Right in the centre - Overhaul needed


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

For what it’s worth, I believe our criminal justice system needs a major overhaul.

Let’s set the parameters here. I do not believe in capital punishment. While there is a ton of information out there that would indicate that capital punishment is the way to go, I disagree. I know the Bible clearly outlines, in the Old Testament, that death is the penalty for a multitude of sins. However, the Old Testament is not where we are are supposed be living today, it’s the New Testament and Jesus clearly taught that we are to love one another. In the process of loving one another, we fulfill the law. So what law is he speaking of? He’s talking about the original basic laws as handed down in the Ten Commandments and in those 10 statements, it clearly says that we should not kill. That includes capital punishment, in my view.

Then there is the whole wrongful conviction situation. Canada’s history has cases where a person was put to death, usually by hanging, and later it was found out that they were not guilty. Oops! It’s bit late to say sorry. There have also been people charged with murder and put in jail for decades only to be found not guilty at a later date. At least they survived and could resume some semblance of a normal life when the truth came out.

So, in my mind, killing is out, no matter how great the temptation might be. Even the most despicable of crimes should not be met with a state imposed death. I feel that is what God has taught us and when we walk away from God’s Word, we are in all kinds of other trouble.

What do we do in light of the alleged, cold-blooded murder of an RCMP officer in Saskatchewan this past weekend? Allegedly, he was run down by two people driving a stolen truck. They allegedly fled the scene, stole another truck and eventually were arrested. What do we do with these kinds of cases? The two involved were allegedly wanted for other crimes and have had a very sketchy past that has been dangerous to themselves and people they came in contact with.

We have countless cases of repeat offenders for murder, assault, drug dealing, theft and general abuse of the public by offenders. One friend of mine said, at least with capital punishment, death that is, there aren’t repeat offenders.

There is another solution. If, in this most recent case, if the statement about the alleged killing of the police officer and the earlier crimes are true, these people should have already been in a high security jail. For the protection of the public and  themselves, they should have been in jail. In jail forever perhaps.

It drives me crazy when we see photos and warnings to women and children about some guy who has been a chronic sex offender, perhaps even a murderer, and now he’s being released to live in a community. Often there is proviso, that he’s dangerous and likely to re-offend. That’s insane. If a person is a sex offender or murderer, they should be in jail, in an institution, forever.

Why we tie up police resources chasing after repeat offenders and, in some cases, very dangerous repeat offenders, is beyond me. Clean it up, put them away.

With that solution, the cry will be human rights and costs. Here’s my answer. If you commit murder or other very serious offences, you lose your human right to freedom. You keep your right to life, but you get to live in an environment that is relatively safe for you and, perhaps more importantly, for everybody else. As for the costs, it’s cheaper to build jails than it is to bring a police officer back to life, to bring anyone else back to life. It’s cheaper to build jails than it is to repair the damage done by violent sex and other assault offences.

We operate our society in a very stupid fashion. We need to address the problems and fix the problems. If we send a strong enough message, maybe people intent on violence will think twice about offending.

Thou shalt not kill (or destroy lives) needs to be enforced, as it obviously isn’t working the way it’s going now.

God said thou shalt not kill but love one another. Part of loving one another is preventing harm both to the innocent and the guilty and it’s high time we did.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the Banner & Press staff.