Last week’s epistle on copper thieves, the damage they do, the question of whether the current prescribed punishment fits their crimes and placing some of that punishment burden on the backs of scrap dealers who buy stolen metal drew a vast, varied reaction.
Damn, that is well said and so true. Why did the labor camps disappear, Walter? Now the taxpayers pay for the bastards to eat and sleep, as well as, pay the counties to cut the grass on the roadsides.
The best sheriff in the world right now is one who would wake prisoners early, put them to work in the county, give them a tomato sandwich (from the garden they planted)for lunch, and bring them back to jail at night.
It would make them pay back a little instead of being rewarded. It would eliminate unnecessary county jobs from the taxpayers checkbook!
I read the article last week, and all the reactions. I got the feeling the reactionaries who were defending the scrap yard, were on their way to work at the scrap yard, or had a load to carry to the scrap yard. Additionally, there was a remark that the copper was melted down so the scap yard could not identify it as stolen. I thought if metals were put into ingots they had to have ID numbers indicating the metal and the purity of the ingot. Should that be true, the scrap yards look more to me like parties of the second part.
It seemed to me from the reactions to the last article that showing an ID was ok. What some had a problem with was going beyond that (fingerprinting by the scrap yard of people selling scrap, making people wait for a period of time to collect on sold scrap, etc). Myself I had no problem with requiring IDs to be presented and for the scrap yards to be required to keep detailed records. I also don't see an issue with increasing punishments for these thieves.
There were a lot of knee-jerk responses that suggested more, new, different laws that ultimately would be unenforceable and would lead to just making life more difficult for regular people (non-criminals).
Yes, this is how I see it too. I am sure that showing your driving license, if you really had to, wouldn't inconvenience anyone too much. I think the objection is to the fingerprinting and the turning of scrap dealers into law enforcers is what people object to. There seems to be a growing and alarming trend at the moment of government trying to get citizens and businesses to become their personal snoops and enforcers. This is further evidenced by the recent attempts to pass SOPA and PIPA, the copyright laws which would have made every website host a copyright enforcer. I believe that it is alien to the character of Americans to become the sort of snoops, tattlers and enforcers which have been seen historically in other countries such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet bloc and other totalitarian societies. It would be far more effective if scrap yards were asked to exercise judgement and common sense, when determining whether they buy metal that appears to be from a dubious source. Also, tougher fines and criminal penalties for those that actually get caught would be much better than turning free America into a snoop society.
Well if the govt would budget for more law enforcement personnel, then maybe the citizens wouldn't have to concern themselves with being involved.....in any shape or form.
Do you really think the scrap yards are going to use good judgement when it involves money? That's the problem with the world, no morals. People don't care anymore. So in my opinion, people need to be snoops and tattlers. How do you expect the criminals to be caught? Law enforcement cant do it alone and there are too many liberals/democrats to create new laws or change existing ones. Face it. America is screwed. Look at the immigration bills/laws. People are furious about it. We wouldn't want to infringe on an illegal immigrants rights would we?
Don't you see though that you are falling for a Hegelian dialectic, where government creates a problem through lack of funding and then offers the solution of a police state to fix it? I am not saying, don't report crime, I am more concerned about the notion that private citizens and business owners are being turned into agents of the government and are being forced to police for the police. You blame democrats but republicans are both as bad. Both parties are two sides of the same coin that work for the same special interests. Also, I think you sell short the vast majority of responsible and moral business people who do show good judgement, despite the involvement of money.
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