A Crime and Justice Wish List For 2009

by Diane Dimond on December 26, 2008


Wishes For Justice

‘Tis the season to wish good things for the year ahead so here’s my list.

I hope the worsening economy does not translate into a higher crime rate. Scholars and police disagree about whether bad economic times and high unemployment necessarily equals more crime. I agree with the boots-on-the-ground police types who tell me crime especially thefts, burglaries and domestic abuse does go up in hard times.

I hope our new President gets a handle on illegal immigration. So much crime and fraud is traced back to those illegal aliens who we have allowed to work and live here. Most are lovely, hard working people just trying to support their families but many of them are not and they are preying on Americans. All of them are breaking our nation’s laws.

I wish our politicians – from the White House to the state house – would start talking about crime and its daily effects on Americans. Our nation was founded on quality of life issues and its common sense to say this should be a priority.

I hope the Transportation Safety Administration figures out profiling likely terrorists should not rely on politically correct guidelines. And, I hope I live long enough to get through an airport without taking off half my clothing and my shoes.

I hope no law enforcement personnel are killed in the line of duty this coming year. I hope no truly innocent person is executed.

I hope anyone found to have engaged in wanton criminal activity in connection with the mortgage, banking or Wall Street mess gets prison time.

I hope the nation’s back log of 400,000 DNA rape kits gets processed and the findings logged in a national data base. No telling how many rapists-at-large could be located and locked up to keep the rest of us safe. This should be tops on the 2009 must-do list.

I wish a lot of things for our children. I hope no more judges release chronic pedophiles after they’ve served a fraction of their sentences. It happened during 2008 in states from Massachusetts to California and several in between. We have to figure out a way to deal with this sector of our population. They are not curable and they are not going away. They will always be obsessed with victimizing our children.

That said, I hope our legislators figure out a way to make those infernal sex registries fairer. There are some registered sex offenders who simply do not belong on the list. Teen-agers who’ve had sexual contact with other teenagers, men falsely accused by angry ex-wives and others who’ve been wrongly convicted do not deserve a Scarlet Letter lifetime of scrutiny.

I wish officials in every state would take a hard look at isolationist religious groups operating within their boundaries. In 2008 we learned it is not all bible study and prayer for the children who live in places like the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Texas or the Tony Alamo Ministry in Arkansas.

I hope the millions of American children with mothers or fathers in prison get the support they need so they don’t repeat the mistakes of their parents. They need to know their parent’s bad choices in life do not have to be theirs.

If we, as a society, can’t keep the children safe what does that say about us?

I hope those in charge of our court system – judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys – focus more on the intent of the law and less on the loopholes that let criminals walk free. I hope they pursue the path that’s good for society and not the path that requires less work.

I hope law schools return to teaching budding lawyers how to focus on the strengths of our law and not to exploit the weaknesses.

I would bother to hope that prisons release convicts who have been truly rehabilitated but I’m afraid there isn’t enough money in any state’s budget for that. Still, I do hope for better psychological treatment and job training for those prisoners destined to be released.

While I’m in the process of hoping for things that will likely never happen I’d like to hope for fewer guns to be imported to America and fewer manufactured and sold here. We’ve got enough guns already.

And here’s another – I hope all criminals, in that split second before they commit another crime, stop and think about the impact of their actions on others.

I hope all parents once again take responsibility and remember to instill a sense of what’s right and what’s wrong in their children.

I hope America returns to a sense of true community, the idea that all we really have is each other to survive.

Oh – And I hope everyone reading this has a healthy, happy and safe 2009! HOME

Adrian McManus December 27, 2008 at 12:52 am

That is a great wish list diane !! It would be nice if some laws were made, and kept as for immigration, I know there are alot of good , bad, and ugly humans. I think people who come here to live need to follow the laws, if our men have to fight for our Country , so should the immigrants and their families!! Why should the people who are born here go out and fight, while others enjoy life and make money, and keep multiplying like rabbits. ?? No offence to anyone , but even when you looking to move to another home here in Calif, you see many many families, living together who are not from here, while those born here can not even find a home to live in. Something needs to be done to all these immigrants who want to come and live here illegally!! I can understand if you want to better your self, and come to live here and go through the proper channels, that is understandable , but for all the rest who are here illegally, they need to go home. I myself am of Mexican descent, and that is how I feel about it.

Lyn December 27, 2008 at 9:59 am

Hey Diane….Bravo…let’s hope to God that most of, if not all, of your wish list comes true. I am with you completely on your views on everything – most of which have been discussed in your columns over the past year or so.

I get so annoyed when I see criminals living in what looks like a hotel – their prison cells. My God….they have games rooms, tv’s – even Casey Anthony can order fancy stuff – like choccy and luxury items. Last night I had the travel channel on and watched 2 shows – one was “Ghost Adventures” and the other was “Most Haunted USA” – ironically, both shows were from the West Virginia State Penitentiary. That prison of course no longer houses criminals. However, in both shows they showed the terrible conditions, the blood, the absolute squalor that these prisoners lived in. What I want to know is, why is prison not like that any more? Why should they live in a glorified cell – we are paying to put a roof over their head and feed them 3 meals a day. They should be made to live in horrible conditions and pay for their heinous crimes.

As for illegal immigration – well we al discussed this here a couple of months ago. I had to do it legally – I would not have the nerve to do it any other way. I would be a nervous wreck.

Anyway, let us all hope that 2009 is a good year. The thing that worries me though, is that crime seems to be on the increase – more young women are being found murdered and raped, more people are being attacked and burgled,…..why is it increasing? Ok, I’ve said my bit…I hope we all have a good new year and that 09 will be a good one. (Think I am living in high hopes, but nothing wrong with hope.

Diane, keep sending us your wonderful columns.

Diane December 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Patrick C. writes:

“Dear Ms. Dimond:
What is “…enough guns already.”…? A loose end. Citizens in most parts of the world DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH GUNS AND AMMUNITION!
So, backing up, I liked most of your op-ed and its point of “…a sense of true community, the idea that all we really have is each other to survive.”
But, it really is a sharing, compromise between community and the individual. You are correct in the community idea, and this idea is the stronger of the two. I would guess the community is the more powerful concept while allowing the individual as much leeway as possible.
Some communities are hidebound by culture, and I see many wrongs done by communities that persist in ignoring or in being unaware of their cultural failure(s).”

Lyn December 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Patrck…I think “enough guns already” speaks for itself. Why do you think crime is so rife in this gun crazy country??? Most other countries in the world have a far less % of gun crime because guns are banned!! The % of gun crime here is disgusting..beyond disgusting. Yes, I am anti-gun but what the hell? I guess I am the only anti-gun person that reads this column but it is one thing that makes me proud of my country and I am sticking to it. The NRA can rot in hell for all I care. PS…I am trying to decipher what the heck your comments mean.

Letsgetreal December 27, 2008 at 7:19 pm

I am one of those who 22 years ago, (1987), was wrongfully accused and set up by a greedy wife. Now I must continue to pay for a crime I didn’t commit. Every time a rare but heinous crime is committed by someone, everyone else who has satisfied the courts contract, served their time and finished their parole, more punishment is handed out for the length of our lives. Not only must I suffer the punishment but my entire family is punished also.

That is why my wife and I have set up a state web site, it’s the only way we know how to fight this.

http://www.cfcoklahoma.org which is getting a complete upgrade right now and our public forum http://www.cfcoklahoma/forum. Please visit.

Adrian McManus December 27, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Well diane , I feel different about Guns, I feel that people should have the right to own guns, it’s not the guns fault, its the ignorant humans pulling the triggers! I tell you after dealing with some sick minded Celebrity like I did, I am glad I took interest in learning about Guns, not that I would take them out and kill anyone purposely, but if someone came to my home, and had a knife, or any dangerous object, directed at my family, I would do what I would have to do to save them, now as for people who don’t believe in Guns, what would you do if some one was taking the life of someone you loved? Jump Rope , or try to make friends????? Well I know exactly what I would do!!!!!! Backgrounds need to be checked to make sure Guns don’t get in the wrong hands, however nothing is perfect in this world. I would hate to live with some one who could not protect me .

Adrian McManus December 28, 2008 at 12:20 am

I guess my point is, it’s not just Guns that are bad, if they were to ban all Guns, you still will have baseball bats , knives, skateboards that kids use to hit the elder on the head , and kill em. Ropes to choke with, chains to beat people with , razors to cut you up, sissors to dimantel you. So what’s next ban everything in life? Then you got forks!!! so that is what I am talking about. There are alot of crazy humans already in this world, anything can be made to endanger ones life. It’s the crazies who need to be put away , and never left out of prison. The judges who let these nuts out of prison, they should have to live next to them for 20 years to keep and eye on them.!! Just for allowing them to be back in the world.

marc December 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm

i like your wish list.
one thing i wish for is rapid acts of kindness to happen everywhere.

the acts don’t have to be be big. a kind word,opening a door for someone. just simple things.

like the movie “play it forward “

Jim December 29, 2008 at 4:28 am

Diane;We love reading your column here in the Southeast. A really good wish list. I'd wish…our communities be blanketed with more common sense or just use what we already have.

jeff liddell December 29, 2008 at 8:14 am

When an African American is elected president by any margin, something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, then the percentage points in the victory were of little consequence, a demand for change was shouted out loud. We can only hope he does take the same path as previous presidents and avoid angering gun owners. With the concealed hand gun laws in so many states, I believe the gun laws you mention may not only be antiquated, but also not enforced very strictly either. With only a few exceptions that come to mind, only police officers or those in similar employment should be carrying concealed handguns. Have you ever seen any statistics on violent crime increases in the states that allow concealed handguns, I have not seen one but would be interested if you can locate one? When will we be able to see you on television again?

DianeDimond January 1, 2009 at 5:30 am

No, Jeff, I dont have any info on any state that allows concealed handguns and experienced an increase in violent crime. Quite the opposite. When I lived in the District of Columbia, where guns were strictly banned, the violent crime rate (crimes with guns) was sky-high. Whats THAT tell us? As for guns laws on the books…there are THOUSANDS. And no, I my opinion they are not enforced enough.
oh – ps….I think I'll be on the Mike and Juliet morning show on Fox on inauguration day – or the day before, talking about Secret Service protection for the Obama girls.

jeff liddell December 29, 2008 at 6:54 am

As usual, Diane gives us much to think about and discuss. For as long as we have celebrated New Years there have been resolutions and the most common and uttered is peace on earth and good will toward men.

In the words of comedian Bill Maher, of whom I am a fan of his humor, the American people are stupid. I believe the American people are just indifferent to certain ideas and how to come together, we tend to trust our elected officials to do the majority of the work so we will not have to become involved. Well believe it or not, we did just come together and elected the first African American president because the majority of the people realized we needed some change, right or wrong, we needed change and voted to make that happen. So it is possible for the people of this country to unify for a common goal.

The only specific issue I want to mention is the subject of guns. We all know why the right to own guns was included in the bill of rights. Our founding fathers intended for states to be more powerful than the federal government and than citizens of each state should kick their officials collective asses when they usurped the power of their offices, hence a well regulated and armed militia, granted this should not be needed any longer, but the theory still holds true. The prohibition era should have taught us a very important lesson about supply and demand, if people want something and cannot find it on an open market, black markets will be created and supply will still be available.
I have owned guns my entire adult life, and I have suffered from many of the trials and tribulations that most of us have and not once did I take one of pistols out and shoot anyone. Thought about it but did not do it. Guns, an inanimate object without the ability to think, we cannot blame guns for killing anyone.

Diane December 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

And, Jeff, as usual YOU have given us things to think about too which is the reason I write this column. Its a place for like-thinking smart people to communicate
However, may I remind you the American people did not really just “come together” to elect Barack Obama. It was no where near an overwhelming margin – more like 52% to 48%.
And, on the issue of guns. I simply said I wish that for 2009 there would be no more new ones imported in or manufactured here. I think we could take a one year hiatus, right?
I’m not advocating more gun control. Like the number of guns here, I think we also have enough gun laws already on the books.

Janet Turner December 31, 2008 at 11:27 am

Diane, I too, think your wish list is great but the one thing I would like to wish for, if you will, is that our government would shrink. No assistant.. to the assistant.. to the assistant. That is what our Governor is trying to do but it is not without major complaints.

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