I am so mad today I can hardly stand it. 
     It's been a terrible week for justice all around. Sometimes when I say something as casually grandiose as that I am referring to something related to an actual justice system of some kind, while sometimes it's something more related to karma. I am sad to report that this week, it is both.
    All three of the things I am thinking about are things that I have already talked about on here, but they've all taken turns for the worse in the last few days and I felt a need to share all the bad news with you all. What can I say, I'm a giver.
     First is the sad story of Troy Davis. Davis is a black man who was accused of killing a Georgia police officer. He was sentenced to death twenty years ago. Over the last few decades the police were never able to find a murder weapon, DNA evidence was inconclusive and seven of the nine witnesses retracted their testimonies out of fear or retribution from the real killer. Despite all of this, his appeals eventually ran out and Tuesday night, he was executed.
     Next is the sad story of Kelly Thomas, a poor, schizophrenic, homeless man from Fullerton, CA who was beaten to death by police officers back in July. Last week, one of the police officers who killed him was charged with one count of second degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter and another was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of excessive force. Despite this, his Father is not satisfied and is demanding stiffer charges and the indictments of more of the involved officers.   
     Finally, we've got Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, two UC Berkeley grad students who were arrested by the Iranian government when they wandered over the border from Iraq on a hiking trip. They were just released from their imprisonment in Iran when the US government paid them one million dollars in bail.       
     Each one of these things is wrong. 
If this world made any sense, none of these things would be happening. 
     Troy Davis should been granted a new trial, or, at the very least, a stay of execution. At the behest of Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and Pope Benedict XVI amongst countless others, the Supreme Court had a chance to put an end to this insanity, but did not upon finding out that it in no way involved passing laws that would help corporations cut our country up a little neater amongst themselves. I find it impossible to believe that if Troy Davis was a white guy that this kind of thing could possibly happen. I'm actually a person who is not completely against the death penalty. I think it's a fairly barbaric and all, still, having seen 1997's "Batman & Robin", I can't say that there aren't a few people in the world who deserve to be killed. I am quite sure, however, that Troy Davis is not one of those people (Just to make sure, I checked to see if he was in any way involved with either of those new "Fantastic Four" movies. 
He wasn't.
     Kelly Thomas is a significantly more complex story. It's a shame that the guy was killed and it certainly sounds like the officers who are responsible deserve punishment. I can't say much about it, however, because I wasn't there at the time. Do you know who else wasn't there? Kelly Thomas' father, Ron Thomas. Listening to this guy talk about how he wants to personally kill the police who killed his son might make you forget that this is the same former officer who let his son become a deeply troubled homeless man with dirt for clothes in the first place. Kelly Thomas seems like a sad figure and I sincerely hope that justice is eventually served in this case. Real justice, not angry mob justice in the form of political pressure. Despite this, Kelly Thomas' father is being such an annoyance and, dare I say, inappropriate, that I really wish that he'd leave the whole situation alone for a while. If for no other reason, then because it might finally give us all perspective on the whole tragic incident.   
     Finally, those two assholes in Iran. After writing last month about how there isn't a dank and horrid enough prison for people  who are as willfully unrealistic about life as they are, now they are back in the US. Not only are they back in the US, they are doing the press junket about their horrific experience. You know what I think is a horrific experience? Having to listen to those guys trying to rend my sympathy from my cold, dead hands. We know you had a bad time, that's what Iranian prisons are for, especially if you're a pair of Berkeley grad students who thought the best thing you could do with your time would be to go hiking in Iraq near the Iranian border. Hopefully, some lesson has been learned somewhere in this country of ours. Maybe even from those guys who were thrown in jail, but I highly doubt it in their case. They're clearly too far down the "Citizen of humanity" rabbit hole for that. They'll be annoying others by trying to get them to sign petitions in front of Whole Foods in no time flat. To make matters worse, I realize that a million dollars is a proverbial drop in the bucket, but think of all the useful, productive stuff that that money could have been spent on instead of freeing a pair of schmucks from their much-deserved, shall we say, "time abroad". I really hope that these guys really are the spies that the Iranians claimed that they were in the first place. "Self-important Berkeley trust fun babies on a path of self-discovery" is not the best cover I've ever heard, but it could be worse. 
     To summarize, the country is a worse place than it was a week ago. The innocent (probably) are punished, the guilty (probably) are free and the annoying (absolutely) are free to run wild, sharing the traumatic experiences that they themselves created.
     I just don't understand people and I'm starting to think I never will.

Oh, well. At least Michael Vick got his wrist broken by the Giants. That's pretty cool.

All the best to you.
     Do you folks know about these asshole hikers? 
     I'm sorry, I know that it's not completely fair, but I'll explain about these people and you''ll see what I mean.
     A few years ago three Americans, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal were arrested while hiking. Sarah was eventually released but the two guys have been in jail for two years now and they have just officially been sentenced to eight more. "What?" you might say "Ten years in jail for hiking? Why?". Glad you asked, hypothetical person of my own creation. The reason that these people were arrested was not for littering, not for starting a fire without a permit, not for playing some god-awful Phish album too loud, no. These people were arrested for WHERE they were hiking. Get a listen to these layers upon layers upon layers of stupidity. Where were they hiking?...
     They were hiking in Iraq. Yeah, that Iraq. As in "Hey, aren't we at war with the country of (blank)?" Yeah, hypothetical person, we are, by the way, you sure are asking a lot of questions today. As bad as the idea of hiking in Iraq is, (and boy, is it ever) these three did it one better. Hiking in Iraq, though stupid, is not illegal. You could go do it right now if you wanted to. I myself am planing on going as soon as there's a good Groupon "Getaway" deal on a trip there. They got arrested when they got lost hiking in Iraq and wandered over the border into IRAN. That is where they got arrested. 
     Let's recap: Three Americans go hiking in Iraq, go over the border into Iran and are arrested.   

Good riddance!

Keep em', execute em', make them slave labor, have them fight each other in gladiatorial matches for sport, dress them up like horses and have them race each other. Whatever you want to do with them, leave me out of it.

     I'm the first person to admit that hiking is not my thing in general, however, I am not willing to dismiss the entire activity as useless. There's fresh air, exercise, all sorts of stuff that I personally could spend the rest of my life without, but many people seem to like. This is what gets me, America is one of the relative few countries in the world to have been blessed with some majorly varied geography. You want desert? We got that. You want snow covered mountains? We got that. Marshlands? Sure. Redwood forests? Yup. Rock formations? You betcha'. My point is this: What the hell are you going to Iraq for? There is no reason to do that. None. The reason they were initially arrested is because the Iranian police thought they might be spies. You know what? They damn well better be. There is no other reasonable explanation. If I were an Iranian police officer and I came across three Americans walking around and they told me that they were hiking I'd arrest them so fast their "North Face" labels would spin. That's the worst spy excuse I've ever heard. I don't care if someone tells me that there is good hiking in Iraq. That'd be like finding your married buddy checking out a gay porn film and when asked why he bought it, he says that it's because they have previews at the beginning with hot girls. Even if it is true, there are much better ways to satisfy that urge. Plus, let's say that you find yourself in Iraq and you're an avid hiker. You begin to inquire about going to climb some rocks someplace nearby. Wouldn't your first question be something to the effect of "Hey, tell me which direction Iran is, because the last thing I want to do is get anywhere near that gaggle of nut-jobs. I'll stay here in the palatial opulence that is Iraq, thank you". How do three people do something this stupid? This is the kind of thing that one dude by himself might think is a good idea without the benefit of perspective or anyone to bounce it off of, but THREE? Compared to these people, James Franco in "127 Hours" is Vasco Da-Freakin' Gama. 
     This is the kind of thing that white hippies do so they can brag about it for years to come at their Berkeley food co-op. (The following is intended to be read in you most annoying, effeminate hippie voice you can muster) "You know I was just over there a little while ago and it's actually a beautiful place. The people are so real and wonderful. You really get the feeling that your-... what? No Shiitake? Damn it! I guess I'll take Porcini then. Anyway...". Well, 
I doubt that the organic vegan food selection at the average Iranian hoosegow is that expansive. Only one way to find out, I guess.
    One final thing about this whole pooch-screw and it's my personal favorite thing about it. This is a picture of the two guys:  
Here is the girl:
     Seriously. Besides being the exact people that I look to avoid talking to at parties, these are three DIFFERENT people. This is not the same actor dressed in different clothing for some comedic movie version of this story. They all really look like this. At the very least, the Iranian government should let the girl come over for a few conjugal visits with the guys. 
Is that ok, or is masturbation illegal over there?