Friday, November 4, 2011

Ramsey Clar, writing in the 1990's:

There have never been people at any time in history who so clearly and abundantly possessed the potential to meet all of their problems and provide for all of their needs as do Americans today. We do not release half the energies of our people. Through technology we can build new cities – clean, ample and beautiful. We can educate, employ and fulfill all of our people. Tragically neglected processes of criminal justice can enlarge both security for society and liberty for the individual. We can find justice. The question is one of will.

It is the crimes of poor and powerless people that most enrage and frighten the affluent, comfortable and advantaged majority. Riots, muggings, robbery and rape are loathsome not only because they are inherently irrational and inhuman, but because they and their causes are so foreign to the experience of people with power that they are incomprehensible. It is the inhumane and irrational condition of the poor that finally causes some among them to commit crimes.

Society cannot hope to control violent and irrational antisocial conduct while cunning predatory crime by people in power continues unabated. Any nation that wishes to prevent crime must be conscious of the whole range of criminal activity.

White collar crime is the most corrosive of all crimes. The trusted prove untrustworthy; the advantaged, dishonest. It shows the capability of people with better opportunities for creating a decent life for themselves to take property belonging to others. As no other crime, it questions our moral fiber.

When police crime occurs, it too brutalizes. Where police protection is purchased, it corrupts. Anyone who experiences such things or believes that they happen will have little confidence in the law or its enforcement. Where can he turn? If he lives in a world of brutality he will be brutal. If he lives in a world of corruption, he will be corrupt. Police, however professional, can never hold the respect of the people when they must endeavor to enforce laws the public will not obey.

Of the many faces of crime, the most tragic is never recognized by many. Millions fall victim to the cruelest of all crimes which takes its toll in miserable, empty and wasted lives. It is the crime of power over impotence – the crime of a society that does not insure equal protection under the laws. It is a crime against people who have no rights – the crime of a society which seeks to maintain order without law. From it grows most crime of violence and much property crime.

If the law is to be enforced – and rights fulfilled for the poor – we must end poverty. Until we do, there will be no protection under the law. To permit conditions that breed antisocial conduct to continue is our greatest crime. We pay dearly for it.

Question for y'all:

Is there any relevance today in what Clark wrote then?

Is America still a land with an abundance of physical / mineral resources?

Are we nation of forgivers?

Of people who lift up those who need uplifting - the hungry? the poor? the homeless? the widow? the orphan? the pregnant teen-aged mother? the single working mother of three or more children? do we visit the prisoner? do we provide our prisoners with something to do upon release that might give them the hope of fitting into and becoming a productive member of society? do we educate ALL of our children, and not just the sons and the daughters of the incurably well off and wealthy and the comfortably well off living for the most part in those lily white (with a scattering of Asian, East Indian, and Middle-Eastern families who have risked everything coming to America to make money - because for some - and ESPECIALLY THE WELL-EDUCATED, this is a land where money can be made; where if your business fails, you can reinvent yourself, file for bankruptcy and start another one, where the law enforcement agents are paid sufficiently well that they need not resort to petty bribery to feed their families (trust me, my Muslim brothers ALL love being in this country and not having to deal with such petty corruptions - they call it the greatest country on earty - I am not so optimistic.