More incidents which seem to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with. Just as a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."
I ask Megaera to turn her attention with me to the small college town of Prairie View, TX, the home of Prairie View A&M University, which was the alma mater of Sandra Bland, and which had just hired her as a summer program associate, the day she was stopped by a state trooper, ostensibly for failure to signal a lane change.
From some video footage of the event, it appears that the lane change to which the officer was referring in the stop was the change of lane she made because he had gone past her going the opposite direction, turned around, turned on flashers and siren, and appeared to want her to stop, which she did.
Now why might an officer stop a driver for failure to signal a lane change which was at his orders (which appears to be expecting the driver to be psychic)? Well,
Texas has no state income tax, and money for social services must come from somewhere. Gouging people with traffic tickets and criminal convictions is an easy way for the state, counties, and municipalities to collect lots of money.
They do it through a byzantine schedule of fees. The state keeps most of the money, but counties and cities retain a percentage. There’s a $25 “records-management” fee, for instance. A $15 “judicial fund” fee. Fifteen dollars added to each bail-bond payment. The list goes on, with scores of charges. As a former Waller County Justice of the Peace described it, a trivial infraction can rack up charges totaling as much as $500.
The most arbitrary pinch comes from what’s known in Texas as the “Consolidated Court Cost.” Added to a fine, it’s a fixed amount imposed upon everyone who pleads guilty or is convicted of any offense, no matter how small. The fee is $40 for a non-jailable misdemeanor like a traffic ticket, $83 for a higher-level misdemeanor, and $133 for a felony.
Note that the author of this article even says this is grudging, although she spells it "gouging." She refers to the Texas Fair Defense Project, which aims to "challenge policies that jail poor people because they can’t afford bail-bond fees and post-conviction fines and costs."
What I would like is for someone to explain to me how it can be considered profitable to sock poor people with fees and costs which are uncollectable, and therefore end up keeping them in jail, which costs something and brings in nothing. I think they are doing it wrong. Perhaps Megaera should be explaining to the state of Texas exactly how wrong they are doing it. (BTW, Prairie View A&M itself actually gets a lot of what monies they do collect. Ironic, isn't it?)
One thing Alecto is probably used to by now is fraud and hypocrisy from right wing candidates for election and from their election teams. In fact, she is probably as tired of it as I am. But, poor thing, it's her job.
You may remember over the past few weeks Katrina Pierson, the National Spokesperson for the Trump campaign, discussing Trump's ideas for dealing with Muslims, and, when asked if those ideas were not discriminatory, saying "So what? They're Muslims." A real sweetie. She got some more attention in the past few days wearing a necklace made out of bullets – not to bring attention to 90 Americans fatally shot each day; just, apparently, as a fashion statement. Criticized, she responded "Maybe I'll wear a fetus next time."
She did herself, in 2014, run for Congress in Texas in 2014, but her campaign was derailed by revelations that, not only was she once arrested for shoplifting in JC Penney's, but that in 2012 and 2013, while working as a consultant for Ted Cruz's campaign, she had collected at least $11,000.00 in unemployment benefits. Golly gee.
So, you think Trump keeps her around to make himself look honest by comparison? That is also an old, old story.
Tisiphone usually gets the ones that are covered with blood – and this week is no exception. Here's the headline: "Sadistic Cops Make K-9 Maul Unarmed Suicidal Teen – Caught Planning and Celebrating It in Texts," and I'm sorry to say that every word of that is borne out with fact. I'll make the picture small, but it is still ugly, ugly, ugly.
The mother of 18-year-old Jared Lemay of North Port, FL learned that he was about to commit suicide, and called police, presumably to stop this from happening. Instead – the K-9 unit's lead handler texted to another handler to come and join in. "COME GET UR BITE." This handler, you see, was new, and his dog had not yet bitten anyone.
The police entered the garage where the teen, hearing their arrival, had hidden in a trash can. One officer lifted the can lid, saw the teen, repaced the lid, and forcefully pushed over the can so that the teen fell out. At that moment, the new handler sicced the new dog. Jared received injuries to his face and back.
After Jared was taken to the emergency room, another officer texted the new handler "CONGRATS" (for his dog's first bite).
Over a four year period, the K-9 handlers of the North Port Police Department commanded their dogs to attack more than the K-9 handlers of Sarasota, Bradenton, Palmetto, Venice, and Punta Gorda COMBINED.
Charles Mesloh, a former K-9 handler for the Venice Police Department, called Bush’s messages to Dietz “horrifying” and said a serious investigation is warranted.
“This is people deciding in advance deciding how they’re going to hurt someone,” said Mesloh. “In my opinion it should be investigated by the Department of Justice. I have defended agencies accused of civil rights violations in the past, and I have never seen anything that has approached what I have seen in this report.” (emphasis mine)
By the way, although there is never any shortage of material for the Furies, I will not be doing it every week going forward. Maybe I should say, "Because there is no shortage of material." Human beings can only stand so much outrage, and this is an election year.