What if there’s a Better Way?

What if there’s a Better Way?

I have a few questions for my fellow Americans and human beings…

  • What if our core attitudes about criminal justice are deeply flawed and have not served the long-term interests of a peaceful and prosperous society?
  • What if the hatred and fear toward police and government is a predictable consequence of those organizations infringing on people’s rights?
  • What if teaching people to live their lives based on legal and illegal is also teaching them to ignore right and wrong?
  • What if being overwhelmed with laws makes it virtually impossible for many people to make decisions based on ethics?
  • What if revenge, even when labeled “justice”, does not cause criminals to want to become better people?
  • What if countless victims choose not to report crime because they are not vengeful or because they know the punishment will be worse than the crime?
  • What if those victims wished their tax dollars could be spent on a more compassionate system?
  • What if people are statistically more likely to commit crime after going through our justice system?
  • What if every criminal, even the violent ones, are actually human beings with thoughts and feelings?
  • What if criminals came to be who they are through psychological processes that could be addressed compassionately and scientifically?
  • What if frequently throughout history it was the criminals who were the true heroes?
  • What if people were wrongfully convicted in our justice system as often as teachers mistakenly punish the wrong student in our schools?
  • What if the mothers of criminals suffer more than the criminals themselves at the hands of the justice system?
  • What if the suffering of an entire family is not a fair trade-off for the justice of one criminal?
  • What if the prison industry is mostly serves the interests of huge corporations who inspire fear and invent reasons to write laws so they can use prisoners as cheap labor?
  • What if the drug war is perpetrated by the alcohol and pharmaceutical companies and the prison and military industrial complex?
  • What if our legal system provided little to no motivation for its employees to make long lasting change?
  • What if police get away with brutality and lying as easily as drug dealers get away with selling dime bags on the street?
  • What if the American public would be appalled if they truly understood what the police do on a daily basis?
  • What if torture in American prisons is worse than any of us realize?
  • What if controversies like abortion and the drug war will never go away, no matter how many laws and guarantees we write, until we change our fundamental attitudes about how we deal with people who do things we don’t like?
  • … but what if there’s a better way?
  • What if we could come at the problem from a different perspective, one based on science that advocates the bottom line, which is peace and crime prevention, and is not clouded by the emotional need for retribution?
  • What if there was a way to treat criminals like human beings without increasing crime?
  • What if the human race wakes up and realizes that policies based on communication, compassion, and science are more effective than vengeance, hatred and prisons?
  • What if finding ways to inspire people to care about right and wrong can provide for a more peaceful world in the long run?
  • What if teachers and social workers prevent more crime than police and prosecutors?
  • What if interventions are shown to not only be more effective, but also cheaper than prisons?
  • What if a system filled with psychologists, interventionists, and peace advocates would be more effective than one filled with police, prosecutors and lawyers?
  • What if we truly could have peace on earth, if only we were willing to make a few sacrifices in our sense of security, got to know the people we think are evil, and had faith in the human spirit?

I ask you to keep an open mind and consider a science-based perspective of communication, peace and compassion that does not attempt to place temporary band-aids on fundamental human problems, but instead addresses those problems directly, attempts to understand them, and works toward a better future. There are other possibilities, if only we open our minds to see them and have the courage to give them a chance.

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