Last night on NPR, on the show On Point from WGBH Boston, there was an interesting conversation between a cop and a Chicago Judge regarding prison. Prison is not supposed to be a picnic, but punishment, the cop was saying. They were discussing a person who had been in jail for about six months because of a repeated petty shoplifting charge, likely in circumstances of poverty and a deficiency of beer. He then could not post bail.
What amazed me was that the cop had no idea that punishments are determined not by executive officers, but by the courts as sentences. The assumption of the police and jailers that they have the power to punish is just incredible, one of those first principles let slip as our nation declines toward tyranny. And do the police and jailers care if they themselves are violating the constitutional separation of powers and acting fundamentally illegally? Perhaps the cops and jailers were hungry that day, and could not pay their bail bondsman. If it needs now to be spelled out, the sentence is loss of liberty, not inhumane treatment while in jail. The people’s legislators would never make laws allowing for inhumane treatment, because deliberation would reveal that that is not what we are doing. So instead, the police and jailers just usurp judicial power and decide who deserves punishment and what they will inflict. Even the compassionate judge on the show was not able to set this point in words, but thrashed around for theory to justify her lack of cruelty.
Hence we say that injustice is not what cures injustice, but rather, justice cures injustice, and these unjust men are too defective to hold police powers in a free nation. Unfortunately, we do not have enough people that do understand the common sense things to keep the criminals who hurt people under control, so we have to employ other people who hurt people, once called criminals.
These cases of the hungry shoplifting and getting caught up in the system are becoming interesting. It is quite clear that a lot of money is being made by someone in this warehousing of petty thieves, because there are so many genuine criminals that there would not be room for the petty ones in an honest system. Systematic corruption is our problem, and again we call on the Attorneys General to address the systematic corruption first and the petty criminals second. These cops and judges bring a new meaning to the old terms white and blue collar crime, are rampant, and are never held accountable, as though there were a wall erected with the mortar of terror using those who would have been our public servants as their bricks. Again, we will lose a war if we do not stand up and put a stop to these things and to the slide of our nation and our public life toward tyranny. But if we do stand up, we will likely be able to weather whatever fortune throws at us. The cops and judges simply are not capable of this foresight, or we would not have the problems we are having. Every cop ought know he does not have the power to punish, nor to sentence, but that he is an executive officer, and must present those arrested to the judicial branch, bodily.