Maragana Girl Ch. 12bycaligula97236©
Dukov sat back, stretched his arms backwards, and continued.
"There is something else I wish to tell you, which may or may not help you. All 20 Spokespersons in Danube City finally have agreed that our system of corporal punishment needs to be reformed. I will introduce legislation next week that would specifically prohibit police officers from touching a criminal with their hands during a punishment. We wish to outlaw any act designed to sexually satisfy a police officer. Also, we wish to outlaw allowing persons such as medical students to participate in corporal punishments."
Kim said nothing, not really knowing how to react. Dukov put on a pair of surgical gloves and opened up an ancient-looking law book that was placed in a felt-lined wooden tray.
"Today's decision is a very grave step on our part, Kimberly. Our judicial system has kept our country at peace for ten centuries. We have had only two major reforms during that entire time. The first was in 1524. That was when our King, Vladik the Defender, created the position of Spokesman for the Criminal. The second was in 1780. That was when the Grand Duke abolished the use of whips and instead opted for switches. We have had no reforms since 1780."
"So why now? What's made things different?"
"What has made things different is a recent breakdown of morality among the younger police officers. The sexual abuse of criminals is something that started only about 10 years ago. When I was sentenced, no police officer would have disrespected a criminal in the manner we are seeing today. Now the practice is becoming common. It will destroy our entire judicial system if we do not stop it. The problem we face is public opinion and the widespread belief that a police officer should have complete control over a criminal's corporal punishment, within the standards set in 1780. The standards of 1780 no longer properly protect criminals, so we must set new ones."
"But, what's the problem? I mean, isn't obvious that it's wrong to like, rub us and...?"
"No, Kimberly. It is not so obvious. I can tell you there is very little sympathy for criminals in this country. We cannot debate this issue by arguing that criminals deserve leniency. We need to argue from the point of view that the changes are needed to protect public morality. That is why the petition from the school is so important. It supports my argument in terms acceptable to the people of this nation. What we saw at the school today was immoral acts being performed in front of young teenagers. Those girls were corrupted by what they witnessed. That gives me the image I can use to make my argument when I speak next week."
"So, you're going to the Parliament next week?"
"Aren't you scared?"
"Yes, Kimberly. I anticipate this with much anxiety. I am not a politician, and to challenge the statute of 1780 will disrupt the tranquility of my family's life. It will bitterly divide the Judges, the National Police Force, the schools, and the public. I will be blamed for disrupting the peace of our society. Only the Spokespersons are in complete agreement about the need for reform. My responsibility over the next several months will be to convince the rest of the nation. At the beginning that task will be very difficult."
Kim left the office, briefly wondering about the wisdom of her decision to stay in Upper Danubia. What the hell was wrong with this country, that its people didn't recognize the obvious? Who wouldn't want to put a stop to what had happened in the school auditorium today?
And yet, change was indeed coming to the Duchy. There were good people in the police force, in the schools, and in the legal system, who would push for reform. Some would challenge the system because of their definition of public morality, others out of genuine sympathy for the nation's criminals. Perhaps it would be enough to update a law that was two centuries old. Kim held out hope the result would be a better Upper Danubia, one in which she would feel more comfortable spending her life.
With that Kim returned to Eloisa and her boyfriend. He was up and somewhat recovered. The three left the Central Police Station. Tomorrow was another day, one in which Kim and Eloisa would return to the music store, and Sergekt and Dima would be returning to their café. There would be a rehearsal tomorrow night and a concert to prepare for on Saturday.
Every four months the 28 members of Eloisa's group went through this. They still had over a year of wearing their collars and at least three more switchings left on their sentences.