Kill Them All

When a megalomaniac doesn’t like the idea of other groups of people possessing opposing views, he or she might insist the dissidents be silenced with little regard to innocent casualties. “Kill them all!” was a swift and effective command of the Catholic Church during the Crusades for cleansing a geographic area of heretics. Trying to ascertain who might be Catholic or not in a targeted area was simply too time consuming and inefficient, so when the Pope was questioned about whether fellow Catholics might be killed in the attacks, he added, some form of, “God knows who are his,” to the command to kill them all.

Later, the phrase and similar basic idea was adopted by United States military special forces as, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”

Similarly, the royal charge to silence dissidence, “Off with his head,” represents the most effective way to silence someone who is resistant to compliance, especially if the dissident has anything to say about it. This phrase was adopted by popular culture and is demanded by the Queen of Hearts in Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland.

Ever since Cain and Abel, when the human ego feels as though it has been slighted, disrespected, or has suffered an injustice, a swift killing is the most effective method of making things right.

Instantaneous death is admittedly the most effective way to silence someone who doesn’t think or believe like you do.

Your ego (my ego, all of our egos) wants others to think, believe, and feel the way it does, and the unrestrained ego expects and demands compliance. In fact, the unrestricted ego believes sudden death is suitable punishment for anyone (or anything) that gets in its way.

How early in life does this appear in life? Hang out and listen to an active playfield in at any grade school in the USA and you will hear at least one child whose ego has been the victim of an assault utter, “I will kill you,” or alternatively, “I hope you die,” or wishing sudden death visits one or more of his/her classmate(s).

While this may appear to be barbarian and you might like to think that we are too civilized these days to adopt such philosophies, assuming we are far more likely to suggest something more civil, like, “Lock him up and throw away the key,” because that is a far more enlightened response than suggesting someone lop his head off.

Yet, all the assertions of, “I am right,” and, “You are wrong,” and holding onto the expectation that anyone could truly align with someone else’s way of thinking is simply too far from logic to be conceived of. To kill, imprison, brainwash, or otherwise punish someone into compliance is not sustainable.

For instance, we, as a society, are imprisoning Americans at an increasing rate every year. In fact, if things don’t change and we keep incarcerating people at current increasing rates, in the next forty years, you will either be in prison or working for a prison. Unsustainable.

The courts maintain (much like the Pope during the Crusades) spending too much time, money, and effort to sort out the details is far more ineffective than making more rules and erring on the side of punishing innocents. In effect, “Jailing them all,” and let God figure it out.

This more civilized method of keeping our streets clean, and removing the free-thinking, non-compliant, poor, mentally-challenged, or undesirables from society seems to be a solution we all can live with. Or can we?

As the current human evolution continues, the more evolved or enlightened individuals realize that punishing people for not thinking the way we do is not the answer.

What is the answer?

Innocent Prisoner Released After 18 Years

innocent prisoner released after 18 years

149 innocent prisoners who had served an average of 15 years behind prison walls were released last year

Unfortunately, this happens too often to believe it’s an anomaly; innocent men or women are convicted of crimes they did not commit, their lives are ruined as they are plucked from their families and society and imprisoned to rot away… Why? Because someone thought they were an undesirable, someone needed a scapegoat and the accused innocent did not have enough money to adequately defend themselves in court.

Thankfully it doesn’t happen every day, but it happens enough to make you wonder

How many innocent people are serving time in prison?

There is a lot of motivation to convict someone of a crime. Local law enforcement wants the community to feel safe and feel like they are effectively keeping their promise to serve and protect us. The more convictions the prosecution gets, the safer the community, and the more likely a prosecutor can promote.

We are part of the problem, too. If a crime has been committed that leaves us crying out for justice to be done, this adds pressure on law enforcement to find someone to offer up as the perpetrator of the crime. If not, how can any of us feel safe, knowing there is someone “out there” who could perpetrate a similar crime against us?

So, they ‘round up the usual suspects and seek out someone who meets certain criteria that will result in a likely conviction. The candidate usually has limited financial resources (will have to rely on a public defender), could have limited intelligence and/or social skills, has had some legal issues in the past (even if minor), and might be considered by peers (perspective jury) as an undesirable. Making for a perfect conviction cocktail.

Even if wrongly accused, we are satisfied and feel safer knowing that someone is behind bars who “committed” this crime, as we light our torches and shout out, “kill the monster,” as if we were characters in the climax of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Then there are the other types of crimes that are committed, even harder to prove, because the details are vague, evidence is lacking, there are few witnesses, but still the crime is grisly enough that we want to see someone incarcerated for the crime; even if the crime did not actually take place.

Local Police Catch and Release

Catch and release is a policy demonstrated by local police departments whereby they respond to a call or question a pedestrian and can be compelled to find a  reason to detain the individual, especially if the person appears to have a low income or mental health status. The individual is booked and released as soon as an audience with a judge has been arranged. The individual's just happy to be out and not convicted of something they didn't do.

But they are now in the system, just in case their character comes into question when associated with some other crime in the future.

Poor Man’s Revenge

This is how the dregs of society use (or abuse) the system to execute revenge on someone else within arm’s reach of their position in society at no cost. Simply accuse the person of some wrongdoing of a criminal act, have a compelling story to tell that will enrage the community, be capable and willing to lie on the stand under oath and you could get your free revenge served up by our legal system with a smile.

We’re likely to convict someone we don’t particularly care for. If nothing else, our communities look better with those who make little contribution to society behind bars. We feel safer and it bolsters our faith in the system charged with our safety and security. Plus, who doesn’t like a good story, where someone is wronged and the perpetrator pays the price the evil deed (whether they did it, or not)? And we don’t mind expending tax dollars in this manner. Besides, “I always knew there was something not right about that guy,” or gal.

We’re likely to think our community is better off without this individual on our streets anyway. And speaking of a jury of peers… Really? In most cases, where the wrongly accused is of a low economic (and/or mental health) stature, the members of the jury are likely not. (Although adequately selecting authentic peers would make for an entertaining reality TV show.)

In recent years, organizations have sprung up to help those wrongly accused and committed, but their resources are minimal, the demand is high and they hand-pick their cases that usually involve life sentences. There aren’t many resources available for imprisoned innocents serving less than a sentence of life in prison.

Is our system broken? Yes.

Can we fix it? Not likely any day soon.

Too much of our economy relies on our clunky legal system. While those who run the system attempt to make it look as good as possible, continue to enjoy their lucrative incomes, regular promotions and benefits.

That’s all well and good, unless it’s you who has been wrongly accused, stood trial, were found guilty and sent to prison for something you didn’t do.

‘ere but for the grace of God go I