SCENES FROM A PSYCHOTIC BREAK

Posted in Quick Hits on October 12th, 2011 by Ed

A vignette from a nation in the final stages of dementia:

Last night, in between approving city expenditures and other routine agenda items, the Topeka, Kansas City Council debated one rather controversial one: decriminalizing domestic violence.

Here’s what happened: Last month, the Shawnee County District Attorney’s office, facing a 10% budget cut, announced that the county would no longer be prosecuting misdemeanors, including domestic violence cases, at the county level. Finding those cases suddenly dumped on the city and lacking resources of their own, the Topeka City Council is now considering repealing the part of the city code that bans domestic battery. […]

Since the county stopped prosecuting the crimes on September 8th, it has turned back 30 domestic violence cases. Sixteen people have been arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery and then released from the county jail after charges weren’t filed. "Letting abusive partners out of jail with no consequences puts victims in incredibly dangerous positions," said Becky Dickinson of the YWCA. "The abuser will often become more violent in an attempt to regain control."

Well, at least we have our priorities straight. Better to decriminalize things than to pay enough in taxes to allow the government to enforce the law. And if you have to decriminalize something, why not start with wife beating rather than, you know, something important like possession?

Yes, I understand that part of this is a political pissing match between the city and county, each trying to embarrass the other as they quibble over shrinking budgets. That said, legalization schemes of this type are like cannibalism: if you're seriously considering it, you're either beyond desperate (say, on a desert island) or completely divorced from reality. We're beyond desperate, alright – desperate to cling to a failed, debunked political and economic ideology no matter how absurd the costs.