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Tina Engler, Founder of Elloras Cave Talks About Her Marriage To A Convicted Murderer, And Airs Her Views On The U.S Penal System

JaynieR posted an interview with Tina Engler, AKA Jaid Black on her blog earlier today.

The purpose of the interview appears to be two-fold. Firstly, it seems to be an opportunity for Black to give her side of the story, in terms of her marriage to a *convicted felon, (if the link is broken, search for a David Roy Keen) serving time for shooting, and killing an ex-girlfriend; and secondly, to discuss her feelings, on the failings of the current U.S penal system, and its bias towards the poor, and the uneducated.

Ms Black’s decision to marry a prisoner, serving a life sentence for murder is her affair, and I feel that it would be remiss of me to publicly comment on my personal feelings relating to this matter.

In actual fact, what disturbed me most was Black’s assertion that locking up prisoners is tantamount to human trafficking, and that a person who deliberately takes a life, cannot be blamed for their actions.

When one reads the interview in its entirety, the delivery of her message is staunch, and unflinching, whilst her belief that she speaks a universal truth, appears to be unshakeable.

Ms Black writes:

“At the time the crime is committed, the male is typically aged 18-25, too poor to retain private counsel, and black. (My husband was poor and white.) Many possess very low IQs and/or are clearly mentally ill. The accused is typically severely depressed at the time of his arrest, and particularly in one-time crimes where violence is involved, suicidal.

During this phase they often don’t care about their own fates and wish they were the dead ones instead of the victim—a normal feeling given what they did and one that resurfaces over and over again throughout their lives. The reason for this extreme guilt and self-hatred is because there tends to be a true remorse amongt these men,”

What Black appears to be saying here, is that we should have more sympathy for convicted felons, because they are often young and foolish, and know not what they do. Plus, they are always remorseful after the fact.

Presuming that this is true for every 18-25 year old who decides to end the life of another, are we to take the route of excusing them for their crime, simply because they were poor, and perhaps their parents didn’t love them sufficiently enough to turn them into decent human beings?

She continues:

If released, they are the least likely group of men to wind up back in prison. (Recall we’re talking about one-time killers here, not serial killers. They are a different breed altogether”

Black’s assertion that felons who have only killed once, aren’t as dangerous as serial killers, seems to be a tad naïve, and slightly disturbing.

The statements that she makes all the way through this interview, at no time, takes into consideration, the rights of the victim, or their family.

“So here is the accused—young, poor, uneducated, morbidly depressed and suicidal—and he’s given a public defender who, if lucky, speaks to him for 20 minutes to an hour before representing him at a trial that will determine his fate forever. (For all the hyperbole one hears about men allegedly getting out on appeal, this happens very, very rarely.)”

Once again, without thought for the victim, who’s life has been deliberately cut short, (don’t forget we are talking murder here) Black suggests that being young, poor and uneducated are viable reasons for us to sympathise with somebody who’s taken the life of another.

“On the other side, representing the state, is a damn good, seasoned lawyer with his/her eye on bigger and better things. They want to be judges, politicians, or well-paid private attorneys. The glory they seek can come only from knowing how to play the game and by playing it well.”

OK, what have we learned thus far?

1. We have learned that every 18-25 year old who goes on to commit murder, is always truly remorseful after the crime has been committed.

2. The public defenders appointed for the accused, are always below par to say the least.

3. Every lawyer representing the state is a damned good lawyer, who doesn’t care about his/her cases, they just want to hit the big time.

Moving on:

“Amongst all this, where you commit a crime is probably more important than what you actually did, at least from a cold perspective. Florida (my husband’s state) and Texas are notorious for giving loooong sentences. In Florida, for instance, you can be found guilty of first degree (premeditated) murder if you had even a second to think about what you are doing. I don’t know too many people who can make calculated decisions in a single second, let alone premeditate a murder,”

In other words, if an armed burglar enters a house, without any intention of killing the occupants, but panics and shoots the homeowner, killing him, then according to Ms Black, this should not be treated as first degree murder, because the Burglar didn’t have time to think about pulling the trigger, he just panicked.

“Off to prison he goes. He has no voice, cannot vote, is locked in a cage and stripped of all human rights and dignity forever. He will be given substandard, third-world medical care by unqualified “physicians” who often times aren’t even legitimate doctors and/or do not speak the convicted prisoner’s native English tongue, making communication all but impossible. His meals are as substandard as his medical care, the fruits and vegetables often rotted.”

But what about the victim? What about the young woman who will not live to see her potential, what about the girl who will never become a bride, what about the girl who’s family were given a death sentence of sorts, when their child was brutally taken from them?

As a parent, if your child was murdered, would you really be worried about the fact that the perpetrator of that murder wasn’t getting the best healthcare, and that they had lost their right to vote?

“The government and big business make a lot of money off legalized human trafficking—a very scary reality. It costs approximately $27,000 USD per year to house, feed and clothe an inmate in Florida and produces a profit of over $100,000 USD per inmate per year for the state. (FYI: this info is readily available on the FL Dept of Corrections website.)”

Human trafficking? Black seems to have missed the point of correctional institutions altogether. Prisons are not supposed to be easy, and her assertion that the whole penal system was set up, just to make as much money as possible seem quite wild, and mostly unsubstantiated.

These places only exist because there are people out there who have no respect for life, who have no respect for other people’s possessions, and who have no respect for the notion of freedom. The financial gains made by the state, is merely a by-product of this.

In the question and answer segment that follows Black’s essay, she writes:

“All of us, with no exceptions, make hideous mistakes. Unfortunately, some of us also make tragic ones.”

Tragic would be killing a young woman who had her whole life ahead of her, one supposes?

“My kids love their (step) dad —my husband—beyond reason. In fact, when they overheard me on the phone talking about doing this interview in light of the emails being sent around (I didn’t know they were eavesdropping), both of them became extremely upset and were crying.”

As I stated earlier, Black’s decision to marry a man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend is her business, and I’m sure that her children do think of him as ‘Daddy’, but I would question whether or not every member of her family is as ecstatic over their relationship as she appears to believe.

“The issue for me as a wife and as an activist is this: Does a man deserve to spend the rest of his life alone and neglected, starved for human affection and attention, because of a deed he committed many, many years ago as a young, immature man?”

It is feasible that a person who commits such a heinous crime as a young man (23), would feel remorse. But is that a good enough reason for him/her to not be punished severely?

Black, insists that her husband is a good person, and that his incarceration is no longer of value to him or his victim.

I suggest that perhaps the victim’s parents would feel otherwise.

One has to wonder if Black would feel the same way, if it was one of her children who had been murdered by a man who was really, really sorry afterwards?

Via Anonymous