It's a Sunday afternoon, and I'm sitting here listening to a classic edition of Casey Kasem's American Top 40...They're actually doing the Top 100 for the year 1986 – a pretty good year for music. Actually, I think the sweet spot for just good FM radio play was from 1980 to around 1997, until corporate radio dug its greedy heels into music and ruined it with template pop across all genres. There were some great songs since then though – songs that slip through the cracks on mainstream radio, and some amazing bands have sprung up from 2000 onward...But on the whole, It's pretty awful! Even '90s pop music has a certain originality and craft to it that sticks with you across the decades. Name a song from the early '00s, or even 2010 onwards that when you hear it, you say, “Damn! That was the jam!” It's hard, right? Or maybe I'm just getting old (ha ha).
Well, it's the last weekend of the year...I can't believe how fast this past year has gone by. It was almost a blur...At 1am we received a “first ever” on death row – the guards woke everyone up passing out a little hygiene kit; I guess it was a New Year's gift? It contained a tiny shampoos, a bar of soap, two packets of shaving cream, a toothbrush, and some deodorant. We were all shocked to receive it, and we're not sure who donated it, or who to thank, but it's surprising they allowed us to have it.
This past week has been a bit on the chaotic side...Each night they left 60+ showers for second shift, and as well as all that, they have to feed dinner, and do a round of recreation before they shut everything down at 10.30pm. Needless to say, guys were getting screwed out of showers! Second shift says, “We've got too much work to do!” We hadn't been getting mail before midnight...On Friday night it was a bit smoother, and of course we don't get recreation at the weekend, but I kind of dread the coming week...There are good, kind guards who bust their butts to get the work done, but the calibre of people they've been hiring lately – it's like they snatch them off the street and say, “Here! Work, you bum!” And they get a job here.
Otherwise, I'm just trying to remain positive and focused and moving forward...I've got to keep positive and deal with the mayhem!
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
December 23rd, 2018
It seems like a slow roll to the Christmas holiday here this year...Last year it was cold, and there was a different vibe to the pod. This year? It's warm, people are arguing, and it feels miserable...One guy on my section received an execution date on Thursday or Friday. It's just a strange vibe here right now...I hope the mood lifts before Christmas Day. Tomorrow is always a difficult day for me, and I usually spend it reflecting and meditating on things...But just for Christmas Day, it would be good to feel a more positive vibe for all of us here.
Well, last Friday was a good day! We came off lockdown, and I went outside to recreation. The air was crisp and the sun was out. At about 10am I was told I had a legal visit which I was expecting, and the guards came to take me out there. I spent a good amount of time with one of my attorneys and he told me the game plan going forward with things...It has really boosted my spirits! We have some very good things in play, and all I can say right now is that I am blessed to have such good and honest people as my attorneys. They know the truth, and they believe in me, which means so much to me. And they are honest in their work and efforts for me which is something I value immensely - we are nothing without the dignity of truth. My attorney also told me that I've been granted permission to ask for a re-hearing at the 5th Circuit, and whilst I don't expect anything to come of that, it's a start to filing in the Supreme Court. For obvious reasons, I can't go into any detail about the other issues my attorneys are working on, but he did say to me, "It's far from over, and there's everything left to still hope for"...I left the visit feeling upbeat and optimistic.
Friday night I heard my girlfriend's voice on KPFT as she gave me a shout out, and that was medicine for the soul. Her best friend recently had a baby son - the cutest little fella you've ever seen! His mom and dad call me his "Funcle" (fun uncle) and joke about me teaching him all about Star Wars, and how to be a Jedi as he grows up (ha ha). My girl bought him a Yoda for Christmas, which I thought was brilliant! Hearing her say that put a huge smile on my face...You know, I've been touched - deeply touched - at how loving, supportive, and (most importantly) accepting of me, her friends and family have been. They have never judged me, and have remarkably jumped into the fight to save my life, without hesitation. They have been so kind in sending books, and supported our relationship - again without judgement. To have that support, and the support of all of my own good friends who over the years have stood by me, means more to me than they could ever imagine. To know these people have done their research as I have asked, and then come back to me and told me they believe in me, and stand by me...It touches me deeply.
So, to all of you - my long time good friends, and my girlfriend's friends who love and support us...Thank you! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart..."Thank you" could never be enough for the love you have all shown me...You are ALL awesome! One thing I would also like to say to my girlfriend's friends....PLEASE! Drag her away from work a bit more often!! She works so freakin' hard, and non-stop, and she needs to get back out onto the ski slopes!
Anyway, in other news, Saturday was kind of slow and boring, but I listened to "Live From Here", a really good show that airs on NPR on Saturday evenings. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve...As I have done every year since the escape, I will use this day to reflect, pray, and ask for forgiveness for my mistakes and bad choices, and my naivete in thinking I could escape...And whilst I stand by the fact I never hurt anyone during the escape or afterwards, no day goes by where I don't feel regret and remorse about everything that happened...I pray for everyone who was affected, and for the loss of life on that Christmas Eve...I pray for forgiveness for all 7 of us, and that G-d will grant mercy to Patrick Murphy and I.
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
December 19th, 2018
Today started off a bit iffy...I woke up for a shower at 5.30am, after staying up until midnight reading the denial from the 5th Circuit of appeals. I planned on getting some more sleep after the shower, but ended up being trapped in there for an hour!
I finally made it back to my cell after 7am, and just couldn't get back to sleep. So, I started typing a letter to my love...I was relieved she was taking the news okay, but I know it's hard on her. She contacted my Rabbi for prayers and his response was incredibly kind, and my other friends are rallying support and prayers as well. I am beyond grateful and humbled. They say you can tell a man's worth by the friends he keeps, so I must be a billionaire!
One thing I find very difficult back here is listening to guys being so negative about things. There's a difference between having hope grounded in reality, and being delusional, and when I say "I'm going to live" and "I will live," this is me refusing to accept any other "reality." After all, as Qui-Gon Jinn says in The Phantom Menace, "Your focus determines your reality." Negativity will attract more negativity, but positivity allows hope to flourish and grow, and I am not a quitter! I am NOT a killer, and I trust in G-d and the truth to make that known.
Anyway, I'll be writing a little more about the 5th Circuit's opinion soon, and clarifying the facts, because they have mis-stated some events. Maybe from a legal standpoint they felt they were correct, but I find it alarming that lives can be at stake based on opinion contained in a document almost 250 years old. But I'll write about that when I can get my thoughts together.
Anyway, the rest of the day brightened up and now, as I write this, I'm just waiting on today's mail. I can't believe Christmas is almost here and we're still on lock-down!
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!
December 18th, 2018
There's a moment in my past that I wrote about in my memoir, "Falling Down," where I sat down on some rocks that oversee the track and field, and further in the distance, the farm and hills of OBI (the school I attended). I wanted to share a moment with my girlfriend at the time, and her family, but I didn't think it would happen because her family was angry with me...So, I sat and prayed until the tears ran down my face. It was real...It came from a sincere place. And now I find myself humbly praying to God for mercy...praying with tears streaming down my face...It's difficult to surrender to what feels like the impossible, and whilst I strongly believe that faith without action behind it is worthless - and I'm too neurotic to just blindly "surrender" to an unknown - I still pray...I still ask for mercy each and every day.
I've come to realise just how little control we have over our destiny, because even for those people who are goal-oriented and driven, and who control every facet of their lives with a certain degree of success, none of us are guaranteed our next breath. That said, is it so wrong to want just a little more time? Another chance to get it right this time? All I can do is surrender...Pray, and surrender...
The days here continue to roll by, oblivious to my current predicament. As I write this I'm waiting on our section's shakedown. They stopped on D-section and should begin C-section some time this morning. Hopefully (depending on how quickly they move onwards to B-section - my current housing) they will complete A-section, and that should hold us until early April. Anyway, I'm packed up and ready to roll!
It's the afternoon now...My shakedown went without a hitch, and all of my property was neatly stacked when I got back to my cell. Just as I was breathing a sigh of relief to be over the stress, things took a turn for the worst at noon...Apparently the warden ordered that D/E/F be searched again because the guards didn't finish yesterday! Well, two mentally ill guys on D-section freaked out, and they gassed a 60 year old (maybe older) mentally ill man. The psych department should have immediately been called to defuse the situation, but that didn't happen. Instead, a guard just said that if they don't finish C-Pod, they will have to start all over again tomorrow!! Pure absurdity! Do you see my will to live? That I actually want to live in this crap...Geeze! Well, we'll see what happens.
5pm...They finished the shakedowns for the pod! In spite of the chaos and absurdity I live with here, I'm not giving up...EVER! Please, pray for me...
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
December 17th, 2018
This has been one hell of a day...I woke up in pretty decent spirits, started a letter to my girlfriend as I do every morning, and I was happy we were going to get showers after two days without any, because we've been on lockdown since last Tuesday.
When I got back from the shower, someone started yelling that they were passing out the red crates for shake down...All of our personal property has to fit inside of the crate, and anything that doesn't, they can take. Well, everyone was expecting our shakedown to be on Tuesday - maybe even Wednesday - because they decided to skip A-Pod and move over to C-Pod, which honestly makes little sense, but very little makes sense in this place! There was a mild panic for those unprepared, but they're moving so slowly with things that there's more than enough time to prepare. It's taking them about 2 hours per section which is really slow...but that also means they're being very thorough.
I knew they weren't going to get to my section anytime today, so I decided to kick back, drink some tea and listen to the radio...I put on the classic rock station, 92.7, which is a local Livingston station that broadcasts Texas news updates every hour, on the hour, and at 1pm I hear, "5th Circuit decides not to hear appeal of remaining Tx 7, Randy Halprin." I mean, what do you do? My initial thought was, "Okay...I lost." And then I worried that my girlfriend would be in a state of worry over me...It sucks to be in this situation, but it wasn't a knock-out punch - not yet - and I was oddly calm about the news. I'd like to know what kind of time frame I'm looking at, and I know my attorneys aren't giving up, so why should I? I don't feel out of the fight and I do have a lot of hope in other things. I'm strangely zen about it, and it isn't or shouldn't be confused with being reserved, or a feeling that it's all over - it's far from it! Normally, as neurotic as I can be, I'd be in a state of worry and anxiety...But I don't feel like that at all, thanks to my lawyers who are good and honest people who know that the truth is on my side. I have to place my trust in them, and in God, and hold onto the love and support of my friends and my girlfriend.
So, what do I do next? I don't know...where to start? I have faith in my attorneys, and I also have a personal desire to fight and to LIVE, and so...I'm asking anyone who has read my story and who knows my case, my life, my appeals...If you believe in ME and in my human worth, please tell anyone you can about my case...Please...pray for me...Pray for a miracle, and tell anyone you know who believes in me and knows my case, to please speak out for me and the possibility of another chance to live, and to do right by it. I don't want people to blindly follow or support me - I would prefer you look at everything to do with my case first, and then, if you are convinced of my value and worth, please speak out for me. That is all I can ask.
I'm still fighting, and there are so many things I want to accomplish. I have dreams and goals, and ultimately, I want to make up for my mistakes in life. I'm not giving up and I'm not giving up that I'll be spared and earn a second chance...
I don't know my time frame at this point; I don't know when my appeal is due to the Supreme Court, but as I know more information I'll update. But for now, please, pray for me and believe in me, and believe in miracles...They can and do happen! Thank you.
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
December 16th, 2018
We've been on lockdown since Tuesday the 11th...It kind of came unexpectedly as everyone was guessing it would happen right after Christmas - it's been that way for the last several years. Now, almost a week in, everyone is wondering if we'll be back up before Christmas...I hope so! That said, other than it being a bit of a psychological downer, it wouldn't affect us too much because for the first time in many years, they've actually been giving us normal meals instead of sack lunches. I think this is because the head warden (Mr Butcher) who was the assistant warden many years ago, was allowing death row to eat hot meals during our quarterly lockdowns. Now that he has returned as head warden of the entire unit, the food has also improved a bit. I think a lot of people - guards and inmates alike - are hoping that Warden Butcher reigns in the new death row warden...Things do seem to have calmed down a bit.
Another plus is that the air problem seems to have been fixed and we've not had the condensation build up or mold/mildew problems that we've had for several weeks. Well, I can say that for the guys who clean their cells...I'm sure some cells haven't been cleaned and are in pretty bad shape - I had to scrub my cell for days to get the smell of mildew out of it.
I was fortunate to see my attorney last week and we spent some time talking about recent executions...I'm trying to keep my hopes up, and have hope for Patrick Murphy as well. My faith and positivity are fully intact, and knowing I have truth on my side gives me strength. It means a lot to me that so many people have researched my case, read the facts, and told me they believe in me. All of that and the love and support of my friends and my girl, her friends and her family...It's hard to put into words how much that means to me.
I was talking to my lawyer about all of this on Tuesday, and even going back over the events of September of 1996 with him, I said, "I am not that person...I'm not dangerous, and I'm not violent..." He looked at me and said, "I know. I know you're not that person." I thanked him, and told him how much that meant to me...To have people believe in me and my value as a human being...To believe in me. All of these years, even going back to my teens and my screw-ups, I just wanted to have someone believe in me and know that they see something of worth...That's all I've ever really wanted my whole life.
As the new year approaches, I keep holding onto hope...faith...courage...strength...and love! Lots of love! I think being in love with someone and having a life - yes, even as an inmate, as difficult and improbable or impossible as it can seem - it gives me focus and drive. To share goals and dreams, and to share creativity and imagination...These things give me a strength that can't be described, and I'm incredibly grateful for it. I thank G-d for it! When I pray, and I thank the universe for the things that I do have...outside of praying for mercy, I never pray for anything that isn't realistic. Mercy, love, to love and to be loved...and to live! Pretty reasonable things to pray for, I think.
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!
December 9th, 2018
After a long and exhausting week, I'm hoping that the new week ahead will be a good one. I'm trying to get my head into a more positive space and renew my sense of hope...
The weekend seemed to go by in a blur...Yesterday was a bit crazy as the heat went out. The walls have been sweating badly with condensation, but when the heat is off it's much worse! I've wrung out bowls of water...I'm tired of mopping it all up, and in my 15 1/2 years of being here, this has never happened...They had the heating on, then it went out, then it came back on, and went out again over night...When I woke up this morning I was swimming in water, and again had to clean everything up. On average, I'm wiping up three to five GIANT bowls of water per day - imagine those big mixing bowls you put cake batter in....That's how big the bowls of water are! My neighbor again asked the Warden what was being done about the situation and he said, "I have an active work order!" Then he left and I said, "What is that? Active/Work is redundant!" Anyway...
A friend visited me last night and it was nice to get out of the cell, and I asked that they send my girl a "Happy Birthday" message, because the mail has been screwed up and extremely slow lately, and she hadn't received my birthday card to her. As I was waiting for my visitor to show up, my friend, Blaine who has an execution date, was telling me he has a 50% chance of getting a stay...Better odds than most! I told him to stay positive and keep hoping for the best. It ain't over 'til it's over...
I thought of a new phrase for the anti-death penalty movement, that I'm coining! Maybe people will use it: Heal. Don't kill.
Here's to hoping the next week will be positive and full of hope, healing and love. Forgiveness isn't as hard as you might think it is, and compassion should never be confused with naivety...
Courage. Stregth. Hope and Faith.
Peace to all!
December 6th, 2018
I've been a bit emotional today...waves of every emotion a person can experience...And then I read an article in the latest issue of GQ, about the Thai Cave rescue of 12 Thai kids and their coach, and I found myself tearing up throughout the article at the miracle of an entire world coming together to save these people! I thought, "Wow...maybe we aren't completely lost as a species." I began to think about all of the little "miracles" we experience daily, and don't ever see or recognize, and I thought,, "I really do have a lot to be thankful for, even through this experience, as painful and frustrating as it can be." And I do try my best to continually be grateful for all the things in my life, but I can also let little things eat at me that I should learn to let go of...
I also realise that whilst I do forgive easily, I need to be better at forgiving, and I was thinking about the things that upset me over this past week and thought, "I should forgive them all..." And so, I forgive Joseph Garcia...I forgive the Detective that said he hopes we all die to show the justice system "works"...I forgive the panel of experts on KPFT's Execution Watch for referring to Patrick Murphy and myself as #s 5 and 6, instead of using our names...I forgive the media for getting the facts wrong...In turn, I too ask for forgiveness for my own flaws.
Well, today has been a bit on the wild side...Early this morning they brought some drug searching dogs into the pod. They didn't find any drugs per se, but they did bust a couple of guys with some prison hooch, and sent them to level 2. Everyone was kind of laughing about it because they train these dogs to find narcotics, and all they find is a few bottles of juice and candy mixed up to make prison wine...Tax dollars hard at work!
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!
December 5th, 2018
I woke up in a bit of a depression...so many thoughts running through my head and I'm trying to work through them. As I'm writing this I am listening to Texas State News on a local radio station, and they just had the Detective who worked on our investigation talking in response to Joseph Garcia's execution yesterday, and he said, "I don't want there to be any reason for people to say the justice system doesn't work in executing all of these men." Really? Well, sir, it doesn't always work and executing 6 people, if you have your way, isn't going to prove that system works. If anything, it is going show exactly how the system failed and continues to fail...and only highlights the fact that the system is rooted in vengeance, not justice. Do not confuse the two - executing non-shooters is not justice.
I think the only way to write today's entry is to just let it flow and be a bit of an emotional vomit...That's the only way I'm going to be able to get my head out of this and not bottle everything up...
Firstly, I'll start with Joseph Garcia...In no way have I hoped for his or anyone else's execution - I believe the death penalty should end for all, not just for me, or any of my co-defendants. For "all" I mean ALL. That being said, I have sat for the past week agitated and upset at his account of events and his blatant lies to the media and even his supporters. If he wanted to make his story about finding religion and redemption, I could fully support that. If he wanted to highlight that he never should have been in prison the first place, because he was only defending himself, I could support that because I will give him that - his story never wavered one single bit from the very first moment he told me that series of events back in 2000. But I cannot accept or allow him to give an alternate history of the events of December 24, 2000. There were only ever two non-shooters that night: Patrick Murphy and myself. Period. I'm irritated that both the media and some of his followers did not bother to check the court records and statements given by other co-defendants - I can appreciate the willingness to help, and attempt to save his life, but what I can't accept is the perpetration of a false narrative when all it would've taken is a little digging to find the truth.
Whilst my story has never changed (you can go back to when I was 23 years old after being captured and review early interviews in February 2001) I don't want people to either blindly follow or support me. I hope that doesn't come across as being either snide or unappreciative, because I'm beyond grateful to anyone who would invest even a second of their time to show me any solidarity or support - it means more to me than you can imagine! I just want people to do their research first...Look at the court documents posted on my website or elsewhere...Look at how several of my own co-defendants gave sworn affadavits that say they even went as far as checking my gun and seeing it hadn't been fired, and in their initial statements after we were captured, they said I was not a shooter. Look at all of the evidence...Look at the ranking document that shows they believed I was the least dangerous of them all, and at the time of the escape, I was suffering from depression (even the guards' accounts support that). Look at everything! Let there be no doubt about my role in things. Decide for yourselves...Then I can ask you to fight for me. I'm not asking to be set free - I should be punished, but I am not a killer and I should not be executed for something I didn't do and didn't want to happen.
If I had a time machine, I wish with all of me that I could change the events of that night. I wish I had never escaped. Hell, I wish I could go back to the summer of 1995 and never have left home that day...I wish I could go back, run into my driveway before I stepped into that taxi cab, tackle myself to the ground and scream, "Don't be a fucking idiot!" I wish I could change so much in my life. But I'm here, and I'm trying to be the best person I can be...I'm trying to right my wrongs and poor decisions. I'm trying to lift people up and show from my mistakes the they, too, can work to be better people. I have dreams and goals...wishes and desires. I think I'm worthy of life and I would hope that others think I'm worthy of life and another chance. I'm not perfect...Heck, I'm probably more flawed than most people, but no one can say that I don't try to be better!
I've been irritated by the way the media has reported things as well...We all joke (liberals anyway) when President Trump uses the term, "Fake News," and far be it from me to agree with him on anything he says or does, but he isn't always entirely wrong when he uses that statement. Sometimes reporting is down right sloppy, lazy, or sensationalised, especially when it comes to local news. I wanted to yell every time they referred to us as a "gang" or a "member of the Texas 7" - a term that was created by the media back in 2000 after the escape. None of us were gang members or had ever been part of a gang! We were 7 individuals that decided to escape. To mis-characterize us as a gang is unethical, and only serves the purpose of trying to frighten the public by comparing us to other violent and real gangs like the MS13 or something like that.
I was especially upset whilst listening to KPFT's "Execution Watch" program, when they got a myriad of facts wrong. One of the lawyers on their "professional" panel said we had 40 something automatic weapons and an AK47...That was entirely wrong! George Rivas stole revolvers from the prison and a semi-automatic rifle...There was never an AK47 or automatic weapons - not from the prison, and not from the Oshmans sporting goods store. Again, these so-called "facts" only serve as a means to frighten the public, and in my opinion, make them think, "wow...maybe these guys do deserve to be executed!"
I don't know...I just get upset at the many inaccuracies that are reported, and unfortunately it happens to anyone working their way through the "justice" system...Please, people, do your research and don't blindly accept what you read/hear in the media...The truth is there on record, if you look for it.
My other thoughts are a bit more all over the place...I woke up this morning and it seemed like everyone was asking me, "Did they kill Garcia?" I didn't want to sound like an asshole, but I kept saying, "Do you not listen to the radio or the news?" Why ask me? But it made me realise - and even I'm guilty of this - how we just carry on into the next day as if in our own oblivious bubble, blind to the severity and reality of our situation. When someone says, "wow...I'm surprised they killed so and so..." I think, "Really? You're surprised? We're on freakin' death row! It has "death" in the title! No, instead we wake up, drink our coffee or eat a snack, start our letters and go to recreation...Wash, rinse, repeat...Maybe it's our way of dealing with the situation and pain of it all. Some executions do affect some of us more than others, and I suppose it is no different in the free world. Your grandfather's death is a terrible loss, but if your friend's grandfather dies, you tell them, "I'm sorry for your loss, I'll pray for you." And then you go about your business as normal.
There's a scientific theory called "Dunbar's Number." Scientists took all kinds of different monkeys and studied their brain sizes, and the size correlated to the number of other monkeys they sought out to make a "tribe." The smallest brain could get along with groups of ten to twelve other monkeys...Medium sized brains could deal with slightly bigger numbers in the group, and so basically, the larger the brain, the larger the society. Homo Sapiens have the largest primate brain; our number reaches to around 150 people in our sphere - family, friends, co-workers...At a certain point everyone else melts into the background. Even if you see the postman every single day, and ask him how he's doing, they're not as "real" to you...They become a fixture of your environment but they aren't a member of your group or tribe. You CARE about the family pet, but you dont care about the animal you're eating for dinner. You'll cry and grieve when your grandmother dies, but when a highschool full of kids is slaughtered by a gunman, you'll be moved by what a tragedy it is and then...You'll move on. I think that in a certain way, as it is back here, it's the same out there...The death penalty continues because, whilst as a society we can say, "Yeah, we really shouldn't be killing anyone...especially when there's the chance we could get someone innocent caught up in it," how many people REALLY and TRULY care? Sometimes, as a species, I feel like we're dogs chasing cars...We'll never "catch" them. That's not me saying I'm cynical or that I doubt the intentions or sincerity of those within the movement. There are people who fight with every bit of physical and emotional energy to make real changes...Unsung heroes in my opinion. But I do wonder if, as a species, we're making half the effort we really could make to bring about the change.
And my final thought on the issue of the death penalty/executions stems from the revelation of the execution drug supplier in Texas, as a result of the investigative discovery by Buzzfeed.com. In an article published in the New York Intelligencer, here there's a sentence that stands out over and above the whole article..."The existence of the death penalty presumes that a country whose wealth was derived from black slave labor and indigenous-land theft and seen thousands of racist lynchings, has a moral legitimacy to be executing people in the first place." I couldn't agree more with that...Where does this sense of "moral legitimacy" come from? How messed up the United States' history is...come on, really! Slavery! Freakin' genocide! Does society feel it has the moral legitimacy to carry on with the death penalty? It's a sham! The system as it is applied is a sham! When we bomb an enemy and a couple of hundred civilians are killed in the process, it isn't "murder," just collateral damage. When an innocent black man is gunned down, it isn't "murder," but an accident. When whole entire tribes of indigenous people are wiped out, it isn't "genocide," but Manifest Destiny...It's all bullshit! The whole concept of "eye for an eye" is bullshit because as a great non-violent activist once said, "It will leave us all blind."
And now, for an upate on the mold issue...The problem continues. To give Warden Perez credit, when he learned of the problem he sent in a crew of trustees to come and scrub cells and walls etc. But until we can get some properly circulated air in here, the walls are going to continue to condensate and unless we, the inmates, are proactive in cleaning it up ourselves, the mold and mildew will persist. The warden is not going to send a clean up crew down here to scrub and bleach walls every single day.
Let me give you an example of how serious this problem really is...Kwame Rockwell...I've written about him before, and the fact that he's mentally ill. He does not function like the rest of us, and whilst he does occasionally go the shower, he had not been cleaning his cell. Now, I can make the argument (a very strong argument) that it isn't his responsibility to ensure that he regularly cleans his cell - his brain isn't even functioning on that level. And yet, the Warden and other ranking officers were "disgusted" at how bad his cell had gotten. Yesterday, they pulled Rockwell out of his cell and moved him to B-Pod. The sergeant was talking down to Rockwell as he stood on the run, and he stared back, blank-faced, as if he didn't even fully comprehend what was going on. When they pulled his property and laundry out of his cell, it was pitch black with mold! Another officer said his entire back wall was black with mold...Now just three days prior to that the so-called psychiatric doctor or nurse or whatever the hell she calls herself (we've taken to calling her Doctor Death) supposedly came to check up on him to see how he was doing. She jotted a note down and walked off...Surely she could smell the mold and see that the wall was pitch black, and see how he was living! The mental health department here is a freakin' joke! She reminds me of the sadistic psych nurse on "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
As they were taking Rockwell off the pod, we were all telling the sergeant, "Don't get mad at him. It's YOUR duty to make sure he's taking care of himself. It's YOUR duty to look out for his mental wellness." Everything about state's system is a sham. Wake up people, you've been bamboozled! Your tax dollars at work...!
What else can I say? I'm trying hard, so hard, to keep my positivity and hope. I'm trying so hard to survive. I feel like a Looney Toon character that was pushed off the cliff and managed to catch that tiny little flower poking out of the side of it, and I'm just trying with everything in me to hang on.