Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Land of the Free?

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That the US is no longer the freest nation on the planet is one that draws more consensus than the popularity of our President as we become aware that more and a higher population per capita in the US is under strict control of our prison system than anywhere in the world. According to the AP story below, stats released in the fall confirm that we break a new record. And records are something the US is known for, but criminal records?

U.S. Prison Population Sets Record

Associated Press
Friday, December 1, 2006

A record 7 million people -- one in every 32 U.S. adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, a Justice Department report released yesterday shows...more

DC cont'd - Of this, many are proud, assuming that an imprisoned people are a safe people. One hears arguments like:

  • At least we got our criminals off the streets
  • They were found guilty by there peers; they must be scumbags
  • If you use drugs, you should go to prison (of course, alcohol is not a drug)
  • If you so much as look at child wrong, you must be a pedophile (and we all hate pedophiles)
  • If the majority doesn't like it; it should be against the law.
  • The list goes on...

Now, it seems to me, if I wanted to get elected to congress, each of those talking points would get me votes, and that makes us the greatest Democracy in the world, right? Wrong!

It means that any larger group can remove any smaller group by passing a law making it illegal to be a minority. The only minorities that are specifically protect from this tyranny of the majority are :

  • Women ( a majority of the population, but still defined as a minority)
  • Religions (though a majority are religious, and when combined, can elect anyone that says he is a Christian)
  • People over 45 ( though they hold 90% of the assets)
  • Immigrants (legal or otherwise)
  • Races (other than whites) though when combined with any other member of this list, make a majority
  • The unborn (well, they are getting there)
  • Indigenous populations (though owning a casino pays okay, I hear)
  • Again, the list goes on.
According to the most recent statistics, from 1995 to 2003, inmates incarcerated in federal prisons for drug offenses have accounted for 49 percent of total prison population growth.

On face value, we have bought into the idea that they are all drug dealers and contribute to violent crime, but a closer look tells us that most were simply recreation users, who had never been so much as suspected before, of violent crimes.

In some states, you can actual go to prison longer if you have less drugs in your possession, than more. More than a certain amount, makes it a federal case and people go to prison and serve on average, one month for each year sentenced before they get out on parole. The guy that had more than an ounce of marijuana, but less than a pound, could very well spend 10 years behind bars if he lives in a minimum sentence state like Michigan.

Former U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos (left) and Jose
Alonso Compean (right) turn themselves in to federal authorities.

Meanwhile, a person of foreign origin, who is transporting 750 pounds of marijuana in his van across the US border, can hop out and run and border officers may not shoot to stop his fleeing. One such case in which border officers allegedly shot a Mexican drug dealer in the buttocks cheek after he allegedly pointed a gun at these officers; well you may have heard, he was let go and the two officers were prosecuted and put in prison for a long time. The real criminal, came back later and continued his regular deliveries of drugs across the border.

In Atlanta, in the case of 17 year old Genarlow Wilson, a local black high school football hero, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for basically receiving oral sex while drunk from an avid 15 year old fan at a party. Videos taken at the party by friends indicated he took no active part in soliciting the act.

According to Findlaw: Because Wilson and a 15-year-old girl engaged in nonprocreative sex, his conduct fell squarely within the terms of the aggravated child molestation statute. And though the Georgia legislature subsequently passed a "Romeo and Juliet Law" limiting sentences in cases like Wilson's to one year of incarceration, this law was not written to apply retroactively... more

The incredible thing was that he would have gotten only one year if he had full intercourse with her.

So, let's sum this up.

If you are otherwise law-abiding and peaceful and want to alter your mind by using drugs that do less damage and are less addictive than alcohol, you can go to prison. If you steal billions of dollars from investors by fraud and have a good lawyer (and you will because you are rich) you will never do a day in prison.

Clearly, these laws have nothing to do with criminality, but are intended to enforce a moral code inflicted by a small religious faction in America who use fear mongering to scare the rest of us into passing laws to put people they hate in prison.

The more political and obfuscated reality is, these people are seen as a threat to the establishment and must be permanently removed from the voter rolls. They must permanently be deprived, even after release from prison from exercising the right to bear arms, (so there go your freedom fighters). It is well designed to permanently disenfranchise millions of Americans from ever contributing to a revolution either peaceful or otherwise.

So much for US freedom now and the prospect for ever getting it back! Meanwhile, if the people we imprison now were not criminals before they went in, they will most certainly be criminals by the time they get out, as they are now graduates of the university of crime.


Anonymous said...

As one who has been around for over 5 decades I can say without a doubt that we, in America, have far less freedom than we did when I was young.
However, when you paint this as a product of the 'religous right' you are a bit off base. The religous right is primarily a traditionalist movement. The real driving force in this erosion of liberties are the forces of Political Correctness. They have brought Multiculteralism, Diversity & the rabid attack on anyone who dares to disagree with them. That is where the strongest attack on our first amendment rights originates.

And remember this truth-
We can not have liberty & freedom without individual responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I myself as a black man in rthe United State have to say yes this story is correct but one must remeber one thing these people had a choice to what they did or not to do what they in order to label a criminal. But as some may say the black in the united states has been treated as such ever since he was brought to this land of the so called free. I myself have tried to live as i was taught but in the last few years i find myself wanting to fight back. I'm a former United States Marine and i'm proud of it but i have seen so may things that make me dislike this crountry that i'm willing to give my live for. I seen people both black and white that don't give a damm about this land but yet the want all the freedoms this land has to offer. I see drug use become a plege in this land but i've also seen Oliver North sell drugs for gun that went in to the black mans arms and lungs, but yet he is call a hero on CNN SNBC news show he is a discrace to the Marine Corps. I have never sould nor do i plan on selling drugs for what i ask for a new car or more money some things are not right so those whom have chose to sell use and get caught at it got what was coming to them. I have my own past but i was able to walk away. What i'm saying there are two sides to every coin. Which side are you choosing? Right or wrong?

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how it's possible to say that political correctness, multiculturalism, and diversity puts people in jail.

However, I have seen the "religious right" on the attack, and at the same time claim to be attacked. There's nothing like a bit of persecution complex to rally the troops!

pete tavis said...

"A little less conversation, a little more action, please" -Elvis Presley

TMI said...

I think we are oversimplifying when we blame any particular movement... religious right, PC, etc. (Although personally I think the religious right is not right at all). We are living in strange and scary times. We have strayed far from the original ideas of this country. We are overpopulated, and to paraphrase an idea from this article, those with the money have the power, and those who have the power decide what is going to happen to ALL OF US. Being a minority to a majority -I am a white woman, who lives in a black neighborhood, is single, libertarian, college educated, and lower middle class, I believe I have an interesting perspective. And it is very, very scary. I am only 26 and I am terrified of what I will see in my lifetime. I don't think it will take very long before the real majority (the "minorities" - or those who don't have the money/power) speaks up in one way or another. Until then, I will just continue to hope my subway car doesn't get bombed, I don't get raped, and I don't get incarcerated for posessing drugs for personal use. God Bless America!

Anonymous said...

America recently outlawed online gaming--the only country to do so, except for maybe China, North Korea, and Cuba.

As for drugs, drugs are not illegal because of the harm they do, they are illegal as a racist tool to put the black man in jail. Black men account for 6 percent of the US population, and 50 percent of the prison population. The majority of the black men in prison are there for drug-related crimes, but the majority of drug use in America is by white people.

America was founded by European drug lords (tobacco plantation owners), who imported African slaves and who committed genocide against the indigenous Indians. The early colonists found vindication in their Bibles to justify their horrific behavior. These policies and belief systems have evolved over the years to manifest themselves in our current penal system.

Anonymous said...

As a Canadian with a strong interest and respect for my cousins to the south. I have always puzzled at the land of the free stuff... Short of handguns amd assault riffles I can do or say anything you can. This is true when I look to most of Western Europe for a comparison as well. There are some small restrictions and usually other benefits. Could someone please help me with the distinction?

Anonymous said...

We cannot have have freedom and liberty without individual resposibilty.so true...
the truth also is there hasn't been freedom in this coutry since our forefathers came here.
Its always been about money.
truth is Freedom don't exist if your paying for it.
When we realize that money doesn't give you freedom,it controls your freedom and liberty,putting your freedom and libertys on a chain and leash.our dependency to money has made us slaves to the system.
It has given them power over us.
Those that go out and commit crimes help create a police state.
Take a look at 911.
How one stupid act of violance has costed us our so called freedom and libertys and create a almost police state to live in.
Mankind neeeds to start showing respect for one another,kindness towards one another,helping one another,working together to build a better world for all of us to live in.
Instead of letting the preditors rule the world and destroying it.
Taking our freedom and libertys with it.

Anonymous said...

for every issue there is a group that argues its racist motives. The simple truth is the longer the people behind these laws can make us think that, the more time we spend fighting each other and less time making things right. The only group to benefit from this is the GOOD OLE BOY CLUB that can only continue there reign of terror as long as they keap us distracted fighting ourselfs.
The author of this page raised a valid issue that affects every race. Those of you that responded to it and turned it into a black/white issue should be ashamed of your ignorance. I have gone through the system and will tell you they did not care the color of my skin, and stuck me just the same

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