So yesterday I'm on my way to Colonel Sanders. I've got NPR (National Public Radio) going in the car. And, damned if it's not a sob story about Americans with a criminal record who can't accompany their child on a school field trip, get a barber or beauty license, or even call a game of bingo because of past transgressions.
Then the moderator said there are 69 million Americans with a criminal record! 69 million! Are you kidding me? I've been tromping around for more than half a century and have never even had a speeding ticket! And we've got 69 million people who've done jail time? In the words of Mr. Barone; "holy crap!".
I couldn't leave this alone. So I picked up my chicken, went back home, fired up the computer and googled American demographics while chewing on a chicken leg, extra crispy. So I find out that there are now approximately 315 million Americans. Of that number, 80 million are children. Another 40 million are old goats like me, over 65 years old. And yeah, you guessed it; I subtracted that 120 million children and geezers and I come up with 175 million of you deviants! Now folks, that comes out to a just horrible stat! More than one in three of you own a criminal record! One in three! Think about it! Three of you are hanging about the counter at Starbucks and at least one of you has done time! Nine or ten of you are sitting in the doctor's office waiting room and at least a trio of you could swap jail experiences about dropping your soap bar in the communal shower! And I don't even want to think about how high that ratio soars in a Walmart check out line!
Okay, I know that's a bit hyperbolic; many of you escaped with probation, or time served or some such thing. Still; 69 million?
But, take heart folks! The NPR program offered the cheery news that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are not only working to affect early release of millions of career criminals, but the Justice czar is also formulating a plan to expunge the criminal records of tens of millions of Americans so that they can aspire to achieve political office, employ straight razors to shave you, hook you up to an I.V., attend a showing of Harry Potter with little Johnny at Disneyworld...and yes, call B-29 at the local bingo parlor.