What Tax Dollars Are Funding

Robert Booker will spend every day until August, 2027, locked up and surrounded by the sadness that is prison. That is a lot of days to look forward to – quite a bit more than 4,000.   I don’t think I would have the strength to do it. Robert has been doing it for over two decades.

Robert messed up. I have messed up quite a few times in my life. Just never on such a grand scale, but I have messed up all the same. We are near the same age, so I know what things were like in the ‘80’s. I haven’t spoken to Robert personally, but from what I have read, he had a stable life, and could hold down a job.  He was a lifeguard.  I could hold a job down then too, but that didn’t stop me from running in some pretty shady circles. I think Robert saw a way to make some easier money. He was working hard at an honest living, but saw things were much easier and lucrative for some other people. One thing led to another, and he made some really bad choices.

Robert Booker was arrested and eventually sentenced to life without the possibility for parole for a nonviolent crime. He was basically a drug dealer, and from what I have read, the actual crimes were possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and operating a “crack distribution house.” He was busted. The good times were over. Robert Booker took a shortcut in life. He wasn’t a choir boy. He probably didn’t put much thought into it and got into the business of cashing in on people’s addictions. He wasn’t the first to do it, and he won’t be the last. I’ve had friends who did it, and probably a lot of people growing up in that time had friends who did it. They weren’t evil or violent. They were young and stupid.   It wasn’t about malice.

So, Robert Booker could have been a friend of mine. A good soul, with a reckless nature who didn’t really think about the consequences or repercussions of the business he was in – either on his customers or himself. I don’t think any of us are truly fully done developing good sense until we are near thirty years old. Some of us take even longer. A side of me thinks I am not fully developed myself, or I wouldn’t be seeking out all this sadness, because it is putting a heavy weight on my soul.

I have read all the legal back and forth on this one, and it is too much for me to wrap my brain around without a law degree. When it was all said and done, Robert was given a life sentence without the possibility for parole. That was over twenty years ago. By my calculations, this man began his time behind bars in his twenties and is nearly fifty years old right now. Isn’t that enough? For the love of God, isn’t that enough?  In that time I have had four kids and a grandbaby.

I am Robert’s age. There is a lot of common sense that comes by age fifty. He has the common sense thing down, I am sure. He’s good now. Open the doors. There is not one ounce of sense to be made of this. Not one ounce. There is not one politician or judge or prosecutor that can stand in front of me and make ‘this’ make sense. What is being done to Robert Booker is cruel and unusual punishment. Depriving him of the company and touch and words of his friends and loved ones from this moment forward is inexcusable.

And, it doesn’t end there. Taxpayers who don’t even know his name are paying for this disgrace. They don’t even know that their hard earned money is funding the caging of this grown man. For no purpose.   It has become a game. How many years can we tack onto this person or that? How much hard time can we give them? Can we see them die behind bars – won’t that be good for our resume?

No, it doesn’t end there. What of Robert’s kids? His grandkids? The people he can’t touch with his experiences and his hard earned knowledge of what not to do? Robert Booker may not know it yet, but he inspires me. This has got to change because it is not humane. It should be against the law to cage this man for one more minute.

Although all of my research indicated that Robert was sentenced to life without the possibility for parole, my search of his name indicates that he currently has a release date of August, 2027. If that is the case, that isn’t good enough. It may be an improvement over life without parole, but there is not one more day behind bars that is going to ‘rehabilitate’ him anymore. Every second from this day forward is a sin. To keep someone in a miserable, cold cage because people need to continue to argue over the letter of the law to prove some point while wearing their freshly pressed suits is the definition of despicable.

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