Making Bloomberg Look Good

by Mike Powers

Whether you're Red or Blue, I think we can all pretty much agree on the fact that New York Mayor, Mike Bloomberg's, failure to take the President's and the experts' warnings seriously and start the shelter in place warnings earlier than he did has caused the loss of thousands of unnecessary lives during this Wuhan Flu outbreak. In fact, well into March, the Mayor and his allies can be seen and heard telling New York residents that it was perfectly okay to go eat dinner in China Town and continue in all of their normal activities like gearing up for the beginning of the season for the best baseball team in the history of the sport. (I just had to get that in here, as long as I was on the subject of New York.) In fact, compared to the way L.A. and California have handled their business out there, I think it's safe to say NYC had an epic fail. But, fear not, Mayor Bloomberg. At least you'll be able to say in those hallgyon days of remembrance, "At least we did better than the Texas Department of Criminal Justice."

Even as Governor Abbot was trying to issue orders and guidelines for containing the outbreak in Texas, the TDCJ went right on about its business and did little, if anything, to prepare. The results of their inaction are just now star- ting to become apparent as the number of positive cases behind the razor wire state-wide continues to grow. And because of the inevitable close proximity of 200,000 prisoners warehoused in these walls, it is likely that the spread will be wide and deadly in here, and that it will likely be worse in here than for the public in general. Given the things I've seen these last almost-fifteen years, I don't think it's a stretch to say that killing off the oldest, most medically vulnerable, of the inmate population was a-significant factor in the decision-making process.

Time and time again, the TDCJ has shown that the budget, as opposed to any other consideration, is the key factor behind most of their decisions. Sadly, when they are doing this, they hide behind a veneer of security excuses, and people with the same mindset I used to have in the pre-prison days but whatever it is they tell the public and dismiss any complaints from those imprisoned. I admit that it is all too easy to do that, and, unfortunately, history has shown that certain inmates in league with leftists and their agenda were willing to provide a narrative that wasn't all together accurate, but just as often, the alarm bells raised behind the walls and publicized inside the courts have proven mostly true. After all, twenty years of oversight by the Federal Government didn't arise out of Mr. Ruiz's false accusations. They were carefully investigated and substantiated. And then, when the fed finally took their Foot off the TDCJ's neck, look what happened- they went right back to their old ways. In fact, I think the only thing they haven't brought back out of all the craziness that was going on when the prison system was violently out of control in the 80s and 90s are the turnkeys, and I believe that's only because there are enough "old-schools" around to remember how bad the empowered inmates were and how endangered they were when the feds took their keys away. Many of these villains lost their lives, and considering how miserable- maybe even deadly- they made the lives of others, it's no wonder. They were the ones either, best case scenario, standing idly by while inmates were brutalized or beaten by officers or fellow inmates, or, worst-case scenario, perpetrating the violence themselves. So, please don't dismiss out of hand the possibility that the slow response to the virus in the prisons was intentional.

What would be the motive of such a despicable act, you ask? Like I said, money is always the chief motivation behind the actions of the TDCJ. So many of the victims of this virus who have lost their lives are either elderly or chronic- ally sick or both. These vulnerable people are already costing the state a lot of dollars in medical expenses including treatment for their preexisting conditions, money for their medications, and expenses in transportations or security that has to be specialized for their care. I think the powers- that-be would rather pay for the costs of treating someone with the virus than continue to pay for their heart problems, cancer or diabetes. In the meantime, the young and the relatively healthy will recover quickly and won't tax the bottom line too much. This is, of course, unbelievable conduct, but is it any more unbelievable than chaining a man to a post and depriving him of shade, water and food for 24 hours? Is it more unbelievable than wagering on the outcome of fights between sightless inmates? More so than the warden and the major taking a troublesome inmate "down to the river" to stage an escape and shoot him? Because all of these things are documented facts, patterns of behavior established by incontrovertible evidence in the courts, some of them occurring AFTER the feds released control of the system. So why NOT wait until two weeks after the governor issues his guidelines before (partially) applying them to the prisons? Why NOT keep sticking classrooms full of inmates together in program activities after schools and other public gatherings have been prohibited? Why NOT keep those chain busses moving from unit to unit, even the ones with positive test cases?

When all this craziness is behind us, and we start sorting through the heroes and the villains, I truly hope that a discerning eye is pointed to the response of the TDCJ and the simple ways they could have saved lives.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez