Monday, February 1, 2010

The road to hell is paved with good intentions,

but the gutters are made with idiocy and short-sightedness.

I read the following in an AP story about a group of Baptists who were arrested for trying to get 33 Haitian children out of the country without authorization.

"Since their arrest Friday near the border, the church group has been held inside two small concrete rooms in the same judicial police headquarters building where ministers have makeshift offices and give disaster response briefings. They have not yet been charged.One of their lawyers said they were being treated poorly: 'There is no air conditioning, no electricity. It is very disturbing,' Attorney Jorge Puello told the AP by phone from the Dominican Republic, where the Baptists hoped to shelter the children in a rented beach hotel."

No air conditioning? No electricity? That's monstrous! It's barbaric! It's cruel and unusual punishment. It is exactly the same conditions as the rest of Haiti right now too. Get off your high horse, Mr. Puello, and tell your clients to toughen up. The entire country is in crisis right now, people are dying from wounds and infections and starvation every single day, and you're complaining about not having air conditioning? Here's a thought. If you don't like jail, stay out of it. Most of us manage to do it pretty easily.

That innocuous little comment actually bugs me more than anything in this story. I get that they were trying to help and thought leaving the country would be better for these children. I get that they hated to see the children suffer. That is commendable. However, they broke the law. Sometimes there are bad laws, I get that too. But you'd better think long and hard about the consequences of deciding that a law is bad before you flout it, because chances are the police officer is going to be pretty difficult to bring over to your way of thinking.

But anyway, that's even that bad. It really bothers me that their lawyer used that argument in a Third World country that was totally ravaged by an earthquake and continues to be hit by aftershocks. Electricity is spotty everywhere. And air conditioning? Something tells me staying cool is not high on the list of priorities here; it may be somewhere between wearing clothes that match and who won song of the year at the Grammys. What, because they're Americans they should get special treatment? Or maybe because they're trying to help? Sorry, I don't buy it. If you were truly trying to help your own comfort would never have entered the situation.

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