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December 2nd, 2016

Max’s View: Thank You, Police

In general, I am not inclined to respect institutions of authority and power.

I think the entire criminal justice system should be overhauled and radically simplified so that judges, lawyers, and prison wardens have less control over our society.

Every criminal case should have exactly one question: are people in the defendant’s community safer and better off without him. If the answer is yes, he should be immediately moved to the new penal colony on the large island of Hawaii.

I think that all prisons need to be closed immediately.

Prisons aren’t unusual punishment anymore; but they are definitely cruel. No animal more intelligent than a hamster should ever have to live in a cage. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” applies to criminals, too.

If a man is deemed too dangerous to live among us, he should be shipped to the isolated Hawaiian penal colony to make a new life away from polite society. He should be encouraged to work and thrive. We should wish him the best. If his wife wants to move there, too, that’s wonderful.

“No way, max! I want revenge against the guy who stole my wallet,” you say. Of course you do. But, remember, your feelings of wrath are every bit as sinful as the criminal’s greed. Learning to forgive is more productive than sending everyone we don’t like to jail.

Every year that I live and observe the world, I have less respect for courts and prisons.

But I continue to gain respect for the police force.

Courts condemn people who can’t afford the right lawyer. Prisons dehumanize people and turn them into violent animals.

The police have one simple goal: keeping communities orderly and safe. It’s a very wholesome mission. And they are doing an amazing job.

I have lived 40 years. I have gone out to bars at night several hundred times. And I have never gotten into a fight. I have never been harmed. I have never been threatened. I have never felt unsafe. Not once.

CNN tries to make us think that this country is a frightening war zone. But the truth is that most Americans live their entire lives in security and tranquility. The police are so great at keeping the peace that we take them for granted.

Obviously, this column was partially inspired by the furor over the two terrible incidents this month in which police officers killed men for virtually no reason. I offer no defense for those two awful officers.

The police unions, unfortunately, spend way too much of their resources defending bad cops. That should be the exact opposite of their job.

When an officer does something unacceptable, like that cop in Minnesota, the union should eagerly work to get him fired immediately. And they should make sure that the salary from the fired cop is used to increase the pay of the many good cops on the force.

The goal should be police departments that are a little smaller but filled with honest, honorable officers who are compensated well for the challenging, important job that they do.

This goal shouldn’t be hard to accomplish. Most police officers are indeed good cops. And they are doing a great job of keeping us safe.

In a world full of authority figures who don’t deserve our respect, the police are the ones who have earned my allegiance and trust and gratitude. Thank you, police.

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