Deep Stupid

by

Hi, everybody.  It’s been a long hiatus.  Hope everyone’s well, and ready for Christmas.

There’s a lot going on right now, news-wise, what with health care reform coming down to the wire and all, and much of the folderol has indeed been deeply stupid, but today’s winner — #1 with a bullet! — is the residents of the state of Michigan.

It’s really not fair to single out Michiganders.  Americans in general are deeply stupid about this.  Michigan just happens to be displaying it at the moment.

Anyway.  Here’s the deal.

In 2003, the state of Michigan convicted Matthew Freeman of sexually assaulting a minor and sentenced him to probation and 10 years on the state’s sex offenders list.  Earlier this year, the police arrested him again, this time for being within 1000 feet of a school — a place persons on the sex offenders list cannot be.  Freeman now faces up to a year in jail, and will be on the sex offenders list until 2028.

Why was Freeman within 1000 feet of the school?  Because he was playing basketball.  In the driveway.  Of his mother’s house.

“Well,” you may say, “he knew the rules.  And he is a pedophile, after all.”

Not so much.

See, the minor he “sexually assaulted” in 2003 was 15.  Freeman was 17.  And her boyfriend.  And, according to her own mother, who’s the one who called the cops in the first place to try to break up her daughter’s relationship with Freeman, the girl was entirely a willing participant in the “sexual assault” Freeman committed upon her.

So now Matthew Freeman is 23, a convicted sex offender, probably about to be convicted of a second crime that labels him a pedophile, and has no high school diploma (though he’s working on his GED).  Try getting ahead in life with that baggage.  Try getting a job (he makes $130 a week).  Try getting an education.  Try getting a mortgage or a small business loan or probably most any other kind of credit.  Try meeting the opposite sex or having children of your own.

What kind of people is Matthew Freeman going to be around for the rest of his life?  People who don’t care that he’s a convicted pedophile, that’s what kind.  Other than his immediate family, who’s that likely to be?  Not the pillars of the community, that’s for sure.  Not anybody you’d list on a resumé or a college application.

In 2028, Matthew Freeman will be 42 years old, and he will have been a registered sex offender for 25 of those years.

Absent herculean effort and some extreme good luck, what’s his life going to look like then?  Not yours or mine.  And for what?  Because blind panic and wishful thinking convinced millions of grown men and women that a 15-year-old high school student couldn’t possibly want to have sex with her boyfriend.  (Meanwhile . . .)

People be deeply, deeply stupid.

3 Responses to “Deep Stupid”

  1. jazzbumpa Says:

    Hey, Urbino –

    Glad you’re back, and with a DEEP STUPID, too!

    While I agree with most everything in your post, I have to wonder what it has to do with the poor, opressed, poverty-stricken people of the mediocre state of Michigan? (Never mind that I am one.*) Wasn’t it bad enought that the Big House in AA was 1/3 full of red-clad Buckeyes on the Saturday before Thanksgiving? (This I saw with mine own eyes.)

    This incident points out numerous problems with what we jokingly refer to as the “criminal justice system” in our country.

    – People get caught up in it who are not criminals. They have no chance.
    – Prosecutors love to prosecute. Actual guilt or innoncence is of very little consequence.
    – Cops love to arrest people. Doesn’t matter why.
    – Who wrote this stupid law, anyway?

    * Full disclosure – I’m a displaced Ohioan.

    Aw, shit,
    JzB the what-the-hell-is-the-matter-with-these-people trombonist

  2. urbino Says:

    Hola, jb. Happy to see you stuck around.

    What it has to do with the poor, oppressed, etc., people of Michigan is: it’s their law, those prosecutors are their prosecutors, and those cops are their cops. Prosecutors and police departments do what makes them popular. Freeman’s situation is an expression of the democratic will of the people of Michigan.

    Like I said, though, Michiganders aren’t unusual in this regard. This case just happens to be getting the notice.

    (Congrats on the big game tickets, btw. That game must be quite an experience.)

  3. jazzbumpa Says:

    I’ll just say that the relationship between government, in all its machinations, and the will of the people grows ever more tenuous.

    So – Yes, let us speak of happier things, like the big game.

    We were tailgating by 9:15 a.m. (for a noon game) with steaks, shrimp on the barbie, Crown Royal and Wolverine Beer – my son-in-law throws a mean tail gate.

    A big van full of Columbus people parked next to us. They hauled out a generator and a 42″ flat screen TV. No kidding. They drove up to AA to tailgate, and watch the game on TV on the lawn of Pioneer High School, across the street from the stadium. Very impressive. We shared the whiskey with them, and they gave us cookies.

    I’m a Buckeye fan, but shared the pain if the locals at that event. Oh, how the mighty wolverines have fallen. And Rich Rodriguez is totally out of his depth. It aint gittin better any time soon.

    This Sunday, we’re going to see the Lions!

    Cheers!
    JzB the extinct animals of Michigan trombonist

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