December2017 - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
 "We tend to see a person in the moment, not as the journey they travelled to get here."  Kat Lehmann

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December 26th, 2017

Well, after a wonderful Christmas meal we're eating sack lunches cause we're on lockdown! I was hoping that it'd be after the New Year, partly because I'd have liked to get out of the cell to jog all of that food off, and because I made a very stupid bet and have lost. What was the bet? Well, I rarely bet if I don't know with absolute certainty that I will win; so, when I got into an argument about when the next lockdown was going to be, my friend David said "Bet a sexy dance in the day room on it".  I didn't even think about it! I said "That's a bet!" Ugh!...Now when I return to B-pod I have to go to F-section in the day room and do a sexy dance.

Fortunately for me a sexy dance was never defined, so my interpretation of what a "sexy dance" is going to be is NOT what he's expecting, haha. After all sexy is subjective, right? The lockdown shouldn't be more than two weeks I hope.


December 24th, 2017

This day...always such a hard day for me. I just hope there's a G-d and souls - an afterlife, so that's it's known how I wish with all that's in me that this night, 17 years ago, never would have happened...That I didn't participate in this horrible event that lead to an innocent life being lost. It's just not in my heart. It's not! Even if it meant my own freedom.

I was asked by the prosecutor "What would you have done if it was you confronted by the police?" I said "I'd surrender". I remember him being surprised by my saying that because during Rivas' trial, he was asked why he shot at the police officer, and he said, "I'm not going back to prison. It's me or you".

In the past I've written about a social experiment - actually a thought experiment I created. It goes like this: an inmate is called out to the Major's office; two guards escort the inmate there and the Major says "uncuff him and leave us". The Major tells the inmate to have a seat and as the inmate is sitting down the Major types something on his keyboard and pulls up an image of one section on a pod from death row. He then reaches down and picks up an electronic red button, places it on the desk...the inmate is confused until the Major gives an explanation: "I'm giving you the biggest choice of your life today. I'm ready to let you walk out of the prison a free man, but to do so you have to push this red button. It will send a signal to a group of guards who will randomly pick a cell, forcibly remove a fellow inmate, drag him on to the walkway and kill him while you watch on this monitor. After that I'll have you sign some papers and we will release you. You have two minutes to decide".

I only know of a few people who have said they wouldn't push that button, including myself. One of my closest friends, whom I consider to have a good heart, said he'd push the button! I said "But what if it was ME they dragged out?" He thought about it for a second and said "Well...I'd want to believe that you would want to see me go free, and I'd want you to push the button if it was me on the run".

"Sorry dude, but there's just no way. I'd have to go back to my cell", I said.

"Well, you're a fool then", he replied.  

It's just not in my heart. Surely...if there is an afterlife this is known. Little comfort to those that suffered the loss of a dearly loved one and I know this. All I can say, with all of my heart is "I'm sorry".

The holiday has another level of sadness because it's also the first Christmas in 16 years without my friend David. I miss him so much. No person was more supportive, more loving and encouraging throughout those years. A mentor, a teacher, and while no one can replace the love I have for my father, he was definitely a father like figure in my life.

And so tonight, as in my usual tradition, I will say a prayer for those in my life who have made these years wonderful in their own little way, including a new friend I made this year, who is already dear to me. I will be grateful for what I have and I will listen to the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" and cherish the life I do have. As George Bailey said "I want to live!" I really do.


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