Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Strange Case of Hilary T, Or: What Happens When You Really Privatize Something

I'd heard this on Malloy's show a few nights back, and I couldn't believe it. Thanks to Pacific Views, I was able to track it down. It's just as appalling as I thought.

As it turned out, it shone a light on corruption most foul, and paints an object lesson in why, contrary to those who bleat that government would tick along like a clock if we just ran it like a business, privatizing things like–oh, the juvie, for example–is just about the most boneheaded thing a polity can stand by and allow.

Hilary Transue (Hilary T here, because this is quinessential Kafkaesqueness, straight out of The Trial), did one thing, one very minor thing.

She put up a satirical MySpace page mocking her assistant principal.

No big whoop, yeah? No. Not even close.

At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace
page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in
Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in
trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a

Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.

She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.

Or, as wags I know say, "Nuke 'em from orbit: it's the only way to be sure". You see, the two juvie judges were taking kickbacks–the more kids got sent up the river, the bigger the payday.

Sometimes, I wonder, do people who do this sit back for a moment, go "damn, isn't what we're doing kinda evil?"

Instead, T got the equivalent of a 15-20 for a parking ticket. And three months of her life–gone. Pffft.

The judges are getting jacked up a treat over this. But doesn't it worry you that we live in a society where this can happen at all?

Worries me. If it doesn't you're probably one of those if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about crowd. Hilary T may have been rude and insolent, but wrong? That much wrong?

What're you going to do when the privatized machine rolls over you?

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