After pleading guilty to killing two Athens, Alabama police officers in 1994, Farron Barksdale was sentenced to life in prison and subsequently transferred about two weeks ago to Kilby State Correctional Facility in South Alabama. Three days later he was found unconscious in his prison cell and declared to be suffering from a “heat” related illness. Monday, twelve days after the transfer, and after agreement from his family members, he was taken off life support and declared dead.
Media reports now indicate that Barksdale had sustained bruises after he arrived at Kilby, but that no one knows how he got those bruises. Reports also indicate that he had an elevated white blood count — an indication of internal infection. The obviously unspoken conclusion would be that Barksdale suffered internal injuries after arriving at Kilby that caused the infection, and ultimately his death.
A prison spokesman has indicated that there will be an autopsy to determine what really did happen. Barksdale’s family has declined comment until after those results are in.
Chocolate Chip cookies take 9-12 minutes to bake once cut and placed in the oven, and you don’t usually end up with blueberry muffins after you take them out to cool. In short, there is a cookie cutter pattern in the death of Farron Barksdale that has occurred before in Madison County, and I’d bet down at Kilby too.
In fact, guards in Madison County are becoming more and more notorious for a perhaps convenient lack of inmate oversight resulting in a string of jail deaths here. If not inflicted by other inmates, then could it have been the guards themselves who beat and kicked Mr. Barksdale? Then again, maybe he really was a cuckoo bird who jumped to the ceiling of his cell, spreading his wings, only to repeatedly fall onto some object in his cell — thereby causing the bruises, infection, and death himself?
Like the family, I should reserve judgment until after the autopsy. But then, my view would frankly be the same. Because, if there is already a problem that is growing and becoming more rampant, and obvious, in the criminal justice system, and in the Alabama mental health system — and there is — I won’t believe anything contrary to the notion that someone murdered Farron Barksdale, in jail, and that he was left unattended, and untreated, until the infection festered, and it was too late.
In fact, I would suggest that there would have been quite a lot that Mr. Barksdale might have said — if he lived. He might have said who beat him up. Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, he might have become stabilized, and psychologically integrated, and over the coming years when he would have nothing to do but sit and think through his own history, he might very well have delivered some very interesting testimony in regard to mistreatments, proselytizing, and maybe even attempts at mind control in his childhood. Maybe.
As I have stated before, I don’t condone Farron Barksdale for shooting the two police officers. But I also know there’s more to this story than is obvious at face value. Most notably, a demagogic state senator with direct ties to the medical community named Tom Butler. Tom Butler exploited Farron Barksdale to help pass gun-control legislation in the Alabama legislature aimed at people labeled with mental illnesses — even though the experts agree there is no statistical connection between violence and mental illness. In short, Tom Butler had a political motivation from the very beginning.
And, one of the fastest growing industries in Alabama is biomedical engineering. A few months ago Republican (read George Bush neo-Nazi putsch) Governor Bob Riley handed over 40 million dollars to finance two thirds of Jim Hudson’s (read geneticist; human genome; genetic engineering; designer babies; genetic cleansing; genetic supremacy; Tuskegee, human guinea pigs) in his latest business venture.
When does research slide past the fine line of “public good” into holocaust? When do martyrs for democracy become unwitting fools for the aristocracy? When does saving money for a lifetime of prisoner maintenance become cold blooded murder?
I’d like to say I can prove what is fast becoming obvious anyway, but I can’t. Even still, connecting the dots leaves one indisputable conclusion: Not only the death of Farron Barksdale, but also the deliberate act of killing the two police officers — stinks to a much higher level than just Athens, Alabama.
©2007, 2012 – Jim Casey
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