Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mixed Feelings About Veterans Courts

Kitsap County's plan to institute a veterans court seems to have inspired a surprising amount of push-back.
       Personally, I’m fully in favor of instituting a veterans court, but the principle of equal justice under the law would seem to be a difficult one to negotiate. 
        The law, of course, is all about precedent, and there is a precedent we can point to:  drug court.  Drug courts, as I understand them, are grounded in a twofold premise:  (1) that drug addiction is an illness in need of intervention and treatment rather than incarceration and (2) that we don’t need to keep overcrowding our prisons with non-violent offenders. 
         Are veterans courts grounded in essentially the same presumption—that non-violent veteran offenders are likely to be suffering from some degree of PTSD in need of intervention and treatment rather than incarceration?  If so, we should make that argument, pointing to the drug-court precedent.
          As a Vietnam veteran myself, however, I do see a downside to pressing for veterans courts. I recall how Vietnam veterans were widely portrayed in the media as dangerously deranged.  I would hate to think that our good intentions may contribute to stereotyping our current generation of veterans as walking time bombs, ready to explode at any minute, or even as unhinged and helpless. --EFP       

Monday, December 26, 2011

Palm Beer

I have found my brew!  --EFP

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