One of the few commentators whose posts I always read every one of, religiously, is Fred Reed. A former Marine, badly wounded in Vietnam, he now lives in Mexico. He is one of the very few people I know of who is absolutely free of cant, of political correctness Right or Left [yes, there is Rightwing Political Correctness], who just says what he thinks. Consequently he has a lot of enemies. In his posts over the years, there is something to offend everyone.
I don’t always agree with him, by a long chalk. He has too much of the attitude of the scientist coolly examing a specimen under a microscope in his analysis of the dying American Republic, and very little of the partisan who wants to influence the outcome.
But he is always worth reading. Always.
Anyway, here’s his latest. If you like it, look through his past posts. None of them are boring.
The other day a friend and I were partaking of the mortal remains of quite a number of defenseless grapes, and the subject of law enforce arose. Having spent a number of years as a police reporter, I began thinking of curious and often erroneous ideas that people have of what we regard as a system of justice. Without meaning to bore the reader, I offer the following thoughts and observations.
First, any system will make mistakes. The only way to convict all of the guilty is to convict everybody. The only way to avoid convicting the innocent is not to convict anyone. The more the system leans in one direction, the more it will err in the other.
Second, it is absurd to accept the Enlightenment idea that a criminal, having “paid his debt to society” by a stint in prison, will come out and make a new start as a normal human. The fact is that most crime is committed by career criminals. An armed robber aged twenty-nine invariably will have a rap sheet dating from puberty of thirteen arrests and a couple of convictions for assault, drug offenses, gun offenses, drugs, and so on. He is not going to make a fresh start.
Third, the complacent adage that “it is better to let ten guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man” may apply in cases of shoplifting. It may not be better to let ten Ted Bundys go free than to convict an innocent. Your choice may depend on whether you have a daughter in college.
Fourth, people charged with crimes by urban police departments are almost always guilty. There are two reasons for this. One is that they are usually caught in the act, driving the stolen car, carrying the illegal gun, or having drugs in their possession. The other is that DA’s won’t paper a case unless they are pretty sure of winning either in court or by plea bargain…
The full thing here: https://www.unz.com/freed/slightly-woozier-thoughts-on-the-impossibility-of-justice/