Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hanlon’s Razor, Jeffrey Epstein Edition

 

The saying goes “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” In the case of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, we could say we don’t have to assume he was murdered when instead, perhaps it was the incompetence of those guarding his life to blame for his suicide.

Over at the Federalist, my friend (using a pseudonym) wrote a piece arguing that the most logical explanation is the most simple, that Epstein committed suicide. She pooh-poohs the idea that there’s a more complicated story, something I’m not willing to do. It’s not crazy to think that one of the most hated men in the world, one with some of the most damaging secrets imaginable, could’ve had a hit put out on him. But it’s also not crazy to think that prison officials were this incompetent, even with one of the most “valuable” prisoners in the world.

It took Epstein’s death for these problems to come to light, but they are the tip of the iceberg for prisons in just the New York City area. One prison, MDC, didn’t have heat during the coldest week of the year in conditions that anyone would call inhumane. The New York Times podcast, The Daily, devoted an entire episode to the abuses at the prison, which are deeply disturbing and worth a listen.

The New York Post covers incidents at another local prison, Riker’s Island, a great deal, and just the stories from this summer alone (a settlement for an inmate raped repeatedly by guards, a dead inmate found in a cell, and missed doctors appointments for sick inmates) are chilling.

The problems with prisons shouldn’t just animate conservatives because of their unconstitutional nature (cruel and unusual punishment), but also because it increases the likelihood of recidivism. Prisoners are becoming more hardened in cruel prison conditions, which costs us as a society and financially when they re-offend.

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There are 36 comments.

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  1. Stad Thatcher

    Bethany Mandel: Over at the Federalist, my friend (using a pseudonym) wrote a piece arguing that the most logical explanation is the most simple, that Epstein committed suicide.

    When I was young and stupid, I once spent 30 minutes in jail. Other than my tennis shoe laces, I was left with nothing by which I could kill myself. If we always apply Occam’s razor, we might miss out on another explanation that happens to be the truth. I believe we’ll find enough facts in this case which will render suicide questionable enough to warrant a Federal investigation.

    Just tell me Mueller isn’t in charge . . .

    • #1
    • August 12, 2019, at 1:37 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor

    Knowing Epstein’s frame of mind, would it really have been all that hard for the right people to avert their eyes in an act of not-so-beneficial neglect?

    Given that this guy was probably the highest profile guest of the Federal Prison system, how were eyes not on him more-or-less continuously?

    • #2
    • August 12, 2019, at 2:09 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  3. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):
    Just tell me Mueller isn’t in charge . . .

    Would he know about it if he was?

    • #3
    • August 12, 2019, at 2:09 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Epstein already had attempted to commit suicide once, which is why he wa placed on suicide watch. But then he was taken off suicide watch and after that, he suppo0sedly killed himself.

    So even if some people do not wanna get more complicated than necessary, it is still a valid question as to why he had been taken off suicide watch, right?

    • #4
    • August 12, 2019, at 2:15 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. Full Size Tabby Member

    A doubt that has not yet been answered adequately for me to accept the suicide argument is that, besides opportunity, Mr. Epstein would need a mechanism for committing suicide.

    I have heard no descriptions of how he supposedly committed suicide. I have heard no official descriptions of the cell, but I have heard reports from people who claim that the type of cell in which Mr. Epstein would have been held are designed and equipped in such a way that suicide is nigh unto impossible. 

    • #5
    • August 12, 2019, at 2:21 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. Rodin Member

    Are we sure it wasn’t just a case of erotic asphyxiation gone wrong (right)? Yeah, he was that kind of guy.

    • #6
    • August 12, 2019, at 2:23 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Brian Watt Member

    The conditions for Epstein to commit suicide after a previous suicide attempt, became available to him. The question is whether those in charge of monitoring him at the MCC were grossly negligent or whether those conditions materialized because someone felt that when he wasn’t being watched, was taken off of suicide watch, and was given the necessary tools to kill himself, it would result in the desired effect. 

    When all is said and done, it could boil down to gross negligence. Still, if that is the case, people need to be fired.

    • #7
    • August 12, 2019, at 3:18 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  8. Ansonia Member

    No way is it not deliberate that anyone this famous, and this much of a danger to the reputations of powerful people, was left to commit suicide, or be coerced into it, or be murdered.

    • #8
    • August 12, 2019, at 3:38 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Ansonia Member

    Re: comment 4

    Are we even certain that was a suicide attempt ?

     

    • #9
    • August 12, 2019, at 3:40 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    Re: comment 4

    Are we even certain that was a suicide attempt ?

     

    Which? The first attempt or the more deadly activity?

    And I have learned over the years that if I am not there to witness something in person, I don’t know very much at all.

    • #10
    • August 12, 2019, at 3:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    Just tell me Mueller isn’t in charge . . .

    Would he know about it if he was?

    Noice! 

    • #11
    • August 12, 2019, at 4:07 PM PST
    • Like
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Are we sure it wasn’t just a case of erotic asphyxiation gone wrong (right)? Yeah, he was that kind of guy.

    Is there a large intersection between autoerotic asphyxiation and child rape? 

    • #12
    • August 12, 2019, at 4:08 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Rodin Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Are we sure it wasn’t just a case of erotic asphyxiation gone wrong (right)? Yeah, he was that kind of guy.

    Is there a large intersection between autoerotic asphyxiation and child rape?

    Don’t know and I don’t want to even contemplate it.

    • #13
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:07 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Gary McVey Contributor

    MCC has nothing to do with other jails in the New York area. They’re local; MCC is Federal-only. It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen. 

    • #14
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:09 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Brian Watt Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    MCC has nothing to do with other jails in the New York area. They’re local; MCC is Federal-only. It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen.

    Define: “allowed” in this context.

    • #15
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:13 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Gary McVey Contributor

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    MCC has nothing to do with other jails in the New York area. They’re local; MCC is Federal-only. It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen.

    Define: “allowed” in this context.

    Too stupid or utterly incompetent to have done what Rudy Giuliani would have done: pick up the phone to his underling at the Bureau of Prisons and tell him his career depends on Epstein’s survival, then strongly suggest that the BoP man volunteer to be Epstein’s roommate, if that’s what it takes. Barr could have ordered the video feed in Epstein’s cell to be made available online to outside officials. They could have contested the MCC location, they could have moved him to a secure military facility in the NYC area. Barr did none of those things. 

    He’s responsible. 

    • #16
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:19 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Brian Watt Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    MCC has nothing to do with other jails in the New York area. They’re local; MCC is Federal-only. It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen.

    Define: “allowed” in this context.

    Too stupid or utterly incompetent to have done what Rudy Giuliani would have done: pick up the phone to his underling at the Bureau of Prisons and tell him his career depends on Epstein’s survival, then strongly suggest that the BoP man volunteer to be Epstein’s roommate, if that’s what it takes. Barr could have ordered the video feed in Epstein’s cell to be made available online to outside officials. They could have contested the MCC location, they could have moved him to a secure military facility in the NYC area. Barr did none of those things.

    He’s responsible.

    You don’t know what Barr or any of his lieutenants at DoJ may have said or instructed to those at the MCC, so you’re engaging in reckless speculation. 

    You’re also speculating on what Rudy Giuliani would have done.

    Unless you have some credible inside information on what the instructions to the MCC were re: Epstein’s confinement, you may want to simmer down and wait for facts to come out.

    • #17
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:31 PM PST
    • 1 like
  18. Gary McVey Contributor

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    MCC has nothing to do with other jails in the New York area. They’re local; MCC is Federal-only. It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen.

    Define: “allowed” in this context.

    Too stupid or utterly incompetent to have done what Rudy Giuliani would have done: pick up the phone to his underling at the Bureau of Prisons and tell him his career depends on Epstein’s survival, then strongly suggest that the BoP man volunteer to be Epstein’s roommate, if that’s what it takes. Barr could have ordered the video feed in Epstein’s cell to be made available online to outside officials. They could have contested the MCC location, they could have moved him to a secure military facility in the NYC area. Barr did none of those things.

    He’s responsible.

    You don’t know what Barr or any of his lieutenants at DoJ may have said or instructed to those at the MCC, so you’re engaging in reckless speculation.

    You’re also speculating on what Rudy Giuliani would have done.

    Unless you have some credible inside information on what the instructions to the MCC were re: Epstein’s confinement, you may want to simmer down and wait for facts to come out.

    You bet I’m speculating, like everyone on Ricochet, since at the moment that’s all we have. I’ve read endless pontification about the Deep State, the Clintons, etc on this site and elsewhere, which is also no more than guesswork at this point, and I haven’t seen that challenged. 

    If Barr had done any of he things I suggested, we’d certainly have known about it by now, because Epstein would still be alive. If he can explain his lack of action, let him; we haven’t seen it yet. 

    • #18
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:39 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Ansonia Member

    Re: 10

    i was asking about the first incident—-whatever it was that got him put on suicide watch.

    • #19
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Brian Watt Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    MCC has nothing to do with other jails in the New York area. They’re local; MCC is Federal-only. It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen.

    Define: “allowed” in this context.

    Too stupid or utterly incompetent to have done what Rudy Giuliani would have done: pick up the phone to his underling at the Bureau of Prisons and tell him his career depends on Epstein’s survival, then strongly suggest that the BoP man volunteer to be Epstein’s roommate, if that’s what it takes. Barr could have ordered the video feed in Epstein’s cell to be made available online to outside officials. They could have contested the MCC location, they could have moved him to a secure military facility in the NYC area. Barr did none of those things.

    He’s responsible.

    You don’t know what Barr or any of his lieutenants at DoJ may have said or instructed to those at the MCC, so you’re engaging in reckless speculation.

    You’re also speculating on what Rudy Giuliani would have done.

    Unless you have some credible inside information on what the instructions to the MCC were re: Epstein’s confinement, you may want to simmer down and wait for facts to come out.

    You bet I’m speculating, like everyone on Ricochet, since at the moment that’s all we have. I’ve read endless pontification about the Deep State, the Clintons, etc on this site and elsewhere, which is also no more than guesswork at this point, and I haven’t seen that challenged.

    If Barr had done any of he things I suggested, we’d certainly have known about it by now, because Epstein would still be alive. If he can explain his lack of action, let him; we haven’t seen it yet.

    I see. Then why hold back? Why not just say Trump ordered Barr to “allow” the conditions where Epstein could easily commit suicide or be murdered? Don’t pussyfoot around. 

    • #20
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:49 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Gary McVey Contributor

    Brian Watt (View Comment):.

    I see. Then why hold back? Why not just say Trump ordered Barr to “allow” the conditions where Epstein could easily commit suicide or be murdered? Don’t pussyfoot around.

    Why? Because I don’t believe that. Sufficient reason for you? Thanks for trying to put an idiotic idea in my mouth, but no thanks. 

    Don’t pussyfoot around, Brian. If you think the president is well served by the people who let this happen, come out and say so. If you think DoJ did a sparkling great job, do a post on it. 

    • #21
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:56 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Brian Watt Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):.

    I see. Then why hold back? Why not just say Trump ordered Barr to “allow” the conditions where Epstein could easily commit suicide or be murdered? Don’t pussyfoot around.

    Why? Because I don’t believe that. Sufficient reason for you? Thanks for trying to put an idiotic idea in my mouth, but no thanks.

    Don’t pussyfoot around, Brian. If you think the president is well served by the people who let this happen, come out and say so. If you think DoJ did a sparkling great job, do a post on it.

    I’m not sufficiently incensed enough…apparently. Other things in life are more important to me. But thanks for the suggestion. I may post something on anger management, though.

    • #22
    • August 12, 2019, at 6:09 PM PST
    • Like
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Easy there, boys. 

    The problem word was ‘responsible’. 

    Barr is ultimately responsible for what did happened in the sense that the buck stops there, but not in the sense of being the author or other signatory of Epstein’s death. 

    • #23
    • August 12, 2019, at 7:27 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  24. Brian Watt Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    Easy there, boys.

    The problem word was ‘responsible’.

    Barr is ultimately responsible for what did happened in the sense that the buck stops there, but not in the sense of being the author or other signatory of Epstein’s death.

    Well, the problem word was really “allowed” which implies intent.

    • #24
    • August 12, 2019, at 7:44 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Gary McVey Contributor

    If I say “NASA’s screwups allowed the Challenger and Columbia disasters to happen”, that’s not suggesting that it was what NASA wanted.

    But TBA’s “Easy there, boys” is warranted. I don’t want a fight with Brian Watt; I’m an admirer, if anything. But the whole site is “Dems did this, Dems did that” without any acknowledgment that there were Trump loyalists who failed him.

    • #25
    • August 12, 2019, at 8:20 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    If I say “NASA’s screwups allowed the Challenger and Columbia disasters to happen”, that’s not suggesting that it was what NASA wanted.

    But TBA’s “Easy there, boys” is warranted. I don’t want a fight with Brian Watt; I’m an admirer, if anything. But the whole site is “Dems did this, Dems did that” without any acknowledgment that there were Trump loyalists who failed him.

    For my part I will admit that I very much want to blame other-than-Trump, so my top choices are incompetence, institutional indifference to pedo-deaths, or Clinton/other pervert arranging the death. Oh, I suppose Epstein might have also rung his own bell. 

    Understand that my beliefs are based on meticulous and exacting hunch-work, and as such are to be given considerable credence. 

    • #26
    • August 12, 2019, at 8:47 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Brian Watt Member

    Respectfully to all – I don’t want to fight either but making an assertion of what Barr did or did not do or what others in the DoJ did or did not do based on mere guesses and no facts to back up the assertion is not a compelling argument. So ascribing fault to Barr at this stage, I believe, is premature. There is still so much that is not known about the circumstances that led up to Epstein’s death and an investigation into the MCC “irregularities” is underway. I think being more patient is always a better course of action.

    Often, there are no pat answers in ascribing fault when certain deadly events happen. Was George W. Bush responsible for not adequately preventing the 9/11 attack? Bill Clinton before him? The folks who didn’t report the terrorists who took private flying lessons? Airport screeners and security personnel? American foreign policy? The intelligence agencies that didn’t talk to one another to connect the dots before the terrorists boarded their flights?

    My sense, at this stage, is that there was gross incompetence at play at the MCC or recklessness in the way that the facility was managed. Perhaps that was from poor oversight from Barr’s predecessors…perhaps not. I did hear, anecdotally that the facility hadn’t had a suicide in 8 years until the apparent Epstein suicide. Was Barr and his staff given assurances that Epstein would be properly monitored and isolated? Were they lied to? Were assumptions made? Very possible.

    If it becomes evident that Barr himself dropped the ball rather than someone lower on the food chain who negligently or willfully did so, then by all means, he should be taken to task for it.

    @garymcvey – All the best and thanks for the comment.

    To all – Gary is a decent fellow and a wonderful writer. I just think in this matter, he let his frustration with Epstein’s sudden and unexpected death – which is infuriating – taint his remarks…but not worth a prolonged back and forth. 

    Cheers.

    • #27
    • August 12, 2019, at 9:09 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  28. Jason Obermeyer Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen. 

    [CoC]. Unless and until civil service rules and union contracts for federal employees are abolished (they really should be viewed as unconstitutional), no one is really in charge of the Executive branch. The authors of The Federalist Papers warned us about the inherent lack of accountability of a non-unitary executive, but we didn’t listen. 

    • #28
    • August 12, 2019, at 9:13 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    To my mind Epstein’s death means that Barr didn’t do enough to prevent it. That doesn’t indicate anything else to me. 

    • #29
    • August 12, 2019, at 9:27 PM PST
    • 1 like
  30. Chris B Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    MCC has nothing to do with other jails in the New York area. They’re local; MCC is Federal-only. It’s important to remember that the ultimate boss man of MCC wasn’t Bill de Blasio, but President Trump, whose hand-picked AG allowed this to happen.

    Define: “allowed” in this context.

    Too stupid or utterly incompetent to have done what Rudy Giuliani would have done: pick up the phone to his underling at the Bureau of Prisons and tell him his career depends on Epstein’s survival, then strongly suggest that the BoP man volunteer to be Epstein’s roommate, if that’s what it takes. Barr could have ordered the video feed in Epstein’s cell to be made available online to outside officials. They could have contested the MCC location, they could have moved him to a secure military facility in the NYC area. Barr did none of those things.

    He’s responsible.

    From what I’ve seen of Barr, he tends to always expect those under him to act with professionalism and according to policy and protocol. He is always willing to extend to them the benefit of the doubt. He genuinely expects his employees to live up to the ideals the DoJ officially espouses. This is, perhaps, his greatest flaw as Attorney General.

    We’ve all seen a bit too much at this point to continue believe that officials in the DoJ and its subsidiaries will do their jobs competently and professionally. It’s just not realistic.

    Barr failed to anticipate that people in the Bureau of Prisons would be either so incompetent or so corrupt that they would let this happen if they weren’t monitored every second. That’s on him. I hope he learns from it.

    • #30
    • August 12, 2019, at 10:59 PM PST
    • 6 likes
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