Our Weakened Sense of Right and Wrong
By: Warner Todd Huston
There is a growing number of Americans who have the conception that too many judges are weak on crime, that their judgments all too often mollycoddle criminals. It’s hard to quibble with such a conception, unfortunately. But we cannot merely cast blame on our judges and move on as if there is no other area of concern. While perhaps heightened, judges often are a reflection of our greater society and what they are reflecting is a sever degradation of our moral center.
A recent story about a small case in Winona, Texas, embodies all that seems broken not only with our judicial system, but with our education system, our immigration laws as well as the attitudes that so many of our youth employ towards their elders in society as a whole — It reflects the permissiveness in all.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported a tale of truancy, the courts and deportation last week that encapsulates much of what is wrong with this country today and it all boils down to rampant disrespect. Disrespect for our immigration laws, for education, for the courts, even for basic societal comportment.
The Morning Telegraph’s story centered around an astonished Smith County Justice of the Peace who resided over several truancy cases of twin teenaged sisters from the John Tyler High School.
Justice of the Peace Mitch Shamburger ruled over the cases of Brias and Lluva Amante, found them guilty, and fined them for repeatedly skipping class. Neither ever showed much respect for either the judge, the law or the seriousness with which they should be approaching their schooling. The twins persisted in snickering and giggling during each of the cases they were involved in showing disrespect to the judge.
Shamburger said he instructed the bailiff to handcuff the two sisters and hoped that would sober up their mood.
“It cut down on the giggling, but they stood against the wall and still kind of laughed,” he said.
Thinking it might throw a scare into the children, Justice Shamburger sent the twins to the county lockup to serve some time for skipping school. He had hoped that the girls would have a “come to Jesus meeting” and would be chastened over their anti-social behavior.
Shamburger was reportedly taken by surprise by what happened next.
“The officer called me and said I wouldn’t have to worry about them skipping school anymore because ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) placed a hold on them and was deporting them back to El Salvador,” he said.
Shamburger said he hoped the girls would learn a lesson from visiting the jail, but was not prepared for the news.
“In all of my years on the bench I have never had someone deported for truancy,” he said.
Yes, it turns out these disrespectful, punk girls were illegal aliens. If they’d have just shut up, acted like civil people and dutifully attended their American High School they’d still be illegally getting a free American education, whether they deserved it or not.
So what are all the bad signs with this story?
First of all that these girls were allowed to go to an American school at all even though they are not here legally is certainly a major problem. Why we force America’s taxpayers to pay for people who are here as a result of their criminal effort to break our laws is simply outrageous.
Secondly, we get a judge who hasn’t the power to do anything about it, NOR one that took the time to find out if these ignorant children legally qualified to go back to the school they were so disrespectful of in the first place. Yet, here he was doing his best to send them right back into the public school system paid for by the taxpayers of Smith County Texas.
Third we find that the immigration services — who did finally deport these ingrates — had done nothing for the many times that these girls were before the court system in the past. So these girls seemed to have no fear of being found out as law-breakers.
Lastly we come to the bad attitudes of our children (and I say “our” loosely as these two were illegals, after all). That these girls had no respect for the education they were receiving is obvious. But they also had no respect for their elders evinced in how they acted in front of the judge. Snickering is not the sort of respectful comportment that one should employ when brought before the justice system. As justice Shamburger was delivering their sentences, laughter is all these punks could muster, so far from being chastened, these girls were making fun of the seriousness of the situation. Unfortunately, these girls aren’t alone, either. Many of our youngsters show a similar lack of respect for our laws. Just look at how they dress, how they act in public, and the seriously mounting troubles that our public schools are enduring.
Yes, this story is bad news all the way around for sure. It shows a distinct degradation in the basic civility and respect inherent in our society today. Sadly, this story is telling in far more ways than just the actors within it.