A Conversation Worth Having.

I am as tired as anyone else about the world ending because they put a black man who knelt in respectful protest to the flag. I mean, I guess I do not get it. He never was disrespectful to the flag, or country. To say we don’t have real issues that need to be addressed is a lie. We can as a society do better. The justice system is whack. I know police target blacks I have heard it from a former cop that they do. Most inmates in the largest prison population in the world are black. Who has that prison population, yes, the U.S. of A. Greater population than Russia and China combined.

Now I am white and I am not saying white people don’t go through struggles, get killed by cops, or end up in prison. But generally it’s the black kid with the cell phone that was supposedly a gun that ends up on the news. If you drive through impoverished areas in most cities, who lives there? Black people, and why? These are real issues and Kaepernick used his platform to start a conversation that we are all having.

The funny thing is, I have not seen or heard of one black person protesting Kaepernick or Nike. I am sure they exist, but it seems to be all white people. I am white and know a bit about white privilege. I have been given more chances by the justice system than I deserve. I have never been harassed by the police, or asked for ID, or unlawfully searched. I also never grew up in poverty. Now I know a lot of white people have. I am just speaking for myself.

Can we at least just understand, maybe think about the message instead of being so critical. I know they could have put other athletes in the advertisement, but they didn’t, and maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we need to be having this conversation.

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The Backyard Preacher Podcast #129 (Legal Kidnapping)

We live in a country in which it cost more money to imprison someone for a year than it does to send them to college. This is disturbing when the majority of inmates are not exceptional threats to society they are just poor misguided souls in need of change. I also talk about the prison of the mind. Paradise is how you perceive it regardless of where you are at. I hope that you listen with an open mind and be set free today!

Breaking the Cycle

Watching Breaking The Cycle on Netflix and how differently we treat inmates in the United States versus that of Norway as well as a prison in North Dakota which is working on changing their policies on how inmates are treated.
What struck me the most is inmates in Norway are treated like human beings. They did not have cells with bars but private bathrooms and refrigerators in their rooms. This was maximum security by the way.
Why do we handle inmates like animals only for the inmate now to respond like animals in return?  We Americans live in a society of revenge.
Of course if someone does something terrible to you or your family you would not be happy the offender was living in a comfortable, positive, and real rehabilitative environment.  Yes, we should be mad if that is the case.  Yet as one warden said “we are in the business of correction and rehabilitation, not revenge.”
Most inmates in America will be released, they will be your neighbors. Do you want an inmate who is oppressed and treated like an animal? Or do you want a rehabilitated member of society who has the ability to give back?
I think if we want to become a better society, a safe society, and one who cares about people we can start by looking how we treat inmates.
I believe most offenders given the right opportunities will become better people.  The warden from the United States also made good points, he was very sympathetic to the views of the warden from Norway. He stated many inmates return to society with no homes, no jobs, and little hope.
In the United States we create felons for life. Employers do not rush to hire felons many large corporations have strict guidelines against it. Instead the felon is stuck doing menial work, or they go back to crime.  What a waste of talent.
I say this all because it is near to my heart I am a felon. I never have been in prison, but I do face the stigma of being labeled. While it has been over 7 years of trying to develop myself and give back to society I have had to work very hard.  At first no one would hire me. I am thankful I am a veteran and had thousands of dollars for school. I earned a Bachelors, Masters and next year will be working on a Doctorate.  I also have had an amazing support system. My family has been amazing. I have had a powerful drive to get ahead and make a difference in the world. In some ways for me being a felon has created a better me.
This is not the case for most returning inmates. We need to do so much more as a society.  Hopefully I will be in a position to do more myself.