The fourth game of the division series between the yanks and the angels is on right now, but it was game three that was memoriable. Last night’s game was a game for baseball fans and for those who like the spirit of the underdog. True, Anahiem has won 99 games this year, but they are (or were) the underdog in their drawing of the yanks for the first round of the playoffs. I’m rooting hard for the angels to win this series and for the first time I am rooting also for the American League team to win the series as long as it is not the yanks. If the angles, the twins, or the a’s goes to the big dance then I am hoping that any one of them wins.

Right at the beginning of the university school year some students had a small riot near the universtity. They started a bonfire and burned mattresses and chairs and damaged a couple things in the area (one of which was an expensive telecommunications box). It was off of university grounds but in the neighborhood near the university. The question has been circulating around town about what is appropriate punishment for these kids. I’ve watched the news, listened to the radio, overheard coffee shop conversations, and have joined in with old-timers, former cops, secretaries, and current students. One thought that comes up is severe, sending those arrested off to jail. Those who bring this up aren’t content with a month or even a year… I’ve heard longer sentences brought up. I made the remark once, too hastily, that the perps should pay for damages. But one of the telecom boxes alone goes above $12,000 in price. Students (and their families) are struggling hard enough just to pay for college and now we’re to add $12,000 to it? No… that is too harsh.

Now the old timers might say “if you can’t pay for it, don’t dance in the china shop” and perhaps they are right. But to so easily throw such life altering sentences around shows either a lack of compassion or a lack of understanding. I’ve watched the video of the bonfire and to be honest I did not see anything horrible in it. The kids, while out of control, were doing nothing more than you or I could not (or haven’t) done. There are more factors that determine our behavior than simply our will. If you don’t think so, first examine your own life and tell me if you are living it exactly as you want it. Did you put that donut down, get your ass off of the couch, eat healthy, honestly communicated your feelings to your loved one (especially your shortcomming), get out of bed when you should, cleaned up your apartment… emptied the litter box! It is far more easily to become carried away by the actions of those around you than some would dare admit. It is not easy to do so because it attacks the entrenched idea of soveriegnty of the self.

Now I was thinking about this while walking underneath some of the neighborhood maples yesterday. What should one do to the kids in their riot? I am against jail for this particular incident. Not all crimes are equal and not all crimes should be punished by money or jail. There were too many people there and that is a factor in the events. One thing I’d like to happen is to punish the person without taking away from his/her potential in the future. Thinking about my own past and the many stupid things I’ve done, particularly in the first half of my five years of the Marine Corps, I am looking now to complete some of my goals in life and to become a better person. I can’t imagine what it would be like if some of the recommended punishments against me were actually done. Luckily for me I had a great commanding officer.

Thinking about this from the view of a young 19 year old guy who wants to be cool for the “hotties”, a sense of obligation to the local community probably isn’t very high. But what about being emabarrased? And in this thought the notion of caning came to mind. Remember a few years ago a young American was caught vandalizing cars overseas and he was sentenced to caning. There was a national outrage over here and for the most part of it I think had nothign to do with the kid and his situation, but instead over the idea of “those barbarians caning an American”. Yes, pure anthrocentric prejudice.

“Oh its horrible punishment to do to a person” I can hear someone scream. Please, spare me. It is worse by far to burden this individual with with fines he/she cannot pay, or take away too much time from them with jail. You alienate a person from the very society you are supposed to be straightening out. Instead of this person learning their lesson, they work five or ten years to pay for the large fines and cost of damages. Is this person going to be a contributing member of society now? Not likely. Make the punishment something that will make an impact. Who wants to be publicly spanked? Not only this but now you have to stand for your classes because your ass hurts. When people look at you in the back of the class you are reminded by their stares of your stupidity.

Now it is entirely possible that I will change my mind on this, or not. It is an idea that came to me while on a walk.

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