Wednesday May 22, 2013
Putting a $20,000 Price Tag on the Head of Every MurdererTim King Salem-News.com
Murderers would be turned in left and right if the people knew it would lead to a realistic reward. First published in 2009 but no less relevant.
(SALEM, Ore.) - As a career news reporter, I've often wondered why Americans place such a low value on life. It seems that way when you think about it. When a person disappears or is murdered, their cases can go unsolved for years, decades, or permanently.
And we spend billions and billions on the War on Drugs which is a statistical failure. A small fraction of that funding could be used to arrest murderers and create safer streets for our kids.
I can not count the times I've seen $1000 and $5000 rewards for information leading to Murder convictions. It seems like a pathetic appraisal of human life and it begs the question, is that all we are worth?
Even those amounts aren't offered in each case, and while Murder cases languish in the back files, the FBI finds $50,000 to offer as a reward for citizens who help locate "animal activists". Fifty grand.
Interestingly, there is a power station near Lebanon, Oregon that is vandalized from time to time. When vandals hit the place, BPA offers a reward of over $20,000 to anyone who can deliver the criminals to justice.
Too bad people aren't so highly regarded.
Sure, families with plenty of money occasionally offer real rewards. I have seen them as high as $20,000, $50,000 or more. But why aren't we taking revenue and doing the same thing on a public level with it?
I guess it is more important these days for police to spend our money on unmarked patrol cars for traffic enforcement, something that California law doesn't even allow, and they blow endless millions of dollars in your taxpayer money prosecuting people who use marijuana, a plant that naturally grows out of the ground.
And all the while, a long list of murderers run the streets free. Some are caught, some are arrested by cops in a "cold case" scenario, as has happened more than once here in Salem, but still far too many are at large.
My point is not that police aren't doing their best at all times to reign in killers. Murder is the most serious offense that a family can face, and each Murder should be a top priority to solve. It is terrible that real rewards are not offered.
Maybe we need to pressure politicians to realign budgets so law enforcement can change its priorities. Police could solicit non-taxpayer funds for rewards through fundraisers, for that matter.
This is the new world and Internet media in particular, is the single best way for police to get the word out about suspects at large, missing people, and murder suspects.
What would our society be like if turning in every Murderer led to a $20,000 reward?
Would that not be sufficient incentive to turn people around? Would it make the streets safer for citizens and police alike? I think it would.
Or let me put it this way; if each and every Murderer out there walking our streets had a 20k price tag on his or her head, there simply would be far fewer of them.
Before you judge this idea as less than economically sound, consider that five murders could be solved in a community per year at a cost of $100,000. The U.S. government under Bush offered rewards in the millions for "terrorists", how could it not be possible to offer $20,000 to an American who wanted to clean up their own neighborhood?
Twenty thousand is a realistic amount that could really tempt people who know murderers into turning them in. I predict that we would see an immediate response to this idea.
Your local and state governments have the funds for things like this, they need pressure, and they need to agree that priorities could be shifted in a positive way that would reduce the worst crime possible.
Here are stories that involve payments for people resolving crimes:
This link will take you to all of our stories involving rewards:
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
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