May 26, 2014

Sailing lessons for judges

THERE IS A READER in Fort Worth, Texas, who has a long memory. He says: “Several years ago you had a story about the editor of a prison newspaper who was serving time for stealing a yacht. He said he was going to do the same thing again when he got out.  Whatever happened to him?”

Well, I have to tell you he’s still got two years to go, if he continues to be a good boy. Meanwhile, for the benefit of those of you who didn’t read the original column, here it is again:

MR. OBAMA'S SELECTION of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has touched a raw nerve in the editorial department of The Walnut Street Gazeout (should be Gazette).

It evoked a scathing editorial in the latest issue of the prison's underground newspaper, whose editor happens to be doing time for grand yacht theft. Here is his weighty piece, word for word:

IT'S HIGH TIME judges were chosen for their fairness and ability. Not because they're Hispanic. Not because they're women. These are values chosen solely because they advance the political aspirations of the current president and his party. What we desperately need right now is judges who sail. It's time we had a sailor on the High Court.

There has never been a greater need to select judges based on their knowledge and  experience without regard to their jender (sic) or race. We need people like sailboat owners, people of charm and distinction and good taste, people who would see immediately that stealing a sailboat is not a crime and never could be. It's like picking a wild flower or eating a blackberry. The principle is exactly the same. Would anybody send a person to prison for that? These things were put on earth for all to share.

Just as land cannot belong to one person, as my Native American friends so rightly believe, so sailboats are placed on earth for the benefit of us all. And if a sailboat belongs to everybody, how can one solitary person (namely, me) be accused of grand theft of it? I ask you! That's what I told the judge but he wasn't having it. Stupid judge. I bet he never sailed a boat in his life. Anyone who has sailed would have been on my side and recognized the validity of my argument.

The lack of sailing judges at all levels of the justice system amounts to nothing less than discrimination. It's shameful. It's tragic. It's making innocent people like me suffer. When I get out of here I'm going to start a nation-wide campaign to make sailing lessons obligatory for all judges. Or maybe I'll just steal another yacht and take off for Tahiti. I haven't decided yet.

Today's Thought

If the district attorney wanted, a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.

—Barry Slotnick


“I don’t trust this caddie. I think he’d steal my ball as soon as look at it.”

“Yeah, right, I agree. I wouldn’t putt it past him.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

1 comment:

Tillerman said...

There was a Washington State Supreme Court judge who was a sailor - Robert Utter.

And there is a federal judge in Massachusetts who is a sailor.