Criminal Justice Student Speaks Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Oliver Andresen

"In a world which can be lawless both nationally and internationally, just what does criminal justice mean?" I asked Aldo Schumann, a certified nursing assistant at Friendship Village. "The term sounds like an oxymoron - such as military intelligence, working vacation or jumbo shrimp."

Aldo currently attends the University of Illinois Circle Campus, where he will receive a degree in criminal justice next May. His services at Friendship Village are so highly regarded that he was one of the 10 winners of the Woman's Organization of Friendship Village Employee Scholarship Awards for 2001. He is 22 years old, originally from Medellin, Colombia, and has been at Friendship Village five years.

"In America the criminal law procedures for those who break the law are the same as those for everyone else," Aldo replied. "For example, people behind bars are guaranteed such things as education and medical treatment along with all the other constitutional rights."

"Technically what is a criminal act?" I asked.

"Anything that society accepts as being wrong."

"But does the law differentiate between a criminal act committed by a person with a criminal mind, such as that of an intentional murderer, from an act of passion by a socially adjusted person suddenly caught up in a life and death threat for himself or someone he loves?"

"That's an important question," said Aldo.

"I ask because of the plethora of current shootings reported in the news," I said. "Often the assassin fully intends to kill. I speak of a gun-bearing gang member murdering in defense of his turf. Such a person certainly deserves the prescribed penalties of the law.

"On the other hand, occasionally someone with a gun spontaneously kills in presumed self-defense or in defense of another. …