In Answer 2 PUNISHMENT BY DEATH

Why prisons will never work

Part Two – The terrors of a society brainwashed to be scared of people not like themselves

Have you ever been in jail for more than a night in the drunk tank, say at least two weeks? Have you ever faced a jury of your supposed peers, and seen the hatred in their eyes. Looked at the members of your jury and not seen one that would be willing to take notice of you with a smile or even a lightning flash of sympathy? Have you ever been taken to a jail or prison intake area, stripped down to your absolute nothings, forced to walk with a whole busload of naked others through a spray of water so cold and so biting that you think you have been secretly transported to a summer day in Antarctica barely warm enough to turn ice into sleet and hail that burns your body red, makes your eyes water, and your testes pull so far into your groin area that you think they will never come out again, come hell or high temperatures? Then one at a time you are given ugly prison uniforms, one-size-fits-all, which is all you will be able to wear for the next 2 to 25 years, unless you are allowed to wear nice clothes at your appeal, if you can afford one. Meanwhile, if you stole a fair amount of money and were able to keep it hidden from the police, your lawyer will gratefully take it off your hands, and if you give him enough, he will actually TRY to get your verdict overturned, or your sentence shortened. Money might not buy you justice, but it will buy you the appearance of justice.

Okay, so I’ve got you standing in line, still naked, prison uniform grasped tightly in your arms, when the line starts moving and a line of inmates called “trustees” (because they can be trusted to fink on you to either the authorities, as represented by the prison warden, or the group leaders of gangs of prisoners, some gangs which are local and temporary, and some that are in every prison in the USA and even some in prisons in Canada. And those same long-term gangs will be there as long as prisons and penitentiaries as we know them are allowed to exist) where you will be handed that prison’s version of what is counted as bedding. Meanwhile, before you can get dressed, and IF there is a doctor available in the prison, he or she will examine you to see if you have any obvious problems visible to the eyes, ears, or fingers. After listening to a few beats of your heart and cursorily checking your skin for signs of viral or bacterial infections, they will then stick a finger up your vagina if you have one, and your anus because everyone has one, because it might contain contraband, which is illegal to smuggle into a prison. Only then will you be allowed to get dressed, and then you will wait around, even if it is mealtime, until the last of your group of prisoners are dressed.

Finally you are on the move as a group once more, still grasping your holey, and/or threadbare and/or flea-ridden blanket to your chest lest someone attempt to rip it out of your hands. At last you leave the intake area and enter a “room” one side of which is an outside wall, and the other having runways full of cells stacked upon cells all stacked upon even more cells; probably at least ten levels of them, and no elevator in sight anywhere. Meanwhile, you realize the trustee leading your group is giving a long-memorized speech explaining the laws and culture of the common room, the eating rooms, cell runways, and everything else he or she thought you would need to know for your first day there. After that you would be on your own to survive or not depending upon which gang you chose to become a part of. (In the movies or on TV, the star always remains somehow “unconnected,” but this isn’t a movie, it is real life, and the threat of death is palpably imminent, so choose wisely.)

Suddenly the line in front of you is moving up the stairs, and at each landing sets of names are called, and those people move through an iron door that slams! shut after the last “new piece of meat” goes through the entryway. The same scene repeats itself at every floor landing. Eventually your name is called and you go through the entryway. Already a guard is walking down the runway, tapping open doors, saying a name once, and moving on. As you are busy hoping you didn’t miss your name being called, you hear it at last, and you enter the cell, where either one or two double bunk beds are standing against the side walls, and before you even look at the people sitting on or lying down on the bunk mattresses, you see a seatless toilet bowl in the middle of the back wall, where you will have no privacy taking a crap for as long as you are there. Then you turn your attention to who your bunk mate(s) is(are), and where an unoccupied uncovered mattress is awaiting you. You quickly go to it, hoping the other(s) are not able to hear or see how scared you are. No matter whether you are brainy or brawny, you throw your armful of bedding on the bare mattress, thinking that you are lucky you made it this far.

“Get your stuff off of my bed,” a vicious voice booms out, and you jump high enough to hit your head on the ten foot high ceiling. As you crash down you stutter, “But… But I… I thought…”

That same voice cuts you off, “You don’t think out loud in here. In fact, it’s better to not think at all. You’ll get in trouble that way in here.” At least this time the voice is flat, emotionless. Not friendly, but not unfriendly either. With a tiny bit of uncertainty and fear in your own voice you say, “Which one is mine?” Luckily you are in a one-bunk-bed cell, or at least you hope it is luckily.

“I’m sitting on it,” the voice states, daring you to make him get off. And at last you realize you are being tested. Your happiness while in prison just might depend on how you answer…

You are just coming to a decision when a far-away voice calls “Close’m up!”and the door to your cell moves and hits the doorjamb resoundingly! The sound is echoed by every cell door within hearing. Two-hundred and fifty doors (you don’t know this figure yet, you missed that part of the trustee’s speech) slamming and slamming and slamming within tenths of a second of each other. By the time the sound clears from your ears your mind reminds you, “That’s it, no more freedom for…” and the guy/gal sitting on your mattress is staring at you with a sneer on their face and a gleam in their eyes. “How you feeling, new meat?”

So, dear reader, how “are” you feeling right now? You’re unsure of which tactic to take, you’re still feeling humiliated from having to stand around naked so long in a group of naked strangers, but with fully-clothed guards looking at all of you at once, but you’re sure one of them is staring straight at you at the same time. And then that doctor, feeling inside your private parts for God knows what, and having him or her sticking their finger up your orifices with just a thin film of plastic glove between his/her skin and your insides. And then the walk of shame through the common room, and you are so relieved that you are finally dressed again even though neon orange is not your best colour, it’s the same colour every prisoner except the trustees are wearing, you’re tired from the long bus ride from the city, and its hours since you last ate, your stomach is gurgling in desire, and you have to make what might be the decision of your life. How do you really feel deep down in your gut? What are you going to do?

To be continued…

In Answer To “PUNISHMENT BY DEATH”

a-blog-that-appeared-on-wordpress-com

Part One–the use of capital punishment as revenge

On March 4, 2017, Nan wrote a blog called “Punishment by Death.” Unfortunately I arrived late at the beheading, poisoning, boiling alive, walking the plank, crucifiction, pressing, garroting, drawing and quartering, burning at the stake, whipping to death with birch branches, burying alive, drowning by waterboard, starvation, honey and ants, beating on the wheel, stoning, firing squad, guillotine, gallows, gas chamber, electric chair, fatal chemicals injection site, and even keel-hauling amongst uncountable other ways humankind has invented to intentionally kill people who had been judged, legally or illegally, too evil to go on living. All these styles of execution can now be described in two words, capital punishment. So, having arrived late, I missed partaking in a discussion on the merits and/or morality of punishment by death because the licence to give my opinion was killed before I got there. The most amazing part of the discussion, in my mind, was talking about the monetary value of execution vs. keeping the supposedly evil person in prison for how ever many years, which in the United States of America is usually until the person dies. (And to make sure he or she died in prison, courts handed out prison terms of hundreds or maybe thousands of years. I guess that was in case one of the persons so judged was either Methuselah, or Judas Iscariot, often called the Wandering Jew. Or maybe even Satan himself!). The outright stupidity of such sentences, virtual death sentences, is only the first sign among many others that capital punishment should be abolished world-wide. Well, Nan, I know this wasn’t personal on your part, but I still must weigh in on the death knell of capital punishment. So, all you readers out there who think punishment by death is a viable punishment, please read the rest of this blog, and definitely one if not two more. I happen to have a lot to say…

In my not-so-humble opinion, capital punishment is more than a crime against humanity, it is a crime against life itself. There are way too many cases where a person has been found guilty of a murder, only to be proved AFTER HIS EXECUTION that he was innocent. You talk about when a “man has been proven guilty” of certain crimes you think capital punishment should be used, but I can tell you of a case in Canada where a man was found guilty not once but twice of killing a teenage girl working alone in a donut shop, and it took a third trial before the defence was allowed to call as witnesses a large group of nurses who could place that man at their hospital half a city away from the crime scene at the time the crime was committed. He was busy playing Santa Claus for the children in the hospital. I don’t remember how long he was in jail for, but he was not given capital punishment in either of the first two trials only because there was a case before the Supreme Court of Canada arguing that capital punishment be outlawed in our country. The Supreme Court finally handed down their ruling that capital punishment was against the laws of Canada. This was fortunate for the twice-convicted killer of wrapping paper and bows and ribbons. By this time, of course, the case was so cold that it could not be reopened. The police believed they arrested their man the day after the murder, and never bothered to collect any evidence that did not lead to this man’s conviction. This was back in the 60s, I believe, or the early 70s. And it is only the worst miscarriage of justice of the many cases where convicted people were later exonerated of their supposed crimes, all over the world. Our Supreme Court judges earned their pay the day they spoke to take down capital punishment as a remedy for murder.

And even when you say the words “capital punishment,” you are not talking punishment. A person cannot be “punished” once they are dead. To execute anyone is a plain case of revenge for revenge’s sake. And from where I sit, the American law for double jeopardy where a person cannot be tried twice for the same murder is about as stupid as is the case for capital punishment. Americans would rather let a guilty person, especially rich or famous persons, go free for sometimes petty bureaucratic reasons while sending innocent people to their deaths for crimes they did not commit. Did anyone do a comparison of those statistics? I’m willing to bet more murderers got off because of double jeopardy than of actual murderers getting executed in all the States of the Union combined.

But, seeing as you do have this law still on the books, there’s this guy in the States right now, I think his name is Donald… Yes, Donald Trump, I believe. If anyone should in America should be convicted of a capital crime… I don’t know if American troops anywhere in the world have killed a supposed enemy of the State since DT took office, but since he is the ultimate Commander-in-Chief of all America’s armed forces, when that first murder occurs (if it hasn’t already), he should be arrested as the ringleader of a bunch of armed thugs. War too is a crime against life, and particularly human life. Why do we allow it to happen? It is our responsibility to see that laws allowing capital punishment are killed everywhere around our globe.

to be continued…