I am terrible at trying to hide guilt. My blogpost The Great Recess Caper of 1961 is proof of that. I would love to be able to claim some sort of far-reaching conspiracy for the legal “issues” I have endured, but the truth of the matter is that I was a dumbass doing dumbass things and I got away with way more than I should have. Worse yet, I got way less than what was coming to me.
And I’m still alive, so don’t tell me there isn’t a God.
My Mom used to tell me that she could tell if I was lying by looking into my eyes.
I believed her.
And try as I might, no matter what angle I tried, looking up, down, it didn’t matter; she would always catch me.
I guess the reason hers was a 100% effective method was because evidently I was lying 100% of the time.
Come to think of it, she never did guess that I was telling the truth.
People complain about justice and the concepts of guilt and innocence. You don’t need to binge watch an entire season of Locked Up Abroad to get the idea that getting arrested and incarcerated in any other country than our own is not good. In some cases, it is tantamount to suicide. American prisoners piss and moan because their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are dry when prisoners in less civilized nations will literally kill for a stale sandwich of any kind.
We may not have the best legal system in place, but I will take my chances with the American system over say Russia, China, or North Korea to name just a few. In my book Emotions: Not your Mama’s ABC’s I tell a short story about one cocky California kid who was arrested and jailed in Mexico.
We won’t even think about the legal machinations of third-world countries where criminals merely disappear. For that to exist and proliferate, you need an unstable government, divided by fear, poverty, and hatred. Those in power rule by intimidation and lies. In those places, riots are commonplace. The police go unchecked, leading to a great chasm of distrust among the people. The economies of such places are erratic and unstable. The political process is fraught with scandals, most of them true.
Guess what people?
We, the great, all-powerful USA, happen to meet the criteria I just described.
So the next time you arrive at that crucial juncture where you decide to commit a criminal action in another country, think about a couple of my favorite movies: Brokedown Palace with Claire Danes and of course, the heavyweight champ of all foreign prison movies Midnight Express featuring an Oscar-worthy performance by Brad Davis. In both movies, the point driven home is to respect the culture and laws of the host country because you will be dealt with by their own laws if you don’t.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.