Saturday, June 18, 2005

How tough is too tough?

I've been reviewing a case for Tuesday nights meeting of the police oversight committee and although I'm not comfortable discussing the details until after the meeting, the case does raise an interesting question: How far can society go when dealing with a bad person. This applies not only to police in our communities, but also in dealing with terrorists on a global scale. I'm not going to go into a political rant here, there are many much better suited to that, but I do believe that as a country based on the rule of law, there is a limit to what we can do to protect ourselves. Torture of prisoners is unacceptable. Our treatment of prisoners in Iran and Guantanamo is not justified, especially when you consider that many have been taken into custody without appropriate probable cause, nor have they been afforded due process to contest their confinement. There was a ruling a long time back in Texas (why always Florida and Texas?), that condoned the torture of a kidnapping suspect by police to determine the location of a kidnapping victim who would die if not found within a few hours. I'm not sure if the case has stood the test of time, but it is an interesting dilemma. I'm not where I stand on this one. Well, actually, if it were my child in peril, I'd be stoking the fire for the hot pokers.

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