“If It’s Stupid And It Works, It Ain’t Stupid”

OK, time for a couple of dumb criminal stories…

First up, one from Manchester, New Hampshire, my old stomping grounds. This is a valuable lesson for everyone: if your car is stolen and you later find it on your own, tell the police that you have it back. This will prevent the police from later pulling you over for driving your own car. This is especially important if you’re in the habit of driving around while smoking pot and popping percoset.

The second story… well, let me just say I have my suspicions about this one.

The union representing Massachusetts prison guards says that one inmate — a convicted rapist who seriously injured his own attorney in court — demanded a TV in his cell. When he was refused, he made a homemade knife (or “shank”) from a metal soap dish and mailed it to the acting commissioner of the Department Of Corrections, saying that if he didn’t get his TV, he’d make another and attack a guard. Shortly thereafter, Che Sosa got his TV.

Prison officials, naturally, deny the story.

So I find myself wondering just how true this story is. On the one hand, it’s an outrageous story, the kind that unions would love to spread around — especially when they’re renegotiating their contracts and want to play up how risky their job is and how pathetic and weak management can be. But it seems too out-there, too craven for prison officials to cave so spectacularly in the face of a threat.

On the other hand, this IS Massachusetts, so it’s not as implausible a story as if it came from, say , Texas.

Assuming it is true, I have to wonder if it’s really a “dumb criminal” story, because it seems that Sosa got what he wanted, and isn’t suffering any consequences.

Either way, it’s a hell of a story. Much like Dan Rather and the Texas Air National Guard documents, or (as is becoming more and more likely) the Scott Thomas Beauchamp articles in The New Republic, it has that ‘fake but accurate” feel to it, and speaks to a greater truth that must needs be addressed — even if details might turn out false, or the whole thing an utter fabrication.

(Update: typo corrected. Oyster, be nice or no more codswallop for you.)

Winter Soldier Syndrome