Up through the ‘60s, Wanhei was the wild west of Korea, crime the number-one occupation and murder the number-one pastime. Gangs occupied every other building in town, and if you were not a criminal in Wanhei, you were likely some variety of monk, or perhaps an aspiring politician not in someone’s pocket who would likely disappear before any election was held. It seemed like everyone and his grandmother was armed and dangerous.
Police presence was nominal, but at a critical point the attitude of the tiny minority of honest citizens, the monks and the independent politicians who lived, gained traction. Together with the few honest Wanhei law enforcement officials, and with assistance from Seoul, where Wanhei was viewed as an embarrassment, and finally with the Republic of Korea military arriving in town, the situation changed dramatically.
Really. What happened was this. First, they built prisons with lots and lots of cells. Once done, they began, to arbitrarily throw criminals in prison. This was anyone with a record worse than, say, petty theft. Officials knew these people had committed crimes, but they’d never been able to convict them. So, they decided, hey, let’s just put ‘um away. “Innocent” criminals were herded into prisons and left there to rot. Due process-scmochess. The prison population swelled. It finally reached the point where criminals decided being a criminal wasn’t a good thing, due process having disappeared like the top half of their country, so most “went straight.”
Really. Just like that. The whole city turned legit almost overnight. Hardcore criminals went elsewhere, to Japan, to China, to wherever, either joining gangs, or trying to start up their own crime families. They fled to get away from the “injustice” that they would suffer in Wanhei.
Don’t we all like to think that our fathers are honest?
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Aloha #WriterSunday, I hope if you’re celebrating Mother’s Day that the celebration is as joyful as it can be in these crazy times. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )