Sheppard stood in the door and watched them get into the patrol car and drive away. He summoned his compassion.
—“The Lame Shall Enter First,” by Flannery O’Connor
I’m really, really loving these final chapters. The kids are responding to them and the quality of class discussion is at an all-time high. A popular question during chapter 28 this week, State Government—The Judicial Branch, has been … Do you think I’ll ever have to go to prison?
That’s fair. It’s a real-world question to the real world information we’re learning in a chapter whose key words and phrases are plaintiff, defendant, criminal case, prosecution, felony, capital felony, misdemeanor, jury, superior court, trail jury, grand jury, indictment, and the word that gets them all hot and bothered the most: juveniles. Something about the word … juveniles … sets them off. That’s been quite a revelation, and makes me think that when they’re hanging out with each other over the weekends that they talk about how much they’re watched by their parents or the police and the delinquency of the kids they know down the street who’ve gotten in some serious trouble.
But it gets us talking and that’s good. It’s gets them talking about when their mother got pulled over for speeding … or when she went through that stop sign and got caught. But what scares me is that some of them wonder why people have to obey laws. They ask why they’re so oppressed and regulated and controlled? And why are there laws in the first place?
I give them the simplest and most powerful and easiest-to-understand answer: to attempt to keep billions of people safe from each other.
In a tone of voice, as if she was defeated, Tempest said … I guess you’re right.
Next Entry ... April 22: Capital Punishment