Zero Tolerance good? Bad?


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DaveB
January 8, 2003, 10:52 AM
ZT is a funny thing. You can never tell where it'll lead you.

Dumb Justice by John Yemma (From a Boston Globe article)

Guilty. No argument. Case closed......

ZT migrated into mainstream society in the early 80's as part of the Reagan administration's war on drugs. Since then it has become the preferred method of managing intractable social problems, especially those that affect young people.....

A report last year by the Harvard Civil Rights Project notes that the policy is in such widespread use across the country, that it results in suspensions or expulsions of millions of students, each year for relatively minor offenses.

Who can argue with zero tolerance policies on real guns or drugs in schools? But zero tolerance is a blunt instrument, especially in the hands of low-level functionaries........

Zero tolerance is an abdication of intelligence, an attack on rationalism by rigidity. It is an abandonment of that great, progressive tool: the second chance. Second chances have made more good men and women than banishment, prison and inflexibility ever will.

Tolerance defines civilization. Tolerance is the marriage of justice and mercy. By deciding not to consider circumstances, not to follow common sense, not to grant second chances, we diminish ourselves.

We default to the lower angels of our nature rather than believe that people have consciences, that as the great rationalist Thomas Paine put it 200 years ago, the widespread "repugnance we feel in ourselves to bad actions, and disposition to do good ones," is what allows us to govern ourselves.

No, need to be naive. No, need to loosen up standards at the airport. Bad people and bad actions must be dealt with sternly. Safety is of paramount concern when it comes to accidents or criminal acts. But zero tolerance for petty infractions makes a joke out of real crime and punishment.

db

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Flying V
January 8, 2003, 11:28 AM
Zero tolerance = zero intelligence.

Joe Demko
January 8, 2003, 11:35 AM
Zero Tolerance is the result of politicians and bureaucrats wanting to seem tough, but without having to actually make any tough decisions.

Marko Kloos
January 8, 2003, 11:39 AM
"Zero Tolerance" is a convenient way for mindless low-level functionaries to reject responsibility and accountability. They gladly mete out punishments as demanded by ZT policies, because it lifts the burden of decision-making from them. There is no need to consider the situation and possibly make a decision that can be criticized by parents or constituents later, since they are "following the letter of the law". As a bonus, they can also appear tough and industrious without having to stick their necks out at all.

whoami
January 8, 2003, 11:59 AM
I think it's simply a matter of implementation. Maybe it's just me, but I don't THINK there should be any tolerance for the likes of pedophiles and rapists. But what skewed logic is it that MOST of the cases where zero tolerance was applied are where it is LEAST necessary....

4v50 Gary
January 8, 2003, 12:00 PM
No such thing as "zero tolerance."

We learned of a case where a petit HR woman walked into a woman's bathroom and saw another woman being assaulted by a man in there. She pulled the paper towel dispenser off the wall and whacked the assailant with it and saved her coworker.

Her boss, the HR director almost fired her for her act of "violence" which it indeed was. Happily, she contacted their attorneys first who recoiled at that suggestion and said that the woman should be given an award for valor.

Moral: There is no zero tolerance. Like Flying V says, zero tolerance = zero intelligence.

Purposeful, meaningful violence is good and should be supported. If a robber gets shot or a woman shoot a would be rapist this is all good. It would be better if the robber or rapist were killed.

Viking6
January 8, 2003, 01:16 PM
Zero tolerance reflects a lack of courage in decision-making and being able to differentiate between different events and circumstances. It also prevents administrators from being sued by litigation happy folks when the administrators do differentiate between a coring knife for an apple and a gravity blade. It's just another example of good intentions not being married with good judgment.

TarpleyG
January 8, 2003, 01:28 PM
I, for one, believe that everything should be judged on its own merits. There is always a lot of room for error IMO where ZT policies are in place.

GT

GhostShooter
January 8, 2003, 01:45 PM
Zero tolerance was a knee-jerk reaction to a public outcry for the government to do something. It has ruined more lives then the events that caused the policy did.

http://www.stopstart.freeserve.co.uk/smilie/2M16.gif

Croyance
January 8, 2003, 02:12 PM
I, too, am against Zero Tolerance. It leaves no room for judgement.
However, it does mean that people do not get away with things. The popular, the pretty, the rich, the kid that always causes trouble that never gets punished all get punished under a true Zero Tolerance system.
The problem is finding a system where bureucrats will excersise good judgement.

jimpeel
January 8, 2003, 02:25 PM
Read my editorial opinion piece "The Death Of Goodness In America" at: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=25958 (seventh post down) for an analysis of what zero-tolerance has done to our country.

American jurisprudence was founded on three things to prove guilt; method or means, motive or intent, and opportunity. If a person were carrying a concealed weapon, in contravention to the law, and they got caught; the prosecutor would seek to prove that they were guilty of the crime by means and opportunity alone. Surely, an armed man has the means to destruction and he surely has the opportunity at every meeting of a fellow human being. The thing that they would lack would be a motive. But these days, there is no need to prove motive.

The best example of the death of motive are zero tolerance laws. A kid goes to school and gives another girl Midol for ladies cramps and is deemed guilty and thrown out of school. Another kid uses his Swiss Army knife to tighten a screw on a computer case and is thrown out of school. A kid hands out lemon drop candies and the authorities think it is drugs and panic. He is thrown out of school. A girl picks up the wrong lunch bag and is thrown out of school. A kid takes nail clippers to school and is thrown out of school. The common thread of these young people is that they had no motive to act in an aberrant manner. The means was there. The opportunity was there. There simply was no motive.

More and more this has crept into the justice system wherein the accused need only have means and opportunity and they are found guilty. DO NOT ever bring a case before me, as a juror, that lacks the three tenets of the judicial finding of guilt as I will not convict. I have a brain that is quite developed and I know the difference between right and wrong. I also know that there are things that must be proven prior to simply saying "Hang the defendant!"

2dogs
January 8, 2003, 02:29 PM
It is a plot- yes a plot I say- to extend control over the populace while simultaneously desensitizing them to that control.

Either our legislators are insane, as no sane person would enact laws that turn children on playgrounds playing cops and robbers into criminals, or there is another reason. It is total control, instituted over an extended period of time.

Notice that this seems to only be happening in countries without a history of totalitarian or tyrannical government such as US, UK, Australia, Canada. Places where total control cannot be enforced on the population at the point of a gun- at least not without major resistance.




I think it's aliens.:scrutiny:

Betty
January 8, 2003, 02:40 PM
Zero tolerance is insane, especially in our nation's schools - kids being suspended and expelled for drawing pictures of guns, making finger guns, pointing leaf and chicken finger guns, and for having butter knives in their lunchboxes. :scrutiny:

foghornl
January 8, 2003, 03:26 PM
Zero Tolerance = LESS THAN ZERO SENSE

:banghead:

StuporDave
January 9, 2003, 08:46 PM
... of "zero tolerance" run amock.

My son (age 13 at the time) and a freind were sitting in the schoolyard at recess. They were joking about the things they didn't like about school. The freind says "Oh well, what can you do? Blow up the school?". My son replies sarcastically, imitating whatever comedian says these things "Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll blow up the school". This was the day before "the Columbine Incident".

The day after "the Incident" another student remembered hearing the conversation and reported to a faculty member. So began a two-year nightmare for my family.

My son was arrested at the school and taken away in cuffs. A search warrant was issued for my home. "Bomb making material" was found in my son's bedroom. This material consisted of a roll of speaker wire for his stereo.

We, the parents were never notified that there was a problem. I found out about it when I got home from work. There was a copy of an arrest warrant taped to my TV set, my house was a wreck, and my son was gone.

To make a long story short...

A year and a half going back and forth to court.

Over $10,000.00 in legal expenses.

My son is two years behind in school. He was not allowed in school untill the case was completed.

My son was convicted of "terrorizing" (the yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre law) and spent two years on probation. (The DA himself, with two assisstants, prosecuting a juvenile case)

Because I couldn't afford to move out of the parish (county to you non-Louisianans), I had to give up custody of my son to his grandparents to get him into another school system.


.....all because of an ill-timed joke


Thanks for letting me vent.......discussion of "zero- intelligence" policies makes it all boil up in me again.

Dave

DeltaElite
January 9, 2003, 09:00 PM
Bad, very bad.

bad_dad_brad
January 9, 2003, 09:50 PM
Zero tolerance is totally unfair and unjust. Touted as a "conservative" political response to crime, it is not. Gun owners as a group are conservative politically, and as I read through this thread, I don't see anyone saying this arcane legal technique to be a good thing.

Ninj500
January 9, 2003, 09:56 PM
Zero tolerance was also a tool to avoid being sued. Little Johnny would get kicked out of school for bringing a swithblade with the intent of killing someone. Joey would accidentally bring a sharp kitchen knife that somehow got in his bookbag, or was needed to eat his lunch. Johnny's parents would sue claiming discrimination because he was treated different than Joey. So, schools just took the easy way out and now kick out both students. Go figure. Still a way for a weak mind to solve a problem.

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