The inmate is asking my legal advice. He's heard there's a "three strikes law" in the neighboring state and he wants to know how he can get one of his two previous violent felonies expunged. He has no doubt and makes no pretense that he's going to commit a third. He just wants, desperately, for there to be no more consequences than he is used to.
I ask, casually, what his previous convictions in that state were. He dismisses them: "Can you believe the judge said that kicking a guy who happened to be on the ground was a felony? I didn't use any weapons and the guy didn't even have any broken bones, just some scarring and the judge said that was a felony. Can you fuckin' believe that? No way that's a felony."
But you were convicted of a felony.
"That don't mean nothin'. The same judge gave 17 months to a guy for being too close to a school and he had a perfectly good reason."
Hmmm. Illegal to be too close to a school? Child molester or drug dealer?
"Don't matter, that judge was way out of line. No way am I gonna be in a position where I raise one little finger to defend myself I'm goin' to prison for the rest of my life. No way. I'm getting that expunged."
It's blurry, this world that lays just over or just under the top of mine- where kicking a man after you've beaten him to the ground is only a little wrong. Where society is draconian and evil because the third time you've damaged one of their citizens for either fun or to take their possessions society decides to remove you from the victim pool. Where a child molester that a prisoner would normally consider shanking is a victim and example of common cause if you can ride the coat tails of their victim-hood. Where protecting children by removing predators is "way out of line". Where stomping a man into permanent scars is "raising one little finger to defend myself".
Normally, I deal with this well. Today I want to take a shower. Partially because this human reptile can't see his own evil but even more because there are hundreds of well-meaning people waiting in the wings who would love to champion this poor and oppressed and disadvantaged man. Who will sympathize over his fear of being sent away 'forever' and ignore the human wreckage he has left in his path and all the ones he will create in the future if he can only find or manufacture an excuse.
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