There is a kind of armchair brutality that runs through the everyday conversation by too many white Alabamians to matters such as prison conditions, capital punishment, and any social issue that they judge as affecting mostly others. Usually they attribute the problems to defects in character, motivation, rap music, baggy pants, and so forth. Not many flat-out say non-whites are inferior beings any more — at least not in public.
The racial bias is always there, but it applies to everyone in practice.
The people aren’t inherently stupid. But when they recite rhymes such as “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the crime” it means they are choosing to shut their brains down. So it should be no surprise that state officials put little emphasis on addressing brutal conditions in prisons. No surprise either that their elected representatives are fired up about making executions easier and quicker.
What happens when a notoriously lethargic news organization gets off its corporate butt and commits some journalism? Well, it goes something like this:
1. Fair to middling exposés on brutal conditions at several state prisons.
2. Denial by state officials, or a boilerplate statement claiming “we’re working on it.” Bonus charges of sensational reporting, insinuations that reporters are in cahoots with the evil trial lawyers and the ACLU.
3. Public reaction to the story in sync with official state denial, online comments range from the little rhyming couplet mentioned earlier to highly creative and gruesome ways to increase suffering and pain. Endorsement of prison rape as “part of the process.”
4. One or two outraged lily-livered™ libruls™ expressing shock and horror at the others. Although if they have lived here long enough, they really shouldn’t be shocked.
5. A response accusing the lily-livered™ libruls™ of not caring about the victims of crime.
And so on.
A similar ritual gets played out every time some outside agitators or insufferable Southern liberals want to shake up Our Way of Life, which was working just fine until they showed up. The most heartbreaking thing to me about my over 1/2 lifetime spent in this beautiful and heartbreaking state is that not one micron of progress has taken place that was not forced upon us from outside.
Neither crime victims nor society benefit from brutal state and local prison conditions. Anyone blathering on about “country club prisons” is obviously confusing Tutwiler and St. Clair Correctional Facility for those facilities designed to incarcerate white collar criminals. No SHOWER RATS there. Murder victims will not rise from the grave upon their killers’ killing by the state.
Save your breath. There is no argument from practicality nor morality that has ever made a dent in these attitudes on crime and punishment. So let’s just call it what it is and be done with it: cultural sadism. That’s not something a mere federal court order can eliminate in a short time.