I can't predict what I'd want should someone I love be stabbed. I hope I'd be preoccupied with compassion for my loved one and my other friends.
I don't imagine anyone I've read on the thread is in favor of having anybody who has stabbed anybody else, let alone a friend of ours, walk away without some sort of contact with the legal system to determine if charges are warranted. Our legal system, however, is not a system of revenge, and for some things it is very harsh and for others, not. These vary with time. Your suggestion of putting in a cash box for passengers to put in an extra buck or two to help pay for robberies is no more serious than would be one from me suggesting that we issue firearms at random to passengers and encourage them to shoot anybody that looks unpleasant or foreign. They're both silly. They're both purely ways of venting spleen that we're having difficulty organizing in a more articulate fashion. After all, if it was a money maker for the mafia, it can't be all bad, right?
Though the complaints about children were much the same among the Greeks and the Romans, there was one enormous difference during the Roman Empire. It was a matter of Roman law that a child was the literal property of the father until the father died. I mean totally the property. The father had the perfect right to kill the kid for any reason he cared to do so simply because that's what he felt like. I don't like your behavior today, I'm going to cut off your right arm would be pretty darn harsh, mind you, but still possible. Didn't do well on memorizing that section of the Illiad in Greek; there are four other sons, I'm confident one of them will do better.
It didn't happen often, but it could. The complaints were no different then than now even though the punishments were severe enough to make President Bush drool and enough, you'd think, to erase bad behavior from the face of the earth.
Balladeer, we've got many times more folks in jail (on a percentage basis) than most any other country on the face of the earth. We're the most punishing country there is. We're more punishing that Russia, we're more punishing that China, we're pretty much more punishing than all those police states we used to moan about during the cold war.
In AA they say that the definition of insanity is to continue doing what you've done before and expecting a different result. In this case, they may be right. We may not be able to punish our way out of a situation we don't understand. I bow to Red Aurbach on that one, the great coach of the Boston Celtics during their Glory Days. Somebody was supposed to have asked him (Yes, you guessed it!), "Red, tell me, what is the secret of your success?"
"You gotta know when to kiss 'em and when to kick 'em," he said.
I ask you, Balladeer, is this such a terrible piece of advice?
I mean, if the problem is allowed to get as far as lawyers and courts in the first place and isn't tackled professionally and early on in a well planned fashion, it just gets more difficult the older the kid gets. So when the kid is younger, you need to be able to understand what's going on that's making things go wrong, and sometimes you're going to be able to fix them. But you have to know when to kiss 'em and when to kick 'em. Kicking by itself is pitifully insufficient. Kissing by itself is ridiculously unrealistic.
Rewarding poor behavior, I agree, is silly. especially the kind of examples that Maureen was giving at the beginning of the thread. But if you don't understand the nature of the behavior, how it's constructed and how it's supported and what it needs to continue and what will undermine it, any action you take may well lead to an unpredictable result. As in having a high prison population leading to a continuing high level of crime, rather than a declining one, as one would expect it to do if punishment were the appropriate treatment for crime.
Indeed, we would expect our levels of violent crimes to fall to the levels of societies who do not imprison such a high percentage of their population as we do. Hasn't happened yet. There's something screwy with our reasoning, yet we persist in doing more of the same.
Is there some reason that our kids are worse than Canadian Kids, Balladeer, or Chinese kids, or Irish kids or English Kids? Why we think punishing them is more important than they do, why our imprisonment takes in much larger a proportion of our population and why, in the end, their populations are so very much less violent than ours? Somehow, I don't think that more and more severe punishments are going to bring our problems down to their levels when so far they've only driven them up Why would that change?
I think that we need to do some thinking instead of some gut level reacting. The "common sense" solution of breaking heads has only made things worse and created a larger criminal class. Is there something terribly wrong with knowing which button to push before we just start pushing buttons on the big machine. It's good to know if the machine types letters or blows up large chunks of real estate or warms the coffee first, isn't it? Well, isn't it?
Sincerely yours, Bob