By Walker, T. J.
The Humanist , Vol. 61, No. 4
I don't want to pick on Jenna Bush or her sister Barbara for their recent runins with the law. Really. I don't think they have a "problem" just because they want to have a beer when they are in college. In my day (ugh, I'm officially old), eighteen-year-old freshmen could buy beer in the basement of Duke University Chapel and our dorms--in fact, we were practically required to. But ...
Certain conservative politicians aligned with the forces of George W. Bush have done two things: first, they legislated it a crime in Texas for college kids to drink beer; second, they instituted a mandatory prison sentence for anyone in Texas found guilty of three small crimes.
Jenna was busted this past April on booze charges. Now she faces the charge of trying to buy alcohol again while underage. Additionally, she could face charges of using a fake I.D. That could be the third strike and she could be off to prison, perhaps for six months!
"Three strikes and you're out" sounds great if you are a zealous politician looking for a campaign slogan and you figure the consequences will only affect "those people," never anyone you know. But the Texas mandatory sentence guidelines were always ridiculous, and if George W. Bush now has time to reflect on this while preparing a birthday cake with a file inside for his daughter on prison visitors' day, then so much the better. …