You want an allegory for life in 2015 America? Here it is: A $100 million world-class racetrack facility is being abandoned by its builders, at least in part because the State of Utah has identified the land beneath it as a great place to build a prison. That’s right. With all the open land in that state, the place they want to lock up non-violent drug offenders and people who don’t pay 100% of their child support just happens to be Miller Motorsports Park.
When I said as much for Road&Track in my new Boss 302 FRS article, the editorial team decided to walk it back after readers pointed out that it wasn’t a done deal. That’s their privilege, and in their place I probably would have done the same thing. When you have the kind of *ahem* massive and demographically stellar readership that the R&T website enjoys, it pays to not go off half-cocked. I regret not being more specific in the original article and causing them the trouble.
But since we’re on my website now, I can say this: Fuck the prison-industrial complex. Fuck the states who can’t think of anything better to do with up to up to one in five hundred of their citizens besides toss them behind bars. Fuck minimum sentencing, fuck mandatory sentencing, fuck race-based parole selection criteria, fuck the system that would rather throw people away than rehabilitate them, fuck the system that has ensured that about eight percent of Americans are convicted felons, fuck the people who build McMansions from the proceeds of incarcerating people, fuck our dearly retired Senator Voinovich who passed minimum-sentencing bills that filled Ohio’s prisons to the brim and then awarded prison-building contracts to his own family.
You want a definition of freedom? It’s grabbing fifth gear past the flag tower at Miller and hearing the five-liter roar as the needle spins past the “160” mark. It’s being in sole control of a thrilling and thoroughly capable race car with only your own talent and education making the difference between an incandescent hot lap and a smoking hole in the wall. It’s the roller-coaster drop in your stomach as you stand on the brake at the end of that long straight just enough to let you bend through Turn One.
That’s freedom. And if they tear that down to make yet another prison, then “they” are the enemies of freedom. But who among us would raise the knife and call, “Sic semper tyrannis”?