Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/29/my-student-comes-home
Somewhere along the line the tyranny of numbers, the desire to close cases to show “performance”, drove the system to grind a fourteen-year-old boy through thirty years and one day of incarceration. The system is detached from humanity. It allows the “i’m just doing my job” ethic to dominate doing what is righteous and perhaps quite a bit more inconvenient. “Going along to get along” is not going to get us where we need to go. Resistance. Solidarity.
A solid hats off to Chris hedges. A scholar, reporter, minister, teacher and mentor of the dammed.
Hedges talks the talk, and most importantly, he walks the walk better than most. A true inspiration.
If this story doesn’t inspire you to want to tear the system down and start over, I don’t know what will.
Contrast this with what you read in CNN, NYTimes, MSNBC and the rest of those who pay “journalists” millions per year…or with the theatrics of putting on a kente cloth around your neck. How could this system be changed? In comparison, my students at a top uni, sincerely believe their country is the best in the world.
Empty the prisons. All of them! Start over. Defund the prison system and look for alternatives like jobs, secure housing and basic rights. If prisons are necessary, then the government has failed the people.
Then you need to double-down on getting them the truth.
On another note…
This story should be on the front page of every newspaper in the country. Instead we will read BS headlines today like… “St. Louis couple takes aim at protesters” (FOX) or “Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion restriction” (New York Times) or “Golden Gate Killer suspect expected to admit guilt today” (L.A. Times), but nothing about how an innocent man spent part of his childhood and his entire adult life locked up in a brutal prison system for a crime he did not commit. Even the New Jersey newspaper of record, the Star-Ledger, led with “Rough week for Woodrow” and “N.J.'s school mascot honored” in a blatant attempt to avoid issues of great importance to the general public. This is why we must all avoid the MSM except to diagnose the propaganda and how these outlets attempt to dictate the narrow narrative that their corporate masters insist upon.
Apart from the horror and heartbreak this man endured as a child I wonder just how purely evil you had to be to be the cops, prosecutor and judge who railroaded a 14 year old orphan and wantonly destroyed his life…
I deeply and sincerely hope the cops were murdered by actual criminals and the judge and prosecutor developed the most painful cancers and lingered in agony…
People like Hedges and others who have stepped up to help him after his release are the people I want remaking our cesspool society.
It is breathtakingly horrific that the system that fucked him Have done nothing to help him, paid no restitution et al…
I needed this story today though reading it was gut wrenching. The message of just helping one person, one family, one stream,one dog… is what has to keep us moving despite the world falling down around us… Off to the shelter then… sad lonely pups need love , petting and playtime…oops Forgo.T … also the kitties need a little catnip ball tossing as well!
Just like corporate food rots and ruins your physical health; corporate news also ruins your mental health and rots your brain… like many of my relatives that watch Fox News 24/7 and think Trump can do no wrong.
Well said. I’m reminded of the scene from The Shawshank Redemption where the Morgan Freeman character goes to his latest parole hearing. Weary from years of trying to find the acceptable words, he finally decides to lay down some home truth:
(paraphrasing from memory)
“I’m here so you can have a job and wear a tie. So you go on and stamp your papers, Sonny, and stop wasting my time.”
There, but for the grace of God, go I.
My local paper’s front page has a story on a demonstration FOR the police. They carried signs like “we back our blue”. I wish I could edit the photo caption to say, “Humanity staggers under the weight of ignorance and subservience.”
If Karma is real, the cops, prosecutor, and judge will be reincarnated as poor orphans under the boot of the current style of tyrrany.
When AOC becomes POTUS I hope she offers Hedges a seat in her Cabinet. He is highly qualified for several Cabinet posts.
“Karma” – a nice myth.
4% – USA population as a fraction of world population.
25% – USA prison population as a fraction of world prison population,
also USA COVID19 deaths as a fraction of world COVID19 deaths,
also USA energy consumption as a fraction of world energy consumption.
Number one in three categories, isn’t this great?
“There are no great men. There are only great challenges which ordinary people like you and I are forced to meet by circumstance” - Adm. Wm F. Halsey’
Frank Serpico; Elliot Ness;
I keep these talismen as precidents to keep the depression, oppression under control.
Thank you Mr. Hedges
This article is a masterpiece. This is why I firmly believe that Chris Hedges is
the finest journalist of his generation. He “walks the walk”. He shows us the reality
of America, piercing the fog of half-truths, propaganda and misinformation like
a laser. He does not try to entertain us. He makes us uncomfortable, and that
is as it should be.
I (mostly) agree with you. Vast majority of people in prison–who have NOT done any actual violence–should be released. We need a very different vision that 1.DE-criminalizes many things (like drugs) or has alternatives to incarceration (like BRIEF time in ACTUAL rehabilitation that would include education (GED/job training) and counseling. 2.Those who use ACTUAL VIOLENCE should be in prison (and if there’s any doubt on their guilt, then, deep investigations should happen). Frankly, those of us who have survived child abuse, sexual assault/rape and domestic violence–as well as, 'street crime" violence can’t be expected to bear the brunt of societal dysfunction. 3.Finally, there MUST be real prison for those who commit Crimes Against Society: Tony Hayward(British Petroleum) who is responsible for Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 men, injured more and seriously polluted a big part of the Gulf Of Mexico; the CEO of Duke Energy that REFUSED to follow worker safety laws (just paid small fines as “cost of dong business” THOUSANDS of times—until a mine blew up & killed 26 men—and this CEO spent ONE YEAR in prison. The powerful at Big Banks who destroyed the economy in 2007-8 NEVER paid for it; those who ILLEGALLY FORECLOSED on people’s homes–like Trump Sec. of Treasury Steve Mnuchin–NEVER PAID.
So, yes, MOST of the people in prison should NOT be there. But,those who TERRORIZE others or
Your students should be taught that their country and its government are two different entitites.
They should be taught what Mark Twain had to say about it: “Patriotism means supporting your country all the time, but its government only when it deserves it.”
A great story by Chris Hedges.