STRANGE JUSTICE IN NEW YORK: A FATHER GOES TO JAIL
By Paul Walfield
Be that as it may, Ronald Dixon is being taken away from his children, his home, and his employment to be locked up because he acted reasonably, saving his children from a hardened criminal who had broken into his home.
I wrote a story about Mr. Dixon’s state of affairs about six months ago in an article entitled, “What Any Father Would Do.” The article was about Ronald Dixon, who was awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of an intruder in his house. Looking out from his bedroom doorway, Ronald saw a man enter his two year old son’s bedroom. There was no time to call the police and wait for help. Ronald needed to act, and he did.
Ronald had legally purchased a handgun in Florida and was in the process of having it registered in New York, where he lived. He took the gun and confronted the burglar. When the felon lunged at Ronald, Ronald shot the man twice, wounding him. The burglar was arrested and taken away by the police, and Ronald Dixon’s family was safe. Then, Ronald Dixon was arrested.
His gun was not registered and Mr. Dixon needed to be punished for possessing an illegal handgun. It didn’t matter that his family was saved by that gun, or that anyone, anywhere, would have done the same to protect their children. You see, the District Attorney needed to set an example. But, just what example was actually set by send- ing a father, a hard worker, a good man, to jail? The same jail, Rikers Island, that the man who broke into his house is also residing in, and who has a fourteen page rap sheet and had been arrested nineteen times by the police. How many times do you think he was let go without any jail time for actual crimes?
Crime is high in Brooklyn, New York, where Ronald Dixon lives. Gangs use illegal weapons to murder, rob, and terrorize neighborhoods. They are bad people who should be put in jail, and no one, not anyone reasonable anyway, would compare their actions with the actions of a father trying to protect his children from them. Moral equivalency under these circumstances is not just ridiculous, it is absurd. Yet, that is what the DA in New York is saying. The people who defend against the animals who prey on human victims are no better than those criminals and need to spend time in jail.
Why is it difficult to separate out a good man from the vile criminals that prey on the good? Why must a man who has held down three jobs so that his family could have a home and comfort be taken away because another man in New York is incapable of understanding the difference in actions between a criminal and a good man?
The other night on FoxNews, Ronald Dixon was being interviewed and, when asked about his three-day jail sentence, he said, “I can live with it.” He went further and explained that it was because he was threatened with a far worse sentence if he didn’t accept the plea bargain. The DA in New York threatened a good man with a long jail term and settled on three days and that was a “good deal.”
It was further pointed out that, if Mr. Dixon had been in Texas when the incident occurred, he would probably have been awarded a “man of the year” trophy. So, why is he instead going to jail? Is it that all reason and common sense go out the window when you are east of the Mississippi? That really isn’t likely. Is there anyone who understands that the District Attorney has discretion in these matters and still agrees with him? Is there anyone who doesn’t understand that sending a good man to jail for acting reasonably, protecting his family from the bad guys, is a very bad example to set?
Even the most ardent Liberals have to believe that, when confronted with evil and the imminent injury to one’s child, a father must be allowed to use any and all reasonable means to protect his family. Yet, for one appalling district attorney in New York, seeing motive, seeing decency,. and seeing someone act with bravery and responsi- bility is so foreign a concept that it is indistinguishable from the acts of a criminal gang member.
The DA has discretion. He could have simply not chosen to prosecute. The DA could have determined that, by applying for the registration and hiring a firm to help with the paperwork, Mr. Dixon had substantially complied with the law. The DA had a lot of choices; but, sadly, he chose jail time for Mr. Dixon.
As a society, we should be awarding our heroes for their brave deeds. We should be letting the children of Ronald Dixon; and the children of all Americans, know that protecting children, protecting our homes, is a noble and necessary undertaking. That should be the example we set.
Do parents now have to take into account the possibility of being ripped from their families and sent to jail because they protected their children from possibly horrible consequences, even if they acted reasonably? Do we now have to redefine what “reasonable” is, depending upon how jaded the district attorney is in our town?
The example set by the Brooklyn DA is a horrendous one. But it pales in comparison to what it says about who we allow to decide what is good and what is evil, and what is to be punished and what is to be rewarded.
We all know that vigilantism and people making up the rules as they go along is not, as a tenet, a good thing. However, in some situations, we all need to look at the totality of the circumstances before we make a judgment, as few things decided by man should be written in stone.
There is an old saying about someone who plans on doing what is right, and willingly accepts being judged by twelve, rather than being carried to the grave by six. That may be a bit glib, but, when actually acting reasonably, doing what anyone who loved their children would have done under the same circumstances, lands you in jail, it is time to reevaluate who gets to decide who remains free and who goes to jail.
Paul Walfield is a freelance writer and member of the State Bar of California, with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and
post-graduate study in behavioral and analytical psychology. He resided for a number of years in the small town of Houlton, Maine,
and is now a California attorney. His articles appear in numerous periodicals and on numerous websites. He has been the featured guest
on KTSA News Talk Radio. CONTACT INFORMATION: Email: email@example.com
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