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Crime & Punishment

Disturbing The Universe

Law professor Paul Butler says the rate of incarceration for young black men in particular is so high that it's time to start taking extreme measures to address it — like routinely voting to acquit so-called non-violent drug offenders, even if you think they are guilty. He says we should also listen to hip-hop music. He says people should stop cooperating with the police for money and that defendants in criminal cases should get to find out sooner what evidence the authorities have against them.

Are you saying, yeah sure, makes sense? Or is your hair standing up on your neck yet? Are you ready to go give him a piece of your mind (or, even more than that, tell him where to GO)?

Well, read what he has to say. His article in The Nation is a good pr??cis. And this is the link to the book. Listen to the interview, let us know what you think.

What I also think is this: as provocative as all this sounds NOW, it is pretty tame stuff compared to what William Kunstler was talking about and doing back in the day, back in the 60s, 70s and up though the 80s, when he was openly challenging judges, telling them they were racist and the system was corrupt and broken. If you follow civil rights law or activism or were around in those days, then you probably know the name. But I am guessing a good many people won't remember exactly what he did or who he was. That's why the documentary, Disturbing The Universe — made by two of his daughters — is so powerful and interesting.

The project walks you through the history and also gives you some insight into what it was like to live through those times. And it reminds us that what sounds so out-of-the-box today might have been a dinner party conversation back in the day, and vice versa.

Who knows? What we think is so radical and crazy now, our kids might someday think is just ... common sense.