The Prison Guard in the Cell with a Rope

First off: Yay.

We have no interest in capital punishment. No faith in it, really. As administered, there’s no justice in it — statistically, guess who’s executed disproportionately — and much cruelty, especially with states freestyling their lethal cocktails in recent years. There’s also no certainty to it — innocents die — and then, if you’d like to get into some geeky theoretical chatter about The State, we’re there for it.

But we’re no gentle pacifist. Sometimes you just wanna fry the bastard. But state executions are problematic in theory and application, so you settle for the justice that’s otherwise available and appropriate under law.

Unless some asshole wants to spend long, painful minutes asphyxiating himself while dangling from the ceiling, in which case, y’know, sometimes shit takes care of itself.


Oh, and since we brought it up, the timing kinda sucks. Secrets now go to grave, secrets that would have been revealed in a court of law, revelations that would have brought other assholes to justice. Except that the investigation continues, the victims are still out there, and we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, had to get that on the record. Had to admit to a certain satisfaction that Jeffrey Epstein would hang himself.

Unless he didn’t.

That’s a possibility, y’know, that he didn’t die by his own hand. We know as much about prison culture as most people — that is, from movies and TV — and we know that some kinds of assholes aren’t welcome there by the other assholes, and, them being assholes, they have ways of making their displeasure manifest. We know that happens, or at least we know it can be a convenient plot point.

We also know — again, from movies and TV like most everyone else, but with some actual news to back it up on occasion — that the folks running the joint aren’t always paragons of integrity, that if you are someone outside who wants something done inside, you can probably find someone happy to complete the transaction for you.

Especially if you have the resources.

Which brings us to Saturday morning, when Jeffrey Epstein was discovered in a state of not being alive.

Or, rather, when everybody found out about it.

It’s August, and it’s hot enough without someone opening a blast furnace in our face, but WHOOSH did that heat hit. It was Trump that dunnit, or the Clintons, or maybe the Royal Family, or just pull any insanely wealthy dude out of a hat and run with it. It had to be a hit, because there is no conceivable possibility that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide.

Which was the interesting part. Suicide wasn’t dismissed upon consideration, it was dismissed without it. You would have to be stupid or naive to think he actually pulled that off by himself.

It’s interesting because of the presumptions underlying that attitude, starting with the presumption of professional competence. Go ahead, check out the reputation of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Check out the known problem of prison suicides. Consider any bureaucracy you’ve encountered or worked in. Consider the people there you’ve encountered or worked with.

Human organizations are like that. They fail. They fail in their missions. They fail in their procedures. People fail to follow their procedures. People fail to care. Punch in, punch out, go home.

The rush to call this a hit, the certainty that it couldn’t possibly be suicide, fails to take all this into account. The cynicism that it must be a hit reveals a naïveté about the mundane reasons it might not. What’s presented as cynicism is actually pure childish fantasy.

We’ve seen those movies, too.

It’s very much possible it was a hit. It’s also profoundly possible it wasn’t. And unless you’re willing to take both possibilities seriously, you’re just playing a board game.

But hey, at least the asshole’s dead. Bad timing and all, but we take our satisfaction seriously, too.


Probably the simplest explanation is the right one and all that, but this administration delights in smashing norms. Nothing would surprise me.

@blogenfreude: Could very well be a hit. No problem with that hypothesis. But folks jumping on that line aren’t allowing any possibility of bog-standard incompetence and mismanagement, and that’s where I get really uncomfortable.

Right!?/?! I can’t think of one reason why he wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t kill himself.

Bastard’s dead.

I oppose capital punishment because the state should not have the power to kill its citizens.

Maybe the deep state killed him.

Anyway, he won’t be getting off and raping kids anymore. His buds will stop raping kids for a while, which I guess is better than not not raping kids for a while.

If anyone killed Epstein, it would most likely be a Deplorable White Nationalist Prison Guard in Epstein’s cell with chokehold. You know they took video.

If Tr666p is fingering the Clintons, then he’s obviously involved, since every Twitted accusation is always something he himself is actually guilty of, right outta the Nazi playbook.

And you’re assuming Epstein’s actually dead, and it’s not a decoy body.

Why would we know that he’s dead? Because we read it online?

They better produce a corpse and a DNA analysis or GTFO.

Lemme guess, autopsy performed by a naval doctor, followed by a quickie cremation. Yep, nothing suspicious at all.

Never underestimate the incompetence and indifference of prison guards.

Human organizations fail as much as they are left to fail.

The VA tends to work very well, its care tends to be very much in demand even by veterans who have other insurance — as long as it is adequately funded. Let its funding languish and dwindle despite increased demand for its services, as happened because Dubya and the folks behind the Iraq invasion were trying to lowball the cost of that war, and it fails, systemically, and VA care becomes something that veterans tend to want to avoid if possible.

We’re real big on prisons and other punishments for “the bad guys”, well, at least if they are bad guys of a certain complexion and class. We even tell ourselves that we’re being humane and self-restrained in mostly putting them in prison where they can be rehabilitated, rather than executing them. But of course we’re not willing to pay the costs of a reasonably humane prison system that stands much chance of allowing, much less encouraging, rehabilitation. The psychiatric care of an attempted suicide, even a reasonably effective suicide watch without other care, are pretty expensive institutional abilities to maintain. So of course we don’t maintain them in our prisons.

Human organizations generally succeed if given reasonable missions and the resources to accomplish them.

/seen online/

Doctor: “The president would like to meet you.”
Patient: “Tell him I’m dead. I just survived a national tragedy—I don’t wanna meet one.” (proceeds to pull own plug).

I thought the Impeachment Count would stall out 10 or 15 congresscritters ago. They’re still declaring their commitment.

@gtomkins: The surest way to insure institutional failure is to staff it with administrators who don’t believe that government can work effectively. In which failure is rewarded, so that competent people flee. One of our two parties has pushed this ethos for 50 years. No shock that it’s a circus.

To the Clue premise: Major Failure, in the mess, with Tax Cuts.

@¡Andrew!: You’ll have to add the coroner to the conspiracy now.

Or it’s like in Russia when someone who has detailed knowledge of the Putin regime’s crimes suddenly decides to throw themselves off the top of a building, or becomes incapacitated due to previously undiagnosed “allergies,” or hops into a leather S&M suit, zips themselves up in a human-sized duffle bag, then proceeds to sex themselves to death, as one does.

Yep, totally coincidences. The Tr666p regime was in no way involved with the deaths that are about to occur next week.

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