Monday, July 10, 2006

 

My Rant

I was watching Cops on Saturday. Not usually my cup of tea, but when in Danbury, do as the Danburians. Anyway, I was struck by the smug, self-satisfaction that these officers had in arresting individuals that may not (and in fact weren't) hurting anyone or posing any danger to others around them. There was one incident, in particular, that stuck with me the most.

It was this young women with her daughter. She was driving a red truck and was pulled over for being 'suspicious'. There was another individual in the car with them, and upon closer inspection there was found to be two syringes and traces of heroin in one of them. Obviously when the questions were asked one was found to be lying. The police sided with the other woman (not the one with child). To me, it appeared like the mother was in fact the most sincere, even to the point of tears, crying for the well-being of her child and told the officers the truth -- she was in fact in the neighborhood to learn how to turn tricks and make some money. Upon hearing that honesty, she was arrested and then seperated from her child. It was actually very sad to see that these officers took such a sick satisfaction in a job well done.

Obviously I am not the best judge of character, or ultimately of the best caretaker and provider for that little girl, but it is hard to believe that those officers can know what is best for anyone but themselves, at any time. To make it even worse, they justified their action by saying that "perhaps she will learn her lesson, after some time in prison and having her child taken away".

It is not just that her rights (self-conviction and improper search and seizure) were violated, but also that these sort of policing activities are commonly used. Even more so, these actions will fall predominantly on the poor and less educated, who are not even aware of their rights.

How will giving someone a wrap sheet make them better off? If they actually committed a crime, then this action might be justifiable, but even them we still have to look at the rehabilitation vs. retribution issue within the american criminal justice system. The problem with criminality (and the increasing numbers of criminals) is that they are criminals for life. They are guilty until proven innocent. Note: whether they are found to actually be guilty after the fact does not justify loss of civil liberties.

Okay, sorry about the tangent, but I was totally displeased by their actions and felt bad for the young girl and her child, whom will be in custody of the state (or already is). Of course the State knows what's best, but why not just take our children at birth, so we don't get so attached?

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