Roddy Pippin: Shannon's Take.
I wasn't aware of this story until Shannon (fellow d-blogger at LADAdeeda) emailed me and asked me to help her raise awareness of this story. Apparently, Roddy Pippin stole cattle. And is being held for eight consecutive years, without proper medical care.
Roddy has type 1 diabetes.
Shannon has contributed a guest post about this issue, but I wanted to also add a link to a post on Roddy's Ride 4 Life page, about the crime he committed and the punishment he is receiving. Check it out and draw your own conclusions as to whether this punishment fits the crime, and please read Shannon's post below for her take on Roddy Pippin.
* * *
Many years ago, I watched a movie called Return to Paradise. A thrilling premise, it centered on a young man imprisoned in Malaysia for drug trafficking. He was sentenced to death by hanging unless his two friends, who also bought and used the drugs in question, returned to Malaysia and accepted their share of the responsibility – three years in prison if both returned, six years if only one returned. The deal, while not in writing, was promised by the Malaysian justice department. One friend ultimately complied.
But, in an unbelievable twist, an American reporter wrote a story about the young man, his sentence, and the “unjustness” of Malaysia’s justice system. As a punishment for this negative portrayal of Malaysia, the judge on the case refused to abide by the terms of the agreement. The first man’s death sentence remained, and the other was sent to prison.
Watching this film, I waited for the dramatic rescue of the man. As he was led to the gallows, I waited for the last-minute stay of execution or other intervention. None came, and he was hanged.
This movie was a fictional account, but it’s not difficult for us to imagine this sort of scenario happening in Malaysia. It’s easy to picture it happening in China. Or Indonesia. Or even Mexico. But, do we expect that sort of thing to happen here in the United States? I never did.
Roddy Pippin is just twenty-six years old. When he was nineteen, he committed a crime. While it might not seem all that serious to me, I recognize that it is very serious to his victims. His crime? Cattle rustling. He stole livestock from hardworking farmers in his Texas community. At nineteen, he made a stupid, juvenile mistake. One that he might pay for with his life. Roddy has type 1 diabetes.
I think most T1s have thought about what would happen if we suddenly lost the tools we rely on to manage our diabetes. I’ve even had the thought about what life in jail would be like for a T1. It’s even worse than I thought.
As I’ve learned more about Roddy’s experiences, I know that being a T1 in jail is harsh. Having your care managed by those who really don’t care at all is the reality. Recurring hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are common. After all, people die from DKA all the time. In fact, in a recent, highly-publicized Texas case, the parents of a sixteen-year-old girl are facing manslaughter charges in her DKA-caused death. They took her insulin pump away, she became sick, and within days, was dead.
So, Texas recognizes that deliberately withholding insulin from a T1 diabetic is murder (or at least, manslaughter). Yet, they care little for Roddy’s health. Instead of giving him access to adequate medical care, Roddy has instead been moved to a facility that houses violent criminals, even death-row inmates.
Where is the justice in this? How large should Roddy’s debt to society be?
* * *