I found this video hilarious, but I know a lot of people will disagree.
If you unclench your jaw for a second, you could ask, “so what?” He’s still in prison. We tell ourselves and each other that we object to the hoarding of food, certainly the weed, and the cell phone, but the part that enrages is simply that he’s happy. Too happy. If he was in solitary confinement with a toilet and zen tranquility we’d object that he had oxygen. He’s supposed to be miserable, that’s the point of the punishment.
But what do you want instead? Harsher punishment? He’s in for aggravated robbery, but it’s the same jail for burglars and murderers– should the only difference in punishment be the duration, not the severity? And do you really think that how harsh prison is or is not is really going to change the calculus of this guy’s next smash and grab?
But his happiness just enrages us, even though we don’t know what he did and who he did it to. This desire to see our “enemies” suffer is natural to the human race, and is reason 1, 2, and 3 why power should never be centralized.
I suppose that the reason I find this so funny is that I know this guy’s hoarding of popcorn isn’t a flaw in the system, I know that this is the system: the corrections officers are in on it. Perhaps they’re bribed, in most cases that isn’t necessary. Everyone’s there for months or years; they get friendly with each other, with their visitors; they know their cousin who was in last year or their buddy in the other wing; and it’s a hell of a lot easier to just let them have their Twinkies and weed then it is to not allow this.
I will point out that if that prisoner was white, this story would definitely have been about the COs’ complicity and not just lack of vigilance; but the racial angle was just too juicy to contaminate with investigative reporting. The news may get a second chance if it turns out that the COs were also black (corruption!); or, even better, that the COs were female (and please please please let them be blonde.)