Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Some simple solutions to outrageous problems

Sometimes the court system gets it right when punishment is handed out to lawbreakers.
Mass murderer Jeffrey Don Lundgren — the death penalty.

Corrupt Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora – 28 years to sit in prison and think about it.

Anyone with an ounce of sense knows those are horrendous crimes and deserve having “the book” thrown at the bad guys. I’m not sure what book that refers to, but if it’s the one that makes the punishment fit the crime, I’m for it.

But there are occasions when far too much leniency is shown when justice is administered. I can think of three offenses that would be capital offenses if I wrote “the book.” But alas, they draw only slaps on the wrist from pantywaist judges. The offenses – as bad as they come in a civilized society – are identity theft, computer hacking and bullying.

Someone who would steal the identity of another deserves nothing less that a public hanging, or at least a public flogging.

Or at the very least, caning. That’s what they do in Singapore, you know – beat offenders with canes.

Those who steal identities should be caned – in public – every hour on the hour for six months.

Minimum. Gives full employment to caners. Those are good government jobs. I wonder if caners are unionized?

Computer hackers should be dealt with in the same manner – public caning, every hour, for maybe a year or two, with no time off for good behavior.

If anything, if they complain, they should get an additional year of caning.

Now we come to bullying. That is an offense that is widespread yet no one knows what to do about it.

I have been inside school buildings in Lake County that have “No Bullying” signs posted
everywhere. It has become an epidemic. When I was in school I never saw a “No Bullying” sign.

The schools then were more concerned with whispering and gum chewing in class.

I don’t ever remember a bully at Willoughby Union High School. The closest I ever saw was one day when a kid called me “four eyes.” I sneered at him. That was the end of it.

One of the best ways I know of to deal with bullying is to engage in self help, although the schools frown on it.

Let me give you an example of something that happened several years ago which I found out about just the other day.

I have three grandsons who are big, strong kids and who have big, strong fathers.

If you ever saw any of them, you wouldn’t mess with them. The kids are not kids any longer, however. In fact, one of them has three little girls of his own, whom I lovingly refer to as my great-granddaughters.

There was a time when one of my grandsons was having a problem with a bully. He never brought it to anyone’s attention, but his mother (my daughter) learned of it because he came home from school every day with most of his lunch money still in his pocket.

She gave him $2 every day for lunch. When he brought home $1.25 every day, his mother asked him, “What do you have for lunch?”

He replied, “Soup.”

“Why do you have nothing but soup?” she inquired.

“Because,” he responded, “that’s the only thing the other kids can’t take off my tray.”

If he bought french fries, or a hot dog, he never got to eat them because they were grabbed away from him.

My daughter thought that was terrible, but never did anything about it. Then one day his father found out about it. He took the lad aside and offered a set of instructions that finally settled the matter and put a quick end to the bullying.

“The next time that happens,” his father said, “punch him right square in the face.”

And it did happen again. Very soon. And in a punch Rocky Marciano would have been proud of, my grandson decked the kid. Pow! Or, as it says in the comic strips, “POW. Take that!”

It was a one-punch knockout. No counting at the bell. It was over. And my grandson was never bullied again.

But somehow the school didn’t approve of fighting. So one of the officials called my daughter and told her the breathtaking news about the “fight.”

“We are going to suspend your son from school for five days,” the school official told my daughter. Then he asked, “What are you going to do?”

“Well,” she said, “I think we’ll take him out to dinner.”

Case dismissed.


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