Hold this picture in mind: Thousands of people are driving in Houston, and there are few crashes because everyone—wealthy or from a lower socioeconomic level, well raised or poorly raised — are driving by the laws of the State of Texas.

Do you know what that means? It means that everyone is capable of keeping the law.

Why don’t criminals ignore the laws and crash into someone? Because they have a lot to lose. Their own car is damaged. They’ll call attention to themselves. An officer will run a computer check on them. They’ll get tickets. Their insurance goes up, or they are caught without insurance. Instant pain is avoided by keeping traffic laws.

The above means that even criminals are capable of keeping all laws. When they break the law, they are choosing which ones to break.

American citizens were sold a bag of goods when it became popular to believe that criminals should get mercy because they were raised in a disadvantaged setting. It was almost like we believed they couldn’t help but be criminals: They were set up for such a life.

No. They can control their bad behavior. For example, a criminal steals a Porsche and while in the act of being a car thief, while he is driving to the chop shop, he keeps all traffic laws. That’s because if he gets pulled over by a peace officer for speeding, running a red light, rolling through a stop sign or whatever, he’s busted. The conclusion is appropriate: He’s capable of keeping the law; he is just keeping the laws that serve him.

Hold that in your mind while I present this question: Who should experience the pain of criminal behavior—the individual who is lawless or the innocent public?

In 2021, according to Gun Violence Archive, 1055 children were killed or injured by gunfire. The kids wore the pain. The families wore the pain. If offenders had been locked up for previous crimes, some of these children would still be alive or uninjured. Don’t read further, until you’ve taken the time to ponder that fact.

Consider these facts:

• Criminals usually commit many crimes before they are caught doing one crime.

• Criminal behavior is a lifestyle for them.

• They’re, generally speaking, not ashamed of their criminal behavior; rather, they feel cavalier about their escapades.

• Eighty percent of those who are released from jail or prison return to lockup within eight years, convicted of other crimes.

The above facts mean that as judges don’t administer due justice, they are sentencing individuals within the public to experience pain. Criminals hurt people as they do more crimes.

Again, my question is this: “Who should experience the pain of criminal behavior—the individuals who are lawless or the innocent public?”

A saying I’ve authored is this one: “Behavior changes when the pain of doing wrong is much greater than the pleasure received.”

Pain notifies of the need to change, to escape the negative stimuli and to cease and desist; consequently, aberrant people need to experience pain as pressure to stop offending.

Innocent people don’t need the pain because they don’t need pressure to change. Criminals need the pain to signal the necessity to stop anti-social behavior.

When judges protect offenders from the pain of due consequences, they do them no favor, they do them a disservice. For their own health, offenders need the pressure to change—to stop destroying their bodies with alcohol or illicit drugs, to stop placing themselves in jeopardy, to stop alienating family members and law-abiding friends by manipulating them, to stop wasting their lives and to stop rebelling against God, assigning themselves eternal consequences.

Assigning the pain to the offender, you see, is merciful. Protecting innocent would-be victims is, also, merciful.

George Carlin, a comic, blasphemed the Ten Commandments to jeering crowds. He said it was what a bull left behind his behind.

He’s dead now, but we are who are still living, with crime being so rampant, see what ignoring the Ten Commandments does to a culture. The Bible says that if we sow to the wind, we’ll reap the whirlwind. No judge or do-gooder should shield offenders from that formula occurring. Everyone must be required to keep the law or experience pain. Please pass this column on.

Parting kernel of truth: A wise person said that we don’t break the Ten Commandments if we disobey them; we break ourselves against the Ten Commandments if we disobey them.”

Facts correspondent Buddy Scott is executive director of His Love Counseling Services in Lake Jackson.

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Nine commandments. One did not make it into the New Testament.

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