Christopher Lucero | Dissonance in Camp Opposition

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

It seems like some people do not really think things through. Protesters against the ongoing Camp Scott/Scudder initiative hold dissonant feelings about the “gang bangers…people who have raped and molested.” On one hand, their fears of escape show their willingness to paint the character of the convicted with a hyperbolically broad brush. On the other, they seem to argue for the safety of the camps’ locale, ostensibly to protect the “gang bangers…people who have raped and molested” from corporeal harm.

And, of course, the politicians are there to stoke the dissonance to offer succor now for votes later.

There is a real attitude circulating among local conservatives that anyone who has been arrested is assumed guilty, and needs to be proven innocent. This is in opposition to our claims that the U.S. system of justice operates under a “presumption of innocence.” Recent writings by a deputy district attorney have demonstrated this attitude. Wide endorsements of the attitude are giving it momentum. A cohort among local conservatives, and even more broadly in the U.S., seem willing to sacrifice this distinguishing principle of western justice. That underlying attitude is gravitating us toward a system that would place the U.S. among those nations who have instituted retrograde treatment of citizens. The U.S. becomes like Afghanistan, where fundamental sharia law is enforced and children (and other citizens) end up without fingers, hands, arms, tongues. Some end up with ZERO due process, bounced from authoritarian claim of criminal activity to the hangman’s noose in a public square with no trial, no hearing, nothing but death.

The protesters also utilize a nonsensical tactic to advocate for the safety of the incarcerated at the camps. Their safety argument has a gaping hole. Flood or fire MAY endanger the incarcerated, but what of the thousands or tens of thousands of decent taxpaying citizens and businesses who face those exact same threats? It’s ludicrous to hyperbolize a risk for 150 incarcerated citizens and then ignore the potential to harm thousands of law-abiding citizens and businesses.

The protesters sacrifice the consideration of safety of the law-abiding while simultaneously trying to protect the “gang bangers…people who have raped and molested” from harm.

Any flood encumbers the law-abiding equally to the incarcerated. The water has no bias; it follows the contour of the land. However, the imagined flood that would be most hazardous and require acute evacuation is a breach of Bouquet Dam. If that occurred, the places nearby Bouquet Creek and the Santa Clara River it feeds downstream would be destroyed. Low-lying places like Lily of the Valley Mobile Estates, Saugus North, Valencia Bridgeport, Valencia Town Center mall, City Hall, the Metrolink station, Creekside Road, etc., would have less than an hour to respond and evacuate. Honestly, there would be almost no chance that there would be less than tens of thousands of lives lost, and many billions of dollars of property, especially if the breach occurred in the middle of the night like the St. Francis Dam disaster.

There is also some arcane environmental tactic afoot. It is unlikely that the stickleback will come to the rescue.

The protesters exhibit raw NIMBY-ism. Like most shoot-from-the-hip politics, it is nonsense.

I lived near the camps for a few years. On some mornings, I would hear the inmates doing calisthenics. It seemed to be rehabilitative.

We all bear the cost of living in a society where rehabilitation is the method instituted to resolve the antisocial actions of criminals. We could have instituted an Old-Testament-style “eye for an eye” system, but we did not. We claim to be better than that.

Christopher Lucero


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