They have been used as far back as the 17th century to ward off disease and infection.

The most effective preventive measure against the Covid-19 virus currently ravaging the nation, and Texas in particular is a mask. The mask not only protects the wearer from contracting the virus from public exposure but also prevents an asymptomatic person with the virus from infecting others.

But despite the fact that more than 140,000 people have succumbed to the virus and millions more have been infected, too many people make a personal choice not to wear a mask in public and, in fact, will vehemently assert, even violently express a perceived constitutional right not to be required, either by the government or public businesses, to wear a mask in public.

First, most people who assert “constitutional rights” have never read the U.S. Constitution, much less took the time to understand how its principles are applied. The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, do not mention the word “mask” nor can any of those amendments be remotely interpreted as a “right” not to wear a mask when required to do so to protect public health.

The First Amendment rights of religion, speech and assembly do not mention the word mask, nor do these rights entail any protection from being required to wear masks to protect public health. The Second Amendment right to own and tote a gun has nothing to do with masks. The amendments go on and on without discussing masks. Suffice it to say that the issue of masks was not high on the constitutional agenda of the Framers of the Constitution.

Protecting public health has always taken precedent over perceived individual liberty. For example, when science and medicine informed the public that secondhand cigarette smoke could cause cancer or other debilitating diseases, the government (local, state and federal) imposed cigarette smoking bans in certain businesses and in public except for designated areas.

In effect, the non-smoker’s right to be free of the dangers posed by someone else’s cigarette smoke exceeds the right of the smoker to light up and puff away as they see fit.

Again, the Constitution does not grant to the smoker any imagined right to huff and puff away in public at the expense of public health and the endangerment of others.

The overwhelming need to protect public health extends to the government an absolute legal right to regulate such dangerous human endeavors as vehicle driving, alcohol consumption, animal hunting, fish catching, human killing, and a host of other life-threatening human behaviors.

Personally, I wear a mask and medical gloves each time I leave my vehicle and step into the public arena (and I’m waiting on a face-shield from Amazon). I engage in this public safety behavior to protect myself from the non-mask wearer.

I will not confront or chastise the non-mask wearer for their individual recklessness and socially irresponsible behavior. I subscribe to the notion that every person has the right to go to hell in their own way.

More importantly, however, I do not engage in this challenging behavior because the reality is that a lot of non-mask wearers are certified, bona fide idiots. They welcome any opportunity to spit and slobber their imagined, un-sourced “constitutional right” not to wear a mask to anyone who challenges them. They will yell, curse, and make a genuine, 100 percent fool of themselves in public in support of their imagined “constitutional right” until the ICU doctor tells them that nurses have to stick a ventilator tube up their ass to pump oxygen into their failing lungs being munched on by the little ugly Covid-19 virus.

The issue about mask wearing in public is not about politics, hoaxes, Deep State conspiracies, the Boogaloo Movement, defund the police, Black Lives Matter, or any of the other emotional issues dividing this nation along racial and cultural lines. It’s about protecting you and your family’s lives, the lives of your grandma and grandpa, the lives of your friends and neighbors, and all of our obligations to protect public health and safety.

And if those of you who refuse to wear a mask cannot see that, then continue to clothe yourself in God, Flag, and Country as you watch our society die and collapse—a catastrophe you help create and perpetuate.



Each in its own way has a distinct foul smell.

This past Wednesday the State of Texas executed Billy Joe Wardlow. He was 18 years old when he killed a man during a robbery attempt. It took the State 25 years to execute the man—despite a host of state legislators, neuroscientists and two members of his jury urging that he be spared that fate.

U.S. Attorney Bill Barr has been waging a year-long legal effort to have five federal inmates executed—one of whom was scheduled to die Monday but whose execution was postponed by a federal judge after the victim’s family, who do not support the execution, said their personal safety would be put at risk traveling through the Covid virus to attend execution process.

The three remaining federal inmates scheduled to die over the next six weeks probably will not be as fortunate as the federal inmate who just had his execution postponed. Pandemic be damn, the show must go on.

What does it say about the nation’s criminal justice system when state and federal governments find a need to execute people in perhaps the worst pandemic in our history?

It doesn’t say a lot – and that’s why choking, shooting, kicking, and beating innocent or minor offenders to death by the police in full view of the world is accepted by at least 50 million people in this country as “law and order;” and why the scolding, choking, stomping, beating, and actual murder of mentally challenged or otherwise unruly prison inmates is considered by even more people to be “effective disciplinary control” measures.

Though sanitized, lethal injection, the very method by which most condemned inmates are put to death in this country, is the cruelest, most inhumane, and most tortuous method ever devised to carry out state-sanctioned executions in this country.

Botched electrocutions (some of which set the condemned on fire), bungled hangings (some of which left the condemned dangling and kicking for as long as 27 minutes), and cyanide gas chambers (some of which left the condemned slamming their heads back against the metal pole of the death chair) pale in comparison to the methodical and indifferent protocol involved in a lethal injection—the condemned inmate strapped to a gurney as much as an hour before the execution process gets underway, IVs inserted in whatever veins are available, and a mixture of drugs sent coursing through those veins that literally paralyze and slowly suffocates the life out of the condemned inmate.

More than 132,000 people have died as a result of governmental incompetence, mismanagement, lies, and the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic—and governments at both the state and federal level are now effectively forcing the victim families to expose themselves to an execution process that could possibly kill them.

And for what?

Justice? Revenge? Or just plain human population reduction?

That is where we are, folks.

Some saying old folks should just step up to the plate, accept the virus, and get on down the road to death because they are on their last leg of life’s journey anyway. Let the young folks live and party in an open society.

May as well throw a few executions in the social mix just to show how hard, mean and callous we have become as a society.

I guess the government will be lighting the fires for the “witches” next.



We all make them. They rule our lives, often throughout our lifetime. Some are hard and difficult; others are easy and made on the spur of the moment.

Some choices can cost a person their life.

That’s what happened to a Michigan inmate named William Garrison.

Earlier this year, according to a CNN report, the Michigan Department of Corrections offered Garrison a chance at parole. He was in his 44th year of doing time for a 1976 murder committed during a robbery when he was 16 years old.

Garrison was nearing the end of his sentence when given the parole opportunity. At the time the Covid 19 virus was creeping into the Michigan prison system as it was in other states. He chose to turn down the parole opportunity, preferring to serve a little more time to reach his mandatory goodtime discharge date. He did not want to be under parole supervision.

That was Garrison’s choice to make.

As the outbreak of the Covid virus spread throughout the nation’s prison systems, Michigan corrections officials three weeks ago offered Garrison a second opportunity for parole release. The corrections officials told him that given his age, he should seriously consider taking the parole release.

This time Garrison accepted the parole release opportunity.

That choice came too late.

Five days later the 60-year-old inmate died from the Covid virus.

That was April 13, 2020.

I understand the difficulty of the choice made by William Garrison.

I was paroled from the Louisiana prison system on April 25, 2006. I was 61 years of age and had served 40 years. At the time I had a mandatory goodtime discharge date of April 11, 2011.

I had a choice: accept the parole and live under its supervision until 2055 (my full term discharge date) or serve five more years to April 11, 2011 at which time I would have been discharged without any supervision.

I chose the parole over discharge.

As it turned out, on April 11, 2011 I lay on a bed in a prominent Houston hospital undergoing a major open heart surgery to replace a heart valve with a metal valve. My normal heart valve had ruptured a few days earlier bringing me as close to death as one could possibly get. A renowned heart surgeon saved my life.

Had I chose in 2006 to wait for my 2011 discharge date, I would have died in prison. The heart valve problem had been diagnosed as far back as 1995 but the prison medical staff had been advised that the kind of surgery I needed was too complicated and too expensive to perform on an inmate.

William Garrison and I faced similar choices.

He turned down parole and died; I accepted parole and lived.

Choices are the byproduct of the free will embedded in the human species.

Whatever the choice, each of us bears the responsibility and consequence of it.

My metal valve heart bleeds for William Garrison’s family. May God soothe their loss.



The Covid 19 virus claims an American life roughly every 9.5 minutes. Today or tomorrow more than 10,000 will have succumbed to the virus.

That’s a lot of death whose tentacles reach out across a wide spectrum of Americans with grief and other tragic consequences. There’s no way to minimize, much less rationalize, the personal and community harm this deadly virus has inflicted and will continue to inflict upon America.

But with the specter (and fear) of death lingering over the American landscape, there is a need for a world view perspective about the ravages, and, yes, the unfairness of death.

One in four children in Africa will not reach the age of 15 and one in ten will be claimed by death before the age of five.

In 2018, UNICEF reported that an estimate 6.5 million children worldwide died before the age of 15—or roughly 1 child every five seconds. An estimated 5.4 million of these children died before the age of five with newborns representing half of those deaths.

Worse yet, UNICEF reported that 56 million children under the age of five will die before 2030 with half of them being newborns.

80 percent of the 2017 child deaths occurred in two regions of the world: sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.

These children died from lack of access to clean water, sanitation, proper nutrition and basic health services—conditions that are incubators for bacteria, disease, viruses, and a host of other causes of death.

If a child was dying every five seconds in America, would we call it a pandemic?

There is no fair or reasonable answer to this question, especially in a time when a “virus crisis” is crippling the nation.

But it should create a pause for perspective.

Covid 19 is lethal, no doubt about that – but it is the fear the virus produces that is worse than the prospect of death itself. The virus kills in a slow, gripping, crippling sort of way—one can only hope that the supply of morphine is readily available to ease the process of death. “Comfort care,” it is called.

Still, in the back of my mind, there lingers the image of a child—bloated stomach, skin and bones, and worse, eyes that are vacant and lost—to put this “crisis” in perspective. The sub-Saharan African mother will indescribably grieve over the passing of her child, and for all the pre-death misery the child endured. And no one will call it a crisis.

None of us will get out of this world alive.

But, with so many images and stories of death surrounding us as we isolate in the comfort of our homes, a little perspective is in order.

We’re not the only ones suffering from the rigors of death.


COVID-19 and Prisons by Jodie and Billy Sinclair

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, there are in the U.S. 1,316,000 inmates in state prisons, 615,000 in state jail facilities, 215,000 in federal prison/jail facilities, and 48,000 in youth detention facilities.

The COVID-19 virus will decimate the nation’s prison populations.

Inmates live in confined quarters, either in cellblocks or dormitories. One infected inmate, who will inevitably be infected by either prison staff or family visitors, will trigger an uncontrollable infection spread much like the Australian fire spread last summer. The infection spread cannot be contained in a particular cellblock or dormitory, regardless of how tight it is locked down.

More often than not, prison health care today is provided to inmates by for-profit private medical delivery systems that have little or no regard for an inmate’s medical well-being or physical safety. Essentially, there are no meaningful medical care delivery systems in the nation’s prisons.

Once the virus infection is either detected or strongly suspected, prison staff will immediately start taking sick leave or simply refusing to show up for work. The warden will be forced to declare a state of emergency. The governor will recognize that declaration. The National Guard will be called out to surround and control the locked down prison.

No movement inside the prison will be allowed. Food will be delivered by people dressed in hazmat suits.

As for medical care, medical personnel will refuse to enter the infection swamp. The prison situation will be deemed too dangerous or unstable. The doctors, physician assistants and nurses value their own lives and the lives of their families more than they do the lives of inmates.

There are significant medical geriatric groups and elderly population groups in every community prison. All of these inmates are in the extreme COVID-19 risk categories. None will survive—not one.

Cell bars will be rattled; screams and curses will piece the night; old scores and grudges will be settled; mini-uprisings will occur; the National Guard will quell disturbances with excessive tear gas, pepper spray and live rounds. It will be a nightmare.

Inmates will die by the thousands. Their contaminated bodies will be incinerated.

On the outside, hysterical inmate families will be unable to help their loved ones, knowing all the while that the inmates will die horrible deaths with no medical attention.

The inmates that manage to survive and return to their loved ones will never quite be the same again.

For the most part, the virus nightmare will go unnoticed by the larger free community paralyzed with its own fears, struggles, and grief.

When COVID-19 has exhausted itself, and all the inmate bodies are burned, there may be an official recrimination or two – but probably not.