July 4th, 2019 marks the 243 anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of our great country. The Declaration boldly states the fundamental rights of citizens, superseding all other rights, i.e., civil rights, criminal’s rights or any right granted by government,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These sacred words are the basic promise of our country to its citizens.
Why is the violation, the denial, of these rights by the criminal not considered serious offences in criminal law? These sacred rights have been taken from the victims and survivors by terrible acts. The criminal’s violation of these rights should at a minimum be an add-on enhancement of the punishment.
Violent criminals destroy our Declaration Rights. Crimes consist of murder, rape, molestation, aggregated assault and also include traumatic crimes that threaten violence: home burglary, arson, robbery, stalking, kidnapping, terrorism and many more.
Murder violates the most fundamental right — LIFE
All other violent crimes destroy the right to “LIBERTY and the pursuit of HAPPINESS” for the victims and survivors: condemned to a lifetime of sorrow, fear, anxiety, anger, tension, loneliness and loss of faith. Many survivors experience poor health, loss of career or job, loss of income and even the breakup of the family, divorce.
People often, too often, expect the survivors to eventually come out of mourning and experience “closure,” thus returning to the same person as before. The answer is “NEVER,” never will we be the same, our lives have changed. Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are greatly diminished or lost to us by crime, never to reach the underlying promise of freedom (Liberty) to shape our own lives (pursuit of Happiness.)
I recently sat through the trial of the serial murderer of my daughter in 1986. The murderer slaughtered seven other young women. The judge and lawyers were careful to protect the criminal, to protect his legal rights and safety as they should. A violation of rights could result in a mistrial.
Not once was the violation of the victims and survivors Declaration Rights mentioned. The meaning of our precious right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is moot, not considered. That’s not right!
If you agree, use your Victim’s Voice to plant a thought seed in other’s minds.
Jack Reilley June 14, 2019