We’re a society of hypocrites. Images of violence, sex, and vigilante justice are glamorized and received by our citizens as “normal.” Actors, musicians, and politicians help propagate these images, and at times, are rewarded for their portrayals of these acts with million dollar paydays, high social status, and veneration. More importantly, no one asks the question of how we’ve gotten here. As a society, we’ve become numb to our humanity. Historically, we resemble Roman citizens thirsting for blood in the Coliseum. Sadly, we take pride in it. Our children are socialized in an environment full of violence–both real and theatrical. As adults we cannot explain to our youth life isn’t supposed to be like this because we do not believe it to be true. We’ve come to accept this “reality” forced upon us by those who profit from it and use it to maintain control.
Hitler said it’s easier to control the masses than one person. So we’re conditioned into believing life is supposed to be full of violence, revenge, and individualism; content with suffering, unhappiness, and despair. We all suffer. We produce people that have mental illnesses and then punish them for it. How can anyone expect to be mentally health living in these conditions? Even more disgusting, these people become commodities and are used for profit and material for political skits called campaigns. The media plays their corporate role and propagates fear by using images of Blacks or Hispanics committing crime to further deceive us into believing that any one of them are going to break into our homes at any second and kill us.
Unfortunately, we respond with a resounding yes to the deceiving question– do we need to be tougher on these people? These people being the same youth we’ve corrupted. Any research on criminality shows that crime is predominantly committed by our younger segment of society. this isn’t a new phenomenon. What is is phenomenal is the manner we’ve been persuaded into dealing with our children. For years, we’ve been incarcerating our young with life sentences; never considering the consequences, never considering the reasons. We’re told this is what’s best for our society, yet nothing has changed. If we believe the media, then things have ONLY GOTTEN WORSE.
In the midst of all the madness, some of these youth have grown into men with understanding, skills, and a determination to help change what’s wrong, all while incarcerated. However, because of our indoctrination, they’re not considered part of the solution. These men’s sentences do not apply anymore–they can be called over-term offenders–instead of violent or long-term offenders. They haven’t committed a crime in 20, 30 and in some cases, over 40 years in spite of living in violent environments. To my surprise, there are many men and women under parole supervision for past murders who have never committed a crime again. Research shows that this class of offenders simply do not come back to prison for new crimes. The recidivism rate is so low it’s practically non-existent. Surprisingly, the media doesn’t share this news with us nor the amount of tax-payer money wasted on keeping these people behind bars. I’m not a rocket scientist, but who better to help our youth except those who lived that lifestyle. I wouldn’t want a plumber performing open-heart surgery on one of my loved ones. Parole for a life sentenced person that’s transformed and ready to give back to society isn’t foolish. Foolish is believing people don’t change. If everyone deserves a second chance, then why not people who have a better track record than some of our politicians? George Bush got a second chance, need I say more?
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Marco Maldonado, CE4361
Graterford, PA 19426-0244