Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Texas criminal justice happenings

Light blogging today, and probably tomorrow, but until then here are a few stories I noticed that may interest Grits readers:
  • Feds vet juvie justice in the Valley. Federal investigators today begin a four day visit to the troubled Evins Juvenile Detention Center in Edinburg as part of an investigation into alleged civil rights violations.
  • Pay hikes for Texas prison guards. A 3% pay hike approved by the 79th Texas Legislature takes effect October 1. The new starting salary for prison guards is 1,870.48 per month.
  • Joy riding, Texas National Guard style. Three members of the Texas National Guard deployed to the border have been arrested for a shooting spree in a residential neighborhood. Apparently "the men were driving around and taking turns shooting out of their vehicle's window. ... the men had beer and had been drinking."
  • Immigration questions from a city boy. Larry James poses a series of important, unanswered questions about immigration on his blog Urban Daily. Two particularly thought provoking queries included: "Why do so many Christian people read a bible that is filled with admonitions to honor "the aliens" and treat immigrants with fairness and justice and then turn to display hateful attitudes toward neighbors who are from another nation?" and "Why doesn't Major League Baseball open a franchise in Mexico City?"
  • Injustice on a Technicality. Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey argues that the Tulia defendants whose probation was revoked because of the infamous 1999 drug sting should be compensated for wrongful convictions.
  • Prison gang operating Dallas drug ring. Dallas police have busted up a 20-man cell of the Aryan Nation prison gang operating a meth distribution ring. The break in the case came when the gang murdered a suspected informant. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, half of Aryan Nation gang members are currently out of prison.


Jeremy Goren said...

It always heartens me to see members of the faith community, like Mr. James, stick up for some of the principals of charity and goodwill that really form the basis of much of the Bible. Mr. James asks some obvious but important questions. These, in particular, jumped out at me:

Why do people calling for "border security" with Mexico in view of the threat of terrorists entering the U. S. not express the same intensity about the long unprotected border with Canada to the north?

This question seems even more important when we consider that no evidence of terrorist action has been detected near the U.S.-Mexican border, according to a Border Patrol spokesman I talked to in June -- while we have found evidence of terror activity much closer to the north. And the obvious answer to this question proves the fallibility of the argument that further border militarization is to stop terrorism. It's to stop brown-skinned people.

Why does the Social Security Administration continue to collect Social Security contributions on workers' accounts that are backed up by false and invalid Social Security numbers?

This is a little blow to the theory that undocumented migrants merely mooch off of our public systems without contributing. In addition to sales and property taxes, those using false papers pay into Social Security for the rest of us, with no hope of ever recovering that money.

Why has the North American Free Trade Agreement not resulted in more benefit to the common workers in Mexico and Central America, not to mention the U. S.?

This seems fairly obvious: This "free" trade agreement is not a "fair" trade agreement. We made it to bully other countries into an arrangement that benefits U.S. big business -- at the expense of other countries and U.S. workers. The bigger question is why do we claim no responsibility for the devastating effects of our actions?

Why do so many Christian people read a bible that is filled with admonitions to honor "the aliens" and treat immigrants with fairness and justice and then turn to display hateful attitudes toward neighbors who are from another nation?

This, along with the quotation Mr. Henson cites in his previous posting, forms the core of the problem that exists with the supposed adherents of many religions. It's part of the problem with the violent followers of fundamentalist Islam for which too many of us in this country are quick to condemn the entire religion.

That so many so-called Christians -- and Jews, for that matter -- are so quick to want to expel, incarcerate, or summarily execute immigrants from the south shows a fundamental refusal to follow their declared faiths. How many times in both the Old and New Testaments does the Divine teach us to take in the stranger among us, to welcome the alien? It seems many among us would rather adhere to our prejudices than to logic, the words of G-d, and the spirit of this country.

Larry James said...

Thanks for the props, guys!