Column: Retributive justice can workThe theory of retributive justice is common to most cultures throughout the world. It is evident in many ancient texts, illustrating that it has stood the test of time. Its premise is that punishment, if proportionate, is the best response to crime.
By: David Ross, Duluth News Tribune
The theory of retributive justice is common to most cultures throughout the world. It is evident in many ancient texts, illustrating that it has stood the test of time. Its premise is that punishment, if proportionate, is the best response to crime.
Retribution should be distinguished from vengeance because it is directed only at wrongs. It is not personal. It involves no pleasure at the suffering of others.
The more colloquial interpretation of the theory conveys the old wisdom that “What one sows, one must reap.” Said differently, each of us receives accordingly with what we have earned.
Earlier this week, the city of Duluth’s legal staff pursued in court the civil nuisance case it has against Jim Carlson, the owner and operator of The Last Place on Earth. This case began one month after a July 19 court order temporarily closed Carlson’s store.
In addition to this week’s nuisance trial, Carlson is concurrently facing nine drug charges in St. Louis County Court. Next month, he will appear in federal court to face the 55 charges against him.
Carlson recently stated in a newspaper interview, “I pretty much get up in the morning and talk to attorneys. Then I spend all afternoon talking to attorneys. Then I talk to attorneys some more.”
The owners and operators of businesses located in our beloved Old Downtown, in close proximity to The Last Place on Earth, place our full faith in our judicial system. The Duluth Area Chamber is one of these businesses. We are confident that local, state and federal officials entrusted to enforce our laws will ensure any level of punishment is scaled relative to the severity of the offending behavior.
I must admit, however, that I am encouraged by the powerful visual evoked by Martin Luther King Jr. when he implored, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
While these court cases are being considered and while the Last Place on Earth is closed, we can delight in the revitalization of our Old Downtown. Crime is down. Neighboring businesses report sales are up. Sidewalk conversations and window shopping have returned to our community’s spiritual main street, Superior Street.
If you haven’t visited us lately, it is an ideal time to join in this quiet celebration that is occurring. Our business neighborhood is returning to its vibrant, safe former self.
There is much to celebrate. Optimism abounds in our Old Downtown.
David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.