How Would You React?
Updated: Feb 1
I just got up from getting a little rest. I’m sore from working out so hard last night and I just realized it while writing, so, hold up, let me do some stretching and I’ll be right back…
Alright, cool. Today has been rather chaotic. First thing in the morning I came to my door to see the incident video-camera in one officer’s hand and a gang of other officers in front of DW’s cell. I couldn’t tell what all was going on but after things calmed down DW (Daryl Wheatfall) told me what happened. First of all, D-dub has been having some major problems with staff recently. He was written a fake threatening case and moved to Level III like a month ago. Since then, he has tried very profusely to resolve the problem. DW has talked to damn near every staff member that has come on this section. He’s put in I-60′s and grievances. He’s talked and talked and talked – trying to go about resolving the problem in the “proper manner.” Finally, after trying every day for a month str-8, he jacked the cuffs and was gassed on the 19th. I’ll write about that later but I just wanted to lace you up on the events that led up to today’s situation. So, first thing this morning coming back from the shower, DW sat down and occupied the run and refused to move. Captain Bailey and Sgt. Ludwig came and D-Dub said he was tired of talking. Period. Then, the Captain ordered other CO’s to come to the pod along with the video camera. DW was sitting on the run “Indian Style” with a gang of officers towering over him. He told them not to touch him and he said that he felt like spitting, then added that he was going to spit in the face of the first person that touched him. Captain Bailey ordered CO Burrows to grab DW and right as he put his hands on him, DW spit in Mr. Burrows’ face. Shocked by the blatant disregard for “authority” – a wordless “fuck you, oppressor!” in the form of spit in the face – Burrows jumped back and slammed his own face into the concrete wall. Blood started gushing out of his nose and then all the other officers grabbed DW and wrestled him to the ground face first. In the process Officer Lipton sliced his hand open on the steel grate that’s attached to the dayroom bars.
After struggling with DW they picked him up and carried him back to his cell. The door was closed, he put his arms out of the slot and right as one cuff was removed, D-dub attempted to jack the cuffs. The officers struggled with him for several minutes, bending, twisting and slamming his arm into the sharp steel until they finally got the handcuffs back. Lunch Time.
Several Hours Later. I came to the door to get my tray. I didn’t hear DW say anything about them trying to jack him for his tray but I asked if everything was cool just to make sure. “Hell naw, them mutha’ fuckers didn’t feed me!” He told me that he had hollered a few minutes ago but I was getting some rest right before they fed so I didn’t hear him. “Alright, I gotcha.” No need for discussion. I yawned, fists clenched, arms straight out to my sides, stretched and began “suiting up.” Even though I do things differently than D-dub and I don’t agree with all of his tactics – spitting being one of them – I’m not going to let these sadistic officers starve anyone. Planning on occupying the food slot and getting gassed if necessary, I put on all my clothes and waited for the CO’s to pick up trays, nodding my head every-so-often from lack of sleep.”Trays one row!!” I stood at my door ready to jack the slot and…
“Ya’ll mutha- fuckers are denying my neighbor his constitutional rights goddamnit!” All movement stopped. “Y’all are jackin’ that man’s food!! 14th amendment! 8th Amendment! Get some goddamned rank down here! A Sgt.! A Lieutenant!” At first I didn’t even realize what had happened or who was talking. There are only three people on this section; me, DW and a guy named F who is…well, let’s just say he’s on some heavy psychotropic medication and he definitely needs it. “Ya’ll oppressive racist mutha fuckers are trying’ to deny my neighbor his food! Goddamned 8th amendment mutha-fuckers! GOD-DAMNED CON-STI-TUTIONAL rights! Get some rank- that’s right – GET. SOME. RANK!”
Ole’ F occupied the food slot! We were all kinda shocked. I just thought of something Freud wrote in his Totem and Taboo. Freud said that neurotics live in their own special world where “only the neurotic standard of currency counts…regardless of whether these things are in harmony with outer reality.” I guess the reality of overt oppression – denying a human being food, has most basic need – placed directly in one’s face, is a universally recognized form of currency even in the land of neurosis. Sgt. Brown came and a bunch of yelling and arguing ensued. While this was going on I hollered at CO Davidson: “I’m in here trying to get some rest and ya’ll are just starting a bunch of shit. You know damn well I’m not going to just SIT here and let ya’ll starve that man. Why don’t ya’ll just feed him so we don’t have a bunch of fucking problems today…”
DW and F continued to talk to the officers and Sgt. Then, F relinquished control of the slot and DW was fed. Dinner Time. We were given bullshit “sack lunches” because we were put on lockdown due to “2 officers being injured” despite the fact that they injured themselves. I bet DW will probably get 2 assault cases also. As I said, I see spitting as a counterproductive tactic but even though I don’t agree with what D-Dub did I can understand why he did it. The main reason goes back to the fact that he was placed on L-III for no reason.
But, check this: We’re only allowed out of our cells for short periods of time when we’re “escorted” to medical, visitation, shower or recreation. Everywhere we go we’re “escorted” by two officers. One officer keeps his hand gripped to the “offenders” arm who he’s escorting. The other officer walks on the other side of the inmate. I feel bad for most of the staff here. I realize that a lot of the staffs oppressive actions are manifestations of their subconscious hatred of their social situation. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to get disgusted with their overall attitude and behavior sometimes. Seeing your friends systematically led off to slaughter while most of these officers offer blind obedience to this System with nods, back-slaps, yee-haws and grins, can get to you. Sensory deprivation gets to you. Oppression weighs down on you. Sometimes, you just don’t want to be spoken to, you don’t want to even be looked at and you definitely don’t want to be touched. Imagine feeling like that while sitting down “Indian Style” on the concrete floor. You’re tired of abuse, fed up with oppression, seven officers are towering over you, staring you down and ordering you to get up. In your mind you think, “I’m tired of this shit. I’m just fucking tired of this shit! I don’t even want these oppressive cowards to touch me!” Then a CO suddenly grabs you and his hands feel like the sting of a slavemaster's whip…
How would you react?…
From the Trenches
With Strength and Love:
P.S: It’s impossible for me to answer all of the cards and emails and everything I get. For one, I only have two people who do 98% of everything for me out in the freeworld and I don’t even see how they find the time to grind as hard as they do. Also, I’m on disciplinary status so I’m limited on the number of stamps I can get, plus stamps are expensive. I’m sure most people don’t expect responses to short messages of Solidarity anyway but believe me, I deeply appreciate all messages of encouragement. If anyone wants to offer some serious support to our activism, drop me a letter and I’ll definitely get back at you.