Day 32 (Vigilante Justice)

Miles Traveled: 183                                                                                                                     Total miles:6,135
Location: Murdo, South Dakota

Least We Forget: Many of us are of the mind that once a person gets out of prison, they are free. In a few cases, this may be but more often than not there is a host of charges from the wreckage of the past that weighs on them like an anchor. Most of these charges did not exist 20 some years ago. Many may poh poh this but the Department of Corrections collected: Cost of Supervision Fees-$22,353,861, Restitution, Fines and Court Costs-$50,166,362 and subsistence, and other court ordered payments-$18,184,408. This is not a chump change operation, it is big dollars. Our little girl getting out of prison can be tagged with none, some or all of these monthly fees starting the day she walks out the door. These include but are not limited to: Current and past child support, restitution, cost of supervision, court costs, cost of drug testing and etc. In some cases, the counties have place penalty fees on varies fines and court costs while the person is in prison and the fees come due. So, our little 15 year old mother is now 19 and getting out of prison with maybe $100 in gate money and then she gets hit with all this. Most likely she will have a 6th grade education and high hopes of getting her baby back. Just what do you think her chances are of making it on her own? I will quote what one young lady told me several years ago: KC, don’t you get it- the only people glade to see us get out of prison are our pimps and drug dealers.

Vigilante Justice: Got a couple of emails asking if I was not going over the top when I point out some of the parallels between the massacres at Wounded Knee and .My Lai. I would argue that those men who participated in the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890 had in their minds the defeated suffered by the 7th Cavalry in 1978 in what was better known as Custers Last Stand. The parallel with My Lai comes from the point the the army unit that landed at My Lai had taken some heavy casualties leading up to the massacre and as did the 7th Cavalry decided to reek vengeance where they could. Both cases, resulted in the slaughter of women and children.

I will argue that by not keeping both those situations fresh in our national memory, we are in essence condoning vigilante justice. In the late 50s as a high school student, I was first exposed to the consequences of vigilante justice through a mandatory reading of Ox Bow Incident which was also made into a movie staring Henry Fonda. The movie is available through Netflix. The book made a big impression of me as a teenager and I have a copy of the movie that I see once or twice a year.

A very natural rejoinder is that this is old stuff and will not happen in this day and age. My response is to look at the murder of Frank Valdez by corrections officers assigned to Florida State Prison. He was convicted of murdering a correction officer. There were those at Florida State Prison that took the matter into their hands and murdered Valdez. No one was every found guilty of the crime. However, Valdez’s father took the case to federal court where the state was held responsible for the murder and ordered to pay a restitution of $5 million. There is no question but that this was vigilante justice and it was condoned by the state because no one was every held accountable.

Then there was the case of Martin Anderson at a Florida Sheriff’s boot camp. Make no mistake this case is surrounded by controversy but in the end like with Frank Valdes, the state paid $5 million unlike the Frank Valdes case, they paid it prior to any trial or verdict being announced.

So, lets bring this full circle to our little 18 year old getting out of prison trying to get a new life and her baby back. She is often the target of all kinds of fines and restrictions that make it impossible for to get a life. It is almost as if the courts and legislature have becoming the vigilantes and are sucking her dry and they do this because there is no one to speak on her behalf.

No sooner that I finished the last sentence that a parallel emerged between what the courts and legislature are doing to are little girl and what the English and French did to the Germans at the end of World War I through the Treaty of Versailles. Guilt and money were the new dynamics of subjugation of the German people and nation.  The immediate impact was the rise of the German state and World War II. My sense is the 18 year old mother is going to reek much more havoc.

Back on the road: Did not get the bike out of the shop till about 1500 and it took maybe 40 minutes to load it and get on the road. Instead of just re-placing the bendix, a starter kit was used to replace all the parts that would go bad as a result of some design flaws. Not exactly sure I understood all that I was told but the start was totally unlike anything prior. The bottom line is that I got right back on the road and it felt oh so good.

Rain, Rain go away: It seems as if every day for the last ten or so days that it has rained. As you can see by the tent and muddy boots, it has been wet. Well, today was no exception. As I was driving my rented car back to the turn in point, it started raining again. I was just watching the rain come down against the windshield of the car and was thinking there is something wrong with this picture. What happened is that I was so used to riding in the rain on a motorcycle that today it never occurred to me to turn on the windshield wipers. Then another thought occurred to me and that it was not too distant back in the day that if it rained and the wipers did not work it would be time for panic or a creative anger response. So, I went about my drive with a new found freedom and just let it rain.

Joe’s bike:  Y’all have seen my bike all packed up and ready to roll but have not seen Joe’s. Well, what you are looking at in his load is a two burner Coleman stove, the big red tube is a folding camp chair, and hidden somewhere is a computer and 4 person Coleman tent. There is an interesting shift of balance points while riding these bikes on the open road at highway speeds. Also, they are bigger targets for cross winds. Breaking camp and packing the bikes is  one of the biggest exercises in mindfulness that you can imagine.

An old friend:  I guess it was from west of Houston to California and Seattle to present that the railroad tracks have run almost parallel to the interstates. Today like so many days in the past, there was a train on the tracks that ran with the Interstate. It was like an old friend welcoming me back to the road. The only thing missing was the chew chew sound. Time to call it quits. Know I wish ya well.

This entry was posted in On the Road, The Journey, Vigilante Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

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