Yes, In My Backyard

I am getting bloody tired of all this fearmongering about Guantanamo Bay detainees winding up in the US. "Oh no, they want to put suspected terrorists in US prisons! Oh no, if they’re innocent, they might even want to release them! Run away!"

Since when are we such cowards?

Jesus christ on a pogo stick, having a terrorist in your jail doesn’t suddenly give everybody in the state cancer. I will state categorically that they can bring them all to North Carolina, as far as I’m concerned. My metaphorical backyard is open.* I live down the road from a nuclear plant, and I’ll lose a lot more sleep after that. (Current sleep lost over that: 0 hours, 0 minutes.)

I love my state. I cringed at the notion of filling in wetlands for more airbases, but you want to put prisoners here? Knock yourself out. Particularly if they come with extra funding.

I have lived in prison towns. I have done it several times, in fact. I grew up in one. (We also had the main mental hospital and the mushroom plant. Of the three, the mushroom plant was by far the biggest effect on my quality of life–the compost STINKS.)  But the prison’s generally a large ugly building out on the edge of town, surrounded by a moat of grass and lots of barbed wire. It’s not much good for the surrounding property values, but it’s certainly an employer, and I don’t think anybody’s suggesting building new jails anyway. Like landfills and sewage treatment plants, it’s nasty but neccessary, and I acknowledge we need them somewhere, and if you’d like to put terrorists in them, go right ahead.

These are not superheroes, people. We’re not trying to contain Juggernaut or Magneto. So far as I know, not one person at Guantanamo has displayed any ability to walk through walls. If we can keep a serial killer behind bars without anybody freaking out, we can keep terrorists, assuming they’re even proved to be terrorists, which is obviously in doubt for a whole bunch of ’em. We’ve got half a hundred Hannibal Lector’s behind bars, and they notably fail to escape. What are the fearmongers thinking here–that they can somehow make a nuclear warhead out of a sharpened spoon and their own poo?

Jesus, people, they’re humans. Some of them are bad humans, but they’re not any better at escaping from jail cells than the average bored Eagle Scout. I don’t get why people think that they’re so much worse than the usual run of rapists and cannibals. If you’re worried they’ll ideologically corrupt the other sterling citzens in maximum security lock-up, then if you must keep them in solitary, fine. Chain gangs probably out. (Do we even do those anymore?) But these aren’t magicians. They aren’t going to touch American soil and go "Ha ha, you fools!" and vanish in a puff of smoke, to roam the countryside mutilating goats and eating people’s cats. (Fun fact: Guantanamo detainees are NOT chupacabras!)

If I’m confident that my prison system is keeping very bad people locked up and away from me–and for the most part, I am–then that confidence is in no way undermined if it’s an enemy combatant in there rather than a child molestor. I don’t think one is significantly better at escaping than the other. I don’t stay up nights worrying about either.

So, speaking purely for myself–you go right ahead and put them in North Carolina. And I’ve written my congressman to that effect.

…god, I’ve got to stop listening to NPR with low blood sugar.

*My real backyard has an old swingset in it, but if they want to haul that away…

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