March is National Criminal Justice Month

On top of all the floating holidays, the debate whether “y” is really a vowel at all, the “are they/aren’t they” Chris Brown/Rihanna (Robin F? Not fooling me…) saga, and the “I wonder what Kim Jong-Il’s favorite movie is” discussions, we now have the announcement that March is “National Criminal Justice Month”. Gentleman start your engines!

And then proceed down the road at a measured pace not in excess of the speed limit.

This House of Representatives resolution was actually introduced way back on January 9th, but in the true measure of our government’s speedy workings, it didn’t make it out of committee for almost 2 whole months. Here is the link to the actual wordage, but in case you have extreme linkophobia, I have faithfully reproduced it here (in its entirety by the way):

111th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. RES. 45

Raising awareness and promoting education on the criminal justice system by establishing March as “National Criminal Justice Month”.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES January 9, 2009

Mr. Poe of Texas (for himself, Mr. Costa, Mr. Holden, Ms. Matsui, and Mr. Marchant) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


RESOLUTION

Raising awareness and promoting education on the criminal justice system by establishing March as “National Criminal Justice Month”.

Whereas there are approximately three million Americans employed within the justice system;

Whereas approximately seven million adults are on probation, parole, or are incarcerated;

Whereas millions of Americans have been victims of crime and, consequently, lost income, incurred medical expenses, and suffered emotionally;

Whereas the cost of crime to individuals, communities, businesses, and the various levels of government exceeds the billions of dollars spent each year in administering the criminal justice system;

Whereas, in 2006, fifty percent of Americans admitted they fear that their home would be burglarized when they are not home; thirty-four percent of American women feared that they would be sexually assaulted; and forty-four percent of Americans feared they would be a victim of a terrorist attack;

Whereas approximately thirty-five percent of Americans have very little or no confidence in the criminal justice system and the negative effects of crime in regard to confidence in governmental agencies and overall social stability are immeasurable;

Whereas crime rates have dropped since the early 1990s, but most Americans believe that the rate of crime is increasing;

Whereas Federal, State, and local governments increased their spending for police protection, corrections, judicial, and legal activities in fiscal year 2005 by 5.5 percent or $204 billion; and

Whereas there is a need to educate Americans and to promote awareness within American society as to the causes and consequences of crime, as well as the strategies and developments for preventing and responding to crime: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That—

(1) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(A) National Criminal Justice Month provides an opportunity to educate Americans on the criminal justice system; and

(B) Americans should be aware of the causes and consequences of crime, how to prevent crime, and how to respond to crime; and

(2) the House of Representatives urges policymakers, criminal justice officials, educators, victim service providers, nonprofits, community leaders, and others to promote awareness of how to prevent and respond to crime through National Criminal Justice Month.


Now after reading that (bonus points if you actually did), can you tell me if there is anything of signficance contained therein? Honestly I wish I could say that I found something enlightening but I can’t. Sorry.

I do not wish to take away from the people who work in the various aspects of Criminal Justice, from the prison guards keeping Charlie Manson tucked in to the cops flying over my head in their ghetto birds. They ceaselessly put themselves in the danger zone for the protection of the public. For that they all deserve claps on the shoulders and ceremonial keys and all that jazz. I’ll give them all thumbs up, unless of course they happen to be driving behind me. Then it’s hands at 10 and 2 and eyes straight ahead.

I don’t consider this Resolution worth the paper I printed it out on. I’m a big fan of open government and I am glad to access it from another outlet than C-Span here. I have just started following the House Tweets which follow what the House Twits (pun intended) do on a daily basis. It’s how I heard of H. Res. 45:

Suspension Vote: On Passage – House – H.Res. 45 Raising awareness and promoting education on the.. http://tinyurl.com/dl6ndm

At first I thought it was a suspension of the vote on this measure. That would’ve definitely set off a Lewis Black-esque aneurysm in my brain.  But then I realized they were suspending the rules in order to expedite the vote. Which, by the way, was already 4 days into “National Criminal Justice Month”.

On the way to this expedited vote, it went through two different committees. Is there someone out there that can explain to me why it needed to go to the House Judiciary Committee and then get shoved into the Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security sub-committee? It is a thin resolution that doesn’t resolve anything. It doesn’t look like it has any fiscal impact.  No danger of revealing “state secrets”. I’m pretty sure a 7th Grade Social Studies class could’ve come up with the length and breadth of a resolution like this in one afternoon and passed it that same day. This one took 2 months to get done 4 days late…  and it doesn’t “do” anything!

I do also love the inclusion of this gem: “Whereas, in 2006, fifty percent of Americans admitted they fear that their home would be burglarized when they are not home; thirty-four percent of American women feared that they would be sexually assaulted; and forty-four percent of Americans feared they would be a victim of a terrorist attack”.  I’m almost positive that if I got together 20 friends, or, since I don’t have that many friends, 20 strangers, 9 of them would NOT say they worried about being victimized in a terrorist attack. I don’t think you would get a single one worried about a terrorist attack. Unless by “terrorist attack” you mean “maniacal SoCal driver who doesn’t know when it’s too late to squeeze a lemon and almost kills 6 pedestrians stepping out into the crosswalk”. In that case I think all 20 may raise their hands.

And on the flipside, if I happened to have 20 female friends over…  actually I can’t lie about that.  If I’ve got 20 female friends over, we’re not going to be talking politics.

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