Well, well, well...After roughly 6000 signatures were turned in to stop the Taj Ma Jail in Roane County, the County Commission went a head with the expense of a special moratorium election anyway.
Individually, you can chat with these people and they come across as reasonable folks with a fair percentage of their faculties still intact...well, most of them, anyway...But something happens when you gather them up in the County Commission meeting room. Their collective IQ must drop nearly 30 points or more, because they have the phenominal ability to completely miss the point of what the folks they are supposed to represent are trying to tell them.
More after the jump...
In the run up to the special election to approve $13 million jail bond issue, the Commisioners and their friends were still putting out the same old story, "We have to have spend a ridiculous amount of money on a new high tech jail that's twice as big as anyone can justify outside the doors of a back room...Or nobody will be safe!"
We only have ten or 'leven dangerous prisoners at any one time. The real need is room to lock up the DUI offenders for a couple of nights each, whereupon the citizenry would be a bit safer for forty eight hours.
Now here's one side of a story for you.
An elderly gentleman was driving back from a craft fair after a long day of selling his wares and made the mistake of driving through Kingston. He was on Interstate 40 but it was Kingston, nonetheless, and a local Kingston officer was patrolling I 40 in order to fulfill his charge of keeping the citizens of Kingston safe. (If there's one thing we could do to help Tennessee, it would be to eliminate local police department's ability to patrol the Interstates, nothing but trouble comes of that)
So Charlie is headed home and not speeding or anything but he gets pulled over, yanked out of his truck, roughed up, thrown on the back of his truck, hand cuffed, his wallet taken (with a grand or two in cash), all without his assailant identifying himself or telling Charlie why he was pulled over in the first place.
Later on, the policeman would say that Charlie was "weaving"...Yeah, right! (This policeman turns out to have been terminated from another local police department just a short time prior to being hired by Kingston...Go figure?)
Well, Charlie, who has to use two canes to walk with, is cuffed and lying on the bed of his truck wondering what the hell country he's been twilight zoned into when some other official vehicles roll up to help subdue the "Perp" and, low and behold, one of them recognizes Charlie, who still has not been told what crime he has committed or who these people are. Charlie thinks he's just being robbed, maybe, or that there is some dangerous criminal is on the loose and this is a case of mistaken identity.
"Hey, you're that wood guy, aren't you?" says one of Charlie's assailants.
"*%$##!!!!!!" says Charlie, from his ignominious position on the bed of his truck, as the handcuffs draw blood from his wrists.
"Oh, hey, sorry." says the original black uniform and he hands Charlie back his wallet and tells him to go home. He also handed Charlie a five dollar bill saying that he found it on the ground and it must have "fallen" from Charlie's wallet. Charlie is shaking mad and confused but he goes on home.
The next morning Charlie realizes that his wallet, which had his craft money inside it, is now empty except for a five dollar bill.
The Jail bond referendum lost its special election. 83% of the voters thought it was a dumb idea. For some reason everyone but the enforcement folks and the "County Commissioners want us to take a look at some other needs first, like the three new schools the County needs. Or maybe some place to keep the police.
Charlie went down and talked with the police chief, who sorta said, "Well, sorry, these things happen sometimes." Then they had one of them "Internal Investigations" and went on about their business as usual. The police officer is still employed. The City still has financial difficulties...Charlie has filed a lawsuit...specifying that any proceeds go to the local volunteer Fire Department.
His lawyer says Charlie's gonna win and the City is gonna pay. It doesn't have to be that way, but there you go.
Now don't get me wrong...Kingston, TN and all of Roane County is a damned fine place to live. We just need to wash a little dirty laundry and hang it out on the sunshine.
Here's my feeble contribution to the bird thing:
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