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Killer Bunnies

March 28, 2011

     There is a game called Killer Bunnies.  Actually, there are several of them, but The Quest for the Magic Carrot is the one I am referring to.   A young relative of mine loves the game.  The purpose of the game is quite simple:  Keep your bunnies alive, while killing off the competition.  It’s application is not so simple.  In fact it is an extremely complicated and at times convoluted game, that literally has different rules that can come in to play for the time of day, the position someone is sitting at the table, the letters in the person’s name, what their gender is, how old they are, what their zodiac sign is, or even the sign for the given month the game is played.
     You get the idea.  You may think you are winning the game, only to discover at the end that your are left holding the opponents hand based on the vagaries of the game.  It is a simple idea, made very complex. 
     I mention this, because many states and the federal government have sentencing guidelines, and these things go in and out of fashion.  The idea is to make sentencing “more fair” to all involved.  This seems like a simple idea, but in its application it is exceedingly complex.  First  there is the nature of the crime and categories for that, then there is the individuals past criminal record and the nature of that, then there is whether a weapon was involved and various other factors that both enhance or reduce a person’s sentence, the length of the crime, whether it was hidden or obstructed in any way.  The list goes on and on.
     The federal sentencing guidelines fill a book approximately 3 inches thick.  Even with that there’s a range for the sentence that the judge can place you within, unless he feels there’s a justification for varying from the sentence, and that can all depend on the temperament and outlook of the judge and even before you get there, the attorney for the government can choose to dismiss charges or not, which in turn causes a wide range of sentencing parameters.
     What you end up with is Killer Bunnies.  The idea that by making a sentencing guideline you can make the system more fair is unrealistic.  It is an attempt to make a system that deals with human lives into a mechanistic,  assembly line system where one size fits all.
     People aren’t like that.

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