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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
Tidal Wave of Crime

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
A week or so ago, I wrote an article about getting older. One of the things I pointed out was the fact that I donít intend on quitting and would like to keep on learning and earning until my time arrives. Hopefully sometime long in the future.

Having said all of that it was pointed out to me that in a few years I will be eligible for Medicare. This got me to thinking, what is there for me in this deal and why do I need it?

I donít take any kind of medication of any sort, so I canít save any money in that regard. I only see the doctors that I need for routine checkups and physicals. I have my own teeth and my eyes are about the same as they were fifteen or twenty years ago. So what is Medicare going to do for me?

Iím wondering if you can save up in the early years for more expensive stuff in the later ones. For example, say I donít need to use anything that Medicare has to offer in the first ten years, could I build up credit for some heavy stuff later on?

I might need a heart transplant or who knows and the unearned credits might just come in handy. Suppose I donít need any medication for the first half of my Medicare related years, but then develop some horrible disease that will cost me a zillion bucks a month that I donít have. Looks to me that I could get some help since I hadnít used anything previously, doesnít it to you?

While weíre on this building up credits for good time or behavior, why not look into some sort of national time off for good behavior for crimes not yet committed. Look, the way I see it with the population getting older, weíre bound to have a large number of older folks who get caught by the system without any retirement or a roof over their heads. These unfortunate individuals will most likely end up committing some heinous crime just to get locked up and have a place to live. I read the other day where one of these desperadoes was caught by the gendarmes after he robbed a bank. His getaway was marred by the fact that he was on a walker and could not manage to build up any speed in his attempt to outrun the police. Seems no one wanted him and he had no place to go, so he thought prison might be his best option. Three meals a day, health care and time for reading and TVÖ.what more could he ask for? Under my plan this man might only have to serve, perhaps one third of his normal prison sentence. Stay with me here.

Instead of us filling the prisons with these elderly citizens, which as we all know would only serve to cost us all a lot of money since the would require a lot of medical attention as well as millions for prescription drugs. Why not return them back to society and the loving arms of their children and grandchildren in as little time as we can?

Under my plan, these future convicts could check into their local jails or prisons on the weekends or whenever they could while they were still in good health. There they would perform whatever labor they could and then get credit for the time they put in. Then in the future, when they did get convicted, they would have to be locked up for nearly as long, thus saving the taxpayers untold millions of dollars.

Of course, the only way any of this would work is if the children and grandchildren actually wanted Gramps back in the first place. If they didnít then, he might not want to get out for any reason.

Trust me on this, you can mark my words if we donít start to see a rise in crimes being committed by the elderly for the reasons I have just discussed. I can see it coming. Gangs of eighty year olds terrorizing the malls on their electric carts. Rude old women refusing to leave the Ďten items onlyí line at the grocery, when they have a full basket.

Rowdy men sitting for hours at restaurants with their buddies buying nothing and refusing to leave so others can have a table. Oh, the shame of it allÖ.

© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America
October 21, 2004
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