Friday, September 6, 2013

Things That Make No Sense To Me

I feel like I'm at this point in my life where very little makes sense to me.

Being the highly logical person I am, this troubles me.

I want to be able to seek a reason and find one. I want something to be explainable. I want more than lip service about why things are the way they are.

In my ideal world, everyone else would operate the same way...though clearly that isn't the world we live in because the world we live in is at times highly illogical.

Swear to god, I am really part Vulcan.

My son spends a decent amount of time on the computer. He has to use it for homework almost every day because that is where the assignments are posted, many of which are, in turn, supposed to be submitted electronically. Teach them to exist in a digital world, save the trees, yada yada yada.

I can always tell when he's done working on his actual schoolwork when he starts trolling the internet for his favorite thing ever - memes.

The giggles give him away every time.

If I had to guess, I would say that I have already seen at least 90% of what he comes across. We have a pretty good parental control system set up, and I've seen things on Reddit that can't be unseen, so odds are that whatever he finds, I've already laid my eyes on.

Every so often, though, he finds something that I haven't seen. Yesterday, he found this.

He called me over. Pointed to the screen. Asked me if this was true.

Then he asked me why.

I didn't have an answer that made sense to him, mostly because I don't have an answer than makes sense to me.

I'm not naive about the vast differences in how prisons and schools are funded around the nation. I know that we are collectively investing huge amounts of money on keeping people behind bars. I know that our schools are woefully underfunded in general, left to scrounge for temporary grants and beg for boxtop money, faced with looming budget cuts and stubborn taxpayers who refuse to authorize property tax increases.

Every state is a little different, but I'd venture a guess that they all spend more on prisoners than students, some states obviously more so than others. This chart is from Michigan, but there are 49 other charts out there somewhere with similar data.

It's one thing to know about the way our states spend their money in an objective sense, it's something else entirely to see it presented like this.

The United States has been putting more and more of it's people in prison and keeping them there longer. The war on drugs has turned into a booming business for the prisons. In many parts of the country, we're even contracting out the business of jail-making to private companies now.

Do you truly believe that humans in this country have become that much more violent? If you assume that is the reason for the dramatic increase, you'd be wrong. The numbers have spiked because of longer mandatory minimum sentencing, because of three strikes type laws, because of increasing jail time for non-violent drug offenses and many other reasons too numerous and complicated to go into here.

Suffice to say, we're doing something wrong.

Maybe if we shifted our priorities, maybe if we expended our financial energy on preparing children to be responsible members of society, maybe if we worried more about preparing them for the future than punishing them down the road when things go wrong, we wouldn't be in this situation.

Maybe if those in office understood the basic laws of cause and effect, we wouldn't be in this situation.

Maybe I wouldn't have to try to explain images like that one to a 12 year old.

He's smart enough to know it's wrong.

The adults need to figure that out too.


  1. Because public education isn't for profit, and more often than not lately, incarceration is.

  2. I love that you wrote this.
    I have a guy I exchange emails with when he's able to get to a computer. He came to my blog while googling things having to do with food insecurity and poverty. He uses a computer at a library and has limited time, which is sad because this man needs to write a guest post for my blog. He did time in prison. Now that he is a "free" man, he's incredibly frustrated and disillusioned with life right now. In prison, he not only had full meals but worked in a gorgeous organic garden that served the prisoners. Now, with his criminal record (drug related), he can't find a decent job that pays a living wage to support himself and his family, let alone health care (which he had in prison,of course).This family is MAJORLY struggling with 3 children , in a poor and dangerous neighborhood,in a poor and dangerous school district....and life is no picnic in prison but this man has to ask himself why there isn't more being done to keep children fed,educated, and healthy, especially when all signs point to the irrefutable fact that children growing up without are more likely to end up in the prison system.

    It's just not right.


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