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The Death Penalty

There are “8 million reasons” why the death penalty should be abolished.

I will discuss only one of those reasons in this post. Not enough time to deal with the rest of the reasons today.

Inequality—the selection, imposition and executing of death sentences are not applied equally.

Take the case of Orlando Hall as an example.

On November 20, 2020, the federal government put Hall to death by lethal injection in the death chamber at the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary in Indiana.

In September 1994, Hall and four other men—all of whom were part of an Arkansas-based marijuana drug ring—kidnapped a 16-year-old teenager in Dallas, Texas in response to a drug deal gone sour with her bothers. Over the next several days the men raped and abused the teenager multiple times.

They took the young girl with them to Arkansas where the sexual abuse continued. Hall and three of the men then took the teenager to a remote area where Hall and another man beat her about the head before they all buried her alive in a grave.

It was a horrific crime. No doubt about that.

Two of the men—Hall and Bruce Webster—were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Hall was tried in federal court while Webster was tried in an Arkansas state court. The other three men were given reduced sentences after they agreed to be witnesses for the prosecution.

On September 20, 2020—exactly two months before Hall was put to death—a federal appeals court vacated Webster’s death sentence, finding that he was “intellectually disabled.”

Here are the core facts of this case: five men took part in the kidnapping and rape of the teenage girl while four of them took part in her murder.

Only one of the five men was put to death. Three got preferential treatment from prosecutors because they became government witnesses. In other words, these three men got on the witness stand, mitigated their roles in the offense, and pointed the finger of primary responsibility at Hall and Webster. Prosecutors responded to this witness cooperation by saying, “Okay, good job – now, here’s your get out of jail free pass. Go and kill no more.”

Webster was spared his appointment with the lethal injection needle when a federal court determined that he is “intellectually disabled.” In other words, Webster was spared execution because he lacked the intellectual ability to understand what the death needle is used for.

Hall, on the other hand, was penalized by the federal government because he had the intellectual ability to understand exactly what the death needle is used for.

In effect, Orlando Hall was treated unequally from the other four men involved in the same crime—three of whom got differing reduced sentences because they “snitched” and Webster was spared actual execution because, as the condemned man put it, “what’s that needle for” while Hall was executed for no other real reason than he said, “I know what that goddamn needle is used for.”

If you put three primates in a room and gave each pen & paper, they could not devise a more unequal punishment than the death penalty as it was applied in the case of Orlando Hall.

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Facebook

A social media platform pockmarked with social lunatics and political idiots. More cogent conversations can be heard in the recesses of American prisons than some of those exchanged in Facebook posts.

I haven’t said anything in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. Did not want to gloat or poke fingers in the eyes of the losers.

The election did teach Americans and the rest of the world one simple truth: that as a society, Americans are roiled in racism of every stripe and culturally divided to an extent that may well be irreparable.

But leave it to a stupid mother…ker like Paul Ewell to bring me out of my shell of social silence.

Ewell was the former dean of the Virginia Wesleyan University Global Campus until he was forced to resign in the wake of the following Facebook post (since deleted):

“If you were ignorant, anti-American, and anti-Christian enough to vote for Biden, I really don’t want to be your social friend on social media. I wouldn’t hang out with you in real life, I don’t want to hang out with you virtually either. You have corrupted the election. You have corrupted our youth. You have corrupted our country. I have standards and you don’t meet them. Please remove yourself.”

This quote was, according to CNN, first reported by the Virginian-Pilot newspaper.

I don’t know anything about this Wesleyan University or Paul Ewell. His Facebook post tells me all I need to know about him and the university that hired him.

Roughly 150 million Americans made their choice. Our own intelligence watchdog agencies have informed us that the 2020 election was the most secure and honest election in modern American history.

More people chose Biden over Trump. It was their fundamental constitutional right to make that choice. Paul Ewell has a First Amendment right to say or feel whatever he wants but there are consequences to masturbating in public. Ask former CNN analyst Jeffery Toobin.

Ewell was not expressing a free speech right; rather he was publicly shaking his dick at any and all those who voted for Joe Biden.

Who in this world could possibly give a single penny worth a damn about whether they meet Paul Ewell’s “standards”, or the standards of any other like-minded individuals.

But, sadly, there is not only a Facebook audience for the hate-driven speech of Paul Ewell but a larger public marketplace for it in today’s America.

I’ve said my piece; namely, that I am not a friend of Paul Ewell and all those who share his point of view.

Now, I’ve got more urgent things to do. There is a small herd of deer, most of whom I’m on a first name basis with, waiting for me to bring their morning breakfast of deer corn and fresh water. My dogs have even come to accept the deer as part of our extended family.

There are benefits to social distancing. I don’t have to worry about encountering any Paul Ewells in the public marketplace.

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Hole in the Wall

Historically speaking, a “hole in the wall” has always signified a “small and unpretentious place.”

For the past four years, “The Wall” has signified a concrete barrier along the U.S./Mexican border built to keep “illegal aliens” out of the Land of the Free.

Roughly $11 billion has been sunk into building the so-called “Border Wall”—a structure promised to be impenetrable by human smugglers, drug smugglers, unlawful migrants, and a host of other life forms like rapists, murderers, and cockroaches.

But last year media reports surfaced, that smugglers of every stripe could buy a cordless $100 tool known as a “reciprocating saw” from any hardware store that can cut through the border wall like a warm knife through butter.

Now, frankly speaking, I wouldn’t know a “reciprocating saw” from a butter knife, much less how to use one to cut holes in an $11 billion border wall.

So what we really have is an $11 billion “border fix” that a $100 saw can unfix!

There’s a saying (and from where it came I don’t know) that a “fair exchange ain’t no robbery.”

An $11 billion dollar fix that can be unfixed for $100 is not a “fair exchange.”

As events have played out (which is probably why we have not heard much about “build the wall” or “who’s going to pay for the wall” in  the current presidential race), the Wall was not needed to stem the “hordes” of unlawful trying to enter America.

The coronavirus pandemic (what we now uniformly refer to as “Covid-19”) has proven to be a barrier to anyone wanting to come to the U.S.A. The government’s incompetence at handling the Covid-19 pandemic has made the U.S. the world leader in the number of deaths and infections from the lethal virus.

Who would want to break into the United States today?

Anyway, hardware stores in Mexico now have a surplus of reciprocating saws that they cannot even unload for $20 on eBay.

I suspect (although I do not have an iota of proof) that the companies involved in building The Wall either owned or were heavily invested in the company’s manufacturing those reciprocating saws.

And I further suspect (and, again, I have no proof) that the companies so adroit at building The Wall immediately invested all their profits from the reciprocating saws into Lysol and Clorox once they learned that these over-the-counter products could do to Covid-19 what their saws did to The Wall.

That’s the beauty of true capitalism—the unbridled ability to put profit before people.

But this unholy desire more often than not fails much like The Wall.

Research Briefs found that 70 percent of the “upstart tech companies” fail within 20 months and 97 percent of the “consumer hardware startups” also die and become what is known in the business world as “zombies.”

So, in the business world over the past two years the Wall has failed, the “Reciprocating Saw” has failed, and the mixture of Lysol/Clorox has failed.

And who said “what America needs is a business man running the country?”

As a business sidebar, if you think the manufacturers of those reciprocating saws are pissed at Covid-19, think about the “private prison” industrial complex. Their companies are suing states right now for not delivering to them a sufficient amount of inmates to house because the states have joined the “prison reform” movement that demands a reduction of their inmate populations.

Private prison executives, the real founders of the “lock her up” mantra, have been forced to  become focused on developing new sources of revenue: converting prisons into homeless shelters at a cost of $100 per head each night; making it a felony for anyone to stand in an early voting line for more than one hour; or creating an assortment of mandatory sentencing minimums for anyone wearing a mask in public.

These are just a few possible new inmate revenue sources.

Back to the “hole in the wall.”

That’s been the American business model the past four years.

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Experiments

We have all at one time or another engaged in some sort of experiment. At 10 or 11 years old, minus a thumb nail, I learned it was not a good idea to light two firecrackers at the same time and attempt to throw them.

Pfizer, a premier biopharmaceutical company, recently announced that it was using 100 “children as young as 12” as test subjects in the company efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

Doses of “experimental vaccines” were given to the children at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Doctors, scientists, and researchers on Pfizer’s payroll are now waiting to see what effects the injections will have on the children.

These children, apparently with parental permission, have become “guinea pigs” for the biopharmaceutical giant.

The term “guinea pig” comes from the first use of these animals in biological experiments in the 17th century.

It is a term that has over the centuries developed a bad reputation, and for good reasons.

These pigs, and many other animals used by humans to develop everything from tennis shoes to lingerie, were effectively tortured under the pseudo-guises of providing “benefits for mankind.”

Scientists continue to tortuously use to this day a litany of different kinds of primates, pigs, and rodents to conduct medical and biological experiments to “advance the world of medicine.”

A child, particularly one as young as 12, cannot give “consent” to do anything—sex, alcohol consumption, vehicle driving, etc. These Covid-19 biopharmaceutical experiments, therefore, had to have a “parental consent” attached to them.

To protect itself from civil liability, I’m sure Pfizer had the parents sign “agreements” in which all the known life-threatening risks that could occur during the experimentations were made known to them.

What kind of parent allows their child to be used as a “guinea pig?”

Covid-19 is one of the most dangerous and particularly lethal viruses to enter the human world. Despite what the anti-maskers say, the virus is lethal to children, admittedly not as the same level it is among adults. But a two-month old baby recently died from Covid.

There is so little known about this particular virus. Each day seemingly brings new information about it, much of it discouraging offering little promise of how mankind will deal with it.

One father, who is a doctor himself, said he volunteered his 12-year-old son for the Covid experiments to not only protect his son but to “help science as well.”

Of course, every son wants to please father and the son says he all in for the experiments – but is he really? Children are notoriously known for being “afraid of the unknown.”

What will the father say in three years if the son has a fatal heart attack, as we now know that the virus attacks the heart as much as the lungs.

Had the children enrolled in the Covid experiments by their parents been allow to visit an ICU filled with Covid-19 patients with many of them taking their last breaths of life, would they have then been as willing to participate in those experiments?

There’s no such thing here as “father knows best.”

Did father participate in an adult trial Covid experiment?

I think not.

One of the doctors involved in the Covid experiments with the children told CNN that he was aware some “people may be nervous about giving children an experimental vaccine” but dismissed this possible nervousness with the refrain that thousands of adults have undergone similar experimentation.

Okay, Doc, but let me say this: a child is not a “guinea pig”, and no amount of medical lipstick will make that pig beautiful. I suggest that you enroll in your own experiment.

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Lee Lang and Michael Bourg

Social justice activist Colin Kaepernick recently published an online essay titled “Abolition For The People” in which he advocated the abolition of the police and prisons.

Let me say up front that I truly admire Kaepernick’s continuing “knee for social justice.” He has remarkable courage and a profound sense of justice.

Having said that, I don’t think Kaepernick has ever met anyone quite like Lee Lang or Michael Bourg. If he had, he would not see the abolition of prisons as a viable option toward achieving justice.

I do not believe that property offenders and social ills offenders (DWI and drug possession, for example) should be sent to prison. Their criminal offenses can be addressed through community supervision that would produce accountability and rehabilitation.

However, there must be prisons for people like Lee Lang and Michael Bourg.

Lang was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in the 1950s with a life sentence for murder—a sentence at that time which carried an incarceration period of 10 years and six months.

Over the next decade Lang killed four fellow inmates for little or no reason at all. And he always killed in a brutal, methodical manner.

Long before the term “super max” or long term solitary confinement entered the prison experience, Louisiana prison officials were forced to put Lang in a completely isolated confinement removed from all contact with other inmates. It was the only way to shut down that killing machine.

Michael Bourg was sent to prison for armed robbery. He fell in love with what is known in the prison setting as a “galboy.” Bourg and the galboy were white. Four black inmates started making sexual plays at the galboy. One of them called Bourg a “punk-ass bitch,” or something similar. That night Bourg killed two of them in their sleep before they could get out of bed. He killed the third one as he tried to get a weapon out of his locker. Bourg stabbed the fourth one multiple times as he banged on the dormitory door before they guard could get it open and let him escape the assault. He survived.

Bourg was also locked down in deep solitary confinement.

So, what would Kaepernick have us do with Lee Lang and Michael Bourg?

And what would the former NFL quarterback have us do with the violent prison gangs (with tens of thousands of members), child killers/rapists, serial killers, mass murderers, pedophiles, rapists, and killers who take the lives of their wives and children just to be with their Walmart girlfriends.

I know prison like Kaepernick knows football.

I know there are people in prison who have committed violent crimes, and after decades of imprisonment they deserve release consideration.

But there are thousands of inmates—like Lee Lang or El Chapo or a Neo-Nazi gang leader—who are violent and will remain violent the rest of their days on earth. They would pose an immediate, continuing threat to the free community if released.

There are not enough psychologists, social workers, group therapy programs, or diversion programs to treat, correct, or redirect their violent tendencies.

So, again, what are we to do with these people?

Release them from prison with the admonition, “go and sin no more from now on.”

The nation’s prison system is fueled by systemic racism—no doubt about that. Injustice is also a way of life in prison—so much so that it seems to be the natural order of things.

One day, through genetic engineering or Star Trek-like technology or artificial intelligence, society may find a way to deal with human violence besides penal incarceration but that panacea is nowhere in sight.

Abolition of prison is an ideal that a just, humane society must pursue, but never, ever, at the expense of the safety and well-being of the peaceful, law-abiding members of that society.

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