Ten people (12 if you include the criminals) are dead, and 18 more are seriously injured, because a parole board and our government didn’t believe in law. Instead, they believed in themselves.
Myles (and Damien) Sanderson was a contemptible criminal. His crimes were too heinous to repeat on page. His legal ledger was stained with 59 convictions,* and now it’s stained with the blood of 28 more. Though his ledger, I suspect, is no longer the only one that's stained.
How is it possible that such a violent menace wasn’t already in prison? How is it tolerable that peaceful protestor Tamara Lich, or obedient pastor Tim Stephens, could be locked in prison for months, while the court was content to see Sanderson free? How is it acceptable that this vicious man, if we can call him a man at all, was allowed to roam the province like a ravenous lion looking for someone to devour?
Sanderson was allowed to roam because the parole board let him roam. He was allowed to roam because there was nothing disallowing him from roaming. Indeed, the law would not have allowed Sanderson to be set free, but the parole board and government no longer follow the law. As such, it seems the law no longer applies to actual criminals.
The stark fact of the hour is that very few people still believe in law. The modern world has little use for it. I venture to say the overwhelming majority of Liberal politicians (and most of the Conservative ones) despise it. The parole board certainly had no reverence for it.
But we do believe in law; we believe in law because there is no liberty without it. Our shallow intellectuals of the age criticize law as “restricting.” The Marxian socialist in the university protests against the law because it supposedly limits their will. If only they understood that liberty is limitation; restriction is freedom.
For example, a man is free to love his wife, but only if both of them keep the law of monogamy and marriage. A toddler is free to play at the top of a canyon, but only so long as there is a wall of glass keeping him from crawling over the edge. The restriction on his freedom—the glass stopping him from falling over into the abyss—is what enables him to play freely.
But we have plunged over the edge. Our government and the parole board removed the barrier and jumped into the jagged crevasse. They refused to appeal to law and, by failing to do so, enabled Sanderson to baptize the province in his evil.
The men and women on the parole board and our government disregarded lawful imprisonment because they believed in science. They believed in “healing” instead of justice; now, an entire province needs healing because no justice has been served. Perhaps the board wanted to save Sanderson from himself. They thought it better to put him in a healing lodge than a jail cell after his first 59 convictions. Maybe conviction #60 would’ve snapped the camel’s back.
At any rate, when a group decides to administer "healing” rather than serve justice, society receives a great deal of neither. Perhaps taking Sanderson out of prison was a “new and innovate way to treat habitual criminals.” But if that were true, then this entire thing was an experiment, and if there’s one thing about experiments, it’s that the scientists are free to do what they want with the components of the experiment itself.
As such, the parole board thought it best to be the scientist and play with the system. They were performing a new experiment, and now it’s blown up the building. They decided to play God, and now 12 people (which includes the Sandersons themselves) have gone to meet Him.
Indeed, the free man is the one who knows what law he’s ruled by and how he’ll be treated if he chooses to violate it. The moment we lose that—the moment we question whether we’ll be tossed in jail for peacefully protesting or released to a peaceful lodge for violently stealing—is the moment we cease to be free men at all. To no longer know what law applies to us is to no longer know where the edge of the cliff is. We are not freer by forgetting the law; instead, we become frozen in fear. As the Sanderson brothers and parole board so demonstrably displayed, it’s not that, without a law, our humanity is emancipated; rather, without a law, we are fearfully emancipated from our humanity.
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