Guilty by association and ignorance.
I had not planned on blogging tonight, but with the Spurs getting spanked in Orlando, and the NIT games on, I figured I might as well blog one out, since the NCAA Tournament starts in full swing tomorrow.
I want to talk a minute about a situation I read on a site earlier today, something that kinda got me a little miffed. Tonight I was reading a post from a person who was concerned about a situation and needed advice. This is a prison issue so it fits with my blog.
The lady says that she went to visit her loved one (can’t remember if it was her son, boyfriend or husband), and before the visit, the prison turned her away because the sniffing dogs seemed to have detected something on her. She says this is the second time this has happened, and she does not know what to do. She was asking advice from the members on the prison support site.
I read the responses and they varied from the idea that maybe it was something in the seat from a past passenger that might have taken drugs to maybe something she touched, from money or anything like that. I read I think the 5 or so comments and I said to myself, “what is going on here?”
Something burned inside me to get on the site and make my comment, and I started out by saying something like, “I’m going to go in a different direction here”. You see, none of the previous comments tried to DEFEND HER! The lady said that she does not take drugs, she does not understand why she is being turned away from some sniffing dog, and wants to know what to do. Yet all I saw was people co-signing on the negative, nobody was trying to find a solution.
This is the problem with prison support sites, so few people have the guts to speak in the affirmative, and are by default geared to talk from the guilty perspective, without even considering if the person is guilty. Did anybody ever think about that?
This really pisses me off, when people on prison support sites make comments that seem to validate that the person is wrong, and that is just the way it is, rather than trying to identify IF the person is wrong. Heaven forbid if the person wasn’t guilty, I mean, we all know that everybody related to any ex felons are convicts themselves!
I wanted to go deep in that discussion, but I talked about a few things, and resolved to talk it out on my blog. That way I can say what I want, and if the site does not like it, fine.
So let’s discuss this for a minute. This lady says that she has been rejected twice because of a sniffing dog, but does not take drugs. What should she do?
First things first, ASSUME SHE IS INNOCENT!
Why? Because she said so. When people on sites fail to even consider this, they are only creating a pit of despair, because their answers are not based on proper thinking. We have to first assume that she is innocent.
I mean, because if she WASN’T and if that dog did indeed detect drugs on her, the could have been arrested, right?
So let’s start from the point she got to the prison, and was searched by the sniffing dog. What is the protocol for such searches? I am not arguing that a drug dog would be there, I am arguing what validates what he or she finds. Who determines that if the dog is sniffing for something that she is guilty? Who validates that the sniffing dog is even properly trained?
Folks, just because you got a dog sniffing around your body does not mean it knows what the hell it is looking for. If you had a hot dog before you got there, it might be sniffing onions. It could be the perfume she wore, it could be cigarette smoke from someone else or her own self. It could be ANYTHING that is still legal.
If the dog finds something that might seem suspicious, then the prison has a right to ask for a pat down or to search your belongings. You are on their turf, you have to play by their rules. But to reject you from a visit has to have more validation than just what you think a dog smelled.
Do you understand how twisted this can get? A prison, under such vague rules, can virtually refuse your visit for any reason, without merit. A dog’s natural action is to sniff and smell everything, you don’t have to be a dog owner to know this. If the prison guard does not know what the dog has identified, how can he punish a civilian with no just cause? This is exactly what is happening at this prison, if what she is saying is true.
If you are going to lose your visit, there MUST be something more substantial than “the dog smelled something on you”. I am sure the dog had to smell something on her. Anything from deodorant, perfume, food eaten a few hours ago, breath mints, gum, natural body oil, there are a number of things the human body can have lingering on itself, or our clothes. You have to identify what the suspicion is, and prove that.
If the guards smelled alcohol on her breath, they can turn her away. If they smelled a faint trace of marijuana, they can ban her. If in a search of her purse or pockets they find cigarettes or any contraband, they can ban her. But they have to find something, or have a STRONG belief that she has something, or has taken something.
The problem with this accusation is that if this goes in her loved one’s inmate jacket, it could easily prevent her from EVER having a visit…believe me folks, it can happen. I helped a lady a couple of years ago for something similar to this. All it takes is for the officer to refuse the lady because he “thinks” she had drugs, and for it to magically change in that inmate folder to “she DID have drugs”.
Now a lot of you read this and you might think I am going a bit too far, maybe she was guilty in some sort. Maybe the dog did catch a scent of some drugs on her, and maybe she is lying, or twisting the trust to gain false support.
On what grounds are you basing this on? Maybe its because many people are too damn lazy to look at the other side of the story, and too stupid to just follow the condemnation train.
This really ticks me off, because to each person that responded, there was little to no help that MAYBE the prison was wrong. Did you ever think of that? Is it possible that MAYBE the prison was wrong, that the dog wasn’t catching any scent to warrant them to refuse her a visit? There is just something very wicked in how that prison conducts these so called searches.
Somebody should have told that lady to contact the prison, ask questions, get info as to the protocol of drug dogs and searches, and ask why she has been refused twice from a visit. I am willing to bet all my video games that the prison is not going by proper procedure.
So I wrote a short comment on it, disappointed that many of the people that responded didn’t give this lady the benefit of the doubt, just quickly assumed the she…or somebody she knows, is using drugs. If it was me, I would be disappointed in all those answers. Personally, I don’t do drugs, nor any of my close friends, so if this happened to ME, I would not be encouraged by the condemning advice those people gave. If that is true for her, do you REALLY think she is getting good advice?
One of the most foolish things we do as humans is we are more apt to ally on condemnation rather than grace. And when it comes to ex felons, most people are not too willing to give the benefit of the doubt. I had an issue with some jerk a few years ago when I talked about my situation with a “Christian” station, and how they treated me. This jerk emailed me as accused me of not “telling it all”. She said, “why is it that ex felons and inmates always assume that when things go wrong, its not their fault”.
This idiot had been reading my blogs for a few weeks at the time, but yet she opted to assume that I was lying about my situation, because we all know that no Christian would do wrong, so it had to have been all my fault.. I mean, me getting paid $3 an hour by a Christian radio station had to been my fault…I only have a B.S in Radio and Television.
Me getting fired was obviously MY fault, after all, I should have worked even MORE hours for the pennies I was getting. And of course, the church lying to the Department of Labor about my employment was of course MY fault, I should have agreed with them when they said I was not an employee, but rather a volunteer, when they were paying me with checks (which sometimes BOUNCED).
So yeah, I am guilty of something, as that bonehead accused me of When you figure out what I was really guilty of, you let me know.
But this is the nature of people, we often times side on fault, and go with that. Those people never thought about IF the lady was guilty, even when she said she was not. They didn’t think about contacting the prison or fighting for the right to see her loved one. All they could talk about was how somehow, some way, it was HER fault…or somebody she knows.
Folks…this is NOT the way to support one another. Its like heaving hot coals on somebody with gasoline jeans on. I didn’t like it, and I lost a little respect for this site. People looking for help don’t need folks to slap them across the face, they need an embrace and the hope that somehow, someway, things can get better.
Anyway, I am through talking about this, I better take it easy. Remember to email me and ask how you can support my blogs, or ask about other prison issues. Until then…