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Predictions on law, war and politics

March 18, 2007|by Robert Gary

Item 1. I'll start with the horror of the week, the 100-year-old woman who was mercilessly beaten in the face by a mugger who took less than $50 off her, plus her wedding ring.

The close analysis: This mugger looks to be in his 40s at least, maybe older, just based on the way he moves in the video footage. If a person at that age has not learned not to beat up 100-year-old ladies, there is nothing society can teach him. Revenge, of course, makes no sense either.

Vengeance is not for us to do, not because someone else is going to do it, but because it's a bad business for human beings to get mixed up in (see also Iraq). The mugger needs to be locked up until he's about her age, and then let him make his way in the Clockwork Orange world that he helped to create.

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Poetic justice, real justice, plus irony - how fitting. The prediction: Some day within the next 50 years, judges and criminal justice professionals at all levels, will be held professionally accountable for decisions they make letting wild human beings loose on the streets.

They will get demoted, lose their jobs, lose their security, and they will get transferred to less-responsible positions, or get a bad mark on their records. There are probably a half dozen such professionals who missed the opportunity to take this vicious creature off the streets.

They wanted to get the paperwork off their desks. It was convenient, easy, quick, cheap, anonymous or somehow justified by lack of time, being merciful or giving the guy his ninth "second chance." Society will figure this out, and having a job in the criminal justice administration will someday be merit-based and competence-based.

Item 2. On Iraq, the retrospective analysis is that we should have left the day that Saddam was captured and taken him with us to Gitmo for trial before a military tribunal (as is entirely appropriate for an enemy general captured in combat operations). Having failed to leave when we could have credibly claimed mission accomplished, we have become mired, and are unlikely to leave until the next president is sworn in. The Dems plan to say, "peace at last!", the GOP plans to say, "we had everything lined up for eventual success until the Dems took over and made it all collapse."

Each sectarian group in the U.S. is blaming the other and hoping to get vengeance at the polls next time around.

The prediction: There will eventually be peace in area now called Iraq. This will happen within a decade of the time that this area is divided into Sunnistan, Shiastan, and Kurdistan. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Viceroy of India, discovered the idea in 1947 (recently revived by U.S. Sen. Joe Biden in 2007, a half century later) that when people are killing each other for religious and sectarian reasons, it's probably best just to separate them.

The values of the New England town meeting: pluralism, the melting pot, toleration, compromise and just getting along like adults do not apply to every single place in the world, and it's misguided and nave to try to put the whole world into a mold made out of our own hopes, biases and propinquities based on 792 years of Anglo-American law since Magna Carta.

Item 3. Looking forward to the inauguration that will take place Jan. 20, 2009, we first examine how George W. Bush came to office. His discovery, which was actually made by Richard Nixon and relayed to Bush by the trusty Karl Rove, is that there's a certain group of folks in America that holds values that are eternal and unchanging. They cannot be moved.

A lot of them are rural folks and gun-owners and evangelicals and NASCAR dads and stay-at-home moms. This is an eternally solid block of about 30 million people. They can be easily manipulated. The same thing that made it possible for Bush to get himself elected will make it extremely hard for Hillary to wend her way to the Oval Office.

It's not the number of people who hate her, it is rather that they are utterly immoveable as a voting block. There's nothing she can say or do that will turn them into Hillary voters. The prediction: Rudy Giuliani has the best profile to take on Hillary in the general election - he appeals to the most independents and possible crossover voters.

It's not clear that he will face Hillary though. Both she and Sen. Obama have the Lani Guinier (a Harvard law professor) aura, and that's not what most folks want for U.S.

In the long run, the best chance for mankind is meritocracy, because of the felicitous way the Gen-X kids have been raised. My hat is off to the parents and teachers for that. One looks forward to a small-government meritocrat to be elected in 2012. Whoever is elected in 2008 is likely to be a one-term president. There's a lot of mopping up to do, and no good deed goes unpunished. Rhythm you see, history has a kind of rhythm.

Robert Gary is a Hagerstown resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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