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By: Ed Howes
The true measure of social consciousness is prisons. They tell more about society than any travelogue possibly could. They are the product of ignorance as a tradition and undeniable social regression. Send a law breaker to prison and convert him to a vicious vengeful beast. Then send him back where he came from. Let the taxpayer suffer from his crime. Let the taxpayer pay for his maintenance and conversion. Let the taxpayer support his family. Let his children grow up with no father. See if they dare follow in his footsteps. Let the taxpayer pay for any feeble attempt at his rehabilitation. Let the taxpayer bear the cost of every crime he commits after release, his arrest, and trial(s). Then repeat the whole process. Prisons everywhere are no less than government sponsored war on society. The least valuable social creation ever devised.

Their primary social function is to strike fear in the hearts of society at large. If you don't eat your spinach, you will end up in prison. If you don't obey every rule the professional rule makers invent, day in, day out, you will go to prison. Making punishments fit crimes is beyond the creative powers of bureaucracy. Instead, they choose the humiliation and degradation of caging and totally controlling the life of a lawbreaker. To a lesser extent, they do the same to all who care about him. They discourage telephone communication, meaningful financial support and visitation. Inside the prison walls they heap punishment upon punishment, because simply caging people is too good for them, no matter what the crime.

While we are at it, we ought to take a look at crime itself and the reasons for its increase. I'm only guessing and my guess is that ten times more behaviors are crimes and felonies than were so in the year 1900. That is, bureaucracies are in the business of creating crime. Such bureaucracies sincerely believe they are being paid to modify human behavior. They are running the ultimate social experiment, where the result is seldom questioned. One punishment fits every crime they can create.

A man is imprisoned for theft and released with murder on his mind and in his heart. That's progressive! Society can think of nothing better because society doesn't think at all. Society closes its eyes and turns its back. Society doesn't want to know about life in the cages, which is in reality, slow death. Take a man's life one day at a time. Then turn him loose and see how he does. Empty the country's zoos and see how the animals do. Prisons testify of man's inhumanity as well as war does.

President Bush threatens American justice on his enemies. See it at Guantanamo Bay or up the road from where you live. American and justice cannot be properly used in the same sentence. Americans know less about justice than any other subject, save mercy and responsibility. Blind obedience is their forte. Prisons are the expressions of the very ugliest Americans and they all support prisons without question.

I have heard vague rumblings of a new compassion in an effort to lower government "justice" costs. The Governor of Arizona is considering stiff fines for driving under the influence of alcohol, instead of confinement, which leaves whole families without support. Make a "criminal" pay (Us) instead of the taxpayer. There is a novel idea. I've heard a number of bureaucracies are looking at treating drug addicts instead of locking them away.

The Bible deals quite extensively with crime and punishment, but then, what would God know? Property crimes are punished by restitution and multiple restitution, depending on whether the loss interferes with the victim's livelihood. There is a silly idea, huh? The greatest growth industry in this great land of the free is locking people away. Can it be that America only pays lip service to the whole idea of liberty? I believe so. It is too much like justice to really get a handle on the meaning of freedom.

Drugs! Not the 183 billion dollars' worth on the government approved, monopoly supplied drug market, but the ones a once free people choose from a different list, the "bad" drugs. The great war on drugs, lost before it began, but continued to expand government power and control; is now responsible for about half of the nation's prison population, which is the largest in the world, I think I heard.

There is no doubt in a majority of American minds, that a person who uses any drug not yet approved by government, should have their lives destroyed by prison before the drugs can do much harm. They think the prohibition of drugs makes people safer, while the inflated costs make it necessary to rob them and burglarize their homes to feed extravagant addictions. What wise and merciful people! They were victims of twisted logic, long before the robbery. It is prison that has become the most powerful narcotic in America. We know if we build a hundred more, there will not be enough. How long before it becomes a crime in the land of the free, to publish what I'm saying?

The past four generations have been told to go off to foreign lands and fight and die to keep America free. The people who tell us this, then build more prisons to keep all the free people. If we took our high school students to visit prisons and gave them a term paper assignment to come up with better punishments, we could begin to learn justice and transform the existing Just Us system.

Capital punishment. The Bible says you must have two witnesses to indict on a capital crime. We can assume the qualifiers of honorable, credible witnesses, not criminals with offers of reduced sentences for testimony. The two witness provision made it harder to indict. I'm not sure that circumstantial evidence is acceptable as one witness either. The point is that under Bible law, you are more likely to free a capital criminal than to execute an innocent person. DNA testing has confirmed that we do it the other way round. Execute the innocent to be sure and punish the guilty.

President Bush has no problem with this. He was pleased to do it routinely as the Governor of the great, error free State of Texas. DNA has proven otherwise in Texas. Did President Bush ever apologize to the families of those he wrongfully executed? Does he have any clue how many innocent lives he has taken as Governor or President? Does he care? We know now he is all American. He is probably the most appropriate representative of American society we ever had. "Don't bother us with details. We have people to kill and prisons to build." No one should be surprised that we are the most despised nation on earth. We are worthy of hatred. Foreign policy is all about Just Us too.

An America that refuses to look at its prisons is like the vampire who cannot tolerate his own reflection. Until it does so, it is a society with a seared conscience, fit for destruction and little else. Destruction by the pound. Destruction by the ton. Run and hide. We have it coming!


About the Author

Freelance writer published on websites and in newspapers.
edhowes@hotmail.com
justanotherview.com

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