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MOSTLY MEMORIES
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 • Posted January 6, 2010

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THINK TANK

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My friend Shagnasty may be nutty as a fruit cake but he occasionally comes up with a bone that has some meat on it. In presenting his recent letter to you I am asking the "do gooders" of my acquaintance a question. "If you would not kill a rattlesnake that was about to bite you or a loved one, would you allow someone else to do it for you?"—Read on:

Dear Bode:

I had another one of those fan-dam-tastic dreams last night and since it fits so well into our current crime scenes I thought it would be appropriate for you to pass it on to your readers at this time:

I dreamed that I was in a Tank — it was one of those "Think Tanks" where they put a group of smart folk together for the purpose of solving problems (or maybe creating new ones). Now just what I was doing in such a group is beyond my imagination — and yours too I am sure.

At any rate I was there, and by golly before the session was over I became quite interested in their problem for the day. The issue before the group for this day was: our crime filled streets; the early release of prison inmates and their return to the lucrative profession of crime; the notoriety the USA has gained by becoming the crime leader of all nations; and what could be done about it.

As so common in dreams, the vicissitude of thoughts and ideas exchanged were rapid and produced little substance until one fellow came up with a very provocative suggestion.

His thought provoking theory was taken from one of Shakespeare’s plays when an actor said, "The first thing we have to do is kill all the lawyers." As he revealed his idea we found that he would change the word "lawyers" to "criminals."

"The habitual criminal," he said, "is a menace to our society. He has sacrificed his rights to belong to the brotherhood of peace loving people. He serves no purpose other than to rob law abiding citizens of their material possessions and their lives; to encourage their peers into corruptive lives and to deprive women of their virtue. Therefore he should be eliminated before causing further harm to that society."

"Just how do you plan to eliminate him" he was asked.

"Quite simple," he said. "First, we would pass a law that after each third conviction for a crime the name and picture of the criminal would be placed on the nation’s "Elimination List" that offered a bounty of $20,000 for the body of each criminal appearing on that list. Since it costs $30,000 or more to keep a criminal in prison each year we would show a $10,000 saving on the first year alone."

"Under this law the youth of our nation would be less inclined to join a gang and follow a life of crime, knowing that after a third conviction they would be the target of $20,000 bounty hunters. Also, the two time offender will seldom take the chance of a third conviction."

Pursuing this thought he said that by killing all the criminals we eliminate the need for more prisons in the short run and little need for them at all in the long run.

This in turn would save billions in the operation of prisons and would reduce the requirement for additional policemen.

"What would you do about the three time offenders who are released from our prisons?" he was asked.

"Give them a five day head start then put their names and pictures in the ‘Elimination List’," he answered.

He was then asked "Who is going to do all of this killing?"

"Anyone who wants to make $20,000 and has the guts to do the killing," he answered. "It would be just like the old days when a bounty was offered on wolves, coyotes, Indians and killer outlaws. It’s a sure way of reducing the criminal population — we either kill them or they head for the border, which, in itself, would cause giant sucking sounds in Mexico and Canada."

"That’s rather a harsh way to accomplish this task, isn’t it?" he was asked.

"Well, had you rather just sit here on your keester and let those criminals rob or kill you, or maybe rape one of your family? You know, this crime business is getting worse every day. Many of our citizens are afraid to walk in the streets at night or to sit by an open window."

"The police cannot handle all of today’s crime," he continued. " They need help and this Elimination Law would get people off their fannies and out there fighting the battle that is as much their problem as it is a problem for the police. Then too, this bounty hunting business could be looked upon as a way to earn some extra money on the side. They might call it a moonlighting job."

"Wait a minute," said another voice. "It might pay you to remember that the bounty on wolves and coyotes brought forth cries of ‘foul’ from the environmentalists as they strove to prevent the complete extermination of these critters. So, instead of environmentalists you will have ‘do gooders’ with which to contend. They will say that this is too cruel, that we shouldn’t kill people and they will continue raising hell with you until one of their own family has been violated. So what are you going to do about our do gooders? How are you going to keep them off your back?"

"Simple," said the originator of this idea, "We just let them know that if they continue to complain and make trouble we will just add their names to the ‘Elimination List’ for, in truth, they are as much a danger to us as is the criminal. It is they who have authored and approved the laws that protect the criminal and forget the victim. It is now time that we come to the aid of the potential victim. Let’s do as did the Pied Piper of Hamlin — let’s eliminate the rats!"

"Hold on just a minute fellers," said another voice. "You have overlooked something else. If you eliminate all the criminals what are you going to do about the lawyers, after all many of them make their living (primarily) off the criminal of our land?"

"You have a good thought there," said the creator of this idea, "and as I see it perhaps Shakespeare could have been right in the first place. It is conceivable that we might have to amend the law by adding the names and pictures of all complaining lawyers to the elimination list."

Just at this moment (in my dream) as I was drawing a fine bead on a vicious criminal with my 30-30, my wife punched me and I awoke.

"Dammit woman" I said, "You just beat me out of $20,000."

Now if that is not fan-dam-tastic enough, just wait till next time.

Your old friend,

Shag

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