Sunday, December 02, 2007

Most of the time, I think we've left the nineteenth century in the past where it belongs. However, stuff like this comes down the pike and all I can think is that the past is highly and horrifically present. The military will not treat mental illness as anything other than criminal because their job entails a great degree of carrying out what would normally be criminal acts and atrocities in the name of defending our way of life from those who would want to destroy it. There are times when this is absolutely called for. At all times, however, those who have that mandate of defense on their shoulders must never forget why they are doing the things they are doing, because that is when reason is forgotten and power becomes the reason. That is when the thoughtful, reasoned approach to mental illness among those who are charged with our defense falls by the wayside...a casualty of waging war for war's sake.

I saw the second part of Scout's post on the Times-Picayune article I saw as a front page item this morning, and all I could think of was Queens. I lived there for four years. I liked it a lot, and in many ways, it was tough to leave. Hard to leave our synagogue and the second home we'd found there. Difficult to leave behind an area that we got to know quite well and had a great time exploring. The great internationally flavored borough of NYC is no longer Manhattan, I can tell you that. Most of the immigrants who reside in the borough of Queens came to this country through the John F. Kennedy International Airport - and some of them ended up in limbo at places such as the Wackenhut Detention Center, sometimes for years. Conditions at such places were and are hardly good enough to inspire the folks held there indefinitely while their status gets picked over in many different ways that seem designed to treat people as abstract pawns. It's bad enough that a large number of folks from south of the border are here being worked like dogs and treated worse. Our law enforcement entities and immigration officials are ensuring that they will be cruelly used in a different manner and, most likely, thrown away once their duty as witnesses is done.:

Because they were illegal immigrants as well as material witnesses to the April 29 crime, the men were immediately taken into custody and have remained in jail for the past seven months: first in St. Tammany, then in federal custody, then back to the north shore. For the first six months, they didn't have an attorney.

They're stuck in a perilous limbo, in the fissure between state and federal government -- trapped between prosecutors, who need them to testify at the trial of four suspects, and immigration officials, who would deport them if they were released.

Local and national attorneys, government officials and immigration rights advocates say they have never heard of a case quite like it.

The witnesses -- Jose Roberto Romero Echegoyen, Luis Fernando Martinez Avila, Santos Medardo Valle Meza, Marco Tulla Varela Maradiaga, Juan Carlos Reyes Gonzalez and Pedro Antonio Lopez -- whose only crime is being in the country illegally, could remain in jail until the murder trial is held, even if that takes years.

"They witnessed a murder, and their testimony is necessary for the prosecution's case," said Rick Wood, the St. Tammany district attorney's spokesman. "If we release them, they will be deported."

"It is unfortunate that they must remain in jail, however, it is necessary."

Yep, when this is all ended somehow, somebody's gonna be partying like it's 1899. I don't think it will be the illegals, though.


Well, it's looking like Dan is headed to Pasadena for New Year's, since his alma mater has made it to the Rose Bowl. I'm glad Jeffrey won't be screaming now, unless it's for Les Miles' head on a platter FedEx'd to Michigan...or the reversal of Sean Payton's reverse in this last Saints game (ugh). Which reminds me...Dan clued me in about Joe Paterno's salary becoming a matter of public record. There are definitely two types of coaches in this world: the ones willing to stay at one place and build a program long-term, and the ones willing to shop around once they have demonstrated some skills and exploit every twist and turn of the seller's market. Then again, the cost of living in State College, PA, ain't that high...and you can't fire students for having a bad season...and everybody's gotta do what they've gotta do. It can only contribute to my self-knowledge in the end, 'cause I know there's many, many reasons out there as to why I am not a coach.

And, folks, give this "broken clock", the real BSJD, a big cyber hug. Get that CC licensing on your sites, man. Really. Procrastinatrix has spoken.

No comments: