Tuesday, September 22, 2009


by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

This morning I spent two-and-a-half hours on the witness stand at the Lubbock County, TX, courthouse presenting testimony as to why a twenty-seven-year-old murderer of five people should not be put to death. The absolute best that this youth can hope for is to spend the rest of his natural life in a cage. I am too wracked with sadness to blog this evening - but someday very soon I will launch a tireless tirade on how children are not born evil, but rather they are exposed to it, conditioned by it, and eventually overcome by it. I will also explain in dastardly detail why I oppose the barbaric practice of capital punishment.

But not tonight.


Phillipia said...

Hey Rock, sorry you had such a rough day.

Hope tomorrow is better for you.

Mike Box said...

Once society stood at the threshold of enlightenment. It was a time when we allowed the light of reason to cast out the fears of ignorance.

We recognized that children were fundamentally different than adults. We recognized that their development did not always permit them to understand or comprehend the consequences of their actions.

We developed a juvenile justice system to treat young offenders. Science and a caring society stood at the threshold of enlightenment.

Then darkness fell like a shroud covering a corpse. "Certify them as adults." "If they commit adult crime let 'em do adult time." The cries of ignorance ran rampant through the land.

Today society is turning away from the potential advances offered by reason. If we continue to treat children like adults then tomorrow will not be a good place for our children's children.

On this day in 1981 Jack Henry Abbott was captured. Abbott, a writer, spent most of his young life incarcerated. He became a murderer. Perhaps you can find insight from his book "Inside the Belly of the Beast."

Tim said...

I recently read a book entitled "You Can't Win" by Jack Black about a man's criminal career at the turn of the last century. He told a story about being a young man, in his twenties, and committing a benign and petty crime. He explained that after they threw him in a cage like an animal and then whipped him across the back mercilessly that he left that jail bound and determined to do harm in the world, to hurt people, to take out his new found rage on anyone who stood in his path. He was not the same basically good man who went in there.

The punishment of a year in counseling, being treated like a human and not a dog, would've saved everyone a lot of grief and I suspect that's the case in 99 percent of all of our criminals.

Anonymous said...

While it is true that many people have the capacity to change, most people are inherently evil. Now, I'm not saying I'm for the death penalty. I believe that the justice system creates more problems than it ever corrects. But some people are so evil, so lacking in basic human feelings, that they have no conscience and will do whatever they can to victimize others.
Unfortunately, many of those people are cops.

Mike Box said...

Tim Macy’s point is well taken. Yesterday marked the 134th anniversary of Billy the Kid’s first arrest. An older friend had stolen a basket of laundry and left Billy holding the bag. He was arrested for theft, kept in a small jail cell, and escaped two days later by skinning up the chimney.

The rest, including the 21 counts of homicide, is history. Had Tim Macy been the Sheriff of Silver City, New Mexico then history would have one less desperado.

Anonymous raises an important point in the debate with the comment on the essential depravity of humankind. I disagree.

A person is not born inherently evil. Nor are the wealthy inherently good and the poor inherently evil. Neither does a good education promise a life of virtue. Poverty, illiteracy, and the lack of economic potential may be good indicators of a future life of crime, but they are not absolute. Mr. Madoff certainly suffered from any of these afflictions.

I strongly believe that poverty is the root cause of most crime. If you want to end crime then provide good paying jobs; work paying a living wage.

I believe that most domestic violence stems from poverty.

I believe that most drug related crime is related to poverty, from growers or manufacturers, to mules, to the disbursement network, to the hopeless users. Take the profit out of drugs and the problem mutates into something manageable.

If people have a stake in their community, if they belong to something vibrant, if they are willing to open themselves and their communities to more prosperity then there would be less crime.

An unhealthy congestion of wealth exists at the top echelons of American society.

Income concentration shows congestion is at its highest since 1928. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says: "the inflation-adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households grew more than ten times faster than the income of the bottom 90 percent of households" from 2002 to 2007.

I believe the greed that permits the stagnation of economic resources is also responsible for crime. This is where the seeds are planted.

BK in MO said...

Maybe it is because I'm around so many Realtors all the time, but it is hard not to believe that many people are inherently evil. LOL