Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cold-blooded justice?

What do you do with a drunken sailor?

1. Put him in the long boat till he's sober...
2. Keep him there and make 'im bale 'er...
3. Shave his belly with a rusty razor...
4. Put him in bed with the captain's daughter...

Things have come a long way since the days of sea shantys. The traditional ways of dealing with drunken behavior was to toss the sod somewhere and let him get sober. Today's more enlightened approach is to criminalize the behavior and let the authorities deal with the problem. Of course we have a different class of drunks now, what with "substance abuse" being the new "drunk" and all. But as in days of yore, we still deal with drunken sailors more harshly than with drunken big shots.

Case in point is a twenty-seven year old quadriplegic drug offender incarcerated for smoking dope.

Magbie, 27, of Mitchellville, was paralyzed from the neck down after being hit by a drunk driver when he was 4. On Sept. 20, 2004, he sat in his mouth-operated wheelchair as D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin sentenced him to 10 days in jail for a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana. He was a first-time offender.

Magbie was taken to the D.C. jail, and within hours he was having difficulty breathing. He was moved to the emergency room at Greater Southeast; the hospital released him to the jail the next day. On Sept. 24, he again was taken to the hospital, where he died that day.

One wonders how he would have faired had he been cut from a different social fabric. And why it took a year and the intervention of the ACLU to get any attention. Those agitators. Always stirrin' somethin' up.
Res ipsa loquitur.
Thanks Jacob, Andrew

No comments: