Let’s Stop Convicting The Innocent

The news is both good and bad.

One the one hand, it’s good news the number of people exonerated after being convicted of crimes they didn’t commit went up last year. The bad news, of course, is that innocent people in our country are convicted and had to be exonerated in the first place.

Nationwide, 149 people were exonerated after having served an average of 14-and-a-half years for crimes they did not commit. 54 of them were murder convictions and five of these came from death row, 27 came from false confessions and 65 convictions were helped along by official misconduct. Five people on death row had their convictions overturned. Since 1989 over 1,730 people have been exonerated.

Why this doesn’t have our entire populace up in arms is beyond me. Our government convicting the innocent is a national shame that should have all of us standing in the corner hanging our heads. It doesn’t, however, probably because for a lot of people unless they’re the innocent one being convicted it really doesn’t affect them.

It does, though. It affects all of us. One a government stops making guilt a requirement for conviction we are all in trouble. It is something that should bother all of us.

It bothers me. It bothers me enough that I made it one of the four tenets of my 2016 United States Senate campaign:

America must stop convicting the innocent.

The best way for this to happen is for us, you and me, we the people, to get involved at the ballot box. Once those running for office know voters have the highest possible level of interest in our government only convicting the innocent, and once we start showing that interest on Election Day, I think we’d be surprised how quickly the number of innocent people that are convicted drops.

It starts with you and it starts with me because we are the only ones who will make a difference. Those currently in office won’t make a difference because if they were going to make a difference they would’ve done so already. It isn’t going to happen until collectively we stand up and say enough, we do not want any more innocent people convicted.


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The Thought For the Day – February 4, 2016

…the spirit of inquiry was alive here, and where it has free existence, ignorance cannot last.
                                                   – Louis L’Amour, The Walking Drum

One of the things I remember thinking when I read this passage was how much it applies to our country right now because let’s be honest friends, the spirit of inquiry is not alive in America. For a while now, we’ve been content to accept whatever our favorite media outlets and leaders choose to spoonfeed us.

And our country is worse off for it. Without and active and inquiring electorate elected leaders have not been held accountable. As a result, this nation is not being led, it is being managed, and not particularly well, either. We are mired in endless wars, an economy based not in low taxes and free markets but in high taxes and regulation and an electorate that is tolerating all of it.

When we Americans are in the mood for inquiry again, for holding our leaders accountable for what they’ve done to our country during their term, then we will have an America we can be proud of again because the government we want is never farther away than the next election.

Note: quotes are from Gaylon’s own private stock, stolen from original source materials.

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Thought for the Day – February 3, 2016

The dreams that draw humanity forward seem always to be redeemed, if we believe in them strongly enough and pursue them with diligence and courage.
– Richard Nixon


Richard Nixon, of course, has a lot to answer for. He did not resign the presidency, of course, because of Congressional and public outrage over his charity work. Regular readers of his works, however, know he was capable of a thoughtful, well-turned phrase from time to time. This is one of them.

Nixon was talking about Apollo 11, man’s first landing on another heavenly body, about how man’s age-old dream became a reality. It didn’t happen by accident. It happened because President Kennedy had the vision to set the goal and it happened because America – despite Vietnam and social upheaval at home and a thousand other circumstances – made it their goal, too, even if America at times may not have been altogether sure why.

…and pursue them with diligence and courage.

Diligence and courage are two good qualities, for both a nation and its citizens. America did not put men on the moon without those qualities and you and I are not going to accomplish what we were meant to accomplish with our lives without diligence and courage, either. Fortunately, however, us humans, both collectively and individually have always dreamt big, together dreaming the dreams that draw us forward.

This despite the fact we are sometimes our biggest obstacle. The easy way is always whispering in our collective ears to take its path and sometimes we decide to take it. Progress in our lives, however, depends on us overcoming obstacles. It depends on us showing diligence and courage every day.

Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock, stolen from original source materials.


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Thought for the Day – February 2, 2016

It was the blood stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass.
– Frederick Douglass, 
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

The incident that inspired this passage comes from a time early in Douglass’ life, about the time when he would be expected to begin working in the fields on his master’s plantation, when he witnessed a fellow slave getting beaten by their master. It was a severe beating too, as horrifying to Douglass as it was painful to his fellow slave.

The poignancy of this passage has always stuck with me. Douglass knew: what was happening to his fellow slave would eventually happen to him! There were no two ways about it: Douglass was entering the hell of slavery.

Douglass was born about 1818, though he was never entirely sure of birth date. He was about 20 when he escaped, an escape that was a simple as it was brilliant and Douglass would become a noted orator and author and, of course, an abolitionist.

If Frederick Douglass can construct a worthwhile life for himself after being born into slavery, what’s our excuse for frittering away our time on this planet?

We have every reason for success in this country. It’s not perfect, of course. I am not running for the United States Senate because everything is hunky-dory in our country, but we still wake up every morning with 24 hours to put to our use. We can squander those hours doing things that do not produce a dividend, or we can make our time serve us. It’s our call.

Douglass was not content with his life as a slave and he did something about it.

So can we. Those of us who are not content with our lot are free to and get the lives we want. We cannot expect the government, or anyone or anything else, to do it for us. We must do it ourselves. What we get out of our lives is dependent on the work we are willing to put into it.

Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock, stolen from original source materials.

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A Peaceful America, A Peaceful World

Last time we talked we discussed the four things I want for our country. I want them as an America citizen, not only because I am a candidate for party’s US Senate nomination.

In case you missed it, here they are:

  1. An America that is at peace both inside and outside our borders;
  2. An American economy anchored in low taxes and free markets;
  3. An America that does not convict the innocent; and
  4. An empowered American electorate.

We don’t have any of those things right now and today I would like to talk about the first of them, an America at peace both inside and outside our borders.

We aren’t at peace anywhere right now. We’ve been at war somewhere on this planet continuously since we invaded Panama in 1989. Domestically, our nation has become a shooting gallery, with gunfire about as common now as shaking hands.

Nobody should be surprised at this. It’s all our fault. A large portion of the carnage and misery on our planet and in our country is the result of a government that continues to meddle in other nation’s affairs despite the fact history has relentlessly shown time and time again this does not work. We have a generation of Americans who have never known their country at peace of the rest of us, many can’t remember an America that wasn’t at war.

Anybody who tells you America can remain at war perpetually without consequence is either deluding you, deluding themselves or, as likely as not, both. We can’t. Perpetual war is not sustainable and there will come a time, probably before this half-century is out, where America will self-destruct, tossed aside the scrapheap of history, mankind’s great experiment in human liberty a failure.

I am running for the United States Senate again because I believe the time for peace has come. Our nation and our world has seen the consequences of an America perpetually at war. They have been as tragic as they’ve been widespread.

We are entitled to see the benefits of an America perpetually at peace.


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The Thought for the Day – February 1, 2016

Fortune had betrayed him for the moment, and the world had turned against him. Victory was slipping from his grasp even as he stretched out his hand to seize it. But his arm was long.
                    – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


While not the biggest fan of the fantasy genre, I have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and enjoyed both immensely.

I discovered Tolkien many years ago, probably late last century. I was at work and a co-worker had left his copy of The Lord of the Rings lying around. I was bored and had nothing to do, so I picked the book up and opened it to a random page and the above passage was the very first line I read.

Oh, dear me, I was immediately captivated. The writing, the point Tolkien made with this line, everything resonated and I immediately started reading from the beginning.

This passage is so true. Really, it is one more definition of success because in every person’s life there will be times when it seems fortune has fled and abandoned you, that everything you’ve striven and worked for is and will remain out of your reach.

But his arm was long…

Our arms must be long, too, because success must be reached for, worked for and striven for. An awful lot of success is hard work and persistence and having long arms. We never really know how close we are to the success we are looking for and we will never know how close we were if we quit.

Note: quotes are from Gaylon’s own private stock, stolen from original source materials.

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Capsule Book Review!

CAPSULE BOOK REVIEW: Walking Shadow By Robert B Parker – We’ve been reading Spenser novels for a very long time, and we would’ve sworn we had read all of them, so it was a treat when we picked this one up at the freebie bin at the local library. After the first couple of pages none of it rang a bell so we took it, presumably one final Spenser novel by Parker, because Parker died several years ago.

(We have not read any of the Spenser novels written by Ace Atkins, nor do we intend to. We’ve run into this over the years, mainly by writers who’ve collaborated with their kids in their old age. We do not approve of this, the biggest crime being they are different – not bad, merely different – than what we’ve come to know and love. The new Spenser novels may well be brilliant. It should also be noted we don’t like other franchises by our fave writers. We did not particular like other Parker novels, just like we only have use for The Corp and Brotherhood of War series by WEB Griffin.)

Know in advance Spenser mysteries aren’t the most technically brilliant mysteries you will ever read. Either you pick up on the not-too-subtle clues Parker offers or you do not. We do about half the time, depending on how much work we happen to feel like putting in. Spenser novels are funny and thoughtful, but from a strictly whodunit standpoint, they’re certainly not on the level of Nero Wolfe or Sherlock Holmes or even Lew Archer.

The general MO is Spenser takes a case, more often than not for no fee in his later years, and dives in. He generally has no idea what is going on, so he starts asking questions and annoying people until someone tries to kill him. Spenser then calls in a broad based coalition of friends, law enforcement and thugs (Hawk, Lee Farrell, Healy and Vinnie Morris in this one) to protect him and help him solve the case. Eventually Spenser finds out what in the hell is actually going on and his solution may or may not involve the authorities. There were times towards the end when Spenser was nothing more than a vigilante dispensing whatever justice he saw fit.

It never changes. Over the years Parker has done this really well and other times he has mailed it in.

Parker offers a great lesson for a novelist: characters, characters, characters. You don’t read Spenser for the who-dunnit, you read Spenser because you never get tired of visiting with Spenser and Susan and Hawk and whatever other regulars are making appearances in this one. Like me, you may very well find yourself reading selected faves again as the years pass.

The Gaylon Rating System:
Very Good

Final Ranking: Good. Not the seminal work in the series, but far from the tripe he foisted on us during the period where his books seemed more like he was fulfilling a contract than writing anything from the heart.

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The Thought for the Day – January 31, 2016

Great necessities call out great virtues…
                                                       – Abigail Adams


Had the times allowed it, Abigail probably would have been the first former first lady to run for president and personally I don’t doubt she would have made a fine one. Sensible, smart, patient and wise, she provided excellent balance for her husband John who was sometimes as dimwitted as most of us husbands are.

The above came from a letter Abigail wrote to John who was in Philadelphia attending to the formation of our country. The times were momentous and in the same paragraph Abigail encouraged her husband by saying he was living in the time he was meant to live, and that the calm life does not produce great characters.

Great necessities call out great virtues.

We never know what we have until we are obliged to find out. Sometimes we find we are up to the challenge, one of life’s great prizes because every step forward provides a wonderful dividend of confidence. Sometimes we find the challenge was too much for us. This is all right, too, providing an equally valuable lesson because failure is nothing more than a receipt issued by life showing we tried to improve ourselves.

Editor’s Note: Gaylon does not have an encyclopedic knowledge of Abigial and John Adams’ correspondence. The above was taken from David McCullough’s excellent biography of President Adams.

Note: quotes are from Gaylon’s own private stock, stolen from original source materials.

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The Thought for the Day – January 30, 2016

Carpentier did it again!, a second time, and this was the blow perfected by a lifetime of training…it rocked Dempsey to his heels, but it broke Carpentier’s hand. His best was not enough.
– Heywood Braun


Heywood Braun was an American sportswriter and the above is from his account of the Jack Dempsey/Georges Carpentier fight on July 2, 1921. It was Dempsey’s third defense of the heavyweight championship he had won in 1919 and would hold until 1926.

The punch Braun refers to came in the second round but it was not enough. Dempsey would recover, take command in the third round and win by knockout in the fourth round.

This is a good lesson to learn. Sometimes in life you come up short. Sometimes your very best is not enough. Carpentier’s best was not enough to defeat Dempsey.

In a larger sense, however, you best is always enough. It ensures you have gotten the most out of your talents and that you have made your time serve you. There might be some whose best is a bit better than your best, as Dempsy’s best was better than Carpentier’s, but we have no control over that. Your best is the most you are capable of. That is supreme satisfaction in that.

Note: quotes are from Gaylon’s own private stock, stolen from original source materials.

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Let’s Do It Again

Last year at our state convention I announced my intention to run for our US Senate nomination this year. Earlier this month our good friend Lily Tang Williams announced her candidacy for our US Senate nomination as well.

Good. As I like to say, only dictators run unopposed and I would not have violently objected to two or three others running as well, because Colorado Libertarians are entitled to as many qualified candidates as want to run. It’s good for the party and it’s good for the candidate, too, because nothing gets a candidate off the mark better than a good candidate running against you.

I did, of course, have the privilege of being our United States Senate nominee in 2014. We didn’t win, of course, however we didn’t do too badly, either. We received a bit more than 52,000 votes, only 800,000 or so behind the winner and the most votes ever received by a third-party candidate in a Colorado US Senate election.

I want to build on that this year. I spent about two cents per vote, which is pretty economical, and I believe the circumstances are ripe for making an even bigger difference this year.

I am running because I want four things for our country. I want these as an American citizen and not merely because I want you to vote for me at the state convention.

  • I want an America that is at peace both inside and outside her borders.
  • I want an American economy anchored in low taxes and free markets.
  • I want an America that no longer convicts the innocent.
  • I want an empowered American electorate.

We don’t have any of those things right now, and we will talk about each element in the days ahead. Having all four of these won’t make our country perfect, but they will go a long way towards making America great again.


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