Forced restitution, do we have the courage?

A 47-year-old man charged last week with a violent attempt to kidnap a 9-year-old girl and break into a South Seattle apartment has been arrested 104 previous times in King County over the last 14 years, according to court records. Seattle police arrested Randolph Neil Humiston on May 30 at 14th Avenue South and South Henderson Street after he allegedly grabbed and dragged a girl on a playground, according to charging documents. Prosecutors say the girl kicked and screamed at Humiston until he released her. Court records indicate many times, Humiston was released within a day or two after being arrested, and he consistently listed his address as the Compass Housing Alliance in Seattle, indicating he is homeless. Prosecutors noted Humiston was placed in the jail’s psych ward in 2017, and would “likely commit an act of violence,” if released. Records indicate a few of the cases were dismissed because Humiston was found to be incompetent. Humiston’s career criminal conviction resume includes four felonies, and 38 gross misdemeanors including “Threats to Kill, Assault, Resisting Arrest, Stalking, Escape, Indecent Exposure, Possession of a Dangerous Weapon and many Vehicle Prowl” and multiple drug convictions, according to court records.

I don’t know what goes through your mind when you read an item like that. Here’s what I think: I don’t care if he’s legally “competent” or not. He’s a violent, dangerous career criminal who does not deserve to suck up social and law enforcement resources. Keeping him in prison is just another way of wasting tax dollars on a worthless hunk of protoplasm. The Bible uses the word worthless over 50 times to describe “worthless fellows” who lie, rob, injure and kill, so don’t tell me I can’t be Christian if I use that word. A Christian doesn’t have to try to be “nicer than Jesus.” Jesus kicked plenty of butt, when appropriate.

If it were up to me, I would institute a form of forced restitution for the career offender, or even the criminally insane, to make them start paying back to society for what their behavior has cost. This assumes that they have not yet been convicted of a prosecutable crime. If they have been, the law already prescribes penalties. Someone like Humiston may be incompetent to stand trial (really? but competent enough to escape the consequences of his acts?) but he can do manual labor. After a certain number of arrests, or a certain amount of civic costs and have been accrued, a person like him should be given a choice: forced labor in a controlled environment (so he can’t escape or injure innocents while serving his restitution), the amount and nature to be determined by a judge, or exile to a penal camp in a remote location, like many countries used to have. The penal camp would still put him to work, but in much more unpleasant conditions.

Objections: How many offenses or arrests would be required? Who decides? Isn’t it a cruel and inhumane idea? What about the offender’s rights? Answering in reverse order: What about the victims’ rights, and the taxpayers’ rights? Cruel and inhumane compared to whatuselessly sitting in prison or a nuthouse is even more cruel, at least with my idea, he’d have a chance at the dignity of paying back. Who makes the laws? Who prosecutes criminals? Who metes out punishment? The mechanism could be the same. How many arrests would trigger the restitution? Does it really matter? Anything is better than allowing someone like Humiston inflict himself on the victims.

I don’t think we have the courage as a society to implement my idea.

Tweet, retweet, retreat, repeat (?)

fame trumps taste

Or substitute for the Twitter three-step a similar one for the social media of your choice. I just read that Lane Johnson, a tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, got mad about a tweet from former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb about current QB Carson Wentz, and tweeted his hasty response, which he then regretted, now he is retreating. I think Wentz had enough sense to resist any Twitter temptation. As for McNabb and Johnson, they aren’t giddy teenagers, craven political pundits or celebrities on the make, so why do they tweet at all? Is there anyone who doesn’t rapidly regret the first tweet? The more well known you are, the more likely it is that an old tweet or post will come back to bite you on the ass. McNabb and Johnson are mature and intelligent guys who did the Twitter three-step and resisted the temptation for the fourth step…..unlike our president, and virtually every Democrat politician. Okay, politicians and millennial “influencers” (don’t ask) call the Twitter-YouTube-Facebook-Instagram etc. four-step “building their brand”; if only they used a branding iron on themselves, it would be less painful for everyone involved.

But for some, social media is fame, and if you’re in the entertainment business, fame = money. Talent does not necessarily = fame. Let’s take an example from the world of professional sports, which is the entertainment business. I was watching the Colin Cowherd show on the Fox Sports app, and he was explaining how OBJ–that’s Odell Beckham Jr. (not LBJ, LeBron James) of the Cleveland Browns–profits from making noise, rather than his talent. He recently signed the richest shoe deal ever for an NFL player, because he’s the best…, he isn’t. Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Mike Evans and others are more talented, but they don’t sell shoes. Nike wants to sell shoes, they give OBJ the biggest contract for an NFL player, because he has 14 million Instagram followers. He makes just enough spectacular plays to retain credibility, but mostly gets rich off the noise he generates with his antics, the blonde curly locks, the rebellious persona. Julio Jones is quiet. Michael Thomas is quiet. Mike Evans is quiet. They are more talented than OBJ, but noise = fame = money. That’s the world we live in.

Democrats realize that too, politicians today are actually entertainers. If there’s one thing an entertainer hates, it’s another entertainer who makes more noise, and is therefore more famous. So who is arguably the world’s most famous politician? The Donald, orange combover and mean tweets….and plenty of them. And you thought it was all about mean politics! OBJ just bought a Rolls Royce….in orange, the color of the Cleveland Browns. Who wants to drive an orange Rolls? The guy who wants 15 million Instagram followers. Welcome to the world of 2019.