Topic: "Gotta Have a Home (2)"
"Banishment" is a word that sounds medieval. In the Icelandic Sagas it says that banishment was the supreme penalty for the lawbreaker. The offender was simply taken out to the very middle of the country and left all alone. Should he return to civilzation he would be deemed akin to a parolee. However, the Icelanders never had to face that happenstance.
Frodo begins this discussion because banishment is not quite as medieval as some may think. In the land of Georgia, beyond the Shire, banishment exists as a legal punishment for criminals, and as a relief for the banishing county. In truth, a lawbreaker may be driven by the local constabulary from the jail where he is serving a sentence to the City of Atlanta and merely dropped off to fend for himself. It happens with great regularity.
Sadie Fields, who heads the Georgia Chapter of the Christian Coalition, appeared on television last week in an interview. She argued for the State Legislatures' restriction on the rights of gay people. To justify her position she referred to the Old Testament, specifically the Books of Leviticus and Exodus. What Sadie failed to acknowledge, or for that matter what the crack interviewer failed to question, was that these are exactly the same parts of the Old Testament used by past Georgia officials to justify the existence of slavery.
Now the State of Georgia has proposed the most restrictive residential laws imaginable against one particular class of lawbreaker. What has been proposed is that no "registered sex offender" may reside within 1000 feet of any school bus stop in the State of Georgia. By actual measurement this means that there is virtually no location in any metropolitan area in which a person so deigned would be able to live. Should such a person already live in an affected location, then they must leave their residence. A "registered sex offender" is a person with a criminal record who has served his sentence, been paroled, or otherwise released from custody. The punishment, it seems, never ends.
Frodo will not argue that everyone is an innocent, and should be treated as such, but it is fallacious to assume that all those cited above should be singled out for special treatment. Rural offenders, gay people, slaves, and "registered sex offenders" are probably just about as diverse as the internees at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. One should probably never turn one's back on a lawbreaker, but to give them no opportunity to ever rejoin the greater community is just plain evil.
There are times when Frodo is not very proud of those who claim to represent him, or his values, or the Shire. Perhaps if they would be required to learn the Ten Commandments by heart? Frodo wonders if Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga) would sponsor such a proposal?