Although I am socially quite liberal on most issues, I believe in rule of law and was raised to respect police, the military and other people in a position of authority. Where I grew up, even many Democrats or liberals are tough on crime and believe in strong penalties and support policing. In recent years, many on the left have vocally opposed police and other authorities due to issues of brutality and potential racism. I think, as with many issues, that extremism has taken the place of common sense. Many police and prosecutors are good people who try to serve the public good, and yet a few rotten apples have spoiled the bunch. As the issues of crime and punishment increasingly take on racial and social justice overtones, I find myself very conflicted and increasingly at odds with the mainstream left. I believe that rules are in place for a reason, and I believe in punishment for crime as well as rehabilitation. I believe that those who violate society's most important laws, in the most heinous manner, forfeit their right to be treated in the same fashion as law-abiding citizens. That gets lost in the terrible situations and injustices that have spurred the #blacklivesmatter movement, among other things. I understand that some authority figures have violated their code of ethics and violated the law, and I believe they should be punished as stringently as everyday members of society. A killer is a killer, whether a cop or a robber, as it were. I respect that people make mistakes, and can turn their lives around. I also believe some people are beyond redemption and some mistakes so great that they demand strict penalties. In that regard, I am clearly much further to the right of the spectrum than many others I would consider peers on different issues.

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