A few days ago I was asked to give a short talk to a small group of dedicated men and women, most of them in their 20s and 30s, who were doing a training session in mediation.? These people were working with Inafa? Maolek, a conflict resolution group that has been active on Guam for 29 years now under its guiding spirit, Pat Wolff. ?These good people?peacemakers by avocation?take their skills where they can use them. They work with couples experiencing trouble in their marriage, neighbors who have run-ins with one another, schools in which sparks fly between different ethnic groups or rival gangs. Read More
When a person entered the walled town he might be greeted by the sight of heads impaled on stakes or a decaying corpse swinging from a tree. Centuries ago, long before there was a United States of America, European kingdoms had their macabre ways of posting warnings that crime was not tolerated there.? Beware, all you who think that you can plunder and kill and plot against rulers, for this will be your fate. Read More
Let?s take a look at the ?crime and punishment? issue from a different point of view.? In an island society–or in backwoods hill country US–it is important to keep the peace.? Otherwise, the Hatfields start taking shots at the McCoys, or the people of one village begin slinging spears at those of another, for some real or imagined damage sustained.? To heal this rupture in the society, there has to be some compensation or pay-back for damage done.? Chuukese, and people from other islands also, sometimes adopted the young man who had killed their own son.? The killer was the payback to the offended family.? At first I found this hard to believe, but then it began to make sense. ? Read More
If casual conversation is any gauge, Americans seem to want their justice system to do one thing, and only one thing: punish wrong-doers harshly enough to teach them and everyone else a lesson.? ?Crime?doesn’t?pay? is presumably the lesson.
Two 13-year olds toss a shopping cart off a bridge and badly injure a woman?? Put them away for 20 years.? A drug dealer is caught making a deal across from a public high school?? He should get the maximum sentence for threatening young people.? Barry Bonds is convicted of perjury over steroid use?something that may be unfair but is no threat to others?? Teach him a lesson and put him away in jail.
I found myself arguing with a woman Read More