I would like to address the [commentary] entitled, “Bottling Up Religious Freedom; Inmates Have Rights to Rites” from the July 27 issue of the Mountain Xpress, which aroused particular questions in me — each of equal value.
First, how are we viewing people who are incarcerated? Are they to be considered human beings with rights to evolve as anyone else, and, if so, is due consideration to be given (as policy) as to the how of this?
Second, and of equal importance, how do we “interpret” guidelines, laws, etc., if we are holding responsible positions? Can we think in the moment as to the efficacy of a determinative action and/or interpretation of the situation at hand?
I will cite two examples that perhaps could have had more sensible and helpful results.
The first from the Aug. 3 edition of the Mountain Xpress, page 24, “News of the Weird,” whereby a motorist was given a traffic fine of $178 for not having his seatbelt buckled as he leaned over to see if he could assist a begging, homeless person — who happened to be a police officer!
The second from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, Volume 2, page 214, citing a seriously ill person with severe diarrhea: “Dr. S. refused to put P.K. (prisoner) in the hospital because he did not conform to the norm: every half hour and bleeding.”
Certainly alcohol can inhibit the higher qualities of any human being when abused; however, one could imagine a more reasonable assessment of the situation, as portrayed in the above-mentioned article, could lead to a more “human” result, if I could say it so.
This is not written with the intent to cast aspersions, but to focus on how we may respond to directives with individual creative assessment and thinking.
— Patti Corozine