One breath of consideration…

View Justice on Amazon

My new book Justice starts with the following first sentence: “Sympathy shines the only light in the dark impassable tunnels constructed between all of us.”

Being a work of fiction, after that preface, I cannot stand by any of the other statements or claims in the book. Instead, Justice might more reveal what a person in that dark, dark, dark tunnel would feel or believe as they tragically fail to make use of that one light.

Nonetheless, in the theme of that darkness, one character describes what the act of one human slowing choosing to strangle another would entail: “All it would have taken is one moment–one moment–of indecision. One breath. Literally, one breath. One breath of consideration…”

We all have that choice to make. We can give into our moralizing anger, our self-righteous destructiveness, our overpowering fears. We can distract ourselves with hate as we seek to punish. We can self-medicate with our indulgences, whether it is alcohol, gambling, overeating, television, compulsive shopping, gossiping. We can and often do much of that, all while we continue to neglect those in need of our sympathy, all while we try to invent some imaginary thing that could justify it all. But light doesn’t need justification. Justification–justice–is the symptom of the dark.

Unlike in the drama of fiction, it’s not necessarily only those nearest, both emotionally and physically, who we neglect.

Over 3 million children under 5 years of age starve to death each year.

Shall we give them a breath of consideration?

Even just one life-saving breath?

What about the millions of nonviolent human beings rotting in cages? Do we have a second breath for them? Well, I suppose we need to take the first before we have the option to do the second.

We aren’t characters in a dark dramatic story. We can turn towards the light. We do not have to sit in the lonely dark and self-medicate our misery. We don’t have to neglect starving children and hide our guilt. We don’t have to neglect those that could be given our sympathy, both near and far to us, and accept an angry, vengeful, and self-medicating existence. We don’t have to be so lonely, and we don’t have to fear the light.

We don’t have to think like my characters in Justice.

We can do better.

Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.

JUSTICE IS OUT! Over 30% of sales today go to charity!

Justice is out on Kindle! Buy from Amazon now!

You do not need a Kindle. You can read it on any smartphone, tablet, or computer with the Free Kindle App.

$1 of every copy sold on release day (Friday, May 6) will be donated to the charity Reach Out and Read. That’s ONE DAY ONLY. So Buy from Amazon now!

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Most Inmates Are Mentally Ill

In a previous post, “Guilty until proven innocent, or innocent until proven guilty…”, it was revealed that most people in jail have not been convicted but are guilty only of being too poor to afford bail, with most of their unproven charges being for nonviolent offenses anyway.

Further investigation reveals that these nonviolent people being tossed in cells are not only poor but often mentally ill. Incidentally, I would hypothesize this second revelation is in large part explained by a correlation between mental illness and poverty.

Types of Mental Issues Among State and Federal Inmates

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics 2007 /Urban Institute
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics 2007 /Urban Institute

Percent of Inmates Who Have Mental or Mood Issues

James and Glaze 2006/Urban Institute
James and Glaze 2006/Urban Institute

What do you think?

What do you think? Are prisons an expensive and ineffective way to deal with mental illness? Why or why not?

Is it possible the politicians and policymakers intentionally choose the more expensive and less effective option because that means more government spending going to the special interests who receive the government spending and then return the funds in the form of campaign contributions? Is it possible that this explains why there are 18,000 children starving to death every single day, why there are millions of working poor in the USA, and why it seems like the policies of government are hurting more than they are helping? Comment now

Is this offensive?

I believe I fully support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. (Cue Macklemore’s song “White Privilege” to explain why I don’t want to pat myself on the back too vigorously here.)

I agree that those who try to switch it with or even criticize it with “#AllLivesMatter” are being very offensive in the same way–to paraphrase Arthur Chu–it would be offensive to run through a cancer fundraiser screaming “There are other diseases too!” or crash strangers’ funerals and shout, “I too have felt loss!”

However, I think the below picture is heartwarming. To me, the below picture isn’t crashing someone else’s thing to minimize that someone else’s unique troubles with broad generalities; Rather, the below picture seems to me a true reflection of this girl’s personal unique love and fears. To use the analogy above, this is this girl’s own personal figurative fundraiser for her own personal figurative disease. That’s what it seems like to me.

Of course, offense is not a logic but a subjective feeling. There is no right or wrong with offense. Either something makes you feel it, or it doesn’t. It’s not the same for everyone, and that’s fine.

What do you think? Respond now.

Well, someone reported my daughter’s photo as offensive! Since when is a picture of a child and her mother in uniform with Her Life Matters displayed on it offensive? In what way? So I will repost the picture she felt so proud of
– Missy Hall, public Facebook post

What do you think? Respond now.

My Additional Comments (feel free to skip) with random links to my upcoming book:

I am myself quick to criticize the profession of policing in a country with over 2 million human beings incarcerated, mostly with only nonviolent charges and many being innocent of even those charges. That’s not even to mention the obvious racism and collateral damage in the destruction of families via this violent–and often deadly–war on nonviolent people.

However, with that said, it’s a mistake to hate all cops just as it is mistake to hate all criminals or even hate people because of their race. It is a mistake to blame some not all. Cop-hatred just like all hate is–I believe–merely projection by people who buy shoes made by child slaves, or who repress guilt about their own imperfect parenting, or who purchase jewelry and perfume instead of donating to charity, or who kill themselves with cigarettes, alcohol, or overeating instead of doing what would really make them happy which surely is to make the world a better place.

It does not matter your profession or race. If you–or I–are looking to point fingers at the guilty, we need to find a mirror.

There is never going to be a justification for hatred. All human suffering is inherently unjustified.

Those of us who genuinely want to work to fight the systemic and often state-sponsored violent racism in our society would undermine our own cause by supporting divisive irrational hatred.

That’s why, for as much as I criticize the system, I am happy to share this picture and spread that little girl’s love for her mom.


Guilty until proven innocent, or innocent until proven guilty–Which do you want?

An article in the New York Review of Books points out that more than 95% of inmates in the USA do not get a trial.

That is because of the widespread use of plea bargins.

Even that percentage under addresses the state of affairs because it deals with how cases are ultimately resoled. As a Washington Post article reports, 64 percent of the total jail population has not even been convicted by plea bargain yet. These human beings are in jail with merely pending charges, 3/4ths of which are for non-violent offenses, because they cannot afford bail.

What do you think? Do you think the current system in the United States is treating people as guilty until proven innocent or as innocent until proven guilty?

Which do you want? Do you want a criminal justice system that treats people as guilty until proven innocent or as innocent until proven guilty?

Would you rather see the billions of dollars spent jailing people–who aren’t convicted of any crime and who aren’t even charged with a violent crime–put towards sometimes else such as towards providing food to hungry children or towards lower taxes for the millions of working poor in the United States? Why or why not?

I’m really asking. Please Respond now. 🙂

And, if you like my writing, please sign up (free to do) to be notified of the release of my upcoming book, Justice.