In Greek mythology the Gorgons were frightful female monsters, the most famous of which was Medusa. She was once a beautiful young woman with particularly beautiful hair, until the Goddess Minerva became rather jealous of her beauty. How dare Medusa, a mere mortal, place her beauty in a comparable position to that of the most exquisite Divine Minerva? Her blasphemy was answered by Minerva turning Medusa into a monstrous being so hideous — complete with hair of hissing serpents —that all living beings turned immediately to stone when they looked upon her …One of the ideas in a book I recently read by Neil Gaiman’s entitled American Gods, is that many of the ancient Gods, Goddesses and mythological beings are still alive in America, in human form, but their power has dramatically decreased because belief in them has faded and been replaced by belief in new Gods, Gods of technology and industry.
In Gaiman’s book, an Arabic Djinn has been relegated to the status of a taxi driver and the Egyptian Gods Thoth and Anubis run a not-very-successful funeral home. Medusa, that dreadful monster who terrorized ancient Greece isn’t mentioned in American Gods.
Perhaps, because in the ancient myth she was said to have been slain by Perseus. Well, call the tabloid magazines because I have evidence that Medusa is alive and well. Her attitude is the same but her appearance has changed and her powers have diminished significantly — now she only has the ability to change the mood of those whose gaze falls upon her to stone. Where does this mighty Chthonian demon lurk? What territory does she corrupt with her vile, odious presence? What people suffer her horrible wrath?
The Greeks — to their great relief I’m sure — have been spared from the hideous Medusa. She now lives in North America. The state of Texas. County of Polk. City of Livingston.
Medusa has made her lair inside the Texas Death Row property room. The vipers atop her head have been replaced by very short and wiry bottle-blonde hair and she has taken on full human form. This most treacherous black-hearted Gorgon now goes by the name of Ms. Smith and the title of Death Row property officer. Her seat of power is secure and her reign of terror seems to only spread, unchained and unfettered …
Ms. Smith is the absolute worst officer I’ve ever encountered. I don’t know who placed her in the position of property officer but it was a terrible, terrible decision to do so. She has always been bad but since the Tabler Incident she has gotten worse.
In order to understand the nature of Ms. Smith’s perfidious actions it’s necessary to know the function of her position. The Death Row property officer is in control of all things related to DR prisoners’ personal property; she runs the property room for the building.
Whenever someone is dropped to level 2 or 3 from level 1 their property is inventoried and whatever items they aren’t allowed to possess on the disciplinary levels are held in the property room until they make L-1. The items they’re allowed to have on L-2 or L-3 are given back to them. This is how it’s supposed to work, but Ms. Smith seems to operate by her own set of unilateral rules. Every single person who I’ve talked to who has been leveled since the Tabler Incident has had property come up missing once it has entered the cold and dark corridors of Ms. Smith’s lair. She has been very simply throwing people’s property away with smug impunity. Any items that are deemed “contraband” are supposed to be confiscated and the person who owns the property is supposed to receive confiscation papers. Ms. Smith hasn’t even been doing that; she’s just been throwing things away, contraband or not.
As I’ve said in previous updates the shakedowns have gotten straight up out of control since the Tabler debacle. Ms. Smith had been present during some of the shakedowns, sauntering around haughtily, casting her wicked stare upon people’s property, confiscating anything and everything she can and coming up with outlandishly arbitrary reasons to do so. I’ll give an example: officers have been taking people’s typewriters apart to look for contraband. Typewriters — especially the cheap, poorly crafted ones they sell here — are delicate pieces of equipment. As one can surely imagine, the officers have not been delicate when taking them apart.
A guy I know here told me a few days ago that Ms. Smith confiscated his typewriter because the screws were loose. First of all, that is not a valid reason to confiscate a typewriter. Secondly, the screws were loose because officers made them loose by roughly opening his typewriter without concern for the condition it would be in after they did so. I can give many more examples of the devious behavior of Ms. Smith — concerning her confiscating and/or destroying property — but I’ll only give one more at this time: Some guys here have 4-plug multi-outlet electrical cord extensions.
Ms. Smith confiscated some of these because one or more of the outlets had a light film on them. The hot-pots we have to heat up water with don’t have a power switch. We turn them on by plugging them in. A slight spark occurs every time we unplug them and after months and months of doing so the outlet plug we use will darken. Everyone knows this but Ms. Smith has come up with her own fantastical reason for the darkened outlets: People are using them to light cigarettes. Her thirst for confiscating property is seemingly insatiable and she’ll come up with any excuse to do so. Other C-O’s are using this to their advantage also. They will arbitrarily confiscate a person’s property because they don’t like a particular inmate — or simply because they’re sad, hateful individuals — and it will be placed in the black abyss of Ms. Smith’s chamber, never to be seem again by human eyes. They know that once anything has been confiscated and placed in the property room Ms. Smith will ride with whatever justification the C-O’s give for confiscating it. At this point several questions beg to be addressed.
One: Doesn’t Ms. Smith have superiors who supervise her activities? She does indeed, however, it seems that other staff members are terrified of this woman including her ranking officers. Yes, I’m serious. Her attitude is so bad that it’s as if whenever she enters an area, silence falls, the temperature drops and she sours the mood of all present. Everyone has an aversion to dealing with her, inmates and officers alike.
Plus, although she is only a regular C-O, sergeants and lieutenants do not have the authority to override her decisions. It didn’t used to be like that. Before, if, say for example, the property officer confiscated an item for an unwarranted reason a person could speak with a sergeant or lieutenant about the problem and they could get involved and order the property officer to give the item back. I don’t know if this is completely true or not, but I’ve heard that even the Captain and the Major are afraid of Ms. Smith. Being that they allow her to rampage around with unmitigated and unchecked malicious glee it seems to be true.
The second question that needs to be addressed is this: What can be done about Ms. Smith’s reign of terror? (A Perseus-style beheading is obviously not an option). Before answering this question an understanding needs to be established as to how her actions affect people. We have little property as it is. We’re confined to a small cell for 22-24 hours a day, 7 days a week, caged like an animal. This system employs every tactic available to strip us of our Humanity and make our existence bland and terrible. The small amount of property we are allowed to keep acts as a dam that holds back the raging waters of utter dejection and extreme hopelessness that threaten to flood the psyche of everyone here.Pictures and letters are a connection to the outside world. (Yes, Ms. Smith has “disappeared” pictures and letters.) Radios break the monotony of this environment. Books are gateways to other worlds and tools of learning and upliftment. Our property is all we have. Our only tangible physical possessions. Whenever our property is taken or damaged it’s like a blow is struck at our Spirit and Ms. Smith is the foremost wielder of the wicked hammer that strikes these blows.
So, what can indeed be done about property officer Smith? Really, I feel sad for her. Ms. Smith is filled with so much hate and malice that it seemingly exudes from her pores, vibrates unspoken from her speech. Her own fellow officers dislike her and one can only imagine what kind of terrible home-life she has. If it was up to me I’d give Ms. Smith a warm hug — yes, I’m brave enough to attempt such a daring feat! — and I’d help her get a very thorough psychological assessment. Then, I’d introduce her to the beauty of Yoga/Meditation and help her get some good counseling. I seriously doubt that’s a viable option so I’ll move on to another …
Banishment back to the subterranean netherworld from which she came. I have a TDJC “Instructions On How To Write and Submit Grievances” form over here and I’m going to send it out in order to have some copies made. When I get them back in I’m going to pass out copies to other guys around here. I’m going to encourage them to write a grievance every time Ms. Smith engages in one of her little perfidious acts. People can also lodge complaints about her by sending in I-60 Request Forms. I’m going to encourage this also. If enough people participate an action like this can work. Really, I’m ready to get my Satyagraha on but that doesn’t seem to be the most productive option at this time. If a large number of people participate in a complaint campaign I’m sure we can get Ms. Smith removed and replaced or at least get her to act in a more decent manner. Also, friends and family of guys on DR can file an official complaint with the TDJC Ombudsman’s Office.
*Remember, when doing so it’s a good idea to file a complaint by phone, email, and regular mail. Be sure to keep records of everything. Complaints from outside are much more effective than sole complaints from us on the inside.
Medusa lives reincarnated as DR property officer Smith — I’m quite sure we can stop her reign of terror and unseat her from the throne of unrepentant malice and rancid spite upon which she sits, if enough effort is put into it …
In the Hellenic Spirit of
Vanquishment of Evil!