Crime, Unions, etc.

Richard Swerdlin swerdlin at GTE.NET
Tue Aug 26 16:02:20 MDT 1997


       The word "mandate" has been used indiscriminately by so many
politicians, that it really means little.  It is comparable to the overuse
of "beautiful person" about two decades ago, especially when it was in
vogue to appear on TV with a medallion dangling from the neck.  My
reference to "mandate" involves state and local political uses over the

        Human labor is not just another commodity to be cranked into some
type of mathematical expression in economics.  If you wish to repeal
various state and/or federal laws concerning working conditions (including
wages, hours, etc.), this would of course be your prerogative.  However the
mainstream is against such action.  That mainstream is also closer to my
thinking than yours, including the analogy you try to strike involving
the price of a car and more decent wages sought by various unions.  I
didn't write the existing legislation regarding the two elements in the
so-called analogy.

        The legal system has never existed in a vacuum.  A term such as
"cruel or unusual punishment" has been subject to some redefinition,
depending on the public conscience.  While capital punishment is used in
most states, even the relatively brief suspension of it by the Supreme
Court was sufficient to prompt various states to define more carefully the
situations in which it could be imposed.

        Relatedly, in line with the above principle of public conscience
influencing judicial interpretation, what situation prevailed generally
regarding driving while intoxicated (DWI)?  Sadly, DWI was not taken too
seriously, considering punishment in court.  At least in criminal courts, a
proverbial slap on the wrist was not unusual.  As urged by MADD, merely
filling courtroom seats with attentive citizens was useful in making judges
consider punishment more carefully.  Comparably, MADD promoted stiffer
statutes concerning DWI.

        I agree with you that declining membership in certain organizations
suggests they may have outlived their usefulness, unless changes are made.
In the beginning, I joined NEA.  Later I dropped it.

Richard Swerdlin
(swerdlin at

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