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Not Your Usual Bunk Buddy
May 1, 2011 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Father and son, bunking in G block. "Scott Peters and his father, Bernard, eat dinner together at night, then watch bowling or classic boxing matches on television together into the evening. They have an extremely close relationship: They have seen each other for at least part of nearly every one of the last 5,455 days. Every night, they sleep together in an 8-by-12-foot room, where the alarm bell rings in the morning but also at 10:30 p.m., when the guards turn off the lights in G Block, at the Elmira Correctional Facility." via NYT
posted by Xurando (55 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a resident of the Southern Tier, I'm really mad that, with all of the crap that goes on in that prison, this and "Run, Bucky, Run" are what draws regional/national news.

Trust me, for some inmates, "Hellmira" hasn't had much reform since the Civil War. There's at least 8 praying for death.

But yeah, isn't that just so interesting? A father and son bunkin' in the slammer? Sounds like a sitcom, to me. Call Paramount.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 5:56 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do not want to read puff pieces about American prisons. I expect better from the New York Times.
posted by chemoboy at 6:08 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


tl;dr - These guys are total pieces of shit who get to hang out and watch sports together for 25 years after shooting an old woman in the leg and robbing her of Goodwill donations. The son briefly tries to make himself sound like a character from a Nebraska track, but no, just a piece of shit.
posted by Roman Graves at 6:15 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


huh, it takes until the second portion to learn that not only are they father and son but also partners in crime, shooting little old ladies for chump change.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:19 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which section was this in, Sunday Styles or Real Estate?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:24 PM on May 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Love the snarky comments that The Times should do better (don't read thepaper then) and it takes too long to find out they did a crime together. Perhaps those who know better than the editors ought to apply for a job there and set them straight.
posted by Postroad at 6:24 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Say what you will, but it's nice to see a father do time with his kid.
posted by John of Michigan at 6:24 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh. According to the article, Bernard had never been in trouble with the law before. What makes somebody go from a milkman with no priors to shooting and robbing charity workers?
posted by KGMoney at 6:25 PM on May 1, 2011


Yeah, they save the big-ass pile of shooting irons for the last page, as well.

And sorry, Postroad, but the declining standards and quality of the NYT has been a concern for a while now, your reflexive "well, if you think you can do better..." notwithstanding. There are a shitload of newspaperpeople who have lost their jobs in the last decade who could do better.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:27 PM on May 1, 2011


"Shit! I gotta finish this piece already, it's due in an hour!"
Scott held the baby for a while in the visiting room. His father did, too. Scott and Bernard Peters were there, together.
The End.

*yessss....so genius*
posted by lemuring at 6:30 PM on May 1, 2011


Perhaps those who know better than the editors ought to apply for a job there and set them straight

You must be fun at...anything.

"Gosh Postroad, I sure enjoyed The King's Speech. What about you?"

"Haha, I don't work at Miramax and am therefore unqualified to comment on such things!"
posted by Roman Graves at 6:31 PM on May 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


Woah, Postroad, rookie mistake, dude. Everything OK?
posted by jscott at 6:33 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find this incredibly sad. If you check out the photo on the second page, you'll see the son had an epic mullet when he was busted. He never had a chance.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:37 PM on May 1, 2011


"Gosh Postroad, I sure enjoyed The King's Speech. What about you?"

I loved it. Hah-ah-hah-how about you.
posted by clavdivs at 6:38 PM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Geez, this thread is rough. I get the feeling a person could get stabbed in here when he's not looking. I think I'll just stay in my cell.
posted by koeselitz at 6:39 PM on May 1, 2011


Perhaps those who know better than the editors ought to apply for a job there and set them straight.

I don't even understand this argument.

#1: "I didn't like this thing."

#2: "I think the experts know what you like better than you do!"

Wha?
posted by DU at 6:44 PM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


There was a sentence in there about "and his third wife" - how do these kinds of people get (re-)married... three times?!
posted by porpoise at 6:53 PM on May 1, 2011


Nunchucks?
posted by clavdivs at 6:54 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


huh, it takes until the second portion to learn that not only are they father and son but also partners in crime, shooting little old ladies for chump change.

We learn they are father and son in the first sentence of the paragraph: "SCOTT PETERS and his father, Bernard,..."

By the end of that first paragraph, we know they're in prison: "...when the guards turn off the lights in G Block, at the Elmira Correctional Facility."

It's not exactly an M. Night Shambolambolamic twist to figure their crimes might have been related.

But yeah, I guess if the reader has ADHD or is just really bad at figuring things out, having to "wait" until the second page for that be confirmed might just throw ya off.

I guess if a three page NYTimes article is too suspenseful, Agatha Christie is right out.
posted by orthogonality at 6:55 PM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I do not have a nyt login. I guess everyone else in the world does.
posted by parrot_person at 6:56 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


25 years of life gone for two people for non-fatally shooting a person once and taking $700? Let no one ever say that there is a bad situation that the US criminal justice system hasn't made worse.
posted by TypographicalError at 6:57 PM on May 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


I wish that the article or the post had explored more of the ramifications of these sorts of family connections for prisoners generally. For example, I think there's a parallel to be drawn between this sort of program and those that allow new mothers to have their children with them in prison for a year or more, or programs that attempt to make it easier for inmates to stay in contact with their families. This didn't need to be a heartwarming human interest story about a father and son bonding over their prison time. It could have been a way to explore the serious issues surrounding long-term isolation from one's loved ones and from the larger world.

Prisons need to take seriously the fact that nearly all inmates in our prisons will be released into the general public again someday, and it would be better for everyone if they came out with a sense of connection to their fellow human beings and a feeling that someone in the world gives a crap about them. Currently, many inmates' families find it nearly impossible to visit them, and they come out of prison essentially not knowing anyone and having lost hold of many of the social and practical skills that would keep them out of trouble.

I would suspect that the both of these men are getting more in the way of rehabilitation and serious, reflective thinking done than the average inmate. We should want that for them, not just because it treats them like human beings instead of caged animals, but also because it makes our society overall better off when they get out.
posted by decathecting at 6:57 PM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


"I think I'll just stay in my cell."

I was wondering about that actually; whether Elmira Prison offers a cell for every individual. It seems to have gone through a number of reforms.

However, the guards are allegedly still raping the prisoners.
posted by lemuring at 6:57 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I expect better from the New York Times.

You expect in vain.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:03 PM on May 1, 2011


Is it really considered a "via" link to put the front page of the website the article is from?

And can we start having NYT links clearly labeled for those who aren't savvy enough to know how to get around NYT's cookie-based article limit?
posted by hippybear at 7:06 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What kind of shyte lawyer did they have? I'm shocked that they plead 'not guilty', given the ridiculous amount of evidence against them. Granted, IANAL but I imagine a plea bargain would have somewhat reduced their sentences.
posted by chara at 7:13 PM on May 1, 2011


the Federal Prisons of America has a website using google, type federal
prison locator. this gives the reader access to all inmates incarnated from 1983 till present, three items of interest on an inmate is given, their inmate number, age, and release date. the locator does not give any information on the type of crime that they committed. using the locator i have 6 pen-pal inmates across the nation.we usually write every other week. if they need an ear to explain their remose, i let them, after that its on to politics, sports and any favorite subject i print research on, (like history, myths and war stories.) half of my pen-pals are well educated and the subjects are news to me and plain interesting.
posted by taxpayer at 7:22 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it really considered a "via" link to put the front page of the website the article is from?

And can we start having NYT links clearly labeled for those who aren't savvy enough to know how to get around NYT's cookie-based article limit?


Well, the via link accomplished the second, at least for me. Knowing it was the NYT and the first paragraph were enough for me to know it wasn't worth clicking the link. Anything worth reading about families and incarceration was going to be in the comments.
posted by hoyland at 7:23 PM on May 1, 2011



"25 years of life gone for two people for non-fatally shooting a person once and taking $700? Let no one ever say that there is a bad situation that the US criminal justice system hasn't made worse."

They shot a little old lady who worked for a charity for God's sake! If the bullet had been a bit higher, they would have severed an artery and she would have bled out in a parking lot. As it was she spent a lot of time in rehab and in a lot of pain. Imagine the nightmares that woman had for years after.

I wish someone could figure out a way to reform our messed up prison system but these two losers aren't in for a bit of weed, they violently assaulted someone and deserve a long sentence.
posted by JohntheContrarian at 7:29 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meantime, in real news, Jerry Brown has just cancelled a $360million (plus 25 years of interest) death-row expansion for San Quentin.

California has 713 condemned inmates.
posted by Twang at 7:35 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Father and son mugshot, mother and son mugshot.

I just wish my Dad had spent more time with me as a kid, doing crimes or whatever. We might be a lot closer now if he had, possibly in the same cell.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:39 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"25 years of life gone for two people for non-fatally shooting a person once and taking $700? Let no one ever say that there is a bad situation that the US criminal justice system hasn't made worse."

Once is all it takes to kill. They got off easy. And what does the dollar amount have to do with anything? You think shooting a little old lady for $700 isn't that a big a deal but shooting her for a million would be?
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 7:54 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that holding someone up for $700 shows that something has gone miserably wrong in these people's lives for them to do something so ridiculous. Even the judge had no idea what happened, as the article points out. This is probably a completely anomalous event, and I can't imagine what 25 years of imprisonment does to these men that 5 years of imprisonment doesn't.
posted by TypographicalError at 9:10 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


They had no idea how much money they would net. The amount is completely immaterial. They used deadly force against a little old lady in an armed robbery, a violent felony. These are people for whom prisons are legitimately useful, not to teach them a lesson but to prevent them from harming others. That there was no extenuating set of circumstances around the crime (an "anomaly," as you said) makes the crime more alarming, not less, which is why the judge agreed to the maximum sentence, as wanton acts are always punished more severely. Far from making things worse, this is an exceptional example of the U.S. criminal justice system actually getting something right.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 9:58 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I guess 25 years isn't too much to ask of someone else.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:29 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except excuse me, these guys aren't even human, they attacked a little old lady!
posted by TypographicalError at 11:29 PM on May 1, 2011


the Federal Prisons of America has a website using google, type federal
prison locator. this gives the reader access to all inmates incarnated from 1983 till present, three items of interest on an inmate is given, their inmate number, age, and release date.


Wow. Apparently my former coworker is in Lompoc, and gonna be there for 5 more years. I knew he ended up in federal prison, but I didn't know the details.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:55 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally, I like reading about the excess people from time to time. God knows I'm fed enough about the people that matter.
posted by wierdo at 12:13 AM on May 2, 2011


Boy, if cstross wants any more evidence for his theory of utter empathy failure on the part of Americans, this thread would fit the bill.

Not even people? I think anyone making that kind of argument is missing some essential part of their humanity.
posted by Malor at 2:35 AM on May 2, 2011


I thought that was sarcasm, but I've been wrong before.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:52 AM on May 2, 2011


Yeah, you're probably right, Kirth, I think my sarcasm detector failed.
posted by Malor at 4:17 AM on May 2, 2011


These are people for whom prisons are legitimately useful, not to teach them a lesson but to prevent them from harming others.

People generally want prisons to do one of three things: Punish the guilty; keep dangerous people away from the rest of us; rehabilitate people to prevent them from doing further harm.

You really can't do more than two of these at one time, and only one of them has any long term cost-effectiveness at all. Unfortunately, it's the least emotionally satisfying of the three options, and so generally gets essentially no public support and has to be sneaked-in on the sly under the guise of pragmatic bureaucratic measures like drug courts.
posted by lodurr at 5:34 AM on May 2, 2011


25 years of life gone for two people for non-fatally shooting a person once and taking $700? Let no one ever say that there is a bad situation that the US criminal justice system hasn't made worse.

What job is waiting for them if they are rehabilitated? I read a theory recently that now that we have shipped all the factory jobs away to China there is no more need in America for a lower class. This is why drug culture is tolerated as long as it's contained. The upper class may have already come to the conclusion that in order to stave off the inevitable revolt that they will have to preemptively lock up an entire class of men.
posted by any major dude at 7:13 AM on May 2, 2011


It was a drama actually, and Universal put it out, thank you very much!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:14 AM on May 2, 2011


I read a theory recently that now that we have shipped all the factory jobs away to China there is no more need in America for a lower class. This is why drug culture is tolerated as long as it's contained. The upper class may have already come to the conclusion that in order to stave off the inevitable revolt that they will have to preemptively lock up an entire class of men.

In this conspiracy, why wouldn't the upper class just move to end the Drug War and to a regulated narcotics market? That way, drug crime (which is why so many are locked up today) goes away but the lower class has even wider access to narcotics for the purposes of self-medicating themselves into stupor, ineffectiveness, complacency, etc. Drugs would also be more affordable and thus readily available to the classes living off of government assistance.

Oh, now I realize why they wouldn't do that... because there is no upper class conspiracy to keep the lower classes imprisoned (physically or otherwise) and you are %100 cray-cray.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 10:31 AM on May 2, 2011


In this conspiracy, why wouldn't the upper class just move to end the Drug War and to a regulated narcotics market? That way, drug crime (which is why so many are locked up today) goes away but the lower class has even wider access to narcotics for the purposes of self-medicating themselves into stupor, ineffectiveness, complacency, etc. Drugs would also be more affordable and thus readily available to the classes living off of government assistance.

it's not about self-medication, it's about allowing them a means of commerce you moron. Do you really think it's a conspiracy to believe that the top 1% of society hasn't historically tried to enslave the other 99% and that modern capitalism has given them the means and savvy to do so in such a subtle fashion as to not incite the slightest hint of a revolt? There is no conspiracy when rich people vote for tough on crime politicians - that's just smart business to those who are aware of the unemployment rate and have property to protect. When you have 40% of the middle class deluded into believing they are either part of or one day will be part of the 1% then it's easy to see how they can be swindled into voting against their own interests.
posted by any major dude at 12:12 PM on May 2, 2011


"Do you really think it's a conspiracy to believe that the top 1% of society hasn't historically tried to enslave the other 99% and that modern capitalism has given them the means and savvy to do so in such a subtle fashion as to not incite the slightest hint of a revolt?"

First of all, your use of "hasn't" doesn't work with what I understand to be your intended question. As it stands, you're asking me if I think it's a conspiracy to believe that the things your "theory" purports are not, in fact, true. Obviously, I don't think it requires a conspiracy to dismiss said theory as cray-cray. Your intended question, then, appears to be asking me if I believe that one must be susceptible to "conspiracy theories" (which carries the colloquial connotation of being afflicted with a touch of, let's say, the "cray-cray") to buy the theory that there is a concerted and organized effort among the "top" %1 to enslave the rest of us. To that I reply in the affirmative.

The rest of your post is problematic in a number of ways. The first is the idea that you know better than "the 40 percent" what is in their best interest. This is the refrain of every petit-despot and junior high school room would-be dictator the world over and carries tinges of Messianic delusion and Megalomania.

The second problem is that the subtle fashion of modern capitalism masking the supposed slavery of the %99 is that the hope of your "deluded" %40 to reach "the %1" is not impossible. The odds are certainly stacked but only in the way that so many notable achievements are: industry, preparation, opportunity, and chance all have to align. It has, in fact, been normative for the Wealthiest Americans in history to be decidedly outside "the %1." (W.H. Vanderbilt an obvious exception.) From that list, in fact, it is Bill Gates who had the most privileged upbringing. Should he be hauled to the square and guillotined? In fact, this lack of specificity when discussing "the %1" is indicative of delusions of persecution, a notable symptom of schizophrenia.

Looking specifically at the very wealthiest Americans, can you identify who among them is part of the conspiratorial cabal? Is Bill Gates the ringleader? Is Warren Buffet being disingenuous when he says he should be paying more taxes? Is George Soros really a crypto-fascist? Are you oppressed by the onslaught of Phil Knight's Nike commercials? Does Steve Jobs pumping out overpriced consumer electronics reduce youre quality of life? Please name names. (Uh-oh, there's those dreaded Koch brothers!)

A more viable answer as to why modern populations are so less prone to violent revolt in the face of wealth disparity (which I assume is the underlying issue you are complaining of) is something much less sinister: the ballot box. The citizens of modern democratic countries are much more tolerant when it comes to the abuses and predations of the ruling class because said citizens operate with a sense of self-determination. How much that sense comes of a proper apprehension of their circumstances and how much involves some amount of delusion varies country to country and person to person. However, its existence has shifted the threshold at which violent revolt takes place. The fact that the ballot box is usually abetted in this matter by rising material prosperity cannot be understated.

Notably absent from your criticism is the role of government in the rising wealth disparity. After all, it is the U.S. government that has placed its monetary policy in the hands of a consortium of private commercial banks. It is the U.S. government that created and enforces the notion of corporate personhood. It is the U.S. government that has ruled that money equals speech. It is the U.S. government that doesn't require foreign suppliers of U.S. corporations to follow the same labor, health, and environmental regulations as domestic suppliers and is why all of your manufacturing jobs have been outsourced. (Not true but using the popular argument here.) If the very wealthy make use of obscure tax laws to minimize and/or avoid their "fair share," aren't the people who wrote the tax laws to blame?

All that to say that there are plenty of other explanations for the problems you are observing and plenty of other ways to directly address them than chasing after a phantasmic apparition, a chase that is certainly to prove nothing but counterproductive.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 1:36 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


ok, thanks for the confirmation that anyone who uses the term "cray cray", must be "cray cray" themselves. If you are to posit that the wealthy and the government are wholly separate entities in this country, then we really cannot continue on with this discussion. It would be like arguing with Glenn Beck. Your point about the wealthiest Americans would have some merit if that wealth wasn't still being accrued by their progeny - who have done nothing to earn - it 3 and 4 generations later. Maybe you are one of the deluded tea-baggers who actually believes the estate tax robs every billionaire of the entirety of their wealth minutes after death. Are you really so obtuse as to not make the connection between Apple's outsourcing to Foxconn and the disappearance of factory jobs in America? Apple isn't overpriced, it underpriced! Everything we buy is underpriced. We are selling out our nation's long term prosperity for ephemeral wealth.
posted by any major dude at 2:30 PM on May 2, 2011


Reading is hard: "It is the U.S. government that created and enforces the notion of corporate personhood. [...] It is the U.S. government that doesn't require foreign suppliers of U.S. corporations to follow the same labor, health, and environmental regulations as domestic suppliers and is why all of your manufacturing jobs have been outsourced."

"If you are to posit that the wealthy and the government are wholly separate entities in this country, then we really cannot continue on with this discussion."

Honestly, you haven't exactly been an enjoyable nor even worthy partner in this discussion and I would not count myself unfortunate to see it terminated but I certainly do not posit what you wrote above. Vonnegut wrote in Hocus Pocus:

"Any form of government, not just Capitalism, is whatever people who have all our money, drunk or sober, sane or insane, decide to do today."

and I agree. However, that is an entirely different thing from saying that there exists a generations-long conspiracy among the wealthy to purposefully enslave %99 of the population and to outsource the jobs of the lower class before eradicating them via imprisonment. That's nuts. Owners of corporations and other super-wealthy persons certainly influence politicians to craft legislation for their own interests. However, it is the very fact that the government is granting the privileges that affords the super-wealthy the veneer of legitimacy when they engage in shenanigans. If you want to effectively respond, drop the cray-cray and address the very specific issues that are creating the problems you wish to address, several of which I pointed out for you.

"Your point about the wealthiest Americans would have some merit if that wealth wasn't still being accrued by their progeny - who have done nothing to earn - it 3 and 4 generations later. Maybe you are one of the deluded tea-baggers who actually believes the estate tax robs every billionaire of the entirety of their wealth minutes after death."

Minutes after his death, I doubt the billionaire is aware nor has much interest in how his property is dispensed with. However, estate tax aside, what you seem to have the biggest problem with is the very idea that wealth can be transferred from one generation to the next at all. Are we supposed to surrender our homes, businesses, investments, etc. to the state upon death, living our lives as serfs on the feudal manor of the state? What would prohibiting generational wealth transfer accomplish and what is wrong with being able to leave one's property to his children? You sound like nothing more than a would-be juvenile class warrior.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 3:37 PM on May 2, 2011


ferdinand.bardamu: “... cray-cray... ”

What an ugly, invidious neologism. Shall I invent an annoyingly coy little word with which to back-handedly dismiss you through ad hominem bullshit, or would that be too much?

ferdinand.bardamu: “Is George Soros really a crypto-fascist?”

No, but that doesn't mean he's not a dolt whose use of "his" money is harming us all.

ferdinand.bardamu: “However, that is an entirely different thing from saying that there exists a generations-long conspiracy among the wealthy to purposefully enslave %99 of the population and to outsource the jobs of the lower class before eradicating them via imprisonment. That's nuts.”

There is such a thing as unconsciously participating in a system which benefits oneself and harms others, and closing one's eyes to it in order to continue reaping those benefits. Frankly, it really doesn't matter whether there's a "conspiracy" or not, and your insistence on goading people whom you regard as "cray-cray" indicates to me that this is more a game to you than anything else.
posted by koeselitz at 5:33 PM on May 2, 2011


koeselitz -- put another way, why would we need a conspiracy between people who all agree about what their interests are?
posted by lodurr at 5:39 PM on May 2, 2011


"No, but that doesn't mean he's not a dolt whose use of "his" money is harming us all."

Did you not even bother to look up what George Soros does with his money? So supporting black students in South Africa during Apartheid has left us all imperiled? Helping post-Soviet states achieve democratic institutions non-violently means has created disruptive political instability? Or maybe it is giving millions to Millennium Promise that has given rise to the dire threat of...just what, exactly? Please do warn us of the ways George Soros is spending his money to "harm us all." (And do they let dolts graduate from the London School of Economics? Was grade inflation a serious problem in 1952?)

"Frankly, it really doesn't matter whether there's a "conspiracy" or not, and your insistence on goading people whom you regard as "cray-cray" indicates to me that this is more a game to you than anything else."

It doesn't matter whether there is a conspiracy or not? But that's the entire source of our quibble!

Everything is a game. When a game presents one an advantage, he should exploit it. In the game of argument, an opponent stumbling all over himself to make ludicrous and unsupportable statements is an advantage to be pressed to the maximum.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 6:54 PM on May 2, 2011


If they had shot my aging mother and she died four years later from (seemingly) related complications, then no prison could have been terrible enough.

The author glossed over how the father changed from law-abiding citizen to murderous addict. Kind of a large omission.
posted by mecran01 at 7:07 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


ferdinand.bardamu: “Did you not even bother to look up what George Soros does with his money? So supporting black students in South Africa during Apartheid has left us all imperiled? Helping post-Soviet states achieve democratic institutions non-violently means has created disruptive political instability? Or maybe it is giving millions to Millennium Promise that has given rise to the dire threat of...just what, exactly? Please do warn us of the ways George Soros is spending his money to "harm us all." (And do they let dolts graduate from the London School of Economics? Was grade inflation a serious problem in 1952?)”

First of all, you're talking about a miniscule portion of the money that "belongs" to George Soros. really, it's a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket – a few million here, a few million there, it does not matter to him. Second, I gather you aren't familiar with the way George Soros "earned" all that money – by almost single-handedly sinking an entire nation into recession for a decade. Third, yes, he's a dolt; anybody who's read his inane prattlings about political philosophy can see that. He's a follower of Karl Popper, for heaven's sake – one of the silliest intellectuals of the last century.

me: ““Frankly, it really doesn't matter whether there's a "conspiracy" or not, and your insistence on goading people whom you regard as "cray-cray" indicates to me that this is more a game to you than anything else.”

ferdinand.bardamu: “It doesn't matter whether there is a conspiracy or not? But that's the entire source of our quibble!”

It was clearly not, and you know it. Someone made a remark that made it sound like there was a conspiracy, and you pounced on it; but nobody has sincerely argued in this thread that George Soros and Bill Gates go to cabal meetings together at the Masonic Lodge and fantasize about how to kill poor people.

And, yes, it doesn't matter. As in: it functions precisely as a conspiracy would. This is the invisible hand. It doesn't do the things certain people dreamed it might.

“Everything is a game. When a game presents one an advantage, he should exploit it. In the game of argument, an opponent stumbling all over himself to make ludicrous and unsupportable statements is an advantage to be pressed to the maximum.”

Sneering at people and calling them silly names is a good way to make your side of the argument look petty.

Now, to address the point that started this tangent:

ferdinand.bardamu: “In this conspiracy, why wouldn't the upper class just move to end the Drug War and to a regulated narcotics market? That way, drug crime (which is why so many are locked up today) goes away but the lower class has even wider access to narcotics for the purposes of self-medicating themselves into stupor, ineffectiveness, complacency, etc. Drugs would also be more affordable and thus readily available to the classes living off of government assistance.”

This is an easy question, and I'm surprised nobody has answered it.

Because monopoly by way of legal manipulation is generally a stronger bet than free-market competition. There are a host of reasons why larger corporations (and thus the most wealthy in this country) stand to gain from the drug war. First of all, the billion-dollar prison industry, which soaks up pure state subsidies even as it's run at a profit for those who own it. Second of all, a legal, stupid, but utterly peaceable and maybe even prosperous populace is much less desireable for the capitalist in this situation than a scared, tired, unable-to-think-straight populace at constant risk of arrest or incarceration. If you're unfamiliar with the terror that the lower classes experience, I suggest you take some time with them; it is real. And it is profitable to the successful capitalist.

“Oh, now I realize why they wouldn't do that... because there is no upper class conspiracy to keep the lower classes imprisoned (physically or otherwise) and you are %100 cray-cray.”

There doesn't need to be. The participation in empire as it is, the valueless acquiescence to a system that trods loudly over the low and helpless, is, for all quantities, identical to a conspiracy. What it lacks in coherence within the mind of any one co-conspirator, it makes up for in its vastness, in its relentlessness, in its ever-broadening encroachment into our lives. When we simply put up with a system that's clearly killing people – does that make us co-conspirators? Or does it matter, so long as we recognize that we smell of shit?
posted by koeselitz at 9:22 PM on May 2, 2011


If they had shot my aging mother and she died four years later from (seemingly) related complications, then no prison could have been terrible enough.

She died of cancer (type not specified in the article). I suppose that complications from the shooting may have left her in poor health, may have compromised her immune system to some degree, but gave her cancer is a bit of a stretch.

Now, undeniably, having to put up with illness and surgeries attendant to a gunshot wound lowers one's quality of life, and if you want to say her attackers should be punished for making the last years of her life miserable, that's one thing, and I'd agree. But I doubt she died of "complications" arising from the attack.
posted by orthogonality at 12:03 AM on May 3, 2011


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