Manifold causes produce crime; some men commit it from one cause: some from another. Statistics only show the number of men who commit crime from the various separate causes. In logic and philosophy it really shows that, a certain heredity placed in a certain environment, will meet obstructions and obstacles. Some heredities will carry men further, and some environments will overcome them more quickly; but as surely as effects follow from causes, every heredity will meet disaster in some way under any environment, and the time and kind of disaster it meets depend not upon perverseness or freedom of will, but upon the fortune of the meeting of heredity with the manifold environment that surrounds every life. It must be plain that life lasts only as long as it makes adjustments. That it consists only of adjustments. That, ordinarily, strong heredity and a good environment will serve the longest. That, generally, a weak heredity and a poor environment will meet disaster soonest. Life may be lengthened either by improving the heredity or the environment or both. Whatever catastrophe overtakes it and the time it falls depend not upon the will of the machine, but upon the character of the machine that starts on the journey and the road it travels. The disasters cannot in reason or justice be divided into criminal or non-criminal. They are all natural; they are each and all inevitable. Each is the inevitable destruction of a machine which could stand so much, but which could stand no more. And in each, in spite of both heredity and the general environment, the constant meeting with other machines due to pure luck and chance is a great factor, if not the chief factor, that determines the individual life.
PARDONS AND PAROLES
It has always been the province of the Chief Executive of a state or nation to grant pardons or clemency to those who are confined in prison. This is largely to correct the mistakes of courts and juries and is often indulged in by presidents and governors at Christmas time. Experience shows that during the trial of a case, especially one that causes public notice and general discussion, injustice is frequently done. Often the defendant is convicted when he should have been acquitted, and still more frequently punishments are excessive and cruel. Almost never is any serious inquiry made as to the heredity and environment of the accused. Probably trial by jury has served to save many defendants where the judge would have convicted, and has still more often tempered and modified penalties. Still, juries are by no means free from the mob psychology that surrounds and affects most important and well-known cases. Jurors are generally none too intelligent and not very ready to stand against public opinion. Most men agree with the crowd. The prevailing religious opinion and the dominant political and social ideas are accepted and believed by the ordinary citizen.