Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some Reflections on my stay at the 'Hanoi Hilton' & the "Justice" System

Well, having been out a whole 2 days now, I have been thinking about my stay at the 'Hanoi Hilton.' I had read an article in the Local Whacko Rag, the "Phoenix New Times", (this is a magazine that is published in most major cities, but under different names, just localized for your city. Usually the writers are your basic "KOS kids" who regularly blast Republicans & conservatives and glorify whacko lefty conspiracy theories and candidates. Hell, for all I know, George Soros has a hand in funding that paper too, anyway...) The title of the article was "Belle of the Ball Gag" about some chick, a dominatrix, that was in there for 4 months on an extreme DUI and reckless endangerment charge (a felony, a boyfriend was injured in a car crash they were in when she was drunk.) The name of the chick is Amber Dawn Landin, that was at one time married to guitar-god, Yngwie Malmsteen. She has since changed her name to "Seven".

Whatever.

I wouldn't be surprised if she records a CD now or writes a book to cash in on her notoriety.

That's one of the pics of her from the story. I guess most guys would be salivating at the idea of meeting her, but not me, women like that are just weird to me and I don't find her attractive, more scary than anything else. I used to see women like that when I played in a band, and I always steered clear of them, they are nothin
g but trouble.

She has supposedly as a client, an active-duty cop that she 'services.' If you really want to read the article (or look at her pictures), you can at read it here, if you dare.
As I said, personally, I don't find anything attractive about her, but I was intrigued by her story as far as the 'Hanoi Hilton'. She didn't really elaborate about her stay that much, except to keep a low profile and get along in there. She also said, like me, that she avoided the food in there, which is something we can agree on. But it got me thinking about this whole thing.


My point is, it's really amazing the stories you hear coming out of the Hanoi Hilton. There are all kinds of people in there whom you would never expect, some you wouldn't expect to ever leave and other's that are inexplicable. I met a younger guy who got his first DUI and had to serve 4 months for his first offense. No wreck, no mitigating circumstances. I also befriended a guy in there I will call "J" who was the nicest guy I met. He seemed to be from somewhere in the South, as I recognized the twang, and he also was in there, albeit 9 months in work furlough, for a DUI he got in Scottsdale that did involve a wreck, thankfully nothing serious. Now, I don't condone anyone, including me, with drinking and driving, but after talking to many of the guys in there, I have come to the conclusion that it really is a money game for the state of Arizona. Arizona has a hard time raising taxes on the folks here, witness all the transplants moving here from California, New York and all places in between because of property rates and housing costs.

I understand that drunk driving is a serious problem, but yet, I find it interesting that the state refuses to do anything serious about illegal immigrants, child molesters or rapists. They are more concerned with bringing in the money from the cash cow that is a DUI.


Where I find issue is, the state wants to make you seek alcohol counseling and then make you pay for it. I find that on the border of legislating 'behavior'. How long, and it isn't far off, until they decide to put you into 're-education seminars' if you happen to utter something that isn't politically correct. There is no law in the US or Arizona that says you can't be a drunk. I don't think the state should be able to make you take any kind of alcohol class or counseling, without your consent. If you want your license back, then make a good faith effort to seek help and present proof that you did. If you don't, then, you don't get your license back.

They funnel you into a BS service called "Justice Services" which is a state run agency to do home detention, drug testing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, anger management, etc. Somehow I find it ludicrous that the state tries to legislate behavior. If you want to sit at home and drink or drug yourself into a stupor, ruin your health, your life and not drive while doing it, that's your business and your families. As long as you are not behind the wheel of an automobile while drinking or drugging, which is in essence the same thing, that's your gig, deal with the consequences. Sure, they make you pay a hefty price for a DUI to punish
you, but is it punishment, repentance and rehabilitation they are seeking or is it the cash? to me it's the cash.


I talked with guys in there that had in some instances 12 DUI's. Some were old charges from over 20 years ago and the state reached back, across state lines and the '7 year' period they instituted, to hit them with another DUI. That doesn't excuse what they did. Certainly, in one case where the guy did have a total of 12 DUI's, it indicates a serious problem. But then again, it comes down to, he decided to keep drinking. Taking his license away, putting him through 'treatment', fining him out the yin-yang and incarcerating him did not stop him from continuing his behavior. Yet the idiotic pointy headed politicians who coddle up to the Mother's against Drunk Driving for Photo Op's, don't understand basic human nature. The guy wanted to or wants to keep drinking. Short of just locking him up for good is evidently not going to change his behavior. I don't think even if a doctor told him he was going to die from drinking, he would stop. There are those that just want to keep doing the same thing, however destructive to their life, in spite of the dangers and consequences involved. But again, where does the state think they are going to change someone's behavior. It has to come from a heartfelt experience. In a weird sort of way, the state uses people like this as prostitutes so they can fund their pet projects since they can't just raise taxes when they feel like. Thank God the democrats (and some republicans) haven't gotten rid of the voting system, yet.



It's the same with cigarettes or tobacco in general. They want to discourage smoking, in bars, restaurants, public places, 50 feet from entrances, yet, tobacco has not been made illegal. Why? the money. The taxes, predominantly laid upon 'big tobacco' by the liberals (and some RINO republicans) fund so much of their budgets. It would be very interesting if almost every smoker in America stopped smoking for one day and didn't buy a pack of cigarettes. Talk about a huge drop in the stock market and a big hit in the economy. Yet, they haven't made it illegal. I know that a big reason is, that as new generations of children grow up, they hope that education about smoking will dissuade them from smoking and that "guv'ment" programs to assist you in stopping smoking are out there, but really, it's almost like a slow motion prohibition. If alcohol causes so many problems in our society in terms of deaths, disease, health costs and other factors, why don't they do something to regulate if not outlaw it again? simple, money. It's the fuel that drives the legislative machine. They let people consume alcohol, many of them become dependent on it if not to the point of becoming alcoholic, and then punish them when it becomes a problem. Then they impose all kinds of fines, classes, therapy, what have you, to fulfill "their requirements" when really, they have done nothing more than taken more money from people for indulging in a practice that they themselves allow.

And, the whole idea of them telling you, ".08 is the limit of alcohol that a person can be charged with DUI" is really a lie. This is a no tolerance state. Read that again, a NO-TOLERANCE state. That means, if you get pulled over and test with .03 or .05, the law CAN charge you with DUI, and they will. Why? because, they have a vested interest in getting as many people with DUI in order to fund the various agencies across the valley. They cloak it under the "DPS fund" which to most Arizonan's means, "The department of public safety" i.e., the Highway Patrol. But it means "Department of Public Safety" as an umbrella for all emergency services. So, the local police, fire & first responders not only get money provided in the state budget, they are almost pushed into looking for DUI offenders in order to bolster their coffers. Now, I am not begrudging the police, fire or anyone in that business. I know it's a tough job, but my issue is encroachment. The insidious way that the state finds to take more and more of your money by practicing a weird sort of "Schadenfreude" or "the satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune."

When you break down the money & fines that the state imposes on you for "classes" and other such things, you realize that they are basically robbing you since they can't just raise your taxes. They use the money to then fund various projects when they can't find the money somewhere else. But, at the cost of, they have now taken your license, so you have to resort to public transportation, or you have to use the local taxi service. If you get the misfortune of getting one of the interlock devices, you have to wait until after you get your license back to get one, pay the agency for the device and maintenance and at that point, in most cases, is 2 years from the date of 'conviction'. Now, you increase the chance of someone driving with no license or insurance, because they don't have the means to get to work and back, or take their kids to school or whatever they need to do, partly because they don't have the money to pay for the very 'services' the state requires you to participate in and then with the new laws in place, they get pulled over, arrested for no license or insurance, their car is usually impounded, and they're back in court, if not jail again, with more fines & jail time. So, they just keep sucking more money out of you, often times putting a person in an almost impossible situation (unless you're Glenn Campbell, Paris Hilton or Mel Gibson, i.e., have a lot of money to throw at yet another state cashcow, a lawyer) and you just keep going round and round. All this time, some idiot is saying, "you should have obeyed the law, you put yourself here." To me, in essence, at that point you have become an "indentured servant" or "state sponsored slave", paying money to the state in order for the state to continue to punish you for a mistake you made. Not to mention the the emotional cost to you and your family and friends because the state can now label you an "alcoholic or a drug addict or mentally ill" possibly causing you your job, or the chance to get a better job, your home, your relationship, your emotional well-being or your family's and not to mention the stress put upon you by the game you have to play in order to complete their required compliance. Is it any wonder that many people, just up and take off and head to another state or in some cases, another country, even with the knowledge that they won't get their license back or have a warrant out for their arrest, simply to get out from the crushing pressure of trying to survive and live their life? Surely, there has to be a better way for those pointy headed politicians to deal with such a gross injustice. Yes, there should be consequences for doing a stupid thing, but not at the expense of ruining a person's life. Why good does that serve?

We have politicians that are elected to do their jobs who hire people to sit around and come up with this stuff, never realizing the impact it has on an individual, families or society in general. Most of these politicians never even read the entire bill they vote on and then sign into law.I am sure there are those who would argue with me claiming that I am 'wrong' about it but I am not. I am looking at how this system perpetuates itself and how these 'people' have come up with a clever way to get around raising taxes. I am inside that very system now, looking out. I see from my own experience and from talking with others, how these people get away with seriously injuring people without really accomplishing their 'intended' goal of rehabilitation. If anything, they increase the animosity toward the legal system and the politicians. Perhaps it really comes down to, people would be better served to pay more attention to what these elected politicians are really doing in their name instead of complaining about them all the time, I mean really, they are supposed to work for us, right?


Till the next time,

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