Hey, I told you I had a weakness for alliteration. The "discussions" is hopeful, toss out a few subjects maybe somebody will bite.
This Sunday's "official records" in the Standard-Times brought to mind a topic I have mentioned a few times. The people involved in the Randy Watkins murder were sentenced a few weeks back, just published this Sunday. Terms ran from two to ten years and none of those sentenced were experiencing their "first brush with the law". One was out on an aggregate quarter-million in felony bonds. Young Mr. Watkins' Mother was understandably upset, I believe her comment to the paper was "Nobody's going to wake Randy up in two years". I thought at the time this was on the low end of sentences for a homicide, especially as compared to non-violent drug convictions.
Didn't have to wait long for a case in point. June 18 one Mr. Garcia, with a few misdemeanor priors, was sentenced to 25 years for less than an ounce of meth. I don't intend to argue that meth is anything less than a serious problem, or that drug offenses in general are "victimless crimes". Any family with a member in prison or rehab for drugs, anyone whose house has been trashed by a desperate junkie seeking to finance the next buy (I qualify on both counts) can tell you there are "victims".
I will question whether these two cases represent a logical application of legal sanction. One crime had six people brutally kill a young man whose only "crime" seems to have been ill-advisedly responding to a macho challenge. The drug crime involved possession of and sale of less than $1,000 of proscribed drugs. Six murderers will do less aggregate time than the doper.
America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, over half for non-violent drug offenses. The gulag days of the USSR, today's China, not the vilest dictatorship on the planet comes close to us in locking up the percentage of its population we do. Perhaps, after a Trillion dollars of "Drug War", compared to which the war in Iraq is a stunning success by any measure of results, perhaps we should consider focusing on treatment and diversion rather than incarceration.
Not taking a position on the Presidential race, BUT...Going by his own self-confession of youthful mistakes, would we be better off if Sen. Obama were still serving a 25 year term (had he been caught back in the day) or offering the voters the distinct alternative he is now?
Last week's Ramble, I closed by wondering when SAISD might get serious about selling its new bond. JWT did discover the bond, slightly amended. Click on the Long Range Facilities Plan, scroll down to page 252 (of 319), there it is. A wonder I hadn't tripped over it. If you missed today's KLST "Top of the Morning", I put the question on air, to my Trustee, Art Hernandez, when SAISD was going to get serious and put this bond front and center, try to sell it. He responded they were going to discuss just that next meeting. Since next meeting is another "pre-agenda" meeting, discuss it is all they will actually do until July at best. SAISD, "tick, tick, tick..".
A matter of modern manners: I know working folk are in rush-rush mode and many of us have to get up early. I further commend those who save fuel by car-pooling. Nonetheless, when you pull up at 5:00 AM to pick up your fellow, is it absolutely necessary to lean on the car horn? Perhaps your ride could waste two minutes standing on the porch, or you might call him just before you get there. Please don't tell me you don't have a cell phone, EVERYBODY has one now. Heck, the guy at the intersection with the "Will Drink Wine If You're Silly Enough to Give Me Money" sign has a trakfone now. He needs it to call his cab at the end of a long shift separating fools from their money. In the extremity, you could take half a minute, walk to his door and wake up his household instead of the whole neighborhood.
Modern manners, corporate section: A certain spectacle maker has taken to putting an ad on the Sunday comics in the S-T, a half-page perforated tear-away. Sunday is a very special day to me. I am not doing three things at once, I have the leisure, I like to open my morning in reverse, funnies first, real news next, then I'm in a good mood for shouting at and flinging nerf balls at the Sunday news shows on TV. More often than not, before I can read "Pearls Before Swine" (not the S-T poster of that by-line) I have to carefully remove your excresence. A minor nuisance in the scheme of things, and to be fair, I would have a miniscule economic impact on your trade, but, if I were to step on my eyeglasses while enjoying ice cream next door to you, I would travel and spend more money if necessary, with your competition who does not irritate me on Sunday mornings.
Stay tuned, I'll be back next time on Gas Wars.