Off the (campaign) trail

Away from the goofy and madcap planet of Trumpiana, the world continues to spin. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Here’s proof—a quick look at some page two stories:

One

Brian Witham is 45 years old. If you don’t remember the name, he’s the one who devised the plan to rob a credit union in New Britain last year—a plan that went awry before it could be carried out, but not until he’d terrorized some people with guns and a fake bomb. He was arrested and, on February 19, was charged with bank robbery by extortion. Mr. Witham then waived his right to a trial and took a plea bargain—42 years in prison. At least 42.

I don’t claim to know how the legal system works, but I know enough abut basic math to know that his “deal” guarantees room and board until 2058—at which time he will be 87 years old. I know that 70 is the new 50, but I think 87 is still 87. And if this was the end result of the “bargain,” it might be time for a new agent. And Mr. Witham faces other charges in other states, so things could actually get worse. Global warming will raise the sea level above the prison guard towers before he gets out.

He’s not a stranger to prison, that Mr. Witham. After his release in 2008, he went to work for his accomplice in a group called Prisoner Assistant, which purported to offer financial consulting for inmates by helping them to open bank accounts and such. They apparently kept it solvent by using nearly $400,ooo from previous robberies, but when they started to run out of money, hatched this new plan. Maybe Mr. Witham will be able to avail himself of Prisoner Assistant…in 2058…or later

Two

A substitute teacher in South Windsor apparently peppered his students with the n-word recently in a class that was reading “My Folks Don’t Want Me to Talk About Slavery” by Belinda Hurmence, a recent history compiled from the personal accounts of North Carolina slaves. I used the word “peppered” though I really don’t know if sixteen times in one class qualifies. But somebody was counting—apparently the offended student. Now everyone is going to get a strict talking to so that this never happens again. (Yes, I get the irony of the book title and the reaction. I’ll write about it in my next blog: my friends don’t ant me to blog about blogging.)

From here on in the offended’s mother wants to be notified whenever sensitive material will be discussed in a classroom. Considering we all have different flash points at which we’re offended, there could be a lot of notifying going on in South Windsor. But I will say this—if that teacher did not say something to the effect that he was going to be using an offensive term that he also found personally offensive, and if he did not also alert his students as to the history and repugnance of the term, then he was wrong.

Apologies from the superintendent came at lightning speed and with shotgun accuracy, but I can understand that too. What does annoy me is this: the parent also complained that her daughter was called the “n word” on a South Windsor school bus. This is not the fault of the schools, but more the fault of other parents whose personal instruction of their children may be falling short. Maybe if they write “I will not tolerate bigotry in my home” and did it, oh say sixteen times, we wouldn’t have to worry about a repeat performance.

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