Warning: This column will disgust you. It's supposed to.
Want to kick your enemies' butts but are afraid to do it yourself? No prob. The cops will do it for you for free. Here's how:
Invite your enemy, unarmed, to a party. Have two confederates there, equipped with cellphone cams. Set these to snap stills or take video. Turn off the audio, since non-consensual speech recording is a felony.
Make nicey-nice. Offer the enemy some fine Schedule I (illegal) or Schedule II and III (prescription) narcotics. For a chaser, serve a well-iced adult beverage. Smile. Stick to beer or wine yourself. After 30 minutes, when things are buzzy-fuzzy, whisper into your enemy's ear the appropriate racial or ethnic slur or use an all-purpose line such as "Your wife purred like a kitten [or your husband roared like a lion] when I … "
Cameras up, gang. Here it comes!
If you're lucky, the stooge will land a haymaker and the evil minx a swipe with the nails or the purse. Take it on the puss if you can. Faces bleed well, and turn usefully purple, without too much damage. If you get a shove, fall back, then hit the floor — softly. Screech out, "My back!" Once is enough. Once the fracas is fried onto memory cards, exit, stage left, el quick-o.
Drive directly to an emergency room to generate written records. Make sure the docs take photos of bruises and lacerations. The next morning, march down to the Florida State Attorney's office and swear out a complaint. Keep it simple, keep it corroborated and make sure your story tracks with the photos and video. Within a week, the state will issue a warrant, and your enemy will be on ice.
Invite your despised ex-husband or lover to a party. See the paragraph above about drugs and booze. When the desired chemical confusion is attained, invite the ex to a back room for old times' sake. Now, off with the clothes, off with the lights and let nature take its course.
When what's going to happen …
Jacksonville has a hard jail:
• No TV, no radio, no Internet.
• Few classes, no jobs.
• No prison yard and no sun. You can play basketball on concrete courts, but you'd better be able to dunk.
"Hard" is a technical, not a pejorative, term in criminal justice. It means a facility where security and safety come first, comfort and happiness second.
Contrast this with a soft lockup. Franklin County, Pa., has the snazziest jail I've ever seen. Inmates gather in a lobby fit for a resort hotel to drink espresso (ah!), to read uplifting periodicals and to watch educational television in high-def. Sunlight floods through a crystalline atrium.
Outside, inmates can work all day trimming grass and pruning roses. Inside, they attend 12-step meetings, chat up prison society visitors and enjoy music for every mood. Vendors deliver goody boxes of chocolates, meats and a fine selection of cheeses. School is in session every day. All this makes you want to rush up to Chambersburg, slap a cop and join the fun.
Other things occur in soft jails. Since visitors can sit with and touch inmates, they often arrive with cheeks and fannies stuffed with narcotics, knives and the occasional derringer. Using cellphones delivered by Rectum Express, inmates order hits on witnesses and shakedowns of other inmates' families. Inside, the homeboys, the carnales and the skinheads clique up, port arms and charge into battle. Forget about the cheese and the chocolates. Murder is always at the top of the menu.
Jacksonville's jail, by contrast, is rock hard. It's miserable for inmates, but good for them and their families, for several reasons.
There is extraordinarily little violence, considering the thousands of men and women jammed in there like Spam in the can. Corrections officers move inmates frequently between floors so they can't clique up, conspire and fight. Visitation occurs behind bullet-resistant glass, so the only thing visitors can pass to inmates is …