Walter E. Williams
The U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 2012 losses because of personal identity theft totaled $24.7 billion. The money losses from identity theft pale in comparison with the costs of paperwork, time and inconvenience imposed on the larger society in an effort to protect ourselves. According to LifeLock, while the laws against identity theft have gotten tougher, identity theft criminal prosecution is relatively rare. Unless we develop a low tolerance and a willingness to impose harsh sentences, identity thieves will continue to impose billions of dollars of costs on society.

Today's Americans tolerate what would have been unthinkable years ago. According to the National Center for Education Statistics and the BJS, 209,800 primary- and secondary-school teachers reported being physically attacked by a student during the 2011-12 academic year. Hundreds of thousands more are threatened with injury. On average, 1,175 teachers are physically attacked each day of the school year. These facts demonstrate an unwillingness to defend ourselves against these young barbarians, who often will grow into big barbarians.

During the 1940s and early '50s, when I was in school, assaulting or threatening teachers was unthinkable. Corporal punishment in school and/or at home would have been the result of an assault or threat against a teacher. Starting in the '50s, following Dr. Benjamin Spock's advice, what worked for centuries was exchanged with what sounded good. In 1970, Thomas Gordon, best-selling author of "Parent Effectiveness Training," told parents to stop punishing their children and to start treating them "much as we treat friends or a spouse." Corporal punishment has been criminalized. Other forms of punishment have been replaced with "timeout" and other such nonsense.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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