Unfinished thoughts

Today's thoughts: I may be boring, but at least I can write semi-coherently. Can I claim to be the most interesting writer out on the planet? No, not hardly—but at least I've mastered the art of grammar, punctuation, and (when I double-check it) spelling.

There are some journals and diaries out there that make me cringe; sometimes it is very hard to look past the difficulty of reading the style to get to the meat of the content. I recognize that in good writing there is a certain amount of concentration involved, but I do not believe the difficulty level should be as high as it is on some sites.I bemoan the lost art of proofreading.
(I must remind myself to check this entry very carefully for errors lest I be branded a hypocrite.)

The weather seems, at last, ready to gracefully change over into fall. It certainly has taken long enough; there is something inherently wrong in wearing shorts during the first weekend of November. Traditionally I expect to put away my summer clothing before my birthday. This year it did not happen.

For a while now I've been mulling over something that occurred one day when I was headed to work. In Alabama, it is fairly common to see low-risk jail inmates working in 'chain gangs' to clean up littered roadsides and other physical tasks. What disturbs me about this is my reaction—and the reaction of people around me. We swerve away, we stare, we lock our doors. We do the same thing to people when we learn that they have been incarcerated.

There's something important in that reaction, if you think about it for a moment or two. It boils down to a simple question—what is the purpose of incarceration in our society? We preach that it is for rehabilitation, yet we cower from those that have completed jail time like they are still immediately dangerous and have learned nothing.

(The truth of that statement is enough for another discussion.)

Our actions belie our words. Which is it? Are we punishing or teaching, and are we willing to stand behind what we say? Think about it the next time you pass a chain gang. Ask yourself what you think when you hear that someone served jail time—would you lock your doors or would you offer trust?

Punishment and rehabilitation, to varying degrees, are generally both valid choices. (There are always exceptions.) But I think our society would be well-served to be more honest about which we've chosen for those who violate our laws. We should not claim "rehabilitation" when in fact as a society we have decreed "punishment."