Yes, but Does It Violate The Geneva Convention?
This from the Jan 21 L.A. Times, a story by DeeDee Correll: Judge Paul Sacco, a municipal judge in Fort Lupton, Colorado, has started sentencing kids who play their boom boxes or car stereos too loud to one hour sitting in a courtroom Friday night listening to . . . well, here’s Ms. Correll:
“The guiding principle in Municipal Judge Paul Sacco’s courtroom is an eye for an eye. Or rather, an ear for an ear.
So when teenagers land in front of him for blasting their car stereos or otherwise disburbing the peace in this small northern Colorado city, Sacco informs them that they will spend a Friday evening in his courtroom listening to music – of his choosing.
No, they can’t pay a fine instead, he tells them. So, he adds with a snicker, ever heard of Barry Manilow? .
For the last decade, Sacco, 55, has administered a brand of justice somewhere between “cruel” and “unusual.”
Young people in Fort Lupton know that if they’re caught, they’re in for a night tht could begin with the “Barney” theme song, move on to an opera selection and end with Boy George’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” . . . .
Sacco’s answer to that last question is: Yes, he does.” . . . .
The program’s recidivism rate is less than 5%; once subjected to a night in City Hall, the offenders rarely return. Interestingly, the offense rate also seems to have plummeted recently. “ . . . . “The latest crop of offender said they won’t let themselves get caught again. ‘If you see a cop car, turn your volume down,’ said Gehrig, a convenience store clerk.
It could’ve been worse, he point out, with ABBA or 1980s hair metal.
“A little Manilow here and there,” he confided, ‘isn’t too terrible.”
Left Hand, Right Hand
Reverend Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church and vocal supporter of California’s Proposition 8, which removed the right to marry from gay Californians, thereby sticking them back into a kind of second class citizenship category (I do, I do, but not you), offered up the invocation at the inauguration and prayed, “Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.”
Except for gay Californians, of course.
After which, Obama’s speech included this clarion call, “The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that we are all equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
Except for gay Californians, of course.
The L.A. Times Jan 21 editorial caught the oddness of this separation between speech and action. “Obama is caught up in semantics, apparently believing that gays and lesbians should be allowed to engage in civil unions with all the rights of marriage, as long as they aren’t called marriages. That’s an evasion that was rightly rejected in May by the California Supreme Court when it overturned a previous ban on same-sex marriage, because such semantic distinctions tend to cast doubt on a union’s legitimacy.
“At the time of Obama’s birth in 1956, some states could not have allowed his interracial parents to marry. He, of all people, should know better.”
So should Pastor Warren. Unfortunately, there is too often a disconnect between religious/personal belief and actual, real-time, on the ground civil reality. Pastor Warren cannot pray for God to help him to remember “justice for all,” then publicly support removing civil rights from a certain group of citizens. And Obama cannot remind us of a “God-given” promise that “all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness,” . . . . except for gay people.
The clunk you hear with this kind of rhetoric is the sound dissonance makes when “semantic generalities” hit real-time lives. Both of these very public figures should know better, indeed.