He left prison and came home to his family. But after what happened, he'll never see his kids again.

Let me preface this by saying this is the most heartwrenching 5 minutes I've watched in a long time. So keep your hanky at the ready. But if you can't watch the video right now, scroll down for a quick summary.

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Remember when prisons were run by, y'know, the government?

It's weird to say, but as prisons go, those are starting to feel like the good ol' days.


To set the stage, private prisons didn't even exist in the United States as recently as 1980. Today, there are well over 100. And between 1990 and 2010, the number of inmates in private prisons grew by about 1,600% despite an overall reduction in crime as the corporations behind those prisons lobbied and bribed their way to stricter laws and harsher sentences.

With profit (not corrections) as the ultimate goal, corporate prisons cut corners to a devastating effect.

Take it from Matthew Naidow. He's a shift captain at East Mississippi Correctional Facility, which is run as a for-profit prison:

Naidow says some pretty f%ked up stuff is happening behind those prison walls:

"Prisoners will scream for help and pound on doors, but guards are often nowhere to be found during emergencies. ... Not only are staff absent, reports Captain Naidow, but they are corrupt, 'working with gangs, extorti[ng people], [and] bringing in contraband.'"

Christopher Lindsey, a former EMCF inmate, went blind as a result of neglect at the prison.

"They know you got glaucoma and your pressure is running in the 30s, and they just walk on past you and just keeping living their day and don't even care. At that time they didn't have have no ... eye equipment or nothing."


Lindsey describes his experience as "hell with no fire."

Another former EMCF prisoner, Kenji Hobbes, was sent there after getting caught with weed.

Just to say it, that's ridiculous for a lot of reasons, but that's a whole 'nother story. Hobbes' real punishment wasn't the year he spent behind bars. It was the forcible hollowing out of his mind and spirit.


Cynthia Hobbes discusses the psychological damage her son endured in prison.

What happened to Hobbes remains a mystery. Thus far, no one has come forward to say what caused his condition.

I get that it's not easy for everyone to empathize with these men and the thousands of others who are neglected and abused in the U.S. prison system. But a truly "civilized" society is one that demands decency for everyone, regardless of their mistakes.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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