Thursday, December 26, 2013

Facebook Note Titled 2013

Although most of this year was spent behind the wall, I like to think it was a productive year. A mistake that many people in jail make is that they only really live two days of this sentence; the day the arrive and the day they leave. I did not make this mistake...I utilized my time, I bettered myself physically and mentally. I rehabilitated myself. With the help of my teacher and friend, Sivali, I learned more about the Buddha's Dhamma and as a result understand myself a great deal better than I did a year ago. 

I think most importantly I was able to reconnect with my family. It will take awhile with my daughters...I have been absent from their lives for too long, but we are starting to all know one another. There is work to be done ahead, but it has begun and we are moving forward.

Sometime in Dec 2012 or Jan 2013, when I was in jail I was called down to the guard's desk. The counselor, who had been accused of sexual misconduct(and who testified against one of his co-workers @ grand jury), told me that he had read by Dead End King blog...A blog that I had thrown out some opinions about the situation, and about guards behaviour in general. He told me that the administration had had a meeting about my blog. They were obviously uncomfortable with it. This made me determined to write more about my experience...and upon my release I published a great deal of my writings to a new blog- I have enjoyed a healthy number of followers, and will continue to write on the experience. 

On the 5th of November, I became Guy Fawkes. I met other people who are also Guy Fawkes. I am fortunate to have met these compatriots. They have helped me to see that I am not insane...that there are others who are tired of the facade of civilization at large. People who believe, as I do, that the wheel of fate should be in the hands of the people, not just a few tyrants. 

I got to see three of my close friends get clean. 

I also lost some people this year...First, Carl Opperman. His passing remains the hardest for me to accept. I still miss him everyday and can't bring myself to delete his number out of my phone. I will see him in the pit of every show I go to...I will hear him every time I listen to Bob Marley. I want to say now that I will never forget Carl's friendship. A truer and better friend would be hard to come by. Jimmy Sullivan was beaten to death by a gang of cowards outside of a shitty bar in a shitty town. He was also a good man, and deserved a better end than he received. In May, Miami-Dade police shot and killed my friend Frito Valcin. It had been many years since I had seen him...but his death was no easier for that. A young and very lost man, Zack Frobe, who I knew only from jail died not long before I was released. He was still finding his way in the so many others from this area he succumbed to drugs as a way to deal with his angst. He had a good heart and good humor. Brad of the craziest mofos to ever walk this planet passed just a month ago. He was my sponsor when I joined the Brotherhood of Irish Americans, he was my room mate for a time and a friend in my darkest hour. Finally, yesterday Sammy Shultz passed away...another person who couldn't let go of the poison. Sammy was one of those people you meet who is an instant friend...5 minutes or 5 years made no difference. I will remember all of these men fondly in the years to come and celebrate their lives rather than mourn their deaths.

In 1875 William Ernest Henely wrote a poem called Invictus. Invictus means "unbreakable", it has become my personal mantra. I wish to end this note with the poem in it's entirety. In memorial to those who have passed, and as tribute to those of us still in this world who refuse to be broken. 


Out of the night that covers me,Black as the pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstanceI have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the horror of the shade,And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,How charged with punishments the scroll,I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Diabetic shock? Hit him with the Tazer.

I want to tell a story now. Time has made it blurry...and I do not propose that this is a verbatim account. No, this is simply the incident as I remember it. I am sure everyone involved would have their own version.

At some point last year, I will say after February I was on D-Pod in Butler County Prison. It was, maybe 3 or 4 in the morning when I heard a group of guards come onto the pod.

I heard an extremely odd exchange between one of the Captains and an inmate who I was later told was going through diabetic shock. Here I will paraphrase what I heard:

Capt XXXXX: Whats your problem?

Inmate 1: What? Who are you.

Capt XXXXX: Do you know where you are?

Inmate 1: Where?

Capt XXXXX: You are in Butler County Prison.

Inmate 1: Prison? Here? Can I leave?

Capt XXXXX: No. (calling Inmate 2 by his name) Inmate 2 you are going to need to cuff up.

Inmate 2: Why? I didn't do anything...

(inmate 2 eventually cuffs up and is removed from the cell)

Capt XXXXX: Inmate 2, I am going to need you to cuff up.

Inmate 2: What?

Capt XXXXX: I will not ask you again.

Capt XXXXX to a guard standing by: If he doesn't cuff up, I am going to need you to taze him.

Inmate 2: Razzers?

I will end my account here. Eventually the inmate did cuff up and was removed from the cell and taken to medical. Of course there is protocol to consider...but what would you do in that situation? Is it reasonable to consider Tazing a non violent inmate who is obviously going through some medical issues?

Funny thing...I had actually spoke to the guard that the captain was ordering to taze the inmate if he was not compliant about a month before all this happened. The guard was a nice enough guy, reasonable & professional. I asked him one day. "You seem like a fairly bright guy...what if you came into work one day and you were asked to do something that you considered immoral?" His reply was "Well...I am the sort of guy who follows commands from my superiors, so I would have to do what I was told."

Indeed, you would. This is not is banality.

think for yourself.

Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 In Review

2013 was a busy year for me. Although the majority was spent in jail, I was able to use that time to expand my knowledge & write. Jail has been an unfortunate part of my reality, and I became determined to not let it be time wasted. It was inspirational to me to find that the prison administrators read my old blog and were unsettled by it. Suddenly it was clear that I need to use my voice, lay out my experience to the public. As mentioned several times, this blog is simply a rough data dump for me...I am working on refining this material for publication.

I was able to further my relationship with my daughters this year. That in itself has been a great experience...I am very proud of them, and who they are becoming. I am truly blessed to have two smart, beautiful, vicious daughters. They are both developing into free thinkers, and I look forward to seeing them rule the world!!

I have been poison free for 20 months. The chemical tether is cut...I have simply lost interest.

Buddhism has been good to me. Through many hours of study and real life application I feel that there has been a breakthrough in understanding. I have always known that we create our own reality, but Buddhism and meditation has given me a structure to do that in. My teacher, Sivali has been a patient and kind teacher and I owe him a deep and sincere gratitude.

New Castle Change has been a great experience for me...I have met a group of people who share the urgency for change that I have known through out life. It is inspirational to be a part of such a good group of people.

I have met some great people this year, too many to name personally, reconnected with some real and true friends and family. For all of you I am eternally grateful.

There has been loss as well and I want to take this opportunity to say that Carl Opperman, Jimmy Sullivan, Big Buddha(Butler, Pa.), Frito Valcin, Zack Frobe and Brad Wroblewski will all be missed. I will remember your lives fondly. Lou Reed & Nelson Mandela...obviously not people I know, will also be remembered for the way that they touched my life through music and political action respectively. Sleep well.

Going into 2014, I hope that everyone is peaceful, happy and well.