Month: December 2013

What’s wrong with America’s judicial system? One judge & two young men

Within the past year, two young men faced sentencing from the same judge. Both had been found guilty of their crimes and the judge had nearly unlimited discretion.

One young man had spent a night out partying — including both drugs and alcohol. He got into his car and by the end of the night had killed 4 people. He had a blood alcohol level of .24 … 3x the legal limit in Texas.

The other young man punched a 40-year-old in the face. He punched the man so hard that the man fell and received a head injury that led to his death two days later.

Both crimes are horrible and resulted in unnecessary loss of life. However, you would that the death of 4 people, including two teens, would result in a harsher sentence than the death of one. You would be wrong.

The drunk driver is rich and white and was able to put on a spirited, although controversial, defense that convinced the judge he deserved treatment over punishment.

The young man who punched another in the street is poor and black. Not only did he not have a team of legal experts able to help his defense, his family was also not able to afford to send him to an expensive rehabilitation camp that might have prevented him from being sent to juvenile jail.

The problems with the sentencing in these cases is less about race and more about the income disparity between the two young men.

Thankfully, this judge is not planning on seeking another term on the bench.


Finding what you’re good at

The Potential by notgnoshi on
The Potential by

I love to doodle. Put me in a meeting without a computer, and I’ll walk out with a doodle filled notebook.

I even got in trouble in 3rd grade for doodling too much on my spelling tests. Even though all the words were spelled correctly, my teacher didn’t like the doodles.

I can’t really draw — especially people. I don’t get shading and shadow. And, when it comes to drawing faces I can get almost everything okay except for the lips. When it comes to drawing a person, I get stuck on the hands. Proportion is not my friend.

I never thought of doing anything with my doodles until recently seeing that people have done some beautiful things with doodles. So, maybe.

The other thing I’ve been struggling with is my writing.

I keep thinking I want to write something creative. I’ve been afraid to commit to a “novel” or anything like that, but I’ve been leaning in that direction.

There’s a major problem … I have a very hard time writing dialogue. Anytime I write dialogue it feels so inauthentic to me that I get annoyed and just want to trash everything I’ve done.

While driving around earlier tonight, I remembered a conversation I had with one of my writing professors at Northland College. We were discussing what type of writing I enjoyed reading and what type of writing I was interested in pursuing myself.

Poetry was quickly off the list. I don’t like reading poetry and I really don’t like writing poetry.

Blogs weren’t a think back in the early ’90s.

I had done some creative writing, but I had raised similar concerns to those I already mentioned about dialogue.

I really enjoyed journalist writing, but after college I learned that I didn’t want to pursue that as a career.

I remembered in this conversation that we had come around to the topic of essayists. I really enjoyed that, and I’m not sure why I stopped doing it.

I also really enjoy history and research, and I feel like I could combine the enjoyment of history, research and writing and start doing some really cool things.

We’ll see where this new revelation goes.