You can tell the measure of a society by the way they treat their criminals. Beside’s our lousy economy, we as a nation, also lead the world in prisons and citizens that we have locked down.
Every now and then you will read where in a rush to judgement, we send someone off to our particular version of living hell on earth, without batting an eye, and at the same time, assuring his innocence or guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
I am reading an article in the LA Times, where a Texas man has been released from prison after twenty-five years of being wrongly convicted of beating his wife to death. He has been found to be innocent of the crime by way of DNA evidence and another man will now stand trial for the crime. (Texas also leads the nation in capitol punishment and has even executed a retarded man)
His trial was two full years before DNA evidence became courtroom-validated and was found acceptable for use in courts in this country as a possible form of un-fallible evidence.
Think about it, twenty-five years of your life spent behind bars for a crime you did not commit.
In the interview he was surprisingly not bitter. He said it wasn’t all that bad after the second decade, but his overall picture of the trial and subsequent lock-down was “scary, very scary.” I have also heard of another guy in New Jersey that had the same problem.
His conviction was for fifteen years, and he sued New Jersey for lost wages and suffering, and eventually won the settlement, which was paid to him “less money paid to his wife for welfare during the period,” which New Jersey said “they were entitled to.” Which is kind of ironic, they take the man from the family unit and lock him up, leaving the wife to fend for herself with no marketable skills and then claim that they are owned monies for this.
What a country.
It’s as if you are waking up from a very bad dream, a dream most of us will never have a hint of what it would be like to have to endure something this cruel and unusual. Think of Nelson Mandela all those years locked up in an African prison for what, for nothing more than asserting that he was a free man.
It just boggles the mind, at least for me, it does.
Then there is the “what if?” factor. Where circumstance comes into play, and you get sucked down the modern day version of the rabbit hole.
At one time or another, I suppose we all wonder who it is that we might be, where it was that we came from, why am I here? It is only natural in the progression of life to wonder about these things.
But what if you are shut down in some state or federal prison for no earthly reason, then what? When you have no logical explanation of your dire circumstance.
Let’s try another one shall we?
What if you slipped in the shower or fell down some stairs, and when you came awake, you did not know who you were? How would you handle that?
Your entire memory is wiped clean by a simple pit fall or stumble. So one day, you are the CEO of a major corporation and you slip in your office bathroom in Phoenix, Arizona, and wake up in a hospital. Without a clue of who, what, where, when and why?
Kind of scary eh.
So to make matters even worse, when the doctor looks at you and says “What is your name?” you have no working knowledge of the word name and you do not know its meaning.
When introduced to your wife of some 30 years, you do not know what the word “wife” means.
What would you do if you found yourself in this predicament, with untreatable form of memory loss or worse locked down for a major portion of your life. “What would you do, when you look around the room and survey your world, and nothing, absolutely nothing, registers with you, what then? When you step outside into the sunlight and find a totally New World?
Twenty-five years, is a long time. What do you tell yourself when you do the math,
and your life comes up short, 9,125 days?
Who picks up the tab for that?