This was one of those strange mornings where I got up on my week-day time and while on auto-pilot went to get a cup of tea and bagel was well as to read the morning paper while life went on around me. On the front page was a story about “Amid fatal home invasions, question persists: Why such violence?”
Must have read the story maybe two or three times and there was something that I could just not get out of my mind. Rather than try to figure it on a conscious level, I got on my bike, turned it noth on I-75 and let it run.
Found myself, leaving I-95 at Nassau county headed towards Amelia Island. Have always wanted to go there but for who knows what reason, never did. Got to say that about five miles prior to turning off of I-95 hit a rain storm to beat the band and no bridges in sight. Pulled off of the side of the road and to put on rain pants which is always a test of agility and flexibility.
As I was headed into Nassau county saw signs for a Criminal Justice Complex or some such thing and could not visualize what one might look like and so I pulled into it and was quite taken back by what I found that might have been only a couple of miles off of the road. This was obviously a new building in fact the entire complex appeared new and well maintained.
Right across the way was the county jail. Now, Nassau County is just north of Duval and I had been told it was a vacation/retired as well as bed room community for Jacksonville. Well right across the way was a fine new building that could have passed for a prison. It was the country jail. This is a jail that holds maybe 250 men and women on the average.
As I got back on to the highway, the first sign to catch my attention was the turn-off to the Sheriff’s Office and so I turned off of the highway and took a look at it. Not a very impossing building but did not spend a lot of time thinking about because I was cold and wet. At this point I had no intention of riding the next 8 or so miles to the beach as I had enough of the weather and just wanted to get dry, warm and have a cup of road house coffee.
Would you not know that just down the road was the answer to my prayers. Don’t know why but Huddle House’s and Waffle House’s are good places to go when you want to be left alone and you know you are going to get exactly what you pay for. But then a pancake and coffee with a couple of eggs is about all the body can handle in this type of weather.
Brought in the paper and read the story again a couple of more times. Then it hit me: change the names and location and it is almost an exact replay of what happened some 13 years ago when Frank Valdes was murdered in his cell. Boots were found with the victim’s blood in the homes of correction officers and on and on but no body was ever found guilty of the muder.Anglefire version of story
It could be argued that there are 10,000 similarities in the two cases. However, the paper seemed to focus on anger and drugs associated with the recent murder in Columbia County refered to above. The most basic of research points to a drug ring that was busted by the feds in 2005 for importing steroids from Egypt. Details in prison steroid ring arise
Admittedly, the murder of Frank Valdes occured six or so years prior to the discovery of the steroid ring but then the steroid ring could not have been set up and in operation without the preconditions existing. It was a ring set up by former correction officers operating for correction officers.
The relationship of anger and drug addiction or use is well known. However, it was never established nor a subject of the investigation in the murder of Frank Valdes. What we do know about the murder of Frank Valdes is that no one was convicted and everyone that was in a leadership position associated with the case went on to higher public office or responsibility.
The only one to fall from that group was James Crosby, the warden of Florida State Prison at the time of the murder. He was later promoted to Secretary of the Department of Corrections. Related to nothing but he was a political king maker in north central Florida who went to a Republican National Convention as a representative of North Florida in the presidential nomination process.
So, last night a friend of mine and I were watching a documentory called S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine. The one point I took from the movie that the guards became every bit a prisoner of the machine as were the inmates. I guess what I am trying to say is that we have a big and I mean big problem in this country with drugs and related behavior. Our children are going to pay a heavy price for our inability to deal with it.
Note: Go to for more information on how the criminal justice system has been tainted by the war on drugs:Drug War Chronicle
comprehensive coverage of the War on Drugs since 1997