Guilty or Not

If I had a dime for every inmate or inmate family member who swore up and down that they didn’t do what they were in prison for, I wouldn’t ever have to work again. That statement is said with just two and a half measley years under my belt as a corrections officer. This fact is one of the big reasons why I will never, ever go back to that profession. I simply cannot tolerate the incredible number of privileges afforded the convicted felons in our society.

I started out with juveniles. One day, a kid with a horrible mean streak–a black kid who was intensely racist and hated my guts just because I was white–attacked a white kid out of nowhere simply because of the color of his skin. I watched this boy viciously beat his fellow inmate down and then kick him repeatedly while two other officers had to drag the attacker away. The attacker’s name was Luther Davis. I had to sit in hearings and listen to this brat’s family scream at officers, supervisors and hearing officials because their beautiful boy Luther would never, ever behave that way unless someone made him. It was always someone else’s fault.

I imagine they’re still singing the same song now that the guy has landed his butt in the adult system. The way his family talked about him you’d have thought he walked on water. While sitting in on hearings in Phoenix and Houston, I’ve watched similar things play out. The family of Jorge Gurrola, who murdered his pregnant girlfriend, taunted the victim’s family before the sentencing hearing then paraded themselves and several friends before the court to sing Jorge’s praises. He can’t be punished too harshly, you see–he’s always been such a good boy. We don’t understand why he did this.

The stories coming out of Seattle about cop killer Maurice Clemmons absolutely chill my blood. This guy was a violent felon sentenced to 108 years in prison in Arkansas. When then-governor Mike Huckabee saw the request to commute his sentence, he tried once to reach a few people then agreed to the commutation based on a parole board and a judge saying he was a “good candidate.” This, despite his long rap sheet, the nature of his crimes and his record in prison. Huckabee turned around and tried to whitewash his decision on Bill O’Reilly’s show (and O’Reilly let him get away with it).

After he was released, a litany of incredible failures enabled this creep to keep committing violent crimes. This kind of story is nothing new considering the state of our criminal justice system. What floors me now is that we still haven’t caught on to the families of these criminals aiding and abetting them.

Clemmons walked into a coffeehouse in Pierce County this past Sunday and ambushed four police officers preparing to begin their shift, shooting all four to death. I will post later on the officers killed, but today Clemmons is dead–and four relatives are in custody, two more have warrants for their arrest for deliberately helping Clemmons evade capture. They gave him food, money, lodging, even medical attention.

I wonder what they all thought. Did they think he had a reason? Did they think he was caught trying to rob another convenience store and shot a cop to get away, not knowing what he’d really done? Or did he tell them EXACTLY what he’d done–and help him because they believed he needed to send a message?

Whatever it was, guilty or not, they helped him. If it were my relative or friend who had committed a crime there would be no discussion. I’d beat them senseless and hold them for police. There is no excuse, none whatsoever, for anyone to give aid to a murderer. I hope each and every one of Clemmons’ relatives spends a very long time in prison.

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