Capitol of the State of Texas

Capitol of the State of Texas

Friday, August 10

Response to "Texas Behind Bars: an Unlearned Lesson" - Deep in the Heart

There are so many points Kim made regarding the causes of criminal mischief in our state that put to light the core issue of the problem. Yes, we have overcrowded jails. Yes, the quality and conditions within these correctional facilities has in the past and continues to lack. And yes, as the case is with many other institutions in our great state, there is little hope of money in the future to solve the issues of criminal punishment. But, perhaps if we spend this money in creating well rounded, concerned citizens, the overcrowding and subsequently ill state of our jail systems would fix itself.

Kim also shed light on the fact that increasing the amount of money spent on education and the development of Texans beginning when they are young is difficult. The state and its citizens cringe at the idea of raising taxes, adding an income tax or tapping into even more sources to provide vital, youth education. It is a long time saying “do it right the first time” that is the key here. If we train our youth to be good citizens, neighbors and workers, they will have no need to commit crime.

But, this is where I begin to second guess myself. Sorry to mention a television show here, but I once saw an episode of Law and Order where a young man ‘accidentally’ killed one of his close friends when they were both at a young age of 12. The father of the slain child, a psychiatrist immediately recognized signs of criminal mentality in the killer. He was able to say what he needed to in order to get out of the punishment, but clearly held no actual remorse for his wrong doings.

The post in “Deep in the Heart” speaks of the inability of state mental correctional facilities to cure those with mental dementedness and the fact that they would likely only make the problem worse. If such is the case, it is likely that the mentally deranged individual is better off in a full security jail, with no hope of being cured. This is clearly not the best alternative for the criminal, but our society cannot grow away from this sort of issues unless we remove the criminals from freedom. Perhaps removing mental institutions altogether is the best decision. That is money that can be put towards education to increase the productivity and life of the individual but not waste time and money on the incurable.

Saturday, August 4

Limited Medical Liability

A book entitled “Blocking the Courthouse Door” puts a number of political issues in America today into perspective. The opening chapter explains the ideocracy of current attempts at limiting medical liability. Although the opening case takes place in Indiana instead of Texas, the sort of injustices are likely in our great state.

The author speaks of a man, Frank Cornelius, who worked as a lobbyist for the Insurance Institute of Indiana. His most beloved legislation was the limitation of money-injured patients could get from malpractice lawsuits to $500,000 (very similar to the limited liability costs in Texas). Ironically, a few years later, Cornelius underwent knee surgery to alleviate pain he had been experiencing in that particular joint. The surgery actually caused another medical disorder resulting in intense pain and suffering. Basically, over the next 20 years, the surgeries Cornelius encountered as a result of the work of the first doctor totaled more than 5 million. As a result of the legislation he helped to pass, his family was in immense debt even after his death.

This is precisely the reason that limited medical liability in Texas is absurd. The fact that any person can go in for a single procedure (in many case one that is intended to be minor) and come out worse off than they were to begin with is horrifying. What is even scarier is that the doctor and their insurance company would be only minimally liable for their debilitating and life-altering mistake.

Many sources claim that prior to the passing of legislation regarding liability laws in the medical field, there was a significant increase in the quantity of ‘frivolous’ lawsuits that resulted in insurance companies paying out extremely high amounts to cover the costs of faulty surgeries and loss of quality of life. If you think about it though, there were juries in every case that award plaintiffs such amounts of money. These juries spent days or even weeks in a court room hearing from witnesses and seeing evidence from both sides. In the end, they recognized the wrong doing of the physician and the pain and suffering of the patient. Then the current quality of that person’s life. Whether the amount of money being high or low, this is in no way frivolous. I cannot understand the idea that any jury would award a patient high quantities of money without the request being justified.

The reason I chose this topic was that I had to undergo some minor surgery on Friday. As I went in for surgery that morning, this piece of legislation was all I could think about: Limited Medical Liability. What if the doctor messes up- I don’t even know this guy so what would it matter to him!? Even if he does screw up, it is not like he has to pay for anything! His massive oligopy of an insurance company would pay for the little amount that I would get back in the event of malpractice. So should I just endure the pain I was already in to avoid the opportunity of malpractice?

All of these questions should not have to be asked by someone going to the hospital or to a specialist. Instead, you should be able to comfortably put your life in the hands of a doctor and say: fix me, I trust you. In the horrible event that they accidentally hurt you, you should be reimbursed for the life you could have had and the experiences you will know miss out on. Not to mention, you should most definitely be reimbursed for the cost of medical treatment to fix the problem.

Thursday, July 26

A Decline in Capital Punishment

First of all, I find it horrifying that the 'deadliest' county in the nation lies here, in our great state of Texas. The county has put condemned more inmates to the death penalty than any other county in the United States. 1/3 of all criminals on death row in Texas are from Harris county.

However, the future outlook is improving as the rate has declined tremeandously. I am extremely happy about this. I am of the firm opinion that the death penalty gives murderers and rapists an easy way out. Instead of being forced to spend their entire life pondering their ill doings, they are allowed to spend only a fraction of that time in confinement. This argument depends on what one religiously feels about the fate of the human soul after death. In my opinion, there is no god and subsequently no after life. The only punishment a death row member will have is in their time on earth. More religious people have a greater tendancy to support capital punishment as they believe the soul of the criminal is sent to an untimely demise under gods wrath. It seems difficult to support this view when there is no proof.

Ultimately, the decline in the passing out of death penalties (across the nation) to murderers is a tremeandous victory. We can only hope that this trend continues and only those who deserve an amount of mercy are given the priviledge of death.

Friday, July 20

Unfair Power of the Death Penalty

In this blog, the author explains how an innocent man is being sent to jail for being a 'conspirator' in a murder despite the fact that he had no control over or consent to the murder.

The death penalty in Texas is a long time debate. Not only is the debate over wether or not we should allow the extreme type of punishment in our state at all, but also who should be sent to death road. This is one example showing the extremeties of our current system. Innocent people are still being sent to the death chair. Until we can streamline the system and ensure that only deserving criminals are killed, capital punishment should be suspended. However, the great deal of support (particularly from conservatives) for the sentance does not allow the system a chance to be altered.

This also goes hand in hand with the 'fixing' of our constitution. The death penalty has a direct correlation to Texas's constitution as well as its aditional ammendment.