11A010 Heaven's Hailstorm by Jim Davies, 1/10/2011    

There's a movie now on limited release, due to go national a few weeks hence: Heaven's Rain. The title comes from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd / It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven / Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: / It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

Its background was detailed on NBC's Dateline on Friday - a program I've noted previously as often presenting a well-related true story, and this one forms the basis of the movie which was written by one of the real-life participants, Brooks Douglass. Brooks' father was a popular preacher in Oklahoma in 1979, when their home was suddenly invaded by a pair of thugs who robbed them, raped his young sister Leslie, and shot all four family members twice each. Brooks and Leslie survived, their parents did not. Sixteen and twelve at the time, one can hardly imagine a more harrowing experience for brother and sister.

The killers were found after a few weeks, tried and sentenced to death. But the appeals were spread over two decades, and each time there was a hearing the children, as they grew into adults, had to re-live the experience by testifying. One thug was executed, the other, Glen Burton Ake, still lives in prison. NBC did relate the anguish the two children had to face over and over, and did imply a criticism of the inept manner in which government "justice" disposed of this simple case, with its overwhelming evidence of guilt, but the program failed to finger the culprit or suggest a remedy.

Both it and the movie focused on the fact that after struggling with his horrid memories for many years, Brooks eventually faced Ake, the trigger man, and told him he had long wanted him dead but now forgave him. This had a cathartic effect on Brooks, and - surprisingly - brought a strong emotional reaction from the killer. Hence the Shakespeare quotation. This may well all be valid, but my interest was more on what had gone wrong and how it should be fixed.

After the children had been patched up and released from hospital, the latter collected its expenses by seizing and selling the family property, so leaving the kids destitute. Family and church members took them in and fostered them well - they each grew up quite well-adjusted and have succeeded in life - but that was an outrage in itself. How might this have played out in a zero government society?

First, the probability of such violence occurring will be much lower. With ample opportunity for honest gain and a highly efficient, competitive detection industry, the cost-benefit ratio for violence will be far higher, hence much less of it. Then, that free-market justice system will capture the aggressors sooner (these two killed two other victims, in Texas, before they were caught.) Then, given the low probability of such invasions, insurance against them will be much cheaper and so it is more likely that the Douglass family would have carried some - hence, no financial collapse to heap on the orphans even if, as in 1979, the Pastor's 3,000 church members failed to chip in for the children's hospital costs.

As for the forgiveness, in a ZGS that may or may not take place but Ake and his fellow-thug would be required not to die or rot, but to work for the benefit of the two children (or, more probably, to repay the insurer.) The victim family will receive some restitution, no taxpayer will be robbed to keep the killers alive, they will to some degree rehabilitate, and no wardens will waste their working lives keeping them locked up; instead they will do productive work to everyone's benefit. It will be win, win, win and win.

There is simply no contest. We need a zero government society yesterday.

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