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Sure, We Could Have a Serious Conversation About Racial Disparity, But Let’s Tell Jokes Instead

I ran across an article the other day with the headline “Prison sentence for Iowa face mask fight raises questions about mandatory minimums,” and knew immediately I would not be surprised by anything I would read. It had all the ingredients: Iowa, face mask dispute, an important issue that has historically been glossed over. Sure enough, a white (while his race isn’t highlighted in the article, it’s important to note for context) guy gets into an altercation because he was called out about not wearing his mask properly, and long-story-short, is looking at 10 years in prison.

Well, did he kill the guy? He did not. In fact, the most serious injury seemed to be that he damaged the other guy’s eye. However, a doctor supposedly testified that a full recovery was expected. What I found so problematic was that this clear overreach of “justice” seemed to be the catalyst for “raising questions about mandatory minimums.”

And this is why I brought up race. Because racial disparity in prisons is a real and serious matter, and mandatory minimum sentences seem to be a key factor in that disparity. This is well known. Has been for years. And THIS is the reason it’s a problem? I don’t think this guy should go to jail for more than 30 days (if at all), but there are plenty of much better examples of far-too-harsh sentencing due to mandatory minimums, but they require that we bring up the racial aspect.

Before we get too serious, I have to remind myself that nobody cares about what I’m saying. You either agree with me, and I’m preaching to the choir, or you disagree and are eagerly looking for the comment button so you can say something like “well, if you stay on the right side of the law, you wouldn’t have to worry about things like this.” It’s a no-win situation for us all.

Rather than travel down that familiar road, let’s take a moment to enjoy the levity of some of the details of this case. The Omaha Herald took a more journalistic approach with the story, and truth be told, it’s a wild story.

Basically, this took place at a Vision 4 Less store in Des Moines, Iowa. If you’ve never been to Des Moines, it’s basically the Chicago of Iowa. If you have been to Des Moines, you know I’m full of shit, and it’s more like a Dollar General surrounded for miles upon miles of corn fields. Now, I’m not familiar with the Vision 4 Less brand, but I assume if you’re willing to compromise on the quality of eyewear you’re purchasing, you will most definitely get into a donnybrook over the way someone is wearing their mask.

This is how the conversation would go for me:

ME: Um hello, sir? Would you mind terribly if I asked you to wear your mask properly, as the current position really decreases the effectiveness. In fact, you might as well not be wearing one at all, which of course, is your choice in the great state of Iowa, thank you so much.

HIM: I have asthma and can breath about as good as I can see, and even though it would probably be worse for my health to get Covid via my exposed nostrils, it’s my gosh dern 16th amendment right to not wear this face diaper. Wanna fight, cuck?

ME: No, but thank you very much for the offer. I’d just prefer to purchase my corrective eyewear at a discount price and be on my way. You have a good one

And, scene.

Unfortunately for Mark Dinning, he supposedly accepted the offer to fight in the parking lot, and in an ironic twist, had his eyeball gouged. Congrats to him on going to fix his sight, only to have it end up way worse. Also, congrats on attempting to distance himself from some dirtball’s respiratory ejaculate, only to end up nose-to-(exposed)nose with the fellar.

But wait, there’s more:

Michael’s wife, Becky, said she and her husband have six grown children and she’s unsure how she’s going to get by with her husband in prison.

You have six goddamned GROWN-ASS children! I think they can come over and shuck your corn or milk your bulls. I mean sure, if you had 6 young children, you gotta problem. You’d probably want to quick go out and commit your own felonious assault via eye-gouge, and get your own dime in the clink. Let the state deal with them rascals.

But your children are adults, and they can help out physically, emotionally, financially, and any other way (not including sexually, IOWA). It sounds like your husband was kind of an asshole anyway. Maybe take this decade to work on yourself, Becky. Start a GoFundMe based on your grown children sob story and raise enough dough to take a trip to Aspen. Get some fresh air, maybe a spa treatment or two. Hell, Becky, you can do whatever you want now that your sonuvabitch husband, Michael, is rotting away in the cooler for a crime that would have caused uproarious laughter if only it had been followed up with a poke to the belly…

Dinning initiated the fight when he shoulder-checked him and poked him in the stomach after the two left the store.

Well, we didn’t solve racial injustice, nor the inequity of the penal system, but we did share some laughs about a serious topic turned darkly hilarious. Also, remember that time I used the word “penal?”