San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Are People In Prison?

Bill O'Reilly is one of my favorite neo-conservatives who never met a war he didn't like.  He has stated numerous times that the primary objective of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika's foreign policy should be to make every other sovereign nation in the world fear the SDA military.  Bill is also a "law and order" conservative.  That means he endorses and rejoices in the expansion of the police state and the suspension of the Bill of Rights.  I was watching his television program the other night and he began his hour with a long diatribe about how the citizens of the SDA are engaging in criminal behavior, especially violent criminal behavior, at an ever increasing rate.  This alleged truth disturbs him greatly and he wants the semi-military forces of the SDA police to crack down on the citizens of this country in a big way.
In the course of making his argument for more cops, more laws and more enforcement Bill also made the case for more incarceration.  Bill is not satisfied with the fact that the SDA system of injustice already imprisons more of its population than any other country in the world.  Bill knew enough about the arguments to anticipate the counter-argument that most people in prisons are there because of the enforcement of immoral and draconian drug laws.  That argument, which you probably know as well, asserts that government has no right to create a list of approved and disapproved drugs, and then enforce those two lists with laws that criminalize one group and legalize the other.  Government should get out of the drug business entirely and let the free market determine what is produced, sold and consumed.
Bill hates the idea of freedom when it comes to drugs of any sort and was pushing for more laws, more enforcement and more imprisonment of those who make the voluntary decision to use non-government approved drugs.  Bill reserves some of his most sarcastic and vitriolic comments for the citizens of Colorado, who legalized marijuana a year ago.  Bill believes that federal laws prohibiting marijuana use should be enforced in the states, including those that have legalized it.  He is incensed that uppity states would exercise their rights and approve drug use freedom in defiance of federal laws.  Of course he couches all of his arguments in the presupposition that marijuana is a "gateway drug" and that he is only calling for incarceration of those who produce and sell it in order to protect the children and restore the Amerikan family.
In the course of making his case he asserted that it is not true that most of the prisoners housed in SDA approved cages around the country are there because of violations of stupid drug laws.  He believes, and he clearly stated, that the "majority of those incarcerated" in the SDA are "murders and rapists."  That got me to thinking....is Bill telling the truth or is this another example of one of his patented flights of intellectual fancy?  To find out I went to a couple of federal websites and I was able to find a document that describes precisely who is imprisoned for what in SDA prisons. The document was written by people at the Department of Justice and was dated September, 2015.  It included statistical tabulations about prisoners as of the end of 2014 and it described and categorized each federal prisoner in terms of his or her "most serious offense."  According to the DOJ, people are imprisoned in federal prisons throughout the SDA for the following reasons and at the following percentages:
  1. Drug Charges:  50%.  This includes all trafficking and also simple possession of drugs.
  2. Weapons Charges:  16%.  This includes categories like robbery and assault where the use of the weapon became a more serious charge than the robbery itself.  
  3. Unspecified Disruptions of the Public Order:  11%.  I am not sure what falls into this category.  My guess is that domestic abuse might be here, as well as things like saying truthful and negative things about a career politician outside of a federally created "free speech zone."
  4. Illegal Immigrants:  9%.  Almost one tenth of all federal prisoners are illegal immigrants and yet Bill tells me that illegal immigrants are never incarcerated, even after they kill people.
  5. Fraud:  5%.  Ah yes, those white collar criminals need to be punished as well.
  6. Robbery:  4%.  Speaks for itself.
  7. Assault:  2%.  This includes people beating each other up as well as sexual assault.
  8. Murder: 1.5%.  So murder finally makes an appearance on the list.  Notice how Bill's apprehension of the rate of incarcerated murderers is a bit off the mark.
  9. Property Crimes:  1.0%  
  10. All Other Crimes:  0.5%
 So Bill is telling me that federal prisons are stuffed to the gills with violent murderers and rapists when the reality is that 66% of the men and women currently languishing in taxpayer financed cages should not be there at all.  Drugs should be regulated by the free market and nobody should ever be imprisoned for selling, buying or using any drug.  Additionally, all citizens of the SDA should have the right to own any weapons they want, up to and including howitzers and tanks.  It is the crime committed by a person utilizing a weapon that should be punished, not the ownership of the weapon itself.
I believe I can make the case that 75% of those presently imprisoned in federal prisons should not be there since the 9% who are currently being held for violations of immigration laws also should be set free.  The SDA should have free and open borders, with anyone free to come and go as he or she pleases at any time and for any reason.  People should be punished only when they violate the moral law.  Arbitrary laws making the crossing of a geo-political boundary a crime are ridiculous and absurd.
Indeed, I can make an even stronger case that none of the classes of people listed above should be incarcerated, except perhaps for the 0.5% who did something I don't know about.  Those who committed fraud should be working and making money to pay off their victims.  The same is true for those who robbed others.  They should be working in the free market and using their income to pay off those whom they harmed.  Those who committed various types of assault should have been punished on an eye for an eye basis and that would have been the end of it.  And murderers should all have been executed.  I conclude that Bill's call for more laws, more enforcement of those laws, more criminalization of ordinary behavior and more imprisonment of SDA citizens is the exact opposite of what the rulers of this prison-happy land should be doing.  I also conclude that, notwithstanding Bill's constant assertion that he only reports the facts, when Bill has an ax to grind the facts quickly fly out the window.

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