In our opinion: Settling an ego slight ... priceless
April 8, 2011 · 1:21 PM
Added together, the five aging peaceniks who broke through the gates of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to protest nuclear weapons received 41 months in prison.
On average, it costs taxpayers $77.49 a day to keep an inmate in the federal prison system, according to a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman.
As of this writing, because of an impasse in Congress over spending, the federal government may be shut down Friday.
In other words, about $95,000 will not be spent on education, health care or the other programs that actually ward off the “chaos” so feared by the mostly coherent U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle.
The $95,000 will be thrown into a hole and buried. It isn’t surprising, and it isn’t a huge amount of money, relatively speaking. But it should be said this isn’t about justice, or protecting society, or defining the boundaries of appropriate political protest.
Taxpayers will foot the bill so those embarrassed by the incident can have their egos petted and the non-violent protestors can now brag they “went to prison for their beliefs.”
Justice, in this case, would have been steep fines and restitution, not the $1,000 each they must pay.
On the bright side, both the protesters and the government got what they wanted.
It is a win-win.