Tom parked the car in the driveway, locked the door, and strode to the fence where King was leaping and bounding about. He reached over the fence.
“Here, King. Good doggie.” He scratched King's ears, then rubbed the dog’s neck vigorously. As he straightened up, he thought, Never dreamed I'd see the day when I'd pet my dog before I kissed my wife.
He unlocked the front door. “I'm home, honey.”
Judith’s voice came from the kitchen. “Hi!”
He went to the kitchen, where she was seated at the desk. He put his lunch pail on the sink, kissed the back of her neck, and put his arms around her.
She turned her head toward him. “Hi, darling, how was your day?”
“Not bad. Two rush jobs, but we got them on the truck on time. How'd your day go?”
“Same as usual. Tons of mail to sort and route. And then I come home to find our mail full of the month's bills.”
She picked up one envelope from the stack. “Did you charge some gas to your oil company credit card while we were visiting my folks the last time?”
“Yeah. Didn't I give you the receipt? I must have left it in my suitcase. I'll get it.”
“Don't do it right now. Here's something else. What did you want with a water purifier?”
“What water purifier?”
She handed him a large envelope. The return address read ACME PLUMBING, with a street address in town. In the lower left quadrant of the envelope was the inscription, HERE'S THE WATER PURIFIER INFORMATION YOU ASKED FOR, and the hand-written initials TJC.
“I sure never asked for that.”
“It's addressed to you.”
He reached over her shoulder, brushed his hand across her cheek, then picked up the letter opener. He spilled the contents of the envelope on the kitchen table.
The top sheet was printed in faded dot-matrix letters:
BURN THESE PAPERS AFTER READING THEM. CRUMBLE AND SCATTER THE ASHES.
“Hey! This stuff's from that Justice Cooperative outfit.”
Judith was thumbing through the Yellow Pages. “That plumbing company isn't listed here. I'll bet there's no such address as the one on the envelope, either. Those TJC initials must be the giveaway.”
“Okay, so they disguised the stuff they sent me. They must not want anyone to know where they are.”
She stepped up beside him. “What's it say?”
He spread the pages out on the table and they began reading.
YOUR CASE HAS BEEN REVIEWED. IT IS CLEAR THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE JUSTICE FROM THE GOVERNMENT. THE THREAT TO YOUR SAFETY MAY JUSTIFIABLY BE REMOVED. READ THE ATTACHED INFORMATION ABOUT THE JUSTICE COOPERATIVE. IF YOU WISH TO JOIN, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE LAST PAGE.
Tom grasped the corner of the page, and gave Judith an inquiring look. She nodded. He moved the first page aside and began to read the next page.
SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WHAT IS THE JUSTICE COOPERATIVE?
The Justice Cooperative is a group of people who have been victimized by criminals and denied justice by the legal system. The types of victimization include physical assault, rape, injury, or the death of a close relative. The forms that denial of justice have taken include reducing the seriousness of the charge, inadequate jail sentences, early release from a jail sentence, and probation for repeat offenders.
HOW DO I JOIN THE JUSTICE COOPERATIVE?
You join by requesting the help of the Justice Cooperative in obtaining justice in your case. You must identify the person who victimized you, the nature of the victimization, and the way in which justice failed to be done. Your case will be reviewed to determine that an actual crime was committed against you, that you have correctly identified the guilty party, and that the government failed to do justice. A determination that an actual crime was committed will be based on a finding that the guilty party was convicted in a court of law, or that a prosecutor accepted a plea to a lesser offense. A determination of failure to do justice will be based on a finding that the charge was reduced by too great a degree or that a sentence was too lenient. If the review verifies that you have a valid claim of injustice, you will be admitted to the Justice Cooperative.
WHAT DOES THE JUSTICE COOPERATIVE DO?
The members of the Justice Cooperative repair the government's failure to deliver justice by carrying out justice upon the criminal who victimized you. The usual form of this is execution of the criminal. The execution will be carried out by another member of the Cooperative, at a time when you can fully account for your whereabouts. This execution will be carried out AFTER you have carried out an execution on behalf of some other member of the Cooperative.
ISN'T THIS TAKING THE LAW INTO OUR OWN HANDS?
On the contrary, it is returning the law to its origin. As the Declaration of Independence states, governments are instituted to protect rights, and they derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. If you didn't already have the right to protect yourself against actual or threatened attacks, the government could have no just authority to protect you. If you didn't already have the right to avenge an injustice done to you, the government could have no just authority to punish a criminal. If the government fails to fulfill its function of protecting you, you have every right to reclaim those powers for yourself. Therefore the Justice Cooperative is not usurping any legitimate powers of the government. On the contrary, it is reclaiming the legitimate powers of the citizens because the government has failed in its primary obligation to protect the rights of its citizens and avenge violations of those rights.
WHY DO WE NEED TO RECLAIM OUR RIGHT TO JUSTICE?
Because the government has failed in its obligation to protect us. Sixty-three percent of all violent felony defendants are put back on the streets during their trials. Over ninety percent of all criminal prosecutions result in plea bargains instead of trials. Of those felons who are convicted of a violent crime, forty-seven percent are never sent to jail. Those violent convicts who do go to jail are, on average, released before they serve half their sentences. Forty-five percent of all violent offenders in jail were on probation or parole at the time they committed their latest offense. Over ninety percent of jail inmates are repeat criminals. This is not justice. This is a complete abdication of the government’s obligation to protect its citizens and administer justice.
HOW WILL I KNOW THE PERSON I'M TO EXECUTE DESERVES IT?
You will be provided with copies of public records that will verify that the criminal in question deserves execution, and that the government has failed in its obligations. Since these are public records, you may check them for their validity.
HOW SOON WILL I SEE JUSTICE DONE FOR MYSELF?
You will undergo a period of testing to assure the other members of the Cooperative that you have a good chance of carrying out your assigned mission. Once the testing is completed, you will be assigned a mission, and provided with the information you need to carry it out. Once your mission is completed, another member of the Cooperative will be assigned the mission of carrying out justice on your behalf.
WILL I MEET OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COOPERATIVE?
Under no circumstances will you meet other members, or know who else is a member. This is for your own protection as well as for the protection of the other members.
THEN HOW DO I COMMUNICATE WITH THE COOPERATIVE?
All communication from the Cooperative to you will be through mail under false cover. When a reply from you is expected, you will be given a phone number to call.
HOW DO I LET THE COOPERATIVE KNOW I'VE DECIDED TO JOIN?
Tie a red ribbon around a lamppost or tree somewhere in your block, preferably not in front of your own house. Leave it up for 24 hours. Then replace it with a green ribbon. After another 24 hours, remove the green ribbon. You will then be contacted.
REMEMBER TO BURN THESE PAPERS!!!
Tom turned to Judith. “It wouldn't bother me to knock off Harry Grubbs. Knocking off some other crook in return for getting Grubbs killed seems like a fair bargain.”
“No!” Her voice was sharp. “If Grubbs comes into this house and you shoot him, you can claim self defense. If you go out somewhere else and shoot somebody, you can call it a fair bargain if you want to, but the police will call it murder. And if you do it as part of this Justice Cooperative, that's conspiracy to commit murder. If you join, you're an accomplice to every murder they commit.”
“You've been working in that law office too long, Judy. You sound like a lawyer. Look, I'd be doing this for you. You're the one he hurt.”
“And you're the one who feels like you let me down. Well, you didn't. You did everything anyone could reasonably ask. We just had bad luck. Now we've prepared ourselves. We have a sturdy house, we have a dog, we have guns and we know how to use them. That's enough. Grubbs is not likely to get away with repeating his attack. Don't go putting yourself on the wrong side of the law.
“Look, Tom, I don't want to spend the rest of my life married to a jailbird. Or worse yet, be widowed by the gas chamber. Grubbs got away with a light sentence. You wouldn't be so lucky."
“I'm not worried about dealing with Grubbs here,” Tom responded. “What about outside the house? Do we spend the rest of our lives dodging him? What happens when we have kids going to school? Do we have to worry about what he'll do to them?”
“We'll go on being careful for now,” she replied. “As for the safety of our children, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Tom remained silent for a long moment. He opened his mouth to speak, then clamped it shut again. He grabbed the papers from the Justice Cooperative and tore them into shreds.
“I'm taking these out back. I'll burn them in the barbecue grill.”
“Don't forget to crumble the ashes. Simply having those papers could be evidence against you.”
Return to top