Monday, July 9, 2012

Muskogee Mugs: Good or Bad?

It always seems to start the same way. I get a Facebook update saying that Muskogee Mugs has been updated, and I click the link, and my hungry eyes start to devour information, greedily processing names, photographs, and charges, all in the hope that I'll see someone I know, so that I can snap a picture, embed it in a text, and send it on, saying something like, "Can you believe they did this?"

And sometimes it goes the other way. Sometimes I see a face of someone I know that works at a store I frequent, and I can see the charges, and I know I need to watch my children a little bit better when I'm at that place of business. Folks I've talked to say the same thing, one person said they like to know who is coming into their store, and know if they've been arrested for robbery or something similar.

And then sometimes it's funny, like in the last minute, where my best friend sent me a picture of a mugshot, who has the same name as a mutual acquaintance, obviously NOT the same person, with the caption, "She used to be a lot cuter."

But it all boils down to the same site (I am aware that there is more than one, but since most of my audience is Muskogee bases, Muskogee Mugs is being discussed here today), with the same pictures. Sometimes the people are smiling, as if the photographer said something humorous right before they snapped the picture. Sometimes the person being photographed is obviously still under the influence of whatever it was they were arrested for. And sometimes the person is crying, or stoic, visibly ashamed of what they've done.

Truthfully, there is something entertaining about seeing the worst of people, neatly organized in alphabetical order by name, so easily found on the Internet. I wanted to dive deeper into that feeling, to ask around and see what others thought, and then organize that information so that you could easily form your opinion on whether Muskogee Mugs is a good or a bad thing.

The Pros:

"I would say that in the beginning, the interest is generally puerile and voyeuristic; but that's the case with anything of this nature. Over time, however, the interest matures and the site becomes a necessary and valuable information source." - Owner of Muskogee Mugs website

This ties in with the general feedback I got from Facebook on the matter. One person mentioned that it helps her recognize people who she might want to be a little more guarded against. So the site can be used for research purposes, and might in fact keep viewers from becoming victims by educating them about who has been arrested for what.

"I do think Muskogee Mugs is used mostly for entertainment, which is fine with me; however now I think I'm more worried about being on the site, than I would be going to court or paying a fine. Muskogee Mugs is enough to keep me from committing a crime. - Blake Russell

"We've heard dozens of stories about people who were drinking and who called a cab instead of driving home for fear of being on our site. In cases such as that, there is the chance that our site could have saved a life or two." - Owner of Muskogee Mugs

In this instance, we see that the fear of being put on the site has become somewhat of a crime deterrent in itself. But why are people afraid of being seen on Muskogee Mugs? Is it the shame, humiliation, and embarrassment that being pictured brings? I for one am supportive of the fact that we have another reason for keeping people away from breaking the law, but what does that cost us as a society?

The third pro focuses more on checks and balances in the law enforcement sector. Again, we turn to the owner of the Muskogee Mugs website.

"It [Muskogee Mugs] lets people know exactly what the police are up to, and where their tax dollars are going for things such as the jail and the police force. It also helps keep the police in line. In Muskogee, this isn't such a big deal, but in Tulsa, they arrest people for ridiculous charges such as no headlight on a bicycle or having a cat without a leash. Our sites publishing that information serves to let people know what's going on, and that's an important function of media." 

So here we have the ability of a site like Muskogee Mugs to show the public the charges a person was arrested for, which in turn lets them know what the police force is doing. In once instance, someone was charged for "Resisting Arrest," with no other charges filed. How can you have a resisting arrest charge without a charge that led towards the arrest you were resisting?

In the Pros section, we have the site shown to be an effective research engine, a crime deterrent, and a checks system for the local police force. But what are the cons?

The Cons:

"I would love to be able to update the mugs with the disposition of the charges, but at this time it's impossible to do that because of the way the system works." - Owner of Muskogee Mugs

"The public doesn't care about innocence or a fair shake. Once their pic is posted, the individual is guilty according to public opinion. There is never a follow-up to the outcome of innocence or guilt post publication or trial." - Jeremy Mustain

This is a big flaw that I see in sites like Muskogee Mugs. You never get a real update on what happened in a particular case unless it's broadly announced by news media, or you follow the case closely yourself. The person could be innocent, and you'd never know it unless you do the research yourself. All you see is the initial bad. If an employer was looking for your online presence and stumbled across your mugshot online, they might not even bother asking you how the charges panned out, and instead remove you from consideration of employment.

"I have mixed feelings. Some people deserve it, but their innocent children do not. I know of cases where the children were made fun of because Daddy got arrested." - Belinda Clark

Here we will discuss two things. Both the effect that a public social stigma can have on the family, and the comments section below each picture listed on the Muskogee Mugs site.

First off, children being bullied is not something that is every going to be completely stopped. In recent years, it has been addressed time and time again, and enormous headway has been made. However, with a site like Muskogee Mugs, which is easily accessible by anyone with an Internet connection, it is very likely that kids will see, or be told by their parents, about other kids' parents who have been arrested. This is going to lead to bullying. Does that mean the website should take responsibility for this? Absolutely not.

The other negative in this section is the fact that comments are allowed on each "mug" via a social plugin for Facebook. This means that anyone with a Facebook account can comment whatever they want on a "mug," and this usually isn't very nice. In fact, in most cases it is downright mean and slanderous. Should the people that have been arrested feel ashamed if they are guilty? Absolutely. But should they have insults heaped upon them like they're on a Comedy Central roast? I don't believe so.

The last con is more a matter of personal opinion than anything else. And since this is my personal blog, you get stuck with it. And since that comment box down there can be turned into your personal opinion, you have an opportunity to speak out and tell me how wrong or right I am.

I feel like it speaks to us deteriorating as a society. We are so eager to see other's misfortune, so hell-bent on seeing someone "get theirs," and so happy to see that Karma has come full circle, that we are starting to ignore what might be opportunities to minister to those who need it most. Instead, we focus on degrading them as much as possible, and maybe even silently thanking God that we're not there, refusing to admit that almost all of us have at one point and time done something that could have landed us there had we just. been. caught.

So where do you stand? This entire blog is aimed at the entire community of Muskogee and the surrounding areas, but don't let that stop you from putting in your two cents worth. Are you pro-mugs? Anti-mugs? Why? I will be loosely moderating comments, but for the most part, you can say what you need to say as long as you aren't being derogatory. I look forward to hearing from you all.


  1. I do not like them bcuz its already embarrassing enough to have been caught doing something stupid but some people live and ACTUALLY learn and dont deserve there whole life to be based on what some person with no life decided to post on a website BUT I do agree with the fact that is has helped as far as no one wanting to be on the site so therefore not doing the crime!

  2. I was so afraid of ending up Muskogee Mugs that I moved to Louisiana. Now I can get drunk, drive home, run over a bum, get home and cook my meth all without fear of ending up on that site. Thank you Lord

  3. I am against... I am a good person but due to one ticket, and the lack of funds to pay that ticket I Iost my license and gained more tickets( for driving without a license) I have to drive, I am the sole provider in my family due to a disabled spouse, and 2 minor children to care for. Anyways driving home from my job at 2 in the morning I got pulled over from one of my headlights being more dimmer than the other! Well the cops cuff me and are arresting me for no license. after I was already going to jail they found a piece of weed about 1/4 inch big on my floor board. I was not smoking nor had I been, I was in the processes of moving so who knows how it got there so the cop gave me a Ticket for the weed since it was so small it wasn't a charge legally. so I went to jail for driving w/o a license and that was too boring for Muskogee mugs, so they listed me as going to jail for possession!

  4. So for Muskogee Mugs to sell more they put the worst thing even if that's not what I went to jail for, it was just another ticket I got! it was not fair for them to make it like I had lots of weed and that's y I was arrested, cause it only listed the possession!

  5. And in the last paragraph you hit what I was wondering. How come we can't pray for that person, the people being mean to them on the site, their family. I believe most criminal cases are a matter of public record therefore I think one could easily find the information to update the site. If they were found innocent remove it all.

  6. Something I've noticed lately apparently Muskogee no longer has a meth problem. I'm not sure when it happened but, months ago I noticed more possession of illegal substance and hardly a mention of meth. Tougher penalties or election year tactics? Maybe worth a blog.

  7. I think it's a shame that we use others misfortune and hard times as a source of entertainment. And I have also witnessed children being made fun of because of their parents portrait being displayed on the Mugs. It does more harm than good in my opinion & I thank God everyday this website wasn't up 10 years ago whenever I went to jail several times in a few years, lol. I'm a good, honest God fearing woman but I had my stupid years & I think that if people had seen my mug shot blasted all over the Internet, they would have formed a negative opinion towards me.

  8. This is Leif from I don't know about those newspapers, because I don't control them, but as for, I do not change people's charges. I report the charges they were arrested on as reported to me by the various authorities who report them. I do not omit charges, nor do I list charges that aren't as boring as others. I list all the charges that are reported to me, and only those. If you were arrested for possession, that's what you were listed as.


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