Bible quotes, child abuse and ‘zero tolerance’ folly

Crossing the street on foot the other day, a terrible thought crossed my mind.

It was a vision, actually: of my offspring broiling in a remote tent city under the blazing Southwest sun at the behest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

You see, I was committing a crime at the time – jaywalking.

Sure, it’s just a Class A traffic infraction, but I’d better stop it anyway. Based on the “zero tolerance” policy modeled by the Trump administration, one day my family could be ripped away from me for insubordination in the presence of pedestrian signals.

As of this writing, since April about 2,000 children have been separated from their families when they arrived illegally in this country.

Their parents have committed a crime, proclaimed Sessions, grinning as he invoked Romans 13 about obeying the government.

Well. Immigration experts point out that 90 percent of these offenders are charged with misdemeanors. Yikes. Where is that crosswalk?

Previously, back when people with a conscience governed our land, families like these were assigned civil hearings that led to deportation or other remedies. Sounds civil.

Zero tolerance? What the Trump administration is doing is child abuse. It’s the language of bayonets and the Gestapo.

Our president says he hates it. Then he says it’s the fault of laws passed by the Democrats. That’s a lie, or least a claim that can’t be affirmed by any fact-checker not on Fox News’ payroll.

Anyway, Trump has never needed facts to explain anything he does.

Zero tolerance: It sounds velvety tripping off the tongue but invariably results in abrasions and abominations, like a second-grader treated as a criminal for possessing a butter knife at school.

Sessions’ justification of his policy is that it sends a message to potential violators. I can’t argue with that.

Sessions, therefore, would agree with a big-thinker friend of mine who, though he opposes the death penalty, explained that if we wanted no crime whatsoever we would make the most minor of offenses – like littering – punishable by death.

That would send all reasoning individuals a message about the law.

Murder and rape? As my egghead friend pointed out correctly, deranged people aren’t deterred by reason, or the gallows. Jaywalkers, though . . .

The attorney general is no big thinker, but maybe he is onto something.

If the misdemeanor of being in this country illegally merits the dismemberment of one’s family, why not do the same for other misdemeanors – like exceeding the speed limit by 25 mph or throwing a burning butt out one’s car window?

Take those offenders – they broke the law, you know, criminal law – and separate them from their children. Put the children in isolation camps where they can’t even be held by caring adults. Crate them away like artifacts.

Trump supporters: Is this your definition of “pro-life”? Do you check the origination of the child in question, and if it’s from, say, El Salvador, treat that life like a used tire?

As for that Bible thing: Romans 13 has some pretty stern things to say about adulterers – ahem, Mr. President – and various other offenders, even those who missed the memo on circumcision.

Suggest for us, Mr. Sessions, how we shall command such individuals’ attention.

Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado.

jyoungcolumn@gmail.com

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