In Which I Rant

The New York Times today reports (among content about the new health care bill and the release of the names of those killed at Fort Hood) that “There are just over 100 people in the world serving sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles in which no one was killed; 77 of them are in Florida.” These occurred in the 1990s. The article expresses the (thankfully humane) opinion of various judges that locking juvenile offenders away for life is “barbaric” and leaves them no hope. Read on:

Outside the context of the death penalty, the Supreme Court has generally allowed states to decide for themselves what punishments fit what crimes. But the court barred the execution of juvenile offenders in 2005 by a vote of 5 to 4, saying that people under 18 are immature, irresponsible, susceptible to peer pressure and often capable of change.

A ruling extending that reasoning beyond capital cases “could be the Brown v. Board of Education of juvenile law,” said Paolo G. Annino, the director of the Children’s Advocacy Clinic at Florida State University’s law school. Judges, legislators and prosecutors in Florida agree that the state takes an exceptionally tough line on juvenile crime.

But they are deeply divided about when sentences of life without the possibility of release are warranted.

“Sometimes a 15-year-old has a tremendous appreciation for right and wrong,” said State Representative William D. Snyder, a Republican [emphasis mine] who is chairman of the House’s Criminal and Civil Justice Policy Council. “I think it would be wrong for the Supreme Court to say that it was patently illegal or improper to send a youthful offender to life without parole. At a certain point, juveniles cross the line, and they have to be treated as adults and punished as adults.”

A retired Florida appeals court judge, John R. Blue, did not see it that way. “To lock them up forever seems a little barbaric to me,” Judge Blue said. “You ought to leave them some hope.”

The definition of a social Republican is dominated by the concept that he (and it is a he, most of the time) will insist upon allowing all babies to be born, and then insist that all offenders be punished to the full extent of the law. Many of those unwanted babies live to grow up in the projects, where they learn all too well how to become those offenders. Whose care or execution we then pay for as taxpayers. Add to this generally accepted (if liberal) definition of a Republican the presumption to decide who is allowed to love or marry whom, who is allowed to have access to birth control (yet another way to make those unwanted children overrun society in greater numbers), who is allowed to have medical care, who is allowed to worship what, who is allowed to rape and destroy the environment as they please, and who is allowed to prosper at the cost of whom. Oops, I slipped a bit into fiscal definition there, but oh well, sue me.

I am a raving psycho of a liberal. I am not a Libertarian. I am not Green Party. I am not, by any measure whatsoever, remotely Republican. I am a Democrat in an age when Democrats are the least cool thing to be. I would love to see income tax abolished in favor of a everyone-is-equal-including-corporations sales tax. I suppose that is rather a Libertarian idea. I think human rights are human rights and as long as one is a human being, there should be no weights and measures deciding what you’re allowed to do, barring probation or parole restrictions (which are temporary and should fall completely away after a prescribed period). Convicted felons who’ve fulfilled their parole could be checked on every so often rather than singled out for suspicion by having to cite their crime on a job application.

Everyone needs health care. Everyone needs education. Everyone needs the right and opportunities to prosper. While there is no way, nor should there be, to give everyone the exact same upbringing or spectrum of opportunity, personal effort to succeed is a fine barometer of character and mettle. But as it is now, the poor and the ever-shrinking middle class are suffering a lack of basic health care while corporations ride taxpayers’ coattails to repeated quarterly revenue records, cackling all the way to the bank. It’s deplorable.

I saw a pickup truck with a homemade panel top a couple of days ago. This plywood mess was painted up with warnings about government control and weird paranoid propaganda about Obama. I live in Houston, TX, and these people here really hate Obama. I voted for him in both the primary and the general election; it was my first primary. I think the people here feel about Obama the way I felt about GWB. I am unable to stomach any video of GWBush. He was giving a speech on TV once when I was at the hospital waiting to have tests run. I had to leave the waiting room and go down the hall, because he literally makes my skin crawl. I am wracked with waves of instinctive, purely visceral disgust at the sight and sound of him. He has a cameo of sorts in the movie Live Free or Die Hard, and I have to mute the TV and look away while the montage runs in which he says, “We will not falter, and we will not fail,” because the physical response is immediate and intense.

When his father was elected President, I cried. I knew there would be war, and I was right. We then had the first Gulf War. GWB, though, made Daddy Bush look like a puppy who’d lick you to death in comparison. And this country, to the horror of the rest of the Western world, spiraled into some sick, right wing, fundamentalist surreal reality that could’ve been straight out of a Phillip K. Dick novel — and yet the “Christian” majority kept on tooting their horns for him, almost right up to the day he left office. The rest of us, the minority groups who love the Bill of Rights and feel that the Constitution is much more than just a goddamn piece of paper, watched in growing disbelief, dismay, and distress as it became okay to quite vocally suggest gays should be put to death and Constitutional amendments should be added that restricted rights rather than protected them.

I don’t, and never will, understand how anyone can fear Obama or accuse him of being the Anti-Christ (I’m serious, it’s all over the place here) when he is so clearly a beacon of hope. How can a Christian fear religious freedom as if it were a threat to him, and how can a perfectly content and married suburbanite fear gay marriage as if it somehow would subvert the value of her own relationship? It boggles the mind. What’s so wrong with equal rights for all that it scares people who are in the obvious majority? Someone please explain this to me.

To briefly return to the original topic of this post and piss off even more people — nonviolent crimes should not receive such harsh sentences, especially with juveniles. And victimless crimes shouldn’t either. All drug offenders should be released, and marijuana should be legalized, regulated, and taxed. It would bring in serious, substantial revenue for the government to pay for things like this 1.1 trillion health care plan.

I know I’ve meandered all over the place in this post, but with so much going on right now, I had to put it somewhere. Feel free to air your opinions in comments, but please try to be smart and thoughtful — posting one sentence insults won’t do anything to make your case look intelligent.

Sheta Kaey About Sheta Kaey

I teach people to perceive, communicate, and work with spirits. Beyond that, I'm kinda normal.

Sometimes I write things. Sometimes I edit things. Sometimes, people even see them.

Comments

  1. Hummingbird :

    You have said it so well my friend – GWB left a mess for our new president to take on with the war he and his father started. I hope people will realize that our problems right now – unemployment, war, deficit, unequal rights and general bad feeling about our government and so much more has all been brought on by them. Gay people who are in love and want to benefit the rewards (there are a few) of being married should be able to do so. More than 30 percent of the prisoners are in for non-violent crimes – the prisons in Texas are now privately owned and guess what they are not paroling the prisoners with good time and work – they get more money (per head like cattle) if they keep them. Now why should they try to be good – no rewards as promised in their regulations and rules. I loved that recently Obama has ordered those (federal officers) who seek out to destroy marijuana being grown for medicinal purposes to stop – of course the right wingers think it’s just terrible – these are the ones that would not know good medicine or use it but will go for all the prescription drugs and alcohol and abuse them! I know Obama will be doing great things – if allowed – he after has a lot more to prove because of his race and if people don’t understand and believe that then they of course are the ones that will not give him credit him for good things he will do right before their eyes! Great article here!

    • Thanks. I am surprised there are not more comments, though I got I think one more at LiveJournal on this piece. lol. I get the impression my blog doesn’t receive much in the way of surfers. ;)

      I sure have missed you, and I’m glad you’re home! We’ll have to get together soon.

  2. That title picture is awesome. Very good fit.

    Ive come to call it the t cubed response – most people will, when they encounter something they dont understand and therefore fear, will try to villanize and then destroy something or someone rather then try to understand it, be it in a theatre by the torch or on a couple of sticks on a hill. Unfortunately our most recent administration has empowered that reaction and encouraged it to an incredably unhealthy level. This causes most people, rather then progressing into another mode of thought to deal with new ideas, to lay blame on and demonize alternate ways of thinking and stay in their own comfort zones, which makes an abysmal rut for this generations thinkers.

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