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Your Friends and Neighbors

One of the true joys of working in a state legislative office is reading some of the mail constituents send in to try to get their family members out of jail. No matter what their relative did, it can't be bad enough to justify going to prison. Plus, the judge is obviously biased. And likely is a cross-dresser. And on and on it goes.

I remember getting a letter from a guy sitting in prison who had been sentenced for having sex with a nine-year old girl. In the letter, he tried to convice us that sexual assault of a minor shouldn't be a felony, because it was consensual. He said that with television and the internet these days, nine year old girls are more mature - that nine today is like eighteen a few years ago. I dropped the letter out of my hands and onto the floor, it was so repulsive. Of course, it immediately went into the office "creepy constituent hall of fame." (When I find my scanned copy, I'll post it.)

Another office passed this gem on to me, in which a girl demands her brother be taken off the sex offender list immediately:

Well truth be told, I don't care WHAT these people think about how intelligent I am, I have something I need to say on behalf of myself, my mother, my family, my brother and all those men out there labeled Sex Offendrs that have lost their lives because when they were in high school motivated by sexual tension, peer pressure, emotional highs and the need to be accepted, they experimented with SEX... or rather, they experimented with Rape...

I am not blind to the fact that there are men out there doomed by their sickness to find children to prey on, but my brother is not one of them. My brother, has been in jail since he was 17 years old because his raging teenage hormones got the best of him and so did the state. He's being punished for being a teenager.

Got that? "Experimenting with rape" is just a part of "being a teenager." Much in the way Osama bin Laden "experimented with Jihad" in high school. (I'd love to see his high school yearbook, where his classmates picked him "most likely to start a holy war.")

Of course, it's natural to want to try to help either yourself or family members. But that doesn't mean it's not repulsive for the rest of us who managed to avoid experimenting with rape in high school.

At some point, a reporter should start randomly calling offices to collect some of their favorite constituent letters. It would amaze the public to know the types of things people write to their legislators (teachers mentioning the legislator's school-aged children by name, for example) and the types of things they expect their elected officials to fix for them. (I remember one Assembly office being contacted by a woman who said she had termites in her home. When asked why she didn't call an exterminator, the woman said "my termite problem is way too serious for an exterminator.")

These are the people that live among us. And their stories are all sitting there, in legislative office constituent files.

(Incidentally, if any staffers want to send me some of their best letters, I'll be happy to post them.)

UPDATE: The crazy constituent letters are rolling in. Click on the magnifying glass if they're hard to read. Here are two from a constituent named "Vern:"

Letter One
Letter Two

And here's one from "Ed" (the highlight of which is his CC: list)

Page One
Page Two

For another gem, see this post above.