Craig A. Middlemass 329
"WHAT STRANGE BEDFELLOWS BE THESE BASTARDS [struck out] BASTIONS OF DEMOCRACY"
In this four-part piece, I'll attempt to make some sense of the many DISPARATE, DUPLICITOUS and even DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES
involving the Lawmakers, Enforcers, Manipulators and Executioners, who compose our system of justice.
Part 1 - "The Lawmakers"
To begin with, I'd like to define the function of government as I see it. Contrary to the desires of those who love the dominance and control over others, the true and original function of this government was to protect its people from physical and financial harm, from sources both foreign and domestic, build and maintain roads, create laws and collect taxes to pay for all of it.
Then came endowments for health, education, welfare, and even the arts, which caused taxpayers to groan. More programs meant more taxes and more encroachment into our lives. But what happened? What caused a society of strong willed, pioneer stock to become complacent with having their every action, action, idea, desire, and acquisition subjected to the whim of a group of individuals (mostly lawyers), whose only purpose is to address personal agendas and that which will get them re-elected to a position of wealth, security, and power over others?
We need an effective governing body in place for the country to properly function! So, who or what is responsible for the quality of people that we put into office? Madison Avenue may sell them to us, but it is our ignorance that continues to elect these would-be "voices of the people", who seen more than willing to ignore ideals that were fought for throughout history, simply for a vacation in Tahiti or some other perk paid for by any of a thousand lobby groups. Unfortunately, most of those who could make a difference lack the egos that political aspirations seem to exude. However, their input, guidance and influence could help effect the necessary changes to archaic policies.
Grassroots and watchdog groups need to continually seek answers to any and all pivotal questions such as:
Why are we besieged by so many invasive laws that have nothing to do with physical or financial injury to anyone, yet carry incredibly harsh punishments?
Why is the federal government continually usurping "States's Authority", and then threatening to withhold funding if
they do not introduce costly programs that are already bleeding from obsolescence?
The people need to ask themselves if "The Patriot Act" actually improved national security or just allowed our own government to terrorize those who look to it for protection. In the 50's, 60's and 70's, American children were warned about the "Red Menace" and how in Russia, East Germany, Cuba, and China, government officials tapped phones, monitored mail, censored information and could forcefully enter homes and businesses, seizing whatever they wished. They would often arrest people for as little as speaking their minds. I'm so glad that we're safe from such vehement intolerance!
A man is arrested in Connecticut for Armed Robbery, using a Colt Pistol that was manufacture in Hartford which is a state charge. The F.B.I. goes to great lengths to show that the firing pin of the pistol was manufactured out-of-state, which under current federal law, makes it federal crime under an interstate commerce statute. Why are they so aggressively challenging state's rights and abilities to govern and prosecute their own constituents?
Many drug and sexually factored charges seem to find their way into federal court using the same reasoning. They cite interstate commerce to encompass everything from where drugs or drug paraphernalia come from, or where sim cards or camera batteries were manufactured, to the transport of computer hard drives, discs, or photographs that have traveled across geographic boundaries.
Even cyberspace has been given physical status so that agents from I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and other Homeland Security thugs can monitor, control and police the Internet under the guise of protecting us from ourselves. Also, isn't anyone concerned about this so-called super server that the N.S.A. is supposed to make operational in August? Could it be true that it is designed to monitor all worldwide communications; or is this something dreamed up for a coast-to-coast diatribe. If there is truth to any of this, then I guess Orwell's math was off by 28 years!
O.K., let's visit the main cause of all this pandemonium - CONGRESS ! Those former business owners, local politicians and next door neighbors who have been able to convince you that they have your best interest(and not their further bank balances), at heart. Unlike the indomitable character played by Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington", even the most scrupulous politicians can be tempted by the dark side to relinquish self-esteem (and your well-being), for financial security and power.
So, what is the recipe for public office? Fill the pot with a boatload of money from any individual, company, organization or group who wants something. Stir in a shiny new appearance, a lot of coaching and a few carefully orchestrated, impromptu meetings with the press. Now, add a few soundbites extolling the virtues of God and Country, while denouncing taxes, big government and crime, along with a slew of false promises and big smiles and voila! Another vacuous Washington hopeful, just a few steps closer to the most powerful seat in the world.
Soon the deal making, ass kissing and duplicity begins as these Decepticons of Righteousness manipulate the system to further their own agendas while setting themselves up for re-election on their way up the tumultuous political ladder. Their rise or fall appears to depend very little on the voters, as they have already been shown to be impressionable. Instead, those who put up the money for them to get elected can now look to their new associates to help pass appropriations that will enhance the quality of life - FOR THEM! Lunches, dinners, parties, sporting events and trips, all become adventures in networking as politicians divvy up pieces of the Constitution to satisfy the demands of greedy benefactors as well as their constituents.
Now it's time to draft a law... or twenty. As everyone with a grudge, agenda or prejudice has an idea for ways to make this County better, by infringing on the rights of others. This Country has more active laws than any other. Laws covering: Accumulating, Breast feeding, Congregating, Drinking, Exhibiting, Fellating, Graffiti, Habitats, Indulgences, Jay-walking, Kissing, Lovemaking, Marijuana, Nude skateboarding, Overcrowding, Pornography, Quarreling, Resisting, Skinny Dipping, Tranquilizing, Urinating, Verbalizing, Wine Mixing, Xenon exploding, Yak Riding and Zig-zag papers, and so many other particulars that really don't affect the social strata. But give those who have the desire to control others a myriad of possibilities to satisfy their egotistical appetites.
Although I was being alphabetical above, for the most part there are far too many laughable laws that exist, and even though some may not be enforced, a body of individuals had to have decided to implement them at some point. Laws against whale hunting in Oklahoma, hitching giraffes to light poles in Georgia, or singing in public while wearing a bathing suit in Florida may have had some ambiguous meaning to someone, but also point out an inability to use logic when ego and ignorance is in charge.
Maybe a law should be drafted that all laws must pass a strict scientifically designed litmus test before its implementation. Nah! Many would never pass!
Any attempt to dissect, understand or categorize the human condition to both explain its fealties and appease those who wish to control it, would be an arduous task. This is probably why we accept a speculative approach with such flagrant disregard for reason. But this dissection is necessary to preserve and protect our species. This close examination should be done at the genesis of all bills, using any and all professional and technological elements without the distortion of emotional influences before they can be drafted and employed into laws. All existing laws should go under the same microscope (beginning with those that carry the harshest penalties and have the most innocuous dynamics). They should then either be amended or abolished accordingly. No one should be above the law, and no law should exceed the reasonable expectation of Honorable justice.
Once these pretentious dictates go into effect, we find that the person who tormented us during 4th grade art class, or even worse, the one that everyone treated like a pariah, has been given the responsibility of enforcing them. Isn't irony just great?
So, let's attempt to peek beyond the thin blue uh, flak jacketed, line to pose questions about the men and women who enforce the law with such unquestioning obedience, in:
Part 2 - "The Enforcers"
There are many police officers who truly wish to protect and serve, but sadly, not enough. Let's face it, the desire to become a cop, fireman, or even a cowboy, usually stems from children being infatuated with the uniforms, toys (i.e. guns, badges, axes, fire-trucks, horses, etc.), and a perceived hero status. This desire can unfortunately carry over into adulthood, where it melds with the maturing human ego, and suddenly, your grandmother loses her home after getting busted for the lovely plants that you planted in her garden.
Ask yourselves why one officer will seem to analyze any given situation while another arrests with the blind obedience to the law that is often seen when soldiers wipe out entire villages of innocents on command. This could be a great source for study, but I'm guessing that city, state, and federal officials along with the unions wouldn't allow it to happen. I mean, given the fact that some municipalities have relaxed their hiring requirements, to allow even those with minor arrests for drugs and violence to become officers, speaks volumes. Benefits aside, few well adjusted, educated people want to be in a job where they are disliked, distrusted and could end up hurt or killed in the process unless there is nothing else. So far, we have egotistical megalomaniacs, elected by a gullible public, laying down irrational laws that are now executed by persons with rudimentary comprehensive skills and an incredible desire to arrest someone for having a nicer lawn than theirs. I think we're gong to lose this one.
Your 14 year old daughter, Cindy, receives a text from her friend Sheri with a picture of Cindy in a training bra and panties that Sheri took at a slumber party 2 1/2 years before. LOL..., until Homeland Security bangs on the door and rustles Cindy off to some juvenile facility, charged with receiving child pornography. Too far fetched, you say? Au contraire. Both CVV and FOX News carried the story last year. I never heard the outcome, but the fact that authorities acted at all is ridiculous, and most likely, extremely detrimental to the girl's emotional health. Furthermore, when the judge didn't immediately throw the case out and admonish the prosecutor and arresting agents, this affront to reason crossed the line, and became child abuse by the lawmakers and the authorities who were overzealous in implementing their version of the law.
Besides these laws being so incredibly stupid, there are questions, such as: How can someone be charged with downloading pictures of themselves (i.e. both victim and perpetrator)? When did I.C.E. agents get the authority to arbitrarily decide that such an image should be considered child pornography? Doesn't there have to be at least some suggestive sexuality and nudity before the "goon" squad rushes in? Finally, to the agents: is it worth the possible destruction or even suicidal death of a child so that you can get a notch in your gun and move on up to a bigger office?
O.K., it's unlikely that Cindy is doing time, outside of a psychiatrist's office, so I'll take this to the next level with another media magnet.
12 year old Timmy learns from watching Oprah, that he can make a truckload of cash doing online what he and his friends have been doing in private. All they have to do is troll and wait for the fish to bite. Eventually, hundreds of their once eager customers are awaiting trial, while Timmy and friends are lightly tapping into their PayPal accounts to technically recreate the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Many who study human behavior understand the insatiable curiosity, desires and seductive powers of youth, but feel that it's up to the adults to resist the temptation to take the bait. I agree. However, lawmakers, attorneys, judges, educators, the media and of course the parents and the public in general should also accept some of the culpability. Anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists like Phillip Zimbardo, Leslie Loenstein and Fred Berlin, as well as many behavioral scientists around the world, should be consulted often.
The questions should be multifarious and particular to each situation like the one above. Questions like: How do you assess harm in such instances? Outside of the mixed messages, self esteem, inflated ego, possible embarrassment, desensitization, and other issues that can result from this and many other youthful activities, what specifically (if anything) about the above situation, or any consensual, non-aggressive, non-threatening activity between those who are old enough to ovulate or produce semen could warrant such notoriety and concern as to exceed that of arson, rape, and murder? How much emotional harm is caused by the attention given by agents, prosecutors, parents and so-called therapists, no matter how sensitive they believe they can be with their interrogations, uh interviews, when compared to the activity itself? If young people aren't considered intellectually or emotionally capable enough to be able to discern wrong from right, how can they be held responsible for, arrested and convicted of murder, theft, arson and even child molestation or the production and distribution of child pornography.
"Holy double standard Batman". And this scenario is only about cyberspace activities where people usually don't even get to meet each other.
Once you've eliminated the probability of physical or financial harm from any equation, all that's left is emotional harm. Given the limited and speculative nature of behavioral, as opposed to clinical psychology, and the many emotional variables that are encountered during the interview process, I believe that any definitive conclusion would demonstrate irresponsibility on the part of the interviewer. There seems to be a general perception that anyone who creates, downloads, collects, or even views images of children (sexual or otherwise) could conceivably molest one of them. O.K., I thought that the Minority Report was riveting. But unless there's a sultry clairvoyant mermaid hanging out in some luminescent underground pool somewhere, I see a major flaw in that perception. Can anyone name another offense, outside of those conceived in the Middle-East or pre-1989 East Berlin and Russia, that could possibly result in incarceration on pure speculation?
Abuse of power and extreme paranoia is quite evident in the many cases of harassment, suspensions and even arrests and internments of children as young as 5 years old. These young "villains" were found to be in possession of silverware, aspirin, fingernail clippers, pen knives or playing doctor and kissing, repeating the lyrics to "I'm Sexy and I Know It", and other benign activities. In other words, just being normal kids; at least until their worlds are shaken. Not crumbled by some unknown thug or terrorist, but those in authority. The very ones they look to for guidance and protection. This is a huge step toward creating future inmates to fill prisons like this. Way to go, Morons!
How about all those Mexican men, women, and children who choose to come into this country illegally, stealing jobs from honest red blooded Americans, who really don't want them anyway. It makes so much sense to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, rounding them up, arresting and processing them through trial and sentencing, and then finally housing them at $45,000 per year, instead of continually sending them back to Mexico at a fraction of the cost. There are many cases of people who grew up, married, started families, etc., who went to prison for selling marijuana, then deported because their parents never obtained citizenship papers for them. The whole marijuana issue itself has been an incredible financial and logistical nightmare that exemplifies the lack of reason that imbues the entire judicial system.
The arrest phase can run the gambit from a simple knock on the door by a couple of officers (a la "Law and Order"), to a full blown, overdramatic, 6 A.M. assault by a dozen federal agents who force you to the floor, concerned that you might be concealing an AK 47 somewhere on your wrinkled, naked body. While searching your apartment, a decorative replica of the original Bowie knife is accidentally kicked out from the floor of a closet by an officer. She jumps back with gun drawn and pointed down at the object, calling out "Weapon found!", to which others run to her, drawing their own weapons. The knife is subdued and no one is harmed in the incident, though the desire to laugh, even in the throes of such an assault, can be overwhelming. You aren't arrested then, but your computers, books, and so much more are confiscated and a similar assault takes place five weeks later when you are arrested. It took over a year to get rid of the nightmares related to those 2 incidents.
I spent my first 3 days of incarceration at the Hartford Correctional Center on a drug known as Seraquil. (My cellmate insisted.) The next two weeks were spent in the solitary confinement cell from hell. (For my "protection".) It was so cold that I could see my breath. Yet all I had was: 1 - Thin Thermal Blanket, 1 - Sheet, 1 - T-Shirt, and a jumpsuit. They put me in the filthy, dark cell at night, and the first thing I saw when the light came on in the morning was a 9" x 24" dried blood stain on the wall. The next 9 months were spent in the PC (Protective Custody) Unit of the Cheshire Connecticut Correctional Institution, under the care of a Captain Melms, who deserves and received a lot of respect from both inmates and staff alike. This leads me to parts 3 and 4:
"The Manipulators" and "The Executioners"
Coming soon to this blog!
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