Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sactuary Cities

The Bible lists at least six sanctuary cities (or cities of refuge); Golan, Ramoth, Bosor, Kedesh, Shechem and Hebron.
But why even have such cities?
Why were people given the opportunity to flee from the rule of law?

I was at another site whose host claimed that all laws were absolute and that there was no room for interpretation or leniency.
Other site hosts are of the opinion that we should "Stop Snithin'".
But there has to be a more equitable form of justice somewhere between the lawless street justice beliefs of the "Stop Snitchin'" clique and the "Break the Law -Go to Jail" beliefs of many on the right.

I'm a firm believer in Lex Rex (The Law is King).
IMO; If you break the law, you should be punished (or corrected) accordingly.
But what happens when justice isn't administered in a fair and equal manner?
What happens when one group is convicted more frequently and punished more severely?

This is why we have the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
This amendment attempts to guarantee the fair prosecution of accused criminals and a fair administering of punishment.
Is excessive punishment for one or more minority groups "cruel and unusual" if it isn't applied to another majority group?

Most people who favor a strict adherence to to law have never been beyond the sheltered walls of their limited experiences.
Most of these people will suffer the fate of those who attempted to throw stones at the harlot.
Most of these people will be judged as they have judged others.
Most of these people have never had to make a choice between doing what is legal and doing what is right.

(The following is a re-telling of a story I heard and should not be taken as evidence of any actual event or persons committing any crime.)
I once heard of a guy who returned from a night out with his boys to discover the cold dead body of the brother of a local dealer slumped over in the seat of his car.
It seemed that the dealer's brother had been shot earlier in the evening and he had been expired for a few hours in the dealers garage.

I don't like the whole Street-Pharma industry, but these guys were the better option to the less thoughtful group who would take their place.
These guys were less violent and careless in their actions.

These two brothers were locally known felons who had a reputation for violent behavior.
The older (now dead bother) was a bit of a hot-head who would act before thinking.
The still living brother would often warn his brother that he should stop creating more problems than he solved or else he would have to punish him himself.
His actions would often lead to problems for the brother's business relationships.
This night was no different.

The dead brother had a thing for the daughter of an Asian woman who ran an illegal business out of their family's corner store.
The dead brother had been warned not to involve this daughter in any of her family's dealings.
But this brother persisted.
He would often boast of his ability to do as he wished and took little heed of the warnings given by the girl's brothers or those from his own brother.

But this night - the girl's brothers saw their sister in the car of the dead brother as he was conducting his usual business.
The girl's brothers waited until their sister was safely home before opening fire on the dead brother's car as he was driving home.
Apparently, the dead brother had enough energy to drive to the home of his brother.

As the still living brother gathered the news from people on the street - he was conflicted on how to handle the situation.
Should he get his crew to kill the shooters?
Should he call the police?
Should he let the situation pass because his brother had overstepped his bounds?
Being that the still living brother was the head of an organization - his choice would have an impact on the lives of those around him.

After a few minutes of thought, the guy who remained with him at his home suggested that they cut off the head of the dead brother and deliver it to the Asian boss as a token of his respect for her authority in regards to her family and territory.
(If a body is slightly frozen before the cut is made, it will limit the amount of spilled blood and facilitate a cleaner cut.)
This action would keep his minions fearful and keep peace with his rivals.

The next day, the head was delivered back to the still living brother with a message of thanks for him taking care of the problem in-house.
The guy who stayed with the living brother called a police officer friend to explain the situation and the intent behind the decisions made in handling the problem.
The guy explained that the officer could solve the case or he could solve the problem.
Solving the case would lead to a war on the street.
Solving the problem would involve looking the other way but preventing any further bloodshed.

The friend called a local Asst. D.A. (to explain the potential case) who'd make sure no charges were filed against any of the involved parties.
This A.D.A. understood the difference between doing what lawful and doing what needed to be done.

The story isn't intended to condone the "Stop Snithin'" mindset - it is only intended as an example of when the practice has a greater value than would following the letter of the law.

Personally, I hate the whole "Stop Snichin'" movement. IMO - It hinders the ability to rule by legal means. The practice creates an environment where the criminal is given preferential treatment over the victim. Rape - call the police. Murder of a law abiding citizen - call the police. Robbery - call the police. Calling the police ensures a record of participation in the system within legal parameters. Calling the police sets up a relationship between parties that could later be used as evidence of being a law abiding citizen. This relationship is important in case one has to revert to Street Justice to solve an ongoing matter in that one would be viewed as having exhausted all legal means.

As with any situation - knowing when and how to contact the police will determine the effectiveness ones actions. This is why the accused often surrender to their lawyers. In surrendering to ones lawyer, one ensures the likelihood of a fair and equal process. If the law is so fair - why the need to allow such surrenders?

Most people who fail to report things to the police are not doing so to condone the behavior of an accused felon. Most are only doing so to protect the accused from being mistreated by a system that has a history of mistreatment.


FreeMan said...

Well Said and Explained! I was on the site of the absolute person and was the one who labeled her absolute.

I think your example shows the real decisions going on in the world of what's right and what's justice. Now the Stop Snitching thing has gone a bit to far but the reason for it's existence is exactly how you explained as means of stopping people from going to a even more unjust legal system.

The problem is people choose sides instead of choosing a solution. So it's all one way or the other and it's really just a public outcry for fairness.

uglyblackjohn said...

The difference between idea and praxis.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your explinations. It really gives me a better understanding of how and why people make the descisions they do.