I often hear the argument, people in prison made their choices – now they have to deal with the consequences. Many of us believe that the prisons in America are bursting at the seams with rapists, murders, thieves and pedophiles. And that – of course – isn’t completely untrue. On the other hand, many inmates are in for non-violent offenses, and far too often, many – Like Felix Garcia – are wrongly convicted in the 1st place. Studies have shown that right now, over 100,000 innocent people are living behind bars.
And what of those who are technically, guilty of a crime, but that crime was a letter of the law rather than a spirit of the law kind of thing. There’s a big difference for example, between a college kid who sells a few ounces of weed to pay for books, and Pablo Escobar. But in the eyes of the law, both men are guilty of the same crime.
I bring all this up, because the WaPo, today, published a first person op-ed piece about a guy who was trying to sell some baseball tickets in Washington DC. He got arrested, jailed for a few hours, and fined 50 bucks for the crime of scalping. Here’s what I found most interesting about his story. This guy – judging from his writing voice, and certain cues in the piece – is so White Bread and Middle American, he makes Dick Cheney look like Malcolm X. His surprise and indignation at his plight, I found almost laughable. If a run-in with law enforcement ends up in a couple of hours in holding, and a 50$ fine – consider yourself blessed!
See, I’ve lived most of my life on the razor’s edge. Aw, the hell with it – OK. I’ve been a guest of the State on a few occasions – ranging from a weekend to about a half a year. Nothing really serious – and nowhere near some of the horror stories written about on these venerable pages. People being gunned down in their beds, by dawn-raiding SWAT teams with misaddressed warrants, 30 year frame-ups by family members, decade long stretches in the SHU – that sort of thing.
My response to Mr. Carr – the author of the WaPo piece would be:
See how easy it is, to end up on the wrong side of those bars? Do you get now, that not everybody is in there because they woke up one morning and decided to go on a killing spree? That when asked what they want to be when they grow up, few children – if any – ever answer with, I want to be a murdering scumbag? What one learns from even a few hours in lockup, is that life isn’t black and white. It happens in shades of grey – in subtle shifts. We don’t make our choices, as much as we have them made for us – or to us. One can do all the right things, and still end up in trouble, and conversely, the streets are teeming with people who should be doing time and aren’t. Good people often make mistakes, and bad ones often get lucky.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
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