STOP TREATING SYMPTOMS; SHUT OFF THE SOURCES
14) Enact the death penalty for any violent crime, which I hereby define as child sexual abuse “and up.” Federal law. No plea bargains, no deals, and an appeals process of one year maximum. Period. The legal merry-go-round that exists today sends the message to criminals and everyone else that we as a nation are not serious about punishing those who commit the most heinous acts against others, and the cost of keeping killers and the other worst offenders housed, fed, and cared for medically is draining federal and state coffers. It has also, in the most bizarre instances, created a sick semi-celebrity status for some of these criminals (and I will deal with that issue in a moment). The other benefit of finally dealing seriously with the most serious criminals will be to remove them from the gene pool forever. Evidence is mounting that killers are wired differently mentally and physically, but whether or not that is true, the nation simply cannot afford to continue to perpetuate through future generations whatever it is that enables them to kill.
15) Make families (core family: mother-father-children) financially responsible for restitution to victims if any immediate family member ever commits not just a violent crime but any crime. Federal law. The criminal apologists, and a lot of others, will rush to the defense of families: “They cannot be responsible for everything children and other family members do.” Great. So this law will send the message that people whose idea of “parenting” is the act of conceiving children, with little thought to actually raising them, will think twice before rushing to conceive. Those who do take parenting seriously will take it even more seriously. No one in the immediate family will be allowed to walk away from mass killings because “it’s not their fault”–as the family of the Newtown gunman, who never really dealt with his mental illness and then thought it was a great idea to bring high-powered weapons into the home where he lived, is going to do. This has got to end, and the core family (although I apologize for not presenting this provision until #15) may be the most important part of the solution.
16) Eliminate or supersede laws enacted in recent years prevent the state from helping the mentally ill if they or their families “don’t want to be helped.” Federal law. These laws came about because in some instances the government was locking people away without enough consultation, in dark, sad places where there was little or no actual treatment. There is no guarantee that can never happen again, but there is so little privacy anymore, and so much media access, social and otherwise, that abuses are much more likely to be brought to light. At some point, the community must protect itself. It is about the greater good. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”***
17) Ban movie or book deals, or any form of compensation that originated from a violent crime, to the immediate family of the one who committed the crime. Federal law. I am willing to amend this part of the plan such that there is no ban if the law were written this way: that if the criminal or any immediate family member profits in any way from a violent act, they get none of the money: every dollar is split equally among the victims of the violent act. That could have a positive effect by in effect putting the criminal and his or her family to work for the victims, which I fully support. The law must also include this specific provision: that crime victims and their families are free to do anything they want, earn any amount of compensation that originated from them being a victim of a violent crime, without restriction.
Last Thoughts For Now, and Call to Action
Those who wish to solve all the world’s ills by day’s end before they head out to party on New York’s Upper East Side, or in the Hollywood Hills, are going to continue to try to sell you the same easy answers they’ve been peddling on the “news,” on TV and in movies for decades. “All we have to do it ban assault weapons, or better still, ban all guns, and it will solve everything.” I wish it were that simple. It is not. It is going to take so much more than that. I have laid out the specific actions I believe it is going to take to truly put an end to this madness, and to start healing this country.
This process of dealing harshly with those who kill or injure others, and in some cases simply eliminating them from our midst—sending them to our Creator and letting Him or Her sort them out–will be unthinkable to “criminal’s rights at all costs” apologists, and I know others as well. Yet it will in fact not only act as the strongest possible deterrent to violent crime, it will also prevent some killers and other violent criminals from helping to give birth to the next generation of violent perpetrators. Removing violent criminals from the gene pool will pay dividends immediately and from that day forward.
The only thing that is going to give us a snowball’s chance in hell of changing this hell on earth that we have collectively created–or allowed to exist–is pulling together as hard as we can with serious positive intent. If that is not the currency you deal in, as my generous Italian relatives said more times than I can count: “You’re money’s no good here.”
I welcome your thoughts.
*** Thanks to Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, and Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.