CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
I suppose I should set forth a few of my basic beliefs relative to politics and social commerce. I don't know that I've ever done that in any substantive way, at least I have not since college, when the demands of a class might have required it. Of course, since that time my political views have changed dramatically.
Let's start today with crime and punishment.
I do believe people should be held responsible for the wrongs they do. I also believe that society needs to protect itself from those who break its laws. I also believe it is probably in the interests of our society for habitual criminals, particularly criminals who are involved in violent crime, to be put away for increasingly long periods of time.
Hate crimes seem especially egregious to me and merit enhanced penalties above and beyond that of the normal, run-of-the-mill crime. I believe children should be taught early and often — including in school — to have respect and honor for other people, even if they are different in looks or their personal religious beliefs or lack of belief.
I am opposed to the death penalty. I believe killing is evil. I personally believe killing is against what God wants any human being to do in any situation. I believe God has the power to deliver man from death and does so. I believe man rationalizes when he thinks that he is entitled to kill, even in situations where that has occurred in scripture, as in the case of Nephi and Laban, with an understanding that the Lord sanctioned it. We possess enough resources to protect ourselves from sociopaths, serial killers, and other truly evil individuals without resorting to killing them.
I lean toward legalizing recreational drugs, not because I have any intention of ever using them and not because I think they are anything less than evil in that context — recreational use, but because it would be a better avenue to getting a handle on the problem they have, in our era and place.
Where there is a tension between the "haves" and the "have-nots" as there most certainly is in the United States as is witnessed in the news today with reports of the growing gap between the rich and the poor, I am not for capping jury awards. There is no question but that rich and powerful people and corporations exploit the masses. In doing so, it isn't above those individuals who wield power and exercise it to cut corners inside or outside of corporations, to jeopardize, to exploit people. I believe they should be held accountable when they do so, and I believe that legitimate lawsuits should not have an upper limit.
While I recognize that the Supreme Court has indicated that there is an absolute right of individuals to own and use weapons, I'm opposed to it. I aspire to be a pacifist in all I do and say. I see no need for those who love their neighbors as themselves to own or use a weapon. I see a place for them in society in law enforcement, but above and beyond that I don't.