Tuesday, November 3, 2015

15,000 Years in Sing Sing

When I was about 21 I figured out how many years I'd have to serve if I was given the maximum for the things I've done. It was, if I remember correctly, 15,000 years.

I've never killed anyone, never stole anything except maybe a candy bar when I was a kid (do cookies count?), and actually never did anything deserving of jail, much less prison.

Alcohol as a teenager? A fair amount. Smoking a little marijuana (okay, a lot)? Trying cocaine maybe twice as a experiment and not even liking it, so never doing it again? Smoking hashish and opium one time and also not liking it (actually liked it way too much)?

I remember reading the Robin Buss translation of The Count of Monte Cristo (the unexpurgated version) and finding that Edmund Dantes (the "hero") said on that long rides (always by coach) he ate a ball of opium and hashish, otherwise he'd be excruciatingly bored.

I've known several guys who served time in prison (the last one said he was "a soldier" in a gang, so he said "I went straight to the federal pen") - and I don't know how many of them served time in county. Which is why I know how godawful it is.

They were all good guys, just not that bright. (Hint: all sleeved out means to the cops "I've been incarcerated more than once").

At the same time I found guys who've done some hard time for what appears to be minor drug offenses were career criminals who just got caught for the "minor" one - after getting away with the first 15.

Yet of all those banksters who ripped off the U.S. (and its hard- working citizens) not one went to prison (I've read several times Iceland put a bunch of them in prison).

It's the dumb and poor who go to prison, not the rich and well-connected. Well-connected with the government, that is.

When recreational marijuana was made legal in Colorado a satirical site wrote that some 30 people died from overdoses the first day, one of them being "Jesse Pinkman," who was Walter White's sidekick in Breaking Bad. A county sheriff said, See, see what happens when marijuana is made legal?

When he was informed it was a spoof site that ran the article, he said he still believed it happened.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if all drugs were made legal? Would use go up or down? I don't know, but all the hundreds of billions from smuggling drugs would just evaporate.

I've known lots of guy who sold drugs. It's a myth the foot soldiers make the big bucks. They didn't make shit.

I've known lots of people who used heroin (I've mentioned before I come from a criminal town). They're weren't bad people, just losers. Not-very-smart losers with tattoos all over.

I've got a cousin in prison for murder, and in there he was beaten and paralyzed from the waist down (he was never very smart, impulsive and of course had anger issues - and his father died when he was seven). He gets out in a few years (he got 30 years and served all of it) and I'm sure will go straight into a nursing home.

His life ended in his middle 20s.

His crime? Being a homeless alcoholic who knifed some guy who stole his whiskey.

I've never seen anyone get into a fight while on marijuana. Booze? A way different story. I've seen drunks act possessed.

In fact, I'd deal with a thousand people looking for vanilla ice cream than one belligerent drunk.


Earl Thomas said...

Eh...I have a cousin who smokes marijuana often and he has anger issues and was thrown in prison, can't keep a job, and knocked up a girl who was addicted to meth. He also grew up in a divorced family, hardly saw his dad (who was an alcoholic), and often was verbally abused by his mother.

Drugs are often the cover for the bigger overall problem in a person's life.

Bob Wallace said...

Exactly right. I've seen it many times.

Anonymous said...


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