Escambia County Shit Show

Public Safety in Pensacola is purely a fictitious concept. EMS, Fire and the Sheriff’s Office are in a tattered state of being. No one is truly safe. Between crooked deputies, the tentative fire department hierarchy and untrained and certified EMS, I pray for the citizens of my beloved hometown. It is truly sad to see such a vibrant and dynamic city (county) become equivalent to Detroit (Wayne County), Michigan or Baltimore, Maryland, cities run into the ground by its own governance.

While this sort of inward breakdown is frequently seen in international cities struggling with regime change or some sort of cataclysmic, covert act that throws the government into chaos, these few US cities have found loopholes to the checks and balances in place to prevent this type of chaos. Their steadfast manipulations have made the cities in precarious straits. It’s not just abandonment of fiduciary duties, it is abuse of staff, misdirection of actual events, and blind eyes being turned towards these behaviors by colleagues and political alliances. It has taken years for the cities to fall into this anarchy and thus it will take years to repair.

Surgically removing individuals that are the source of the bedlam, like Kwami Kilpatrick in Detroit (whose every connection within the local agency was self serving and against the interest of his constituency), is the prudent and most expedient way to handle these situations without the cities caving in. However, sometimes removing the causal or most contaminating force such as Kilpatrick, isn’t enough. Time has shown that this strategy wasn’t the most pragmatic way to handle that local corruption, especially in Detroit, because the support staff and remaining government outside the mayor’s office, had adopted a mindset that showed that there unable to proceed ethically and legitimately. To this day, Kwami is nevertheless considered a martyr in many circles, politically and otherwise. He maintains support and backers who have never seen the depravity and deterioration done and they don’t know what he did wrong. Unfortunately, it is my belief, this is the case in Escambia County.

What is the answer? I don’t know. That is for brains bigger than mine. But it is an emergency situation, where NO locals can fix the problems set in place over the last few years. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but when I started talking to people and heard about the political favors and backroom deals, I called it corruption and EVERY ONE I talked to would immediately say, “no, it’s not corruption; it’s just people doing “favors””. I would say, “so it’s corruption”, because that is the definition of corruption, going outside the laws and policies/procedures to do “favors” for personal, professional, or political gain. THAT IS CORRUPTION, even if these “favors” are seemingly, benignly done, at first.

The hiring of Janice Kilgore and Janice Gilley were opportunities missed to correct some of the persistent issues within the county. They were hired because they knew the people and issues. They can seamlessly be shifted into positions. But those things that make them good, immediate answers are the things that make them the exact wrong people for those jobs. Yes, hiring from the outside will take more time and there will be a learning period for whoever comes in but that time in choosing qualified outsiders is also an investment into anti-corruption measures for the future. Right now, the county is in the same position of scramble they historically find themselves in, just prior to or after a colossal uproar which will inevitably happen. Same cycle, different day. People who do not heed history are destined to repeat it and we are in for that one more time.

The most dangerous but most reliable way to handle the problems at hand today, is what I assume Governor DeSantis will be forced to do, purge all the constitutional officers and bring in people from the outside, with an absolute clean slate of support staff from other counties within the state. Each resignation, firing and investigation into the various essential departments will insure that DeSantis will be forced to intervene.

An Analysis of the Criminal Justice System; My Rant

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Throughout history, the lawmakers and lawbreakers have been engaged in a sort of tango in the dance hall that is politics and legalism. Each plays a role in American society today.  However, there are factors that affect and temper the rules that the lawmakers and lawbreakers each define. The Declaration of Independence states, “all men are created equal”.  The American justice system’s states all men are not treated equal.

The American justice system can be called many things, but fair and equal justice simply does not exist.  While most of the country goes to sleep at night believing that, the guilty go to jail and the innocents are exonerated, the reality is that the American justice system does not wear these same rose colored glasses.  The laws and lawmakers cherry pick the people to make examples of by tailoring and punishing laws that preclude themselves. Gender, race and class are weapons that are used to do just that.

The contradictions of crime, law and justice in contemporary America are evident in this day and age by merely watching a newscast or reading an article on modern day issues.  The powers that be in America, the elected officials, litigators, and judiciary have an apparent sliding scale on measuring guilt, guiltlessness and criminality. Justice is not equally distributed in American society.  The lawmakers get “tough on crime” every election, but only “street crime” is addressed in the “tough on crime” campaigns.  White-collar crime has a very comfortable place out of reach of the long arm of the law.

Social deviants who are indifferent to society and the repercussions of their actions commit crime, right?  But who are criminals? Criminals are defined as the people who commit acts against their fellow man and/or society.  They should be caged and punished. What if you are Edward Lee Elmore and are convicted for committing a crime that you did not commit and being innocent is not enough to overturn a malicious prosecution? According to the New York Times article, “When Innocence Isn’t Enough” of March 2, 2012, by Raymond Bonner, evidence that could exonerate Mr. Elmore was not enough to get a re-trial or his release.  Innocence is simply not enough.  Mr. Elmore is the stereotypical criminal that society wants behind bars.  His education is low; he is indigent. Because of these factors, he was kept imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.  While justice finally did arrive and he was eventually released, it was a begrudging act. Mr. Elmore’s real crime was his socioeconomic class. 

Yet there has been no effective prosecution of the major banking corporations that caused the economic collapse of 2008.  Egregious fraud, misappropriation, inflated CEO bonuses while corporations shafted stockholders, have been undeniably prevalent and common place in the America but no successful prosecution has happened.  Events that were the basis of a significant increase in crime and criminals as a means of survival, snowballing into economic disaster for millions of Americans go unprosecuted.  In our society, Mr. Elmore is the criminal, the CEO’s de jour are not.

Robert Hare, an expert of psychopathology, applies a checklist he has compiled to help diagnose psychopathological tendencies to corporations.  His findings were intriguing.  “..they are irresponsible by putting others at risk; manipulative of everything, including public opinion; lack empathy for others and are unable to feel remorse; refuse to accept responsibility; and relate to others superficially The standards that define criminality do not apply equally to all people and all businesses.  The scale is tipped by corporate lobbyists and government deregulation to facilitate business as usual on Wall Street. If such atrocious actions were taken by a gunman in downtown Detroit, the question of whether to arrest or punish him would be a “no brainer”. Yet we do anything but punish corporations.   It is not on in the American government’s best interest to see Wall Street collapse.  The Wall Street-Washington Corridor is a superhighway of crossover interests. 

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Although the Declaration of Independence, seems to empower a government “for the people, by the people”, the American Justice system disagrees.  America has turned into an oligarchy with competing self-interests that result in the exploitation of the country.  Equality and fairness is legislated now.  Poverty is criminalized.  Criminals should not be on the street, yet they are not all punished.  This contradiction is the first pebble in the crumbling of the America created by the Founding Fathers.