Authorities in society then interpret the law to agree with their own morality. Because of their political or economic power of these authorities, laws made will attempt to regulate what is considered threatening or immoral in such a society. What is considered threatening to the status quo or immoral according to the authorities will become illegal. Laws can only be valid when private citizens meet their obligations, or obey the rules, according to the law, and public officials enact the conduct set out within those laws to manage and enact the legal system (Hart, 2004: 110, 116).
Laws do serve to coerce the members of a society into acceptable behaviors and practices, but is necessary to consider whether what is acceptable or appropriate, or just the construct of politically and economically powerful people. The death penalty is enacted in a number of US States, most often as a deterrent to murder. As a public safety issue, murder is evidently a priority crime and as such, easy to propose harsh action in response to. Yet the debate continues, and the US Supreme Court in 2007 was assessing the Constitutionality of lethal injections, and similar challenges to the death penalty continue.
In 2005, 846 American servicemen and women died in Iraq; 10,100 civilians died within the shores of the US from gunshot wounds (Galliard, 2008, p. 37). The need to regulate the ownership and use of handguns and other personally owned weapons in the US is clear. The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the US states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. ” The implication is that in times of war, and other direct threat, that the US should be able to muster an army in its defense.
The question is thus whether public safety is justification for the present demand for private gun ownership, in light of the effective standing military force of the US. After a request through the Texas Public Information Act, the statistical information to show how safe the San Antonio Police Department had been during chases, was released. For six years from 2003 to 2009, 1200 public police chases had occurred; every third chase reached speeds of 60 m. p.h.
or more; 40% of all chases caused damage to other cars or property; and one in five chases resulted in an injury (Ruff, 2010, website). Geoffrey Alpert, a researcher from the University of South Carolina suggests that police policies related to vehicle chases need to be more effectively formulated and implemented: “the longer a chase goes on … the more likely you’re going to have serious injury” (Ruff, 2010, website).
Biskupic, J. (2008) Do you have a legal right to own a gun? On usatoday.com available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-02-26-guns-cover_N.htm . Accessed November 26, 2011
Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System (2004) Annual Report and Recommendations 2003-2004 Connecticut: Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Justice System
Farber, B. (Ed) (2007) Civil Liability Law in AELE Monthly Law Journal 2997 (2) Park Ridge, Ill.,: AELE Law Enforcement Legal Centre. pp. 101-108
Galliard, L. (2008) Public Safety Trumps Outdated, Irrelevant Second Amendment in The Seattle Times newspaper March 10, 2008
Hart, H.L.A. (1994) The Concept of Law Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.
Hart, H.L.A (1963) Law, Liberty and Morality Stanford: Stanford University Press
Jacoby, J. (2002) Capital Punishment Saves Lives in The Boston Globe, June 6, 2002
Johnson, T.L. & Widder Heilman, C. (2001) An Embarrassment to All Minnesotans: Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System. Minnesota Bar Association Website: available at http://www2.mnbar.org/benchandbar/2001/may-jun01/racial-disparity.htm Accessed November 27, 2011
Liptak, A, (2007) Does the Death penalty Save Lives? A New Debate in New York Times Newspaper November 18, 2007
Moore, S. (2011) Definition of Disparity in Criminal Justice on eHow Website available at http://www.ehow.com/facts_4855867_definition-disparity-criminal-justice.html#ixzz1b3ayiuBp Accessed November 19, 2011
Rose, Adam (2004) Defining and Measuring Economic Resilience to Disasters in Disaster Prevention and Management, Volume 13, Number 4, pp. 307-314 New York: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Ruff, J. (2010) Police Pursuits: Does risk outweigh benefits? On the My San Antonio website available at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Police-pursuits-Does-risk-outweigh-benefits-787565.php# Accessed November 29, 2011
The Kasen Law Firm, LLC Statement posted in Deportation Defense on Monday, August 22, 2011 available at http://www.charlestonimmigrationlawyer.com/2011/08/groups-continue-to-fight-secure-communities-Program.shtml Accessed November 26, 2011
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2011) Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request available at http://www.dsca.mil/ Accessed November 28, 2011
Writer Unknown (2011) Supreme Court Rules Background Checks of NASAs Contractor Employees Legal available at The US Supreme Court Website http://www.supremecourt.gov/ and http://hr.blr.com/HR-news/Staffing-Training/Background-Checks/Supreme-Court-Rules-Background-Checks-of-NASAs-Con/?source=RSA&effort=4 Accessed November 26, 2011
Writer Unknown (2011) Law Overview on the website Criminal Laws.com available at http://criminal.laws.com/hate-crimes Accessed November 29, 2011
The US Supreme Court Website http://www.supremecourt.gov/ and http://hr.blr.com/HR-news/Staffing-Training/Background-Checks/Supreme-Court-Rules-Background-Checks-of-NASAs-Con/?source=RSA&effort=4 Accessed November 26, 2011