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Debt to society

October 8, 2008

If you haven’t noticed I seem to have a particular opinion about the current state of our country. As a rule I don’t talk politics. (they’re all asshats) What I do talk about is what is going on. Not in a general sense because I read this or that, although I might make a comment on something. When you hear (or read) me talking about something its because I saw or experienced it. It is fair to say that I know very few people that don’t have some kind of criminal record. Not to say that I only know criminals, just that I don’t personally know many that don’t have a record. Thats just the way things are around here. Now just because someone has a record it doesn’t mean that the person actually even did anything. I know people that have been arrested on paraphernalia charges because they had a cigar in their pocket. Never mind that the person was smoking a cigar at the time and had that person been given a drug test it would have turned up negative as this person doesn’t do drugs. He ended up pleading guilty and has a permanent criminal  mark against him. Why? Simple. At the time he was unemployed and could not afford a lawyer. Had he gone to court he would still have been found guilty and had to have actually served time. It was easier to plead and not have to serve. How can I say that he would have been found guilty? How about the 10 or so others I know that were. Not all of them smoke pot, but all of them were convicted. Sadly in small simple cases like these nothing but the cops word carries any  wieght if you can’t afford a lawyer. But whatever the case there are times when for one reason or another you make the wrong choice and you pay for it. That is what they call it isn’t it? Paying for your crimes. When released you are considered to have paid your debt to society. But have you really? From what I have noticed lately you never cease paying for your mistake. (Listen very carefully. I’m not saying that everyone that has commited a crime was innocent, nor that they will not break the law again. What I am saying is that not everyone that has a record is a criminal nor will continue to follow a life of crime) I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen peoples applications for employment summararily put aside because the person had declared that they had a record. A person that was otherwise more qualified for the position and whos crime had nothing to do with the position they were applying for. A person that hasn’t had so much as a parking ticket in the 10 years since they were released. A person that has been struggling to survive ever since. No I am not talking about myself although I have also felt the pressure from this. When does this person get to reap the benefits from the good they have done? When is their so called debt to society paid in full? How long do these people have to defend their actions? I thought that if you commit the crime and do the time that you get to start over. Obviously this is not the case. So is it a wonder that someone who tries to live the straight and narrow but keeps getting shit on finally can’t take it anymore and does what they can to survive? I mean seriously. You have a person that for whatever the reasons commits a crime. That person is caught, goes to trial, is convicted, completes their sentance and realizes that this is not a way to live. This person now applies for job after job but can’t get anything but minimum wage employment because of his past. He struggles to put food on the table, takes classes to improve himself, but no matter what he does or how much more qualified he is, he keeps getting passed by because of his past. Is this person any less deserving of a decent life that anyone else? I say no, but then who the fuck am I but another in the long list of people in this same situation…

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