From Publishers Weekly
For the past 10 years, Sheindlin has been the supervising judge for Manhattan Family Court, with a reputation for cutting through judicial and bureaucratic obfuscation. Joined by Los Angeles Times correspondent Getlin, she continues her outspokenness in this hard-hitting book, whose title is obviously chosen with malice aforethought. She considers our society to be in trouble because we have infantilized part of it "by shifting the emphasis from individual responsibility to government responsibility." After giving an overview of "our crumbling system," she discusses the cost to taxpayers, then examines underlying reasons for "the lack of responsibility and honesty in American society." Her prescription, offered without any detailed plan of implementation: self-discipline, individual accountability and responsible conduct.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
As a New York City prosecutor and judge, Sheindlin has spent more than 20 years in court with juveniles, both delinquents and objects of delinquency, and parents and custodians who are, lamentably often, delinquent themselves. With Los Angeles Times
' correspondent Getlin's able help, she shapes the lessons of her experience into an argument in 10 punches. Each of the 10 is a chapter made up of anecdotal evidence of the abuse of crime and civil-procedural victims, not just by their assailants but by social welfare systems that also victimize taxpayers because of their exorbitant costliness. Besides decrying particular scams and abuses (bad foster care, child custody battles, judges who decide on political rather than human considerations, private social service providers who fleece public funds, miscreants who claim they themselves are victims, etc.), Sheindlin sees American society as having got offtrack. The answer to the messes of urban crime and welfare dependency, she claims, is "self-discipline, individual accountability and responsible conduct." Demand that people behave and make the consequences of misbehavior onerous, she says, and good behavior is surer to follow than if offenders continue to be treated as if they were greater victims than their prey. An old song, you may say, but seldom has it been as powerfully sung. Ray Olson