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.
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     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.
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     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.   
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     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.       
WRONG.
WRONG.
WRONG.
     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.
    
 
 
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     Everyone this is Kelly Thomas. Kelly Thomas, this is everyone.


Kelly Thomas is arguably the worst thing to ever happen to the Fullerton Police Department. He's also indicative of a lot of what is wrong with the media in general.
Here's why. 
I'm going to give you the necessary information for you to come to your own conclusion on this hot button issue, however, I am going to give you this information in a fractured order and once you piece all the into together yourself you can come to your own conclusion.
Let's start off with the bad news.
Kelly Thomas was killed by the Fullerton Police Department. 
Why?
Well, he was either vandalizing or trying to break into some cars when two police officers confronted him. He became agitated and physical so four more officers were called. Together, the half-dozen police tasered him several times and beat him severely. He died a few days later at a nearby hospital.

Here's a REALLY graphic photo taken of him in the hospital bed shortly before they pulled the plug on him.
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     Not pretty is it? 
 
    By the way, a brief aside that this picture reminds me of: No matter what happens to me, never let anyone put tampons in my nose.

Anyway, as I already said, six cops beat this guy to death. 
Since this incident the outcry from the public for justice has been a deafening. Protests have flooded the streets, town halls have been overflowing and the local evening news has covered this story every night. Many people have demanded the resignation of the Chief of Police, so many that he is currently on "Medical Leave" in lieu of being muscled out of his position. It's an awful thing that this guy was beaten to death by the cops.....

..... Still, there is something that pisses me off about the public reaction. Several things if you want to know the truth.
     When you watch the news about this story they show you pictures of Kelly Thomas like this:
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     Awww, look at him. He's like Ron Howard meets one of the jerks from Rascal Flats. How did the cops kill somebody as wholesome looking as this?
Answer: They didn't.


Here is a recent photo of Kelly Thomas
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     Thats right, the guy who they have been selling you on the news as one of the supporting characters from the movie "Country Strong" is actually a whole lot more like that crazy homeless guy character from "Aqua Teen Hunger Force".
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     Kelly Thomas was homeless and suffered from schizophrenia. His mind was in an advanced stage of deterioration. It's just as sad that he was beaten to death, however, it's significantly more understandable. If someone has no ability to stop themselves from doing something self-destructive, they may very well just keep pushing back, even if it will literally kill them to do so.
     Here's the part of this story that really sticks in my craw. The ringmaster of this entire media circus has been Kelly Thomas father, Ron Thomas. He's a former police officer who has expressed nothing but outrage. He's effectively turned his son into not just a symbol for homeless people's rights (referring to his death as a "Hate Crime") but into a veritable martyr. In reference to the main police officer who beat his son, Thomas is quoted as saying:
"I want to see him get the death penalty and I'll pull the switch".
So, just to recap, the guy who allowed his 37 year-old schizophrenic son to live on the streets of Fullerton is enraged at his treatment by OTHER people? What a coincidence, because I'm enraged at the way that he was treated by YOU, his own father. As someone who lived their life as a public servant and I'm sure had to deal with many homeless people who were such due to their various mental illnesses, this man should have done everything in his power to keep his own son from joining their ranks. The fact that his son was living on the streets while he had the opportunity to do something about it instantly forfeits any credibility that he has. Anyone else out there protesting the police has a right to do so. Be they a concerned Fullerton resident who feels that their police can't be trusted, an advocate for the treatment of the homeless, someone who worked in a nearby building that he used to hang out in front of looking for vittles, all of these people are fully allowed to protest with infinitely more validity than Ron Thomas. I hope this guy is being insincere and just wants camera time, thats really the best case scenario. Anything else turns him into at best a hypocrite. This man's killers deserve, and will almost certainly get, their day in court for this. When that happens, I really hope to see as little of Ron Thomas on TV as possible. He's not Ron Goldman, he's barely even Hedda Nussbaum.
      This guy is giving dirt-encrusted schizophrenic homeless people from Orange County a bad name.     


I also feel a need, distracting as it may be, to say that if Kelly Thomas had been any race other than caucasian and was beaten to death in the same manner, none of us would have the slightest idea who he was. 
Yeah, I said it.


To summarize,  in a world where this kind of thing happens every day the only person who is getting any kind of public eulogy is getting it from the one guy who I am sure the media should not be giving a soapbox to on this issue.


There is nothing right about this story, not one damn thing.
Of course, what do I know.

'Night.