How many times have we heard news of a shooting somewhere – a school, a theater, a workplace, a military base, a church – and felt shock and disbelief? We feel bad, say a prayer, and move on. I remember seeing the video of the shooting at the church in Charleston for the first time when I got home from work on June 17. I couldn’t sleep that night. I wondered how this could keep happening.
So when the latest shots were fired in Virginia, I was numb. If it’s going to just keep happening – new day, new place, new victims – then why even pay attention? Why become emotionally invested again?
I recently watched Eugene Jarecki’s remarkable documentary, The House I Live In, which is about the American ‘war on drugs’ and the burgeoning prison population it engendered and continues to engender.
Rarely do I find myself murmuring and tsk-tsking during a movie, but this one was highly affecting — an intimate look at how history, racism, economics, and politics have created a system that no one is proud of and no one really likes. Even the cops and prison guards who claim to love their jobs express unease with the human suffering and unbalanced scales of justice that lead to it.
One particular story has stayed with me.
A man named Kevin Ott was found in possession of a small envelope of meth; prior to that he’d been arrested twice, again for possessing small amounts of illegal drugs (meth and marijuana).
He’s been in prison for seventeen years. And he will be there until he dies: Ott is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Because he was a three-time offender, his state’s mandatory sentencing laws required that he be put away for life.
The National Transportation Safety Board voted to recommend lowering the blood-alcohol content to legally drive from .08 to .05. While a American Beverage Institute spokesperson called the move "ludicrous," the NTSB has numbers to back them up. According to NBC News:
The NTSB reports that at .05 BAC, some drivers begin having difficulties with depth perception and other visual functions. At .07, cognitive abilities become impaired.
At .05 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by 39 percent. At .08 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by more than 100 percent.
Read more HERE.
Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., a leading conservative in the Catholic hierarchy who is set to become the next archbishop of San Francisco, was arrested over the weekend for drunken driving and has apologized “for the disgrace I have brought upon the Church and myself.”
Catholic experts said the arrest was not likely to derail Cordileone’s installation, set for Oct. 4, given that it appeared to be an isolated incident and he apologized so quickly and publicly.
Cordileone, 56, was taken into custody Saturday at 12:26 a.m. after San Diego police stopped his vehicle at a DUI checkpoint near the San Diego State University campus. A native of San Diego, he was booked into the county jail on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence and was released later Saturday after posting $2,500 bail.
In a statement on Monday, Cordileone explained that he was having dinner at the home of some friends, along with his 88-year-old mother, who lives near the university. He was driving his mother home after midnight when he was topped by police “and was found to be over the California legal blood alcohol level.”
It's not uncommon to hear of someone arrested for a DUI, but when that driver has a zebra and a macaw with him in the vehicle, we've firmly entered the realm of the strange and unusual.
Jerald Reiter is a farmer and exotic pet owner, who tells the Detroit Free Press, "I ain’t been away from the farm for almost two months because I’ve been planting corn and everything else,’” he said. “So I opened the door, the zebra jumps in, the macaw loves to go for a ride, so we went for a ride.”