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Reining in the Pursuit of Selfishness - Part 2

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The Pursuit of Sefishness - Part 1

Freedom without personal responsibilities and social obligations leads to chaos. The orneriness and perversity that result from an individual's independent search for happiness by abusing drugs and alcohol, defying social norms, resisting discipline, invading the privacy of others, and ignoring common sense are tearing apart the social fabric of America and the world. The political, the religious, the greedy, and the other irrational fanatics with power are undermining all human efforts to make social progress.

It's the members of the lunatic fringe, the plus and minus third standard deviates from the mean, who are the frightening troublemakers. The tyranny of small groups who are vocally and actively defiant is conveniently overlooked or tolerated by our leaders. The unreasonable adversity of these groups is preventing us from finding solutions to problems that demand sensible negotiation and an honest evaluation of the consequences of any selected action that benefits the vast majority of citizens.

Yet, who are the objects of the National Security Forces? The average Joe and Jane who flies the "friendly skies." Because these security forces lack compatibility and have refused to unite their efforts in identifying the potential perpetrators and actual scofflaws, we spend billions of dollars checking the law-abiding, the harmless, and the loyal citizens. Precious little seems to be accomplished by authorities in identifying those who are likely to be disturbed, commit heinous crimes, and require treatment or perpetual isolation until it is too late. In Marin County there is a security check before citizens can visit the area segregated for those summoned to traffic court.

No one in the general public is taught the signs of a threatening personality. And when there are telltale indications which might concern the wary and suspicious, there is little that can be done legally, because no crime has been committed yet. No one wants a KGB mentality to take over the politics of America, but maybe it is time that we pursue the folks who are potentially dangerous, who have committed crimes in the past, and who vocally disdain "the system." Our concentrated surveillance should be on the suspicious, the self-proclaimed saviors of the world, and the members of radical groups that seek to change our lax culture, be they political, religious, or environmental kooks.

These crazy people think that they have God on their side, the Constitution behind them, and the support of the mindless and manipulated. But no one in their right mind wants his "normalcy" interrupted by wild and aggressive demonstrators for minor grievances. There are means to settle disputes and disagreements, except that this takes time and leaders who understand when the abuse of privileges must be rectified. That's asking a lot from elected officials, who rely on the campaign contributions of the wealthy and powerful, to mete out justice and listen to reason.

A young adolescent I know "heard" about a plan to paper his home and yard with toilet paper. He was either too intimidated or too innocent to report this to authorities, who might not have done anything anyway. Tattling on schoolmates and neighbors is frowned upon in our modern society, but using scurrilous information discretely just might prevent serious criminal acts like the shootings in schools. Some school administrators physically check for guns and knives being brought into the school yard, even when everyone knows that guns don't kill children, people with disturbed minds do.

Right or wrong, the public mental health care activities in America are the least prepared for criminal minds according to reports in our local newspaper. Money has been siphoned away for mental health care and therapy. The "acceptable" care of our troubled youth today is the stabilization of the anti-social behavior of the mentally ill adolescent by prescribing self-administered drugs. Some psychotic individuals are not identified until they have committed some horrendous crime against the "defenseless." Then the first thing a court orders is a sanity evaluation of the alleged criminal's mind.

With such a wide variety of out-of-control personalities selfishly pursuing some illusive form of continuous happiness or "sick" pleasure, it is no surprise that everyday we read about some bizarre behavior that shocks us. These exceptions to so-called normal behavior seem to indicate that there are many more weirdos "out there" among us than we could ever suspect. But it only takes a very few kooks to keep us off balance and afraid of what might happen to us next.

We certainly can't afford to screen everyone who demonstrates eccentric behavior, but a Kook Registry might help us prevent some future serial crimes or terrorist activities. And perhaps help the police trace suspects who had revealed to their more conscientious fellow citizens an obvious propensity for odd and unacceptable behavior. If all the people named in this Kook Registry were not permitted to fly, for example, think of how many flag burners, rap singers, and overly active demonstrators would not be permitted to board a commercial jet airplane.

To have an efficient Kook Registry, we would have to change the culture somewhat in America. People would be encouraged to report what their friends say and how often their politically incorrect statements are uttered in private. Why have all those screeners taking up space in airports looking for cigarette lighters and nail clippers, when these dedicated, uniformed security experts could be checking out serious allegations about subtle threats to the welfare of Americans?

There would be many more jobs for psychiatrists and sophisticated mental health care professionals to treat the demons that are driving the "lunatic fringe" to commit crimes. The police would be pro-active instead of re-active. Our court system would be empowered to judge the intent before the crime instead of after the crime. For example, financial rewards for information leading to the capture of drug dealers and prostitutes would take these folks with criminal intent off our streets.

To aid the efficiency of this improved approach to the security of our law-abiding citizens, we also need to change our thinking about the prison palaces that abound for criminals like Martha Stewart. These must be less humane and more like the dungeons of the past where the evil perpetrators were chained to bare rock walls in dank cells and fed foul smelling starvation rations. They should be over-crowded like prison ships and concentration camps, where human survival is always doubtful. Tolerable barracks for the potential recidivist is not the answer.

Nothing should enter these prisons except food and cold water. No drugs, cigarettes, condoms, soap, toilet paper, tooth paste, and other common amenities should be allowed. Two issues of cheap cotton uniforms should be sufficient. One being washed by the prisoner while the other is being worn. The leisurely long term sentences that are so costly could be reduced to shorter sentences because the survival rate in such conditions is not likely to be more than five years.

Capital punishment could be eliminated which would please the Europeans and those Americans who fear to take a life of the most disgusting assassin. Assisted suicide should be considered as an option to further reduce the cost of housing these incorrigibles. The cost of rehabilitation would be minimal and recidivism would become a thing of the past. The social benefits of putting away these useless criminals in such gruesome conditions would include more tax cuts for the overtaxed as well as safer cities and school yards.

Studies of the Turkish prison system might prove helpful because life expectancy in their prisons is about two years for an American who is incarcerated in Turkey. Prison guards might be allowed all the steroids necessary to bulk up. Homosexuality could be minimized in prison with solitary confinement being the punishment for any first time offenders who don't contact AIDS.

These recommendations might appear somewhat harsh to those parents who are afraid to lay a hand on their children, but something must be done to make each and every young person aware that breaking the law in the pursuit of happiness is not rewarded by a mild verbal warning with no physical or mental consequences. Prisons should not be better places for riffraff to go to spend their time than the shelters for the homeless. I'm not interested in spending upwards of $30,000 per year (as we do in California) to provide room and board to criminals who would rob me or kill me when given a second chance.

With all the new crime-fighting technology available to TV CSI units, no innocent victims will be convicted by intelligent juries of lenient liberal peers. Advances in lie detection will enable us to sort out witnesses who are saving their own hides by accusing innocent associates of criminal acts they didn't commit. If the new Registry of Kooks works as it should, testimony in advance of the crime would finger the potential offenders and not any innocent bystander who happens to be in the area of the crime when it is committed.

It is obvious that there are two paths to reduce the cost of crime to society. One, reduce individual independence - which is not working now in spite of laws like the Patriot Act and the high cost of ineffective security forces and commodious prisons. Or two, get tough on the criminals - which worked quite effectively in the Soviet Union until the Berlin Wall came down. I'm not suggesting that we send our unwanted criminals to Alaska to freeze to death or build more low income housing in cities for the excess illegal immigrants who are crossing our porous borders daily seeking jobs, a decent hospital for birthing their numerous children, and a yet to be legislated amnesty.

Common sense about handling the wayward has gradually disappeared with the rise of the liberal belief that discipline is inhumane and unconstitutional. Ask yourself why should the majority of us become victims of crime and live in fear? Raise the red flag and shout, "Enough already!"

The time for change and for the return to reason has arrived. Don't be the last one to see the wisdom of what I am recommending and support a move to balance the state budget deficit by cutting the cost of crime immediately. We mustn't forget that the "pursuit of happiness" was a wartime slogan taken from the Declaration of Independence. This phrase was not part of the US Constitution. (Get a copy and read it!)

Chic Hollis lived on four continents, speaks seven languages and had five children, all of which helped him gain a unique perspective on life.

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