Former Deputy Ben Fields: Not a Role Model

by Steve Miller

Unless you’ve been vacationing on one of the outer planets of our solar system, you’ve seen the video of the South Carolina school resource officer brutally handling a 16-year-old girl. In case you haven’t, here’s a link.

You will find no disagreement from parents or teachers that teenagers can be insolent, rude, bratty, rebellious, and defiant. Some of them know just what buttons to push to bring out the worst in anyone in authority. I get that. However, in this situation someone needs to be the adult – and it certainly wasn’t Deputy Ben Fields of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Not by a mile.

images There were a series of mistakes made in this situation starting with the placement of school resource officers at schools in the first place. This program started in inner-city high schools where gang violence was a chronic problem. Perhaps their presence was warranted in that situation but now we see cops in suburban elementary schools. Perhaps the PR is good for police departments, but those officers could be much better utilized out on the streets. Continue reading

Return Fairness to American Justice

by Steve Miller

This is the land of the free. However, as I write this, a large percentage of the population in America is behind bars. Over six million people are locked up – more than there were in Joseph Stalan’s Gulag. We lead the world in the number of citizens incarcerated. The United States has become a police state.

“Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik.

states-private-prisonsThis is a relatively new phenomenon fueled by two legislative mistakes: The war on drugs and mandatory minimum sentencing. How many times have we heard a judge say, “I know this sentence is unfair but my hands are tied in this matter. I have no choice.” Unfair sentences should NEVER be a part of the American justice system. Continue reading