"Stop and Review is one of the policies I advocate for in our fisheries. We should stop writing any more laws while reviewing existing ones to see what is working well and what is not. This is a concept that should be applied at all levels of government. Think of how many outdated, redundant, and irrelevant laws have accumulated over the centuries. Shouldn’t criminal laws boil down to doing no physical or financial harm to others? We must be very careful about using our justice system to enforce morality. That system can be turned on you when the moral views of those in power change. Enforcing morality has created a sliding scale of justice based on money and appearance. It has created a corporate prison system that profits off the misery of others. It tears families apart and creates real crime. It is time to think about if we should focus more on isolating violent criminals from civilized society or punishing people for perceived moral shortcomings. Perhaps we should help people with personal issues when they ask instead of imprisoning them. For those who take exception to this idea, please consider how Jesus reacted when some religious leaders were about to stone a woman for not living up to their high moral standards. When they asked Jesus what should be done, He said whoever was without sin should cast the first stone. He never suggested they ask Caesar to punish her for them. Jesus had compassion and forgave the woman. That is a message worth remembering. Would you rather be punished or forgiven for what those in power may see as your moral failures?"
The previous paragraph is one I struggled with. Should I tackle the subject of enforcing morality or use the teachings of Jesus to make a case? Would mentioning Jesus be upsetting to some? Will the idea of not punishing people over moral issues open or close more minds? The words have been written and this is an attempt to explain them in greater detail.
It seems as if most people without the power to write laws think Stop and Review is a good idea while many lawmakers don't. A fishery manager said they could not help us during a Stop and Review period. Ever hear about the scariest phrase known going something like this, "we are from the government and here to help"? I learned what this means when the government almost destroyed our fishery while claiming to be helping us. I saw strong men crushed under the weight of financial devastation government agents caused while helping us. I saw tons of seafood being discarded to slowly die. The slightest bit of common-sense and compassion could have avoided most of the wasted seafood and mass misery as we rebuilt our mismanaged fishery. Stop and Review could have limited the time we suffered under misguided laws that were doing more harm than good.
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if lawmakers took a break and gave us one too. We could review existing laws to decide if they should be kept, modified, or abolished. We could debate what should be considered a criminal offense and if we should focus more on punishment or prevention. We need to decide if prohibition of moral temptations deters crime or creates it. Didn't alcohol prohibition bring about modern-day organized crime? Has the war on drugs stopped people from using them? Hasn't this really been a war on humanity that turns entire countries into narco-states run by drug cartels and violent gangs? Isn't the war on drugs a primary reason for illegal border crossings as people try to escape the corruption, violence, and misery plaguing their homeland? Prohibition has corrupted our justice system and made enforcing morality about making money for everyone involved except the offender. None of us want to see a friend or family member hooked on drugs, obsessed with gambling, or selling their body. We have to accept that some will do these things whether they are legal or not.
Politicians sending police to enforce moral laws creates the contempt many feel for law enforcement. We should all be held accountable for our actions while sober or under the influence. Decriminalizing moral offenses does not mean we are free to harm others or jeopardize public safety. A shift in focus toward isolating violent criminals from civilized society would greatly reduce overall crime by the repeat offenders responsible for most of it. We should also reconsider how violent criminals are isolated and punished. What if instead of putting people in corporate prisons we pay for, we used technology to create self-sufficient prison communities they could not leave? Violent offenders could live together without protection or free stuff. They could work in their communities to support themselves and their families, so we don't have to. Their punishment is being confined to the prison community and having to work to survive.