Thursday, July 30, 2009
NOXIAE POENA PAR ESTO.
For those of you who managed to escape the course in Legal Latin I got suckered into, that’s Cicero speaking, one of the foremost anti-Semites of ancient times.
Let’s let the Mikado, the Emperor of Japan, make the point instead.
“My object all sublime,” the Mikado sang, “I shall achieve in time: to let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime!”
What’s the crime that bothering liberals at the moment? The lack of ‘proportionality’ in the arrest of the Community Organizer’s friend and colleague, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr.
Two things quickly became apparent: First, the President scored his very own Gates-gate just six months into his presidency. Second, all this reminds us how well suited the POTUS was to previous job as a community organizer in Chicago. Now that he’s holding the US’s highest elective office, it proves again the deadly accuracy of the Peter Principle: that in a hierarchy, individuals tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence. Barack Hussein Obama was apparently a pretty good community organizer.
What happened in Cambridge, MA, was this: a possible burglary had been reported to the Cambridge police by a 911 caller. The officers responded, saw that the door had been forced, and upon entering the house, found two black men. They asked for identification.
From this point on, accounts differ, but according to the officers, “Skip” Gates, who was living in the Harvard-owned house, became “unruly” and “non-cooperative”, refused to answer some questions, and was ultimately arrested. He spent a few hours in a jail cell before all charges were dropped.
All of this gave rise to an impromptu lecture from the self-proclaimed Ruler of the World, whereby he began by admitting he didn’t have all the facts, but nevertheless set out to castigate the Cambridge police for “acting stupidly”. As he pontificated for his world-wide audience, it appeared that the Community Organizer was certain the only reason Gates was arrested was because he was a black African-American.
“There is a long history of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement, disproportionately,” Obama instructed us, slipping into the racial advocacy cant of his previous profession.
So how would the Community Organizer have preferred the Cambridge police to have acted?
When the officers walked in and saw two black men standing inside the house, saw the forced door, what should they have done? Should they have dragged out their calculators and record sheets, entered the appropriate information, and then said, “Ah, excuse us. We had been informed that a burglary may have been in progress at this residence, but we’ll have to leave. Our records show we’ve already detained and arrested our quota of black men for this month. So? As you were, gentlemen. Carry on!”
I don’t know about you, but I suspect very few of us would like to see our tax money spent for that kind of law enforcement. (Geez, wouldn’t you think a resident would be pleased that the police responded so quickly to a report of a possible burglary?)
Quotas – “proportionality” – have no place in law enforcement. Citing crime statistics -- how blacks and Latinos ‘proportionately’ commit more crimes than other ethnic groups – is irrelevant. It really doesn’t matter.
When a home has been forcibly entered, when a car is dangerously exceeding the speed limit, when stores are being burned and looted, the only issue for police to address is who -- which individuals, right now -- appear to be engaged in an unlawful act. It’s ridiculous to suggest that they need consider the race of the individuals -- or check ‘detain and arrest’ statistics -- before taking action.
This insistence on “proportionality” in responding to law breakers or evil-doers isn’t limited to Cambridge, MA. Liberals and Israel haters all over the world hurled the “P” word -- “proportionality”-- at Israel recently, too.
What was Israel’s crime? After eight long years of terrorist rocket and missile attacks in the Negev, putting the lives of a million people -- Arabs and Jews – in jeopardy, Israel finally struck back last December.
What happened? The world went into a tailspin, claiming that Israel’s response was “disproportionate”. Everyone from Nikolas Sarkozy to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ran to the microphones to denounce Israel for using a “disproportionate” amount of force against the Hamas terrorists, who had been attacking Israel, killing civilians, inflicting tens of millions in property damage – not to mention incalculable infliction of pain and anxiety for everyone within range – for nearly a decade.
What did the world want? Passivity? Or is it as blogger Jonathan Mark suggested: What would have happened if after Pearl Harbor, the United States had been limited to bombing a few Japanese fishing boats, then calling it a day? Would the war have ended, just like that that?
(Read his whole blog on Jewish World Review. It’s excellent. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/jonathan/mark_disproportionate.php3)
It’s not that I’m against all “proportionality” – in general, the Mikado’s admonition to let the punishment fit the crime is valid. For example, there’s a group of people in Israel who have suffered disproportionately – and who should be compensated.
To our everlasting shame, next week is the 4th anniversary of our infamous “Disengagement” from Aza. Forced out of their homes and businesses were 10,000 Jews, expelled from their land so Aza could be turned over to the Arabs in a magnificent and unilateral “land for peace” gesture.
Today, of course, we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that ‘land for peace’ means ‘land for terror’. In a heartbeat, Aza became a cesspool of terrorist activity, adding to the destabilization of the whole region. To a large extent, those displaced Jews still lack permanent homes and are still largely unemployed – many were in their 40’s and 50’s, and retraining and finding work at that age isn’t easy. They’re still suffering.
There’s no excuse for Ariel Sharon’s government having instigated the “Disengagement”, but it was the world as a whole that cheered him on. Yes! Land for peace! Give the land to the Arabs! Allow them to build their own homes and farms, and the finally this seemingly endless battle between the Arabs and Jews in the Middle East will end.
So Sharon forced the Jews out, gave the land to the terrorists, and look what happened. Of course, anyone who doesn’t hold a valid Certified Cockeyed Optimist credential couldn’t possibly have thought it would end any differently than it did.
But here is a case of legitimate disproportionality. There are 6 million Jews in Israel, over 7 million people, total. Assume a miracle had happened, and that great sociological experiment had succeeded: we all, Arab and Jew alike, would have benefited. So would the US, France, Great Britain, all 22 Arab countries – everyone, in fact, who feels the need to tell Israel how we should be solving this terrorist problem of ours.
If it had worked, the entire world would have benefited. But who paid the price for Sharon’s dangerous experiment? A mere 10,000 people who gave up their homes and livelihoods. The cost to them was disproportionate in the extreme -- and they’re still paying the price for the world’s foolish insistence on ‘land for peace’.
If there’s anyone suffering from the evils of ‘disproportionately”, it’s the displaced Jews of Gush Katif.