came to the defense of the Panthers.
These two people actually went so far as to shut down Yale University with demonstrations in defense of the accused Black Panthers during their trial.
One of these people was none other than Bill Lan Lee. Mr. Lee, or Mr.Lan Lee, as the case may be, isn't a college dean. He isn't a member of a California School Board. He is now head of the US Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
O.K., so who was the other Panther defender?
Is this other notable Panther defender now a school board member? Is this other Panther apologist now an assistant college dean? No, Neither!
The other Panther defender was, like Lee, a radical law student at Yale University at the time. She is now known as The "smartest woman in the world."
She is none other than the Democratic candidate for the US Senate from the State of New York----our lovely First Lady, the incredible Hillary Rodham Clinton.
And now; as Paul Harvey says; you know (the rest of
I passed the story on to a number of people. One of them that responded said:
“Thanks for sharing . . . I'm one of Hillary's biggest fans and support the idea in America that people can move beyond dastardly deeds to become contributing members of society . . . let's hear it for compassion and forgiveness. You might want to remove me from your mailing list since I have zero interest in this type of information or judgment.”
I hoped you would respond as above! It was not surprising to me for many reasons. So, I write again to share a personal experience and ask your advice.
This morning I spent an hour in Court watching a 23 years old young man confess to a crime that would put him back in prison for stealing a car from a repair shop in Honor, MI. Who would do that in a town with a wonderful name of Honor? His name is David Michael Duty, a man who never learned what his name means or that of his town either because he dropped out of school after the sixth grade.
His lawyer stood alongside the young man in the orange jump suit with a chain around the waist connected to the handcuffs and asked the Court to allow him bail so he could go live in the next county with his mother and try to get some education so he could find a job. The Judge did not tend to believe the man for his record is full of lies. He lost his credibility long ago.
The man spoke to the Court and explained that it was after six pm and he was trying to get from Honor to Frankfort- about twelve miles away to get some drugs (the illegal kind) and when he found a car on the lot of the auto repair shop with a key in it, he figured he could borow it for a few hours and nobody would know he had done so.
Unfortunately, he was half collapsed behind a gas station in his drugged euphoria when a squad car came into view with officer Sowa in it. A wild chase began and ended with the car spinning out after leaving the road and running through some small trees. Damage to the body is $800 and the mechanical damage is unknown as yet.
As a Compassionate Conservative, I wondered how my liberal instincts could be aroused to help this lad who stole my car? Keep in mind that being conservative does not mean that you can’t consider new ideas. You just have to measure them against what you have learned in the past. I wondered if I could give him an old laptop computer and expect him to find a way to get a new start in life?
The arresting officer explained later that the above story was a 'smoke-screen' and that the man's mother didn't want him any more. So, it is up to the state to rehabilitate him as it had failed to do in the past five years in prison. The officer admitted to his bias, caused by dealing mostly with such failures and never seeing any cases of profound success. While the record clearly shows that the liberal programs have not eliminated poverty or crime and certainly have produced many cases of hopes to rehabilitate that have failed, they have reason to ask the compassionate conservative- what do you have to offer that is any better?
I can not find any sure way to save this man. He will not have a chance until he decides on his own that he alone can provide the motivation to learn. I intend to send him a copy of this letter (through the Judge) in hopes that he may have a way to respond through the Judge.
If he has a personal determination to turn his life around, he will have to first rid himself of the curse of illegal drugs and alcohol and probably cigarettes as well. Then he will have to reach out and find a church that is willing to provide the personal and loving care that his parents probably never provided, or did not know how to teach the man what God wants him to do with his life. We are working with a similar case in our local parish with a man who lost his wife, got out of prison and wants to support two children. We think we have a chance to succeed, but the odds are not good.
So, you see, while I, as a Compassionate Conservative, can understand and by sympathetic with the problem of this man, I have a realistic need to recognize that it is hard to see further investment in efforts to try to force his rehabilitation, no matter how great it would be for society to have him as a productive citizen. Prisons are an unfortunate answer, not an excuse for our failures to make everyone productive, mostly just a storage place to put them. However, history has shown that unless we operate with a preponderance of self supporting and responsible individuals, we are doomed to fall into a state of slavery, where an indifferent state takes care of us according to the dictates of the system.
Prisons today may seem like an entitlement to some. You get fed, get medical care, and exercise. You may get abused if you are not tough, because the guards may not care to interfere and take a personal risk to save you. If you can get past that and find a way to learn, you may find a way to get a late start in life, but your chances are not nearly as good as they were to start.
Compassionate Conservatives, do not need to confuse the desirability of avoiding abortion with the desire to allow those who have no way to help their children make a tough choice. Unfortunately some get confused by the easy mistake of believing that the Bible is absolute on this and many other subjects. What is absolute is that God exists and we need to keep our love of him in place at all times. It may mean that we have to sometimes lock up our mistakes when they appear to endanger innocents.
If we can ever find a way to eliminate the idea that God and State need to be so separate as to ignore Him or look like He is not important to a man controlled world, we may be able to find the way to instill in our schools a teaching that commands a moral obedience that eliminates crime and stupid acceptance of a life without meaning...just drugs and indolence. I can remember that type of school. Nobody told us we could not read the Bible and pray every day in class, and it did add to our motivation as well as our tendency to have respect for our teachers.
If you can help me devise a better answer, please let me know.”
Without a sense of personal responsibility it is hard to see how most, who fail so badly, can be helped. Obviously, Hillary Clinton had faith in some intellectual friends who were pretty radical, but not so dumb as to be unable to perform. They worked out their anger and found themselves. Perhaps Hillary deserves some credit for knowing these people so well that she could forgive them and help them get the right chance to turn themselves around. Unfortunately, she wants to think that she can save many more if she can just have the money to spend to make her programs work.
Probably they are a lot more reserved now than when they so callously eliminated friends misperceived as not being with the program. Communists have made this type of mistake and the words of David Horowitz in “”Politics of Bad Faith” testifies to it.
So, what conclusions can a compassionate conservative reach from a study of these conflicting reports?
The most important one is to recognize that the battle to save the future of so many of our nation’s young people is lost early in their young lives when they are far too often born as the by-product of a sexual relationship that had little to do with the effort of a loving couple that wanted to conceive and care for a baby. Relief from this problem starts with better education that is coupled with a societal understanding that relates to the moral laws of the ages. That they happen to be tied up with many religions of the ages is no accident.
Somebody learned a long time ago that incest is a bad idea. Others learned that you don’t encourage youthful promiscuity and you should not tolerate it among adults either. Sure, we fail and sin, but that does not make it right unless you revoke all ancient moral law because of the mood of the present time.
We have been brain-washed to think that separation of church and state means that only secular morality is needed- laws that are basically created by man as evidences of a system of value judgments or trade offs. If you don’t kill me, I won’t kill you type of thinking. These secular laws of convenience have no absolute moral weight and when the opportunity comes to disobey, who will care if you are dead and I am alive? Situation ethics is a dangerous game.
Yes, we must find ways to limit population growth of children that have next to no chance to become productive citizens. I think I saw one of them in Court. Yet, I would like to think that someone can reach him in a way that will work. But, it is probably too late for that one. It is not too late for those to be born in the future. Compassionate Conservatives need to spend money to help reduce the ways that too many can grow up so poorly, but we may also have to find ways to save many of the healthy ones from being the victims of those that just need cash to feed their drug habit.
Update of Oct 5, 2000
Would you believe that the Court is now scheduling the sentencing of one David Duty on Oct 12th. The crime was committed in early August. The Court has informed me that I am entitled as the legal victim to attend and even to address the guilty defendant.
Here is what I plan to say:
“To: Judge James Batzer October 12, 2000
Your Honor, I understand that I am here today because the law entitles me to be here and also to speak these words to the man who has plead guilty to one of the charges leveled against him- namely the “unlawful use of a motor vehicle”. This happened because he was apprehended in possession of my automobile at the end of a chase from Frankfort, MI toward Benzonia on St. route 115 on August 28, 2000.
At no time, following the arrest, do I recall that anyone asked me, if I wanted to press charges against Mr. Duty. I was called by the arresting officer at my home on the evening in which the crime occurred. I was informed that since I had not given permission to use my car, nor had my son of the same name done so from his home in KY, that the state would press numerous charges. It did and now today it is your task to sentence Mr. Duty. I do not object.
The law seems to also entitle me to suggest what punishment would fit the crime, as though somehow this is one of the Ten Entitlements that I should consider rather than the Ten Commandments that have governed my life. I wrote to your associate Judge Danielson, your Honor and noted that considering that I was unaware of the crime, not inconvenienced by the loss of its use, and suffered no physical mental or other great stress, I wondered if a penalty might not be constructed that could help the guilty man ‘earn’ his way back into society without spending a lot of time in prison? I noted that the Episcopal Church in Beulah had recently taken to helping a man just out of prison with two small children, and wondered if a similar ‘wrap-around’ program could be considered for Mr. Duty?
The Platte Valley repair shop in Honor, home town of Mr. Duty, has elected to pay all costs required to restore my car to the condition in which I delivered it to them to repair a faulty windshield wiper motor switch in the dash board. It has taken several thousand dollars of time and parts to do so as the theft somehow also contributed to the loss of a door panel, that had been removed to fix a second problem with a window lift motor. Finally, it turns out that the chase caused my car to be driven so hard that by the time it spun out in a field after hitting several small trees , that it sustained some $800 worth of body damage and the transmission also failed under the stress! None of this includes the cost to the state for these proceedings, not to mention the costs of incarceration, etc.
So, it is easier for me to speak these words to let Mr. Duty know that he caused some significant costs, not so much to me, but to others. I would hope that he is contrite, apologetic and remorseful. The words that I have heard from Mr. Duty when he spoke in this Court to you explained what happened. I don’t recall any sign of remorse or apology, although it may have not been the moment to expect such.
That leaves me as a’ political conservative’ free to condemn and encourage a long sentence, so as to remove Mr. Duty from society. My more liberal friends would have encouraged me to write the letter to Judge Danielson, your Honor, that I did, in hopes that you might release Mr. Duty to some program aimed at rehabilitation and even a chance for him to work and make restitution. That letter marked me as a ‘compassionate conservative’. I also noted, however, that you professionals in practicing law and dealing with criminal problems generally know better than I do, when to lock up someone and make them serve time as a punishment without much likelihood of rehabilitation; and when to sense a chance to avoid the productive loss to society of another of God’s children, if some more productive alternative seems to be worth trying.
I remain unable to make any suggestion to the Court, but I did want to appear in order to offer to Mr. Duty an avenue that may contribute to his future well being in ways not available in a prison. If he wants to correspond with me, he can do so, if such is allowed, via mail to me c/o the Frankfort MI P.O. I have no idea, as I stand here, how this may come to help Mr. Duty, should he somehow gain again his freedom and present himself to society as one ready, willing and able to take his place as a good working citizen. If he does so, however, I would like to be able to know that it happened. If it does, it will be because he was willing to order himself, to take control of himself, and to be responsible for himself. If he needs any further encouragement from me, he will have to ask for it. I will listen and wait.
In summary, it seems to me that Mr. Duty allowed his quest for the ‘drugs’ in Frankfort, as he gave as his reason to risk an ‘unlawful use’ charge, to direct his mind into a very poor decision when his own car broke-down. I do not wish to condone either Mr. Duty or the society which encourages illegal sale of drugs to customers, who lose their innocence and become addicted to the pursuit of a false but seemingly temporary pleasure. Nor do I scream for retribution.
I have no idea if Mr. Duty cares about his future enough to work to become a productive member of society; or if he simply is looking for a way to ‘live-out’ his life as a ward of the State. I am not sure that even he knows, so it will not surprise me if he has to spend some time in prison to pay the penalty for this mistake. If so, I will at least pray that he finds a way to use such time to focus on learning the skills that can keep out of a need to depend upon incarceration as the only life support system that he can manage.
I thank you, your Honor, for allowing me this time.”
Can any liberal claim that this compassionate position is just not enough? Yes, I am sure that many will put the spin on the story to charge that the crime would never have been committed if only the schools had enough money to have hired still more teachers to help this young man learn that ‘secular humanism’ could have given this man when he was a child a way to learn to be less aggressive and more responsible; to have avoided the siren call of drugs and who knows what else that happened just because his mother lacked a husband, etc.
The good news is that some of my liberal friends are beginning to admit that the “Great Society” didn’t work. Others know that all that was missing was the right leaders and of course, enough taxpayer dollars to redistribute so that nobody would have to steal a car to get their fix.
Update of Oct. 12, 2000
The Court met at 4:30 p.m. and the Judge sentenced Mr. Duty after a long consideration of such factors as his age, prior prison record and even my letter. It was a bit of a surprise that the sentence was to more probation with 14 months in the County Jail- a much better place than the State prison where he already spent five years on a two year sentence! Seems that he did not get along well with other prisoners with sexual needs that he did not want to accommodate. At about 5'6' and 125#s, Mr. Duty found solace in the 'hole' for bad prisoners! Yet, he found every drug known and smoked something every day. Alcohol was apparently available as well.
The Court sensed a slim chance that Mr. Duty would like to do what he said...upgrade his fifth grade education and learn to like himself and then learn how to respect others.
I have no doubt but that he did intend to return my car to where he found it- not far from where he was born and raised as the fifth of the children to a woman of the Grand Traverse Tribe, who apparently also suffers from the same substance problems as does this son. With several programs in mind, the Judge was rather lenient although he allowed that the Legislature seems disposed to not wanting to spend the taxpayers money to care for these apparent failures in society. Perhaps it also wants to avoid sending any cases with small hope back into the maw of the organized mob that controls the state prison life.
We of Benzie County may come to blame the Judge or praise him depending upon what Mr. Duty learns about his name and place in our society. I personally took a bit of a position of Christian hope and more than a little charity. I hope he does not have to disappoint us.
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