Updated: Mar 27
Wednesday 10:25 p.m.
This will be my first entry in quite a while. I stayed on the disciplinary pod for about a year and a half and the entire time trying to gain support on the outside and protesting in various forms. My efforts paid off in some ways, however, I didn't have hardly any outside support, so much of what I hoped to achieve didn't happen. I was down there hulled out, beat up, stripped completely naked in a security management cell, without any property and on every type of restriction they could come up with. And, no one but those on my section and a few people on the outside knew about it.
Why did I stay down there so long? Do you want a lengthy diatribe detailing my socio-political beliefs? Probably not! So, let me just say that here in Texas we have the absolute worst conditions of any death row within the United States. I´ve always been one to despise injustice and it is very simply impossible for me to just stand by while oppression and mistreatment occur. It's also about humanity; these officers treat people here as if they’re nothing more than huge TDC numbers in the shape of a human being. They're trained to despise us in the most primal sense of the word.
Most of these officers are common people living paycheck to paycheck. Their supervisors treat them badly so they displace that anger upon us. They’re mad because of the inadequate health insurance they have so who do they blame? Whatever the cause of their anger may be, we suffer. I understand the psychology behind their sadism and I actually feel sorry for them. But I still refuse to remain complacent and do nothing to promote change: essentially, I refuse to deny humanity.
So, what's been going on lately? Well, I've been on level I for a few months now. I'm still trying to organize a mass protest but I'm focusing more on paperwork and grievances. I caused so much trouble while I was on disciplinary status that most of these officers developed a you don't fuck with us and we won't fuck with you attitude towards me. I think more than anything they just got real tired of having to break out the incident video camera and do a bunch of extra work!
Just recently a friend offered to build and run a website for me, something I've been trying to get done for over 4 years now. So, here I am! What do I hope to accomplish? I want to bring those on the outside into my world. I want you to get to know who I truly am. Through my words I will paint an unbiased picture of death row for the whole world to see. And, of course, I'll expose any injustices I witness in a fair manner.
On that note: yesterday when I was in the day-room, Captain Wickersham came stomping on the pod with his sidekick, Lt. He obviously wasn't doing regular rounds because he went straight up to C cell, then right to his neighbor D. He told C that he had to cut his hair and told D to shave even though he only had a small amount of facial hair. Unlike many, if not most other states, Texas doesn't allow inmates to grow any facial hair. The officers are supposed to pass out one razor per week to every inmate. The state razors are of very poor quality, so many guys have to buy Magic Shave Cream on commissary if they can afford to do so, or wait for a clipper shave when they come around for haircuts. The problem is that the officers don't do haircuts regularly like they're supposed to do. About a week and a half ago Warden Jones had to come on the building to make the death row rank do haircuts. This unit has over 2,000 inmates and about 18 buildings so a visit from the warden is rare. I guess he got tired of getting grievances and I-60 Requests!
Well, when Captain Wichersham told D to shave, he replied that he didn't have a razor. Without even asking why he didn't have one, Wichersham told his Lt. to put him on F-Pod! First of all, inmates can only be taken directly to F-Pod (the disciplinary pod) if an emergency situation occurs that threatens the safety and security of the institution. Hmmm. I'm not a security expert, but I don't think its possible to fashion a weapon out of a few whiskers! Without writing a disciplinary or giving him a proper disciplinary hearing they took D to F-Pod with C right behind him for refusing to groom. How does one groom without a razor or other means?
It wasn't a coincidence that these two individuals were targeted. Like myself, both D and C have spent the majority of their time here on death row on disciplinary status. Only about 5-7 % of the guys on death row are on the disciplinary pod at any given time. So, those who stay down there for any length of time are labeled and remembered by the staff. What upset me more than anything was the fact that myself and D were having a conversation about both of us making positive changes in the way we deal with officers here. It's really hard to be positive in an environment that breeds negativity, you try to chill out, be rational, and keep to yourself and see what happens? You get hit with a bullshit case. Sometimes, I think some of these officers want people to react violently. This society does edify violence so maybe they're trying to live out their video game/ movie fantasies or something? Of course, the worst officers usually run off the pod after doing something to an inmate so their coworkers can catch the heat. It amazes me how they're so sickly depraved and sadistic, yet at the same time so cowardly.
I wonder what Dostoyevsky would say about that!? C had a book entitled A History of God by Karen Armstrong that I wanted to read. I flipped through it and ran across where she wrote that Fyodor Dostoyevskys. The Brothers Karamazov can be seen as being about the death of God. Im a few hundred pages into The Brothers Karmazovso I found that quote interesting. The book is almost 800 pages long and I haven't picked up the death of God theme yet. Of course, did she mean the death of God in a Nietzschean "God is dead" sense or in another way? On that note, Nietzsche once remarked that the testimony of Dostoevsky is relevant–Dosteyevsky, the only psychologist, incidentally, from when I had something to learn. That, coming from the man who wrote The Antichrist and Dostoyevsky being a Christian! Hmmm.
So, because these asshole laws dropped D and C to level 2 disciplinary status behind some bullshit, they'll have to spend a minimum of 3 months down there and though this is a minor issue compared to that I don't get to read the Armstrong book! I'll go ahead and close off on that light sarcastic note. I really did want to read that book though. I love to learn and for me, reading is a process of correcting my ignorance and getting to know myself. By the way, I'm only going to make one draft of everything I write and send it directly out. That way my thoughts will drop straight onto my paper then be posted right onto the net. I figure that's the best way for you to know the real me. I don't have any formal training, so, y'all let me know how I'm doing? Gotta go, Led Zeppelin's about to come on the radio!
4:45 am 4-14-05
Post Scripts: There was no mail today.
Something happened in the mail-room to where the actual police had to be called in. One officer told me the Bomb Squad came because of something in a package coming in. Thats a first! I'll try to find out more tomorrow.
1) I never post peoples full names unless I'm able to get their permission. They both were moved so I was unable to ask them. (D and C)
2) Russian is a rather hard to transliterate into English so scholars' version of Ryodor Dostoyevskys last name differ. I've only seen it written as either Dostoyevsky or Dostoevsky. Nietzsche's quote on Dosteyevsky is from Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's The Twilight of the Idols (written 1888) in Walter Kaufmann's Portable Nietzsche (New York: Vintage, 1954).