Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage. These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that. Even though there are many more which I can't include. 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."
So, first a story which seems to be more a tale of institutional stupidity than a tale of institutional evil. Not that there isn't evil in it – just not institutional evil. It happened in Oregon, mostly, although the perp seems to have been all over the coast at one time or another. The Malheur Enterprise gives enough detail for someone with the talent of, say, Raymond Chandler to write a novel, but the crux of the story boils down to
Available records establish that Montwheeler ran a medical con for 20 years, insisting to a string of state psychiatrists and psychologists that he was mentally ill.
He did so to evade state prison, where he would be sent if he was convicted of kidnapping his first wife and son in Baker City in 1996. Because he was found to be guilty but insane, he was treated as a patient instead of a convict.
He later testified that his insanity gambit allowed him to live off the public. He cost taxpayers millions for hospitalization and housing expenses as he moved around rural Oregon, working odd jobs and committing one crime after another – all while under the state’s supervision….
The case points to a gap in the legal system. There is no provision – no consequences — for what to do with someone who fakes a mental illness after criminal conduct.
On December 7, 2016, Montwheeler went before the Psychiatric Security Review Board and spun out his tale of how he had duped the system. Although state psychologist warned the board that "His risk of violence would be high and it would be most likely to target his intimate partner or other family member,” he was allowed to walk free. A month later, he kidnapped and killed his ex-wife, and, fleeing in his pickup, collided with and killed another driver, and injured his passenger, who was the driver's wife.
Montwheeler is currently sitting in the Malheur County Jail, charged with aggravated murder, assault, and kidnapping; possibly facing the death penalty. His attorney says he will plead insanity.
Alecto, I am amazed that Oregon even has a method of dealing with the mentally ill who commit crimes that doesn't involve the modern equivalent of an oubliette. Every state should have such a method, but this case is not likely to encourage any other state to do so, and it may hurt Oregon. Before addressing what needs to be done here, you need to listen to TomCat's advice. But certainly I would think that poor Malheur County has suffered enough from scofflaws in the past couple of years. Please help.
Moving on to Florida, it of course is not news that Governor Rick Scott would probably be improved as a human being were he to be chained to a rock and have his liver eaten, but when the New York Times actually uses the word "Vengeful" in a headline, the story stands out.
State Attorney Aramis D. Ayala, who carries the distinction of being Florida's forst elected prosecutor of color, and who serves an area stretching from Orlando to Kissimmee, recently announced that she would no longer seek the death penalty, because it was not in the best interests of her jurisdiction. In addition to the facts that it does not deter crime, nor does it protect police officers, she observed that
it often leads to protracted appeals, and rarely delivers closure to the victim’s family. “Punishment is most effective when it happens consistently and swiftly,” she said. “Neither describe the death penalty in this state.”
So, of course, Governor Scott reassigned, by executive order, a total of 22 cases which might qualify for the death penalty to other prosecutors, a step which may well be illegal, but is certainly immoral, sending, as it does, "a dangerous message to prosecutors in Florida that politics will supersede their discretion."
Tisiphone, this would appear to be right up your street. Best of luck.
Lastly, for this week anyway, I trust everyone remembers Kris Kobach, Kansas's Secretary of State for Voter Suppression and BFF of Ted Nugent, who first showed up in my column last September, and subsequently has been tapped (unofficially, I stress) by the Dolt.45 administration to make immigration policy. (Unofficially – apparently even THIS administration does not want to be officially seen with him. And for good reason.)
Kobach met with Schmuck à l'Orange last year on November 20, and was photographed with him carrying a folder with a memo showing. The resolution of the photos was so good that blowing them up showed not only the title of the memo ("Department of Homeland Security: Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days") but also that it included "proposals for registration of citizens of high-risk countries, extreme vetting of foreign visitors, a ban on Syrian refugees, deporting aliens charged with crimes (apparently without regard to whether they've been convicted) and building a border wall with Mexico."
Currently, there is a lawsuit in progress, the plaintiffs of which are challenging Kansas's proof of citizenship requirements for those registering to vote. These plaintiffs have requested a complete copy of this document. Kobach is claiming executive privilege.
Magistrate Judge James O'Hara issued an order Wednesday requiring Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to give the court a copy of the memo he took into a meeting with Trump at the president’s Bedminster, N.J., golf club last November….
O'Hara noted that Kobach has claimed that "the photographed document is protected by the executive privilege." The magistrate termed the question of whether it is should be subject to discovery in the lawsuit "a very close call" and he said he'd address the privilege claim after looking at the memo to see if it has potential relevance to the suit.
Megaera, I hope you can get this document swiftly into the hands of Magistrate Judge O'Hara – and let's see where it goes from there.
The Furies and I will be back.
Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4046511