Reflections on Changing Times & Laws

Spending time involved in the court systems brings to ones attention on how much the law has changed thru out history.

Looking back into past history, we see that time moves forward, nations emerge and other ones vanish, our customs change, but it seems that man does not.

The first documented murder happened when Cain killed Abel in the Bible and crime has not stopped since. Laws were instituted by man in order to protect society and the court systems have evolved to uphold the laws.

In the past, stealing a man transportation (his horse) was a hanging offense for the offender and oftentimes a death sentence for the owner of the horse, especially if he was left stranded in the wilderness of the wild west without any food or water.

In todays world, stealing a mans transportation (his motor vehicle) is often done for a thrill by some and a business by others. It’s no longer a hanging offense and most of our society does not seem to be too concerned with the offense…. possibly the owner of the vehicle is… especially if its not insured. The thief might be, if he or she it caught.

In the past, murder was also a hanging offense and justice was often swift. Justice might have been in the form of a legal execution by hanging by the neck until dead or sometimes by vigilante justice. Or many times by family members that believed in an “eye for an eye”, especially when a marshal, sheriff or lawman might be many days travel away. Most of us “oldtimers” are familiar with the “Hatfield & McCoy Feud” which is an example of family members dispensing what they consider “justice”.

Over time, reasons for crimes such as killing and stealing have changed. They still happen, but in many different circumstances. Just watch the news and you will see what I mean. We now classify crimes into different categories with punishment to suit. In past history, murder and many other crimes was a hanging offense or death sentence. In todays society, maybe not!

In todays society, justice is usually not quite as swift, as the court systems at times move slowly. Moving slowly with some calm deliberation about dispensing justice is one way of trying protect the accused rights. Usually, opinions vary on whether justice is dispensed fairly by the parties involved, depending on which side of the law they are on at the time.

As we look at crimes and conditions in other countries and also the crime in our own country, I think most will agree that we need laws designed to protect the innocent and society as a whole.

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