Father is Going to Jail
June 16, 2003
It may not seem
like a long time, after all, it will be for “just” three
that as it may, Ronald Dixon is being taken away from his
children, his home and his employment to be locked up because
he acted reasonably, saving his children from a hardened
criminal who had broken into his home.
wrote a story about Mr. Dixon’s state of affairs about six
months ago in an article entitled, “What Any Father Would
Do.” The article was about Ronald Dixon who was awakened
in the middle of the night by the sounds of an intruder
in his house. Looking out from his bedroom doorway Dixon
saw a man enter his two year old son’s bedroom. There was
no time to call the police and wait for help. He needed
to act, and he did.
had legally purchased a handgun in Florida and was in the
process of having it registered in New York where he lived.
He took the gun and confronted the burglar. When the felon
lunged at him Ronald, Dixon shot the man twice, wounding
him. The burglar was arrested and taken away by the police,
and Ronald Dixon’s family was safe. Then, Ronald Dixon was
gun was not registered and Mr. Dixon needed to be punished
for possessing an illegal handgun. It didn’t matter that
his family was saved by that gun, or that anyone, anywhere
would have done the same to protect their children. You
see, the District Attorney needed to set an example. But,
just what example was actually set by sending a father,
a hard worker, a good man to jail? The same jail, Rikers
Island that the man who broke into his house is also residing
in, and who has a fourteen-page rap sheet and had been arrested
nineteen times by the police. How many times do you think
he was let go without any jail time for actual crimes?
is high in Brooklyn, New York where Ronald Dixon lives.
Gangs use illegal weapons to murder, rob and terrorize neighborhoods.
They are bad people who should be put in jail, and no one,
not anyone reasonable anyway, would compare their actions
with the actions of a father trying to protect his children
from them. Moral equivalency under these circumstances is
not just ridiculous, it is absurd. Yet, that is what the
DA in New York is saying. The people who defend against
the animals who prey on human victims are no better than
those criminals and need to spend time in jail.
is it difficult to separate out a good man from the vile
criminals that prey on the good? Why must a man who has
held down three jobs so that his family could have a home
and comfort be taken away because another man in New York
is incapable of understanding the difference in actions
between a criminal and a good man?
other night on Fox News, Dixon was being interviewed and
when asked about his three day jail sentence he said, “I
can live with it.” He went further and explained that it
was because he was threatened with a far worse sentence
if he didn’t accept the plea bargain. The DA in New York
threatened a good man with a long jail term and settled
on three days and that was a “good deal.”
was further pointed out that if Mr. Dixon had been in Texas
when the incident occurred, he would probably have been
awarded a “man of the year,” trophy. So why is he instead
going to jail? Is it that all reason and common sense go
out the window when you are east of the Mississippi? That
really isn’t likely. Is there anyone who understands that
the District Attorney has discretion in these matters and
still agrees with him? Is there anyone who doesn’t understand
that sending a good man to jail for acting reasonably, protecting
his family from the bad guys, is a very bad example to set?
the most ardent liberals have to believe that when confronted
with evil and the imminent injury to one’s child, a father
must be allowed to use any and all reasonable means to protect
his family. Yet, for one appalling district attorney in
New York, seeing motive, seeing decency and seeing someone
act with bravery and responsibility is so foreign a concept
that it is indistinguishable from the acts of a criminal
DA has discretion. He could have simply not chosen to prosecute.
The DA could have determined that by applying for the registration
and hiring a firm to help with the paperwork, Mr. Dixon
had substantially complied with the law. The DA had a lot
of choices; sadly, he chose jail time for Mr. Dixon.
a society, we should be awarding our heroes for their brave
deeds. We should be letting the children of Ronald Dixon
- the children of all Americans - know that protecting children,
protecting our homes is a noble and necessary undertaking.
That should be the example we set.
parents have to now take into account the possibility of
being ripped from their families and sent to jail because
they protected their children from possibly horrible consequences,
even if they acted reasonably? Do we now have to redefine
what “reasonable” is depending upon how jaded the district
attorney is in our town?
example set by the Brooklyn DA is a horrendous one. While
we all know that vigilantism and people making up the rules
as they go along is not, as a tenet, a good thing. However,
in some situations we all need to look at the totality of
the circumstances before we make a judgment.
is an old saying about someone who plans on doing what is
right, and willingly accepts being judged by twelve, rather
than being carried to the grave by six. That may be a bit
glib, but when actually acting reasonably, doing what anyone
who loved their children would have done under the same
circumstances, lands you in jail, it is time to reevaluate
certain aspects of our system of justice.
is a freelance writer and a California attorney. Paul
can be contacted at email@example.com
©2003 Paul Walfield All Rights Reserved
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