terrorism and heroin

So the front page of the Chronicle today has a rather nasty article about the driver of the truck that exploded on the freeway over the weekend. They drone on and on about how he was convicted of heroin possession in 1996.

Which, to me, has absolutely nothing to do with why or how he caused this accident. I mean, this is a man who was busted for a non-violent offense over a decade ago and has since been working with a Christian charity and was holding a good job and trying to support his kids. And he made a mistake. A disastrous terrible mistake which is going to screw up traffic around here for months. But he didn’t kill anyone. It’s just traffic. An inconvenience. Oh god. People traveling to their town homes in Walnut Creek are going to have to drive through West Oakland for two miles! The horror!

The fact that the press is obsessed (today at least) with Mr. Mosqueda’s background is testament to the fact that we can’t let ex-cons become anything more than ex-cons. We’re all so terrified of crimes (particularly crimes committed by people of color) that we’re unable to Let. It. Go. Is it any wonder that there’s such a high recidivism rate in this state when we criminalize people even after they’ve paid for their crime?

(You’ll note, of course, that I’m talking about a minor drug possession. This guy wasn’t locked up for killing anyone or raping anyone or kidnap or terrorism or stealing a car or even for the intent to sell his heroin. But for simply having some drugs. And for that the witch hunt has begun!)

On a similar note, there were all sorts of people talking about how this event shows just how vulnerable we are to a terrorist attack. I even read some nimrod who said that “this will give terrorists ideas!” Give. Me. A. Freakin’. Break. This will give them ideas? This will give ideas to people who hijacked four airplanes with box cutters and flew two of them into the middle of Manhattan? I hate to be the barer of bad news, folks. They already got ideas. And I’m sure they had this one before 4 a.m. on Sunday morning.

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