I Am The Law
by Judge Dredd
After the collapse of the environment and humanity’s sociopolitical structure, lawlessness ran rampant in the few remaining Mega Cities where most human survivors lived. But then a new system of criminal justice emerged. One where elite super-soldiers act as police, jury, and executioners. We call them the Judges. That’s where I come in. I’m a Judge. The name’s Judge Dredd, and I am the law.
I don’t need to hear from some Ivory Tower egg-head about how we need to coddle criminals with fair and impartial trials and presume them innocent. When I see a rotten, good-for-nothing lowlife punk steal an old lady’s purse, I just smash his teeth in with my comically oversized gun from the future. There are no Miranda Rights. No trial. No taxpayer-funded lawyer. Only justice. And that happens to be me. I am the law.
When you’re walking home from work one day and all of a sudden a gang of hooligans jumps from out of nowhere to steal your food pellet rations, who do you go to for help? That’s right, the self-appointed vigilantes running around in ridiculous costumes who call themselves Judges. If you’re lucky you’ll get me/The Law on your side.
There are two types of people in the world: The good, hardworking ones, and the worthless criminals who should be executed immediately. And then there’s guys like me, other Judges. And there are also some people who aren’t exactly good, but get by without causing too much trouble. Then there are convenience store clerks. And there’s that butterfly kid from the Blind Melon video… remember that?
Well, anyway, maybe there are more than two kinds of people in the world. So sue me. It’s not like there’s a law against it, because if I break a law that would mean there is a law against… the law. And that is a paradox which will create a black hole that will swallow up the Universe. And we don’t want that now, do we?
Actually, The Law Is A System Of Rules That A Particular Country Or Community Recognizes As Regulating The Actions Of Its Members And May Enforce By The Imposition Of Penalties.
by Alan Dershowitz
Since the dawn of Western civilization we humans have established systems of law. The goal of pursuing justice should be that the law is universal, which is to say that it applies to everyone equally. Nobody should be above the law. And while some legal systems are named after the rulers who founded them, we must remember that despite Mr. Dredd’s opinion the law is a system and not an individual who happens to work within that system.
Mr. Dredd is a young man with an occupation which requires bursts of adrenaline, and he may feel invulnerable now. But like all other mortals he will age and eventually die. And if he truly is the law, will the law die with him? Will our children and grandchildren be forced into the same kind of chaotic nightmare we all too recently lived through? Will the end of Dredd mean another “Cursed Earth?” Ridiculous. The law will continue with or without Dredd because it is part of our social contract.
But I will go even further here. Not only is Judge Dredd’s opinion wrong on the grounds that no single person can “be the law,” but even if one could truly be the law, Dredd would not be that person. His draconian sentencing and methods of investigation are completely at odds with our modern sensibilities. If he is the law, then we’re talking about the law of Saudi Arabia or North Korea or someplace like that. Even if all of our countryside is a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, this is still America, where we give those accused of crimes the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.
I hate to speculate, but if I had to guess why Mr. Dredd is taking this unusual stance on legal issues, I would say that like all tyrants throughout history, he has a vested self-interest in equating himself with law and order in the mind of the public. It could be as simple as a matter of him keeping his job in the law and order business.
At worst, he may be pre-emptively introducing Richard Nixon’s famous defense where he declared that a crime is not a crime if the President does it. This would be especially useful if the US Attorney General’s office brings charges against him for obsctructing justice in one way or another. If that’s the case, then having a jury already receptive to the idea that Mr. Dredd’s status as a high-profile Judge absolves him from legal responsibility would be very useful in a courtroom.