Mixed metaphors

Posted by Ken Campbell June 15, 2008 0 Comment 579 views

To my way of thinking, the mountains and valleys of the Olympic Peninsula are a monument to freedom, a glimpse of the world at its best and wildest. Each wave that crashes on the Pacific shore, every ancient cedar that stands on some misty, green slope, is a primal force, a link back to when everything was like this. Wild, free, alive, unchained.

There is, however, another side to paradise.

There’s a prison in Clallam Bay and one down near Aberdeen. Another one near Forks and another in Shelton. If you add in all the smaller work farms and minimum security facilities on the peninsula, you’re talking about 6,000 inmates. More or less. Probably more. One thing is for sure: whatever the number is, it’s getting bigger.

The United States has a higher percentage of its population behind bars than any other country. Any other country. Not just England, France and Italy, places where they look like us… we have more in jail than they do in China, or Russia, or Myanmar. It’s right at 2% now, around 3.5 million cons, and the number will only continue to grow.

It is difficult for me to reconcile these two sides to the Olympics. Will it be, someday, in this Land of the Free, that we will have half the people in jail and the other half guarding them? To mix iron bars with freedom is like putting oil and water together.

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