The first thing anyone reading this needs to consider is this: Do you feel you NEED a better Las Vegas, a better Clark County, a better community, as far as law enforcement goes? Would you like to feel safer? Would you like to feel that you’d get a fair shake in court?
Would you like to feel that your family and friends would be treated fairly if stopped by the cops? Would you like to feel that regardless of how things go in your life, if you end up in jail and have to face the consequences, that you’d at least be treated like a human being and have your basic human needs met, and have some way to rise above your situation and be able to overcome the thought-patterns that got you there?
No one wants to have to imagine being behind bars. Being a prisoner, without personal freedom, must be one of the worst situations that one might have to face. It’s bad enough when you know deep in your heart that you are guilty and deserve the punishment, however harsh it feels and is, but when you are innocent (or even just “not guilty” of that particular crime), how must that unjust imprisonment feel?
Okay, so fast forward: the trial is over, the punishment is under way, and it will be what it will be. Guilty or innocent, you’re now one of many, in it all together, by yourself. But how you are treated on a daily basis (it might feel as though the whole system wants to punish you over and over, harder and harder, taking away every single bit of human kindness and every little ray of hope for holding onto your sanity and your belief in mankind) is what really matters to every inmate who has to suffer the consequences of the court’s ruling as a result of their own actions or some miscarriage of justice.
I do not personally know how inmates are treated in our local jail or detention facilities. But I believe I can understand how inmates might feel when deprived of something as precious to them as a letter or a book or a visit. I understand the need for not allowing certain items or certain visitors — and once someone is part of the system, there’s no wiggle room for non-compliance — but I often wonder if those who make up the rules realize that they are also creating more inner rage and tension in the inmates, feelings that stay stuffed inside until some little thing sets off the inevitable explosion that screams out, “I can’t take it any more!”
Many years ago, an inmate wrote me that he was so happy that they were going to implement a certain educational program in his facility. It was a little thing that meant so much to him. He looked forward to it for weeks. Then, at the last moment, it was withdrawn, ostensibly because it was one or two inmates short of a full class. Didn’t it ever occur to those in charge that once it got under way, and word got around — as it always does in a prison — that the classroom would be filled to overflowing? Didn’t it ever occur to them that in giving inmates something to look forward to, behavior would likely change for the better in order not to have such privileges taken away? Didn’t it
ever occur to them that they had the opportunity to saturate those “sponges” so eager to soak up whatever was being taught, with useful information that would enable them to become more ready to resume life in “polite” society once again? Or don’t those in authority really care about the concept of “rehabilitation”? (Those of us who will interact with those former inmates care!)
We currently have a certain mentality in our police administration. No doubt if you are a reader of the Las Vegas Tribune, you’ve read about it in many different columns by several different contributors. It seems likely that if we, the voters, do not go out of our way to vote for a different mentality, we’ll get more of the same. But what does
“more of the same” mean? PLEASE read From the desk of Gordon Martines, (starting on the front page of this newspaper). Please also read our Editorial, which is on page 15, if you’re reading it in the “newspaper” format. Please do your research in learning about which particular judges have done what, and what can be expected if they are
re-elected, remembering that one day you might possibly have to go before them. Can we ever know for sure how things will be if this candidate or that one is elected? Of course not! But we can look at the track record of those who have “served” and know what HAS transpired and how they generally rule. That in itself can be an enlightening and eye-opening endeavor.
If even a fraction of what Gordon Martines has written about is true, this town desperately needs a brand new
Hoping is not doing, and hoping is not going to fix anything. For those who really don’t know for whom to vote, let those of us who are educated in such matters (we’ve done our homework) help you. Read everything in this issue pertaining to the candidates. Read about the Radio Tribune endorsements. Read a few back issues of the Las Vegas Tribune. (Have you never read our Mission Statement on the inside cover of our newspaper?) Go to the websites of the candidates. Even if you have to vote by process of elimination, DO IT!
When in doubt, take the advice of someone who knows about the subject under discussion. The Las Vegas Tribune has been unabashed about revealing things you will not find elsewhere. We really, really care about this community and we really, really care about having a better law enforcement agency and administration.
To get THAT, we need to vote it in with a VOTE FOR LARRY BURNS.
With all the challenges this town has, and all the problems with our law enforcement, we desperately need Larry Burns to come to our rescue.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.