Home of the Free?

Check out this headline today on the Huffington Post: "Record-High Ratio of Americans in Prison" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/28/recordhigh-ratio-of-amer_n_89068.html)
"For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America's rank as the world's No. 1 incarcerator."
The report said the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation, far ahead of more populous China with 1.5 million people behind bars. It said the U.S. also is the leader in inmates per capita (750 per 100,000 people), ahead of Russia (628 per 100,000) and other former Soviet bloc nations which round out the Top 10. Four states _ Vermont, Michigan, Oregon and Connecticut _ now spend more on corrections than they do on higher education, the report said.
"These sad facts reflect a very distorted set of national priorities," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, referring to the full report. "Perhaps, if we adequately invested in our children and in education, kids who now grow up to be criminals could become productive workers and taxpayers."

Wow! What does this mean, and more importantly what does this say about us? Here's a startling fact for all of us about this kind of Bizarro World reality. With all of our extravagant incarceration rates, our crime rates are actually higher than most western countries. In addition, it's a statistical fact that in many major U.S. cities, the crime rate has gone down after a decrease in the size of the police force. AFTER! Think about that for a moment before you tuck it into your "Does Not Compute" file. Here's more: with all of our repressive attitudes and laws against sex, our rates of rape, sexual assault and teenage pregnancy are much higher than in other countries where sexual attitudes and laws are more relaxed. (Do we need to be reminded of the microcosm of the Catholic Church and how the oppressive vows of celibacy coincide with absurd levels of sexual acting out by priests? Or how many "Family Values" Republicans have turned out to be pedophiles or closet queens?)

These are not statistical anomalies folks. This is the Law of Attraction at work. Whatever you deny, repress or keep unconscious is what you attract. That's what Shakespeare understood when he had Queen Gertrude decry: "The lady doth protest too much."

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