I'm getting horrible at this whole journal thing...I aim to change my bad habits though...I really need to start getting into my writing again. I don't know...I suppose this place can just literally drain your brain at times. Death row is an emotional vampire. To be honest, I can't even really tell you what's happened the past few days, or weeks for that matter. My friend, Susan, came for visits on Monday and Tuesday and it was really good being able to talk to a friend. To just get away from this place for a while. Glad for that. Glad for friends. No one has to care for a guy on death row and I'm glad that there are people who do.
There were two stays of executions this past week, which is always good news. I just always wonder why the courts wait until the very last minute to do that. I can't imagine how psychologically damaging that is. There was a guy a couple of years ago who went through that process three times - with family goodbyes and all, only to be given a stay mere moments before his execution. To be quite frank, I feel that is torture on so many levels. There is an execution scheduled for tomorrow and sadly, this one will not be given a stay...It's a volunteer execution, in which the man dropped all of his appeals. I think I've said this before, but one of my co-defendants dropped his appeals just recently so he will be executed in about 3-4 months. I'm pretty sure as he gets closer to his murder (or suicide depending on how you view it...) the media will start hyping it up, so I have to be ready for all of that again. Jesus, imagine having to go through that five or six times for each guy...Some people think because I “put myself out there” I like the attention, but truth is I hate it. I only do what I do to bring awareness. I definitely don't like being ridiculed...I disgress...Sorry.
Well, yesterday was great! A couple of friends called in to KDOL, which was nice. Then to cap off a good day, KDOL played a long set of Cure songs around 9, which completely surprised me. I think I scared my neighbors, 'cause I was singing very very loud. Channeling my inner Robert Smith...haha.
I'm really anxious to see if my brother, Jimmy will respond to the message I sent him. I really hope he does. It would be an answered prayer. I often find myself wondering if he remembers some of the things we'd do together. The other day, as I was thinking about him, I remembered this one video of him and he was in the bathroom and mom was trying to clean chocolate off his face. It was smeared everywhere; on his lips, chin, cheeks. It was so funny! He had this big grin, like, “What did I do?”
Right now, I'm waiting to go outside. I plan on jogging or playing some basketball. It's a little chilly, but I do need to start running again. Ever since I was on level 2, I got so lazy. I did a really intense workout yesterday and I plan on doing some lower body stuff here in a bit. I just wanted to make sure I got a little journal writing in.
Currently, I'm reading a book called Banana Republicans - How the Right Wing is Turning America into a One-Party State...I don't think my conservative friend, David, would approve. Haha. I loathe politics, yet, I'm fascinated by it and always keep up with what's going on. Guess I'll stop here and write a little more later on tonight.
The rest of the day was nice. I went outside and played basketball for the first time in a while. I was a bit rusty, but managed to pull off a win of 6 to 5, and we had two overtime games. Another cold front began sweeping through so we had to stop and put our jackets on. It felt good to have fun though. Now, I‟m just relaxing, and thinking of things to write in the coming days.
January 24th, 2007
Another day...Good news is the execution scheduled for today will not be happening. This guy has been given a stay of execution, so that means he's been removed off of the death watch section and taken back to another pod.
I haven't really done much of anything today. Just reading a science magazine and getting caught up on letters. I did have a good time at recreation today. I talked with a buddy, named Jeff. He's a Christian dude and tells the funniest stories. He loves to hear stories about my time at boarding school so I always tell a few. Then we got to talking about doing practical jokes and the more we came up with, the more outlandish they became. I'd go into details, but it gets pretty gross. Haha. I like the dude's sense of humor.
Mailing this out tonight, so I better get going.
January 23rd, 2007
Today's second part of my visit went really good. Seemed to go by too fast. We spent a good amount of time talking about my parents and family. If only they knew how much I love and miss them. I will continue to pray for a reconciliation...one day soon, please God.
It was a bit crowded down there and one guard was being extremely rude to the visitors. I also noticed a guy getting his last visits with family before his execution tomorrow. Another guy who was scheduled for his execution on Thursday was given a stay, so that's always good news. Happy to hear that. Now they can take him out of that cell with the damn camera in it. Yeah, they put a camera in 2 cells for guys who are about to be killed so they can make sure they don't kill themselves. How insane is that? I think I'd walk around naked all day long everyday if I was in that cell. Haha.
Other than my visit, today was pretty uneventful. I'm going to type up some poems to mail off and relax the rest of the evening. Listen to some music and then my comedies. I'm hooked on “South Park”. I thought it was a little annoying at first, but now I can't get enough. Good night.
January 22nd, 2007
Another day has come and gone. It's getting close to eleven at night and I'm really tired.
I had a visit with my friend Susan today and it was really great being able to get away from this place for a bit and talk. She's a great person. Visits can be so emotionally draining. I think I explained it once before. Being in an isolated cell 23 hours out of a day and having almost no human contact, and then going to a visit..It's almost like a sensory and emotional over load. When I got back I just wanted to take a nap.
I was going to do some reading today, but never got around to it. Maybe I'll do a chapter or two before I crash out. I'm reading a book by John Grisham about some men wrongly put on Death Row. It's always interesting to read these sorts of books, because I think it helps with your over all knowledge of how the Justice System really works.
I think it's time to wash my face and brush my teeth and get ready to call it a night. I am so tired. But before I go, I have to talk about how awesome that T.V. show “Heroes” on NBC is...Wow. Really excellent to listen to. I think I‟m going to try to follow it every Monday night. I'm such a dork!
January 21st, 2007
Sunday boring Sunday...Good news is, I'll be seeing my friend Susan tomorrow, and Josef arrived home safely from Ethiopia. I'm proud of his humanitarian efforts! What a wonderful man.
I mostly wrote and did laundry today. Such fun! I'm going to start getting back into the groove of my journal, so stay posted.
January 20th, 2007
I keep telling myself I really need to get back into the routine of writing a journal entry everyday, but I've just not had the desire to really do it. This past week has really been a tough, emotional one and I think I've really been affected by a few things, deep, soul wise...
On the 17th Jonathan Moore was executed. We all found out that Texas had taken him to Huntsville A DAY EARLY!!! And so he never heard his goodbye show on KDOL. TDCJ claims it was because of the weather...I'm not so sure. I think they've been concerned with the many protests and hunger strikes going on around this place. Anyways, I was quite pissed about all of that. I didn't want to do any writing, and instead, offered him a moment of silence...
Another thing that bothers me is I missed out on saying goodbye to him by only two freakin' days! I was moved to the pod where they hold death watch. I was going to unpack, clean up the cell and write a brief entry. As I began to unpack I was sent a package of sorts...The guy that gave it to me said, “Jonathan asked me to give this to you...” I was floored! I opened it up and it was a bunch of song lyrics, poems, articles a lot of Cure printouts...Many lyrics from the music they played on KDOL the eve of his murder...I just fell down crying. All executions bother me, but this one really screwed my head up. No one had ever left anything behind for me and I surely didn't expect this. We were cool, but I didn't think on such a personal level...I feel so bad for not having had the chance to say goodbye, or thank you. Friday, I was touched even more, when I read an interview he did and one question he was asked was, “If you could save one person back here, who would it be?” His answer was, “Randy Halprin.” I don't know why he felt I was important enough to give that response, but it really touched my soul.
A friend recently told me they had found one of my brothers, Jimmy, on MySpace. I was very happy, but emotionally lost it...I typed up a little message for him and I hope he will listen or read it with an open heart. If only my brothers knew how awful I feel and how truly sorry I am for not being the big brother I should've been. I feel so guilty for missing much of their lives...I hope he will respond and accept my apology.
I think from now on, I'm going to pull back from a lot of things, and my involvement in pushing certain causes. It's a long and boring melodramatic reason why, but I'll just say “Prison Politics”. You try to help others out, help fight for them and push their agendas and other things, and then you get stabbed in the back and branded certain things for doing so. I suppose there will always be haters, but man, it's so bad back here...You would think some people would be grateful, but a lot of times they're not. Or, they just think they can take advantage of your kindness and compassion and use you for their own reasons. I'm nice, but I'm not an idiot. I will always fight for what I believe is right and I will fight for others that can't fight for themselves, but those who are more than capable of helping themselves, shouldn't take advantage of others…Yeah, this is vague. I'm just thinking out loud, I suppose. Hopefully, I'll get back into the swing of things. I've just got a lot on my mind. A lot of ideas and changes for my site, and soon to be new MySpace page. Yes, we're going to try AGAIN! And there are some other projects in the pipeline too.
I might write an entry tomorrow. Might not. Sundays are usually the most boring, so we'll see.
January 16th, 2007
Man, I'm so lazy...I haven't typed anything up because I could not be botherd to rewind the correction tape...Terrible.
So, it's 9:08pm and I'm filled with mixed emotions...I'm listening to KDOL on the radio and they are doing a special “goodbye” show for a good friend of mine, Jonathan Moore. His execution date is tomorrow...Right now the stations “Minister” is telling him to accept Jesus so he won't be condemned to hell...And to be quite frank hearing all of this is really making me angry. I have nothing against Christianity. I truly don't, but I don't think this is the only way to redemption from God, or to heaven or whatever. I considered Jonathan a true and loyal friend, a kind man who dealt with his past and showed remorse in his way and.. I can't - I won‟t - believe in a God that can turn away someone like Jonathan. Our relationship, or beliefs, should be a private matter and I don't feel it's anybody's job to be the mouth piece for G-d or whatever...I think at the very core of every soul is purity...It just tends to get coated in a shell of murkiness. We're prisoners of the body and are subjected to its frailties, its impurities, genetically, psychologically….However, I don't want this to be viewed as me knocking the station or the cause in which they are doing this in. It's beautiful and I think those who are helping out in making this show happen have wonderful hearts...I'm grateful for this "last moment" with my friend.
Jonathon and I bonded over music; the first time I met him, I was in the day room and he was talking to his neighbor about how he wished he could get “Rice University” on the radio, because the mainstream radio sucked. I asked him what kind of radio he had. “One of the old ones” He replied...
“Oooh, those are bad on FM reception. I get Rice crystal clear on my radio - I've got one of those new ones...Say, what kind of music do you listen to?”
“Oh, The Cure, The Sundays, Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus.. Nine Inch Nails.”
“Dude! I'm a big Cure freak...I love The Sundays, and all of those bands!”
Later he bought a newer radio and I fine tuned it for him so he could listen to Rice University. He was thrilled. He shared his pictures with me and every time we talked it was like a trip back in time, talking about music and the things we used to do, the kind of girls we liked. I was always happy whenever I was moved onto his section. He had this grand plan of trying to get a low powered radio station here in Livingston to play nothing but our kind of music. Of course, it was impossible, but it would crack me up every time he talked about it, “Dude, what if we had like a pirate station and someone would drive up in their car and play our music and then burn off - that would be kick ass!” He once said.
So, this is what I'll always remember of him. I know in my heart he‟ll be somewhere better in the end...
If this is faith
Who we are
Are we true
In the end
Do we grow?
To face our fate
Of an unknown
A great void
where we‟re never devoid
The experiences we had
The laughter tears and madness
What are our fears
Where do we go
What do we have to show
Through all of this pain
What do we leave behind
What is faith?
I hope I don't have to say goodbye...Until tomorrow, I will sit back and share this great music they're playing for Jonathan and hope that one day this madness of state sanctioned MURDER will end...
An interview with death row inmate Johathan Moore
I haven't accomplished anything. I wish I had, now looking in hindsight, I wish I had done something to get my name out there, but I didn't, so here I am now, haven't done anything with my life and now I'm going to get killed.
* * *
CourtTVnews.com reporter Emanuella Grinberg interviewed Texas death row inmate Jonathan Moore on Jan. 10 at the Polunsky Prison Unit in Livingston, Texas. He was ex-ecuted Jan. 17. The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.
COURTTVNEWS.COM: Can you describe a typical day on death row?
JOHNATHAN MOORE: Monotonous. I'm sure that's the answer everyone gives you guys. Just droning, same day every day, it's "Groundhog Day" here, the movie. It's hard to decipher the separate days.
MOORE: Just in general, I know how to live life and feel good about things.
CTV: What do you do to pass the time?
MOORE: Read, write, do some running. I run a lot. You have different little societies in here, groups of friends, and you got different stuff to do, play games, stuff like that.
CTV: What kind of writing do you do?
MOORE: Just pen-pal letters to my friends and stuff.
CTV: Do you write poetry or anything like that?
MOORE: Not so much anymore. I used to, but I got out of it.
MOORE: Everybody's doing that in here. I just don't feel like it.
CTV: You said you talk with the other inmates. Are you friends with any of them?
MOORE: A couple. In prison, there's always shifting loyalties. It's a neverending chess game in here when you're dealing with people. That's why you got to look into yourself and do your own time.
CTV: Where do you fit in?
MOORE: You're playing a chess game and everybody else is playing their pieces against you, so I mean, it's never-ending because no one ever wins. I don't know, it deals with the personalities and stuff you got in here because there's some extreme personalities in here and people are just trying to get along, and some people want to do other people's time.
CTV: Do you get mail from strangers?
MOORE: Lately, I have been. There have been Christian people coming out of the wood-work, saying "Give your life to God," and stuff like that. I have lots of pen-pals and old friends from the streets. There's plenty of mail, I suppose.
CTV: How has life in prison changed you?
MOORE: It hasn't changed me. But I'm the same person I was when I got locked up, but I have matured in prison, because when I got locked up I was still, I was 19, thinking and acting like a 16-year-old, emotionally immature. But I've matured since I've been in prison; I guess that's the only change, and karma, I've learned about karma, I've started learning about karma now.
CTV: What have you learned about karma?
MOORE: Just treat people the way you want to be treated and don't hassle people.
CTV: On your MySpace page, you indicate you used to be an anarchist. What made you change to fascism?
MOORE: When I was in the world, I was immature, just thinking about being anti-government and anti-police, just had the mental process of going against everything and I called it anarchy because everybody else called it anarchy back then, little kids and spray-painting anarchy signs and all that crap. The turn to fascism is not so much to be taken literally. I just now think that in general that most men are stupid and shouldn't be able to think for themselves anymore. I'm just disgusted with society in general now.
MOORE: It's complicated. A lot of it has to do with guns and people running around, like when I was a kid running around doing stupid shit with guns. I wish I didn't have access to guns in the first place because I wasn't mature enough to handle the responsibility of it. They were all stolen anyhow. But in general, I shouldn't have had access to begin with.
CTV: What do you miss most about life on the outside?
MOORE: Just having fun, having fun with friends. And obviously the lack of women and that concept. But it's still a society in here. It's just different.
CTV: If you weren't in here, what do you think you'd be doing right now?
MOORE: When I was out in the world, I wasn't ready to go to college yet. My parents kept pushing me into college. I ended up starting three times and dropping out three times. But now I've got the will and the ambition to go to school, and I would probably go back to school and pursue a degree in engineering of some sort, electrical engineering...or at the very least, join the military because that's the easiest way out, just some type of a structured environment to get in...But I'd be doing some type of schooling now.
CTV: Wouldn't the military have conflicted with your views back then?
MOORE: Back then, yeah, but back then, I still needed structure too. I lacked the tools to survive the way society expects you to survive.
CTV: What is your happiest memory from your childhood?
MOORE: Being in a psychiatric hospital. I was in Laurel Ridge in San Antonio. Yeah, I don't know if you guys are familiar with that. All the kids in there were messed up and we all got along great. It was fun, it was a fun time for me.
CTV: What was fun about it?
MOORE: The fact that I fit in with a bunch of fucked-up kids because at that point in time I didn't fit in with anybody. It wasn't until I got to hang out with a bunch of messed-up kids that I finally found a place to fit in.
CTV: How was your relationship with your parents?
MOORE: My mom died last year. When I was in the free world, they were pushing me into school and trying to get good grades and all that and it got to the point I wasn't hearing that any more, so there was a lot of friction on that. They were trying to make me be-come somebody and I wasn't hearing it. I just wanted to party and have a good time and all that and that was when I got kicked out. We didn't get close close until after I got locked up and then everything came full circle and we realized we were buddies all along and got along.
CTV: As a child, what did you want to grow up to be or do?
MOORE: Until I was like 10 or 12, I was wanting to be a pilot of some sort. Actually, I took flight lessons when I was 12 out of San Antonio International. But I replaced that with skateboarding and then lost all ambition from there and never got it back.
CTV: How old were you when you went to the psychiatric institute?
MOORE: It was either late 15 or early 16. I think that was like six months.
CTV: How do you think that affected you?
MOORE: Positively, because up until then I had a real negative view on everything, but I felt pretty good coming out. It was a good thing. It was a private hospital. I don't know how people turn out from state hospitals.
CTV: What are you good at?
MOORE: Nothing really. I haven't had a chance to work with anything to become good at anything.
CTV: When you were out there, was there anything you felt you were good at?
MOORE: No. I've tried everything, I skated for years and never got good at it, played guitar and bass for years, never got good at that. So, I mean, I was a failure at everything.
CTV: Who's Lily?
MOORE: Just a friend of mine, met her about a year ago, and just a good friend.
CTV: How did you meet?
MOORE: She found me on the Internet somehow and wrote to me. Things went from there.
CTV: When did you get that tattoo [the one on your knuckles that says Lily]?
MOORE: The day after I got my execution date, so it was six months ago.
CTV: What made you decide to get it?
MOORE: I just, it's funny because even when I got it, she and I were having an argument and she hadn't even written to me in six weeks when I got it, so I don't know. I felt it, I needed it. I wanted it there and I felt good about having it there, even though she and I were at a point where we might not even talk to each other again, but I felt, I felt I'd show her that I was thinking about her anyhow and put it on there.
CTV: Are you talking again?
MOORE: Yes, I saw her yesterday and the day before. She's down here visiting. [Note: The couple filed marriage papers two days after this interview.]
CTV: Is there any particular moment in your life that you consider a turning point?
MOORE: I guess this case, from getting locked up. When this case happened, I had zero foresight. All I could think about was today and tomorrow and not much beyond that. Had I had maturity and foresight back then, then none of this would have never happened ... it took getting locked up and sent to prison before I realized all this, so I mean, I guess that would be the only turning point I ever had.
CTV: Have you gotten any treatment since you've been in here?
CTV: Have you asked for any?
CTV: Do you feel you need any?
MOORE: No. I'm not that crazy.
CTV: I'd like to ask you some questions about your case. Why were you out robbing that evening? What did you want the money for?
MOORE: Rent and food, Iguess, that's what it boiled down to...I was living with a girlfriend and we were sharing rent on an apartment. She was paying for most of it. I was having to rob and steal all the time to catch up with her.
CTV: Why did you return to the scene of the crime?
MOORE: Stuff was left behind, a couple of firearms I think, odds and ends, but I figured we could jump in and back out, get in and get out and run away with the loot. We already had most of it but I guess we left about 10 percent of it behind. I made the decision for us to go back and get it.
CTV: Why did you kill the officer?
MOORE: The driver is out in the car. He's ducked down in the seat, and me and my buddy were in the house and the driver yelled, "There's a car coming." We dropped what we had and ran out to the car. The car coming down the road was a personal car, it wasn't a police car. It blocked us in the driveway. He got in the driveway pretty hard and quick and jumped out...pointed his weapon at our windshield. All I could see was his face and his pistol, his weapon... It wasn't until a few months ago that I started thinking about the actual situation, the timing of the situation, and trying to see some significance in it. From the time he jumped out his driver door and leveled his weapon at us to the time I shot at him, it was less then 10 seconds. I bring that up now as being significant because I didn't have time to think things through and understand what was happening, fully.
CTV: Did you think he was a police officer?
MOORE: I felt he was a police officer. And in my trial, they made a deal about him being in uniform and he was, but he also had a black jacket covering his top half. You had to understand that this neighborhood was pitch-black. I felt he was a police officer because of the authority he was projecting: a bad-ass motherfucker taking charge of situation and shit. So I felt he weren't no ordinary man.
CTV: Were you afraid of him?
MOORE: Not so much about getting killed, but just didn't want him to alter my path that I was trying to take. I'm trying to get somewhere. I can't call it survival or, like, self-defense, but I was scared and I wasn't about to let anybody alter my path if I could find a way out of it and that's what ultimately got him killed.
CTV: What's your biggest regret?
MOORE: Taking my firearm out with me that night. I did put myself in that position. I am responsible for his death, but the only thing that I can argue is I had two co-defendants. One of them was found guilty of capital murder by law of parties...and I think that's wrong because he wasn't an active participant in killing anybody and neither one of them knew full well whether or not I had a pistol with me that night anyhow...The guy in the backseat had just turned 17 and the driver, Paul, uh, Pete, was about 17 and maybe 5 months.
CTV: What do you think should happen to them?
MOORE: The driver, Pete, got organized crime and a 25-year sentence for his part in this case. I guess that's probably fair because the main result was a man getting killed and had he not gotten killed, I think a lesser sentence would've been better, but a man did get killed, so there's something more to it. And for Paul, he should've gotten same convictions, same sentence as Pete and was headed in that direction, but when we went to the county jail and they had a hard time indicting...About a year into our being locked up, they were able to return a capital murder indictment on him and this was based on new evidence from two people who were so-called witnesses ...
CTV: Which would you prefer, a death sentence or life without parole?
MOORE: I'd take life.
MOORE: Shit, you learn to deal with it, you learn to live. I enjoy life in here too. For some people it's bad. It depends on what kind of case you have and stuff like that.
CTV: Are you religious?
CTV: What do you think will happen to you after you die?
MOORE: Get cremated.
CTV: Is there an afterlife?
MOORE: I'll find out when I get there.
CTV: With less than a week until your scheduled execution, are you ready to die?
MOORE: Yeah, I can take it or leave it, I don't want to die, but it's what the state wants.
CTV: Are you afraid of death?
MOORE: No, no. It's going to happen eventually anyhow.
CTV: Is there anything you want people to know about you that they may not know already?
MOORE: Well, just about Paul Cameron. He is not guilty of capital murder. He should get some kind of relief, hopefully.
CTV: And what about you?
MOORE: No, everybody knows me, they know me. I don't hide anything. Everybody knows definitely how I feel.
CTV: What do you want to be remembered for?
MOORE: Nothing. I mean, I haven't accomplished anything. I wish I had, now looking in hindsight, I wish I had done something to get my name out there, but I didn't, so here I am now, haven't done anything with my life and now I'm going to get killed.
CTV: Have you thought about what your last words might be?
MOORE: It would be about Paul. I'm trying to help him in any way I can because capital murder, life sentence, 40-year minimum, for a case he wasn't all the way down with in the first place is just wrong.
January 11th, 2007
I'm feeling a little better today. Still a little disturbed from yesterday though. Right now I'm waiting to go to recreation. I'll probably be moved tonight, so when I finish this, I'll probably just clean up a bit, pack some of my things, and read until it's time to go.
I wish I had something to write about, I feel in light of everything yesterday, it would just be wrong. I'm thinking about a friend of mine who is to be killed next week. Whoever thinks that our lives are too easy, are truly screwed in the head.
January 10th, 2007
Today has just been insane...Usually days that have executions scheduled are bad enough, but a guy tried to kill himself earlier as well. By all accounts it was pretty bad. Don't know if he made it or not, but the inmate had to be life flighted out (Lifeflight, is an emergency helicopter that takes those in critical condition to the hospital quicker than an ambulance can..) and this happened a section over so I witnessed much of the commotion. Some of the other inmates said there was blood everywhere. What really made everyone angry, is that the guards refused to get it cleaned up until several hours later. The blood just sat and sat. Splattered on the cell door, the cell walls, all over the walk way outside of the cells. I can't imagine having to look at that blood all day long...sick.
Then, there was an execution today which is never good. Rumors have it that Carlos Grenada, the guy to be executed refused to leave his cell and so they had to gas and use force against him to drag him to his death. Crazy stuff. You really try to block this all out, but you never get used to it. It screams wrong in every cell of my body. It's just not right. I can't fathom being carried to my own death. Clawing, screaming. Knowing that this is it...No more. Will I go peacefully? Yeah, I know I will, but they will have to carry me to my death. I would never willingly walk to my own death.
I'm tired, emotionally exhausted. Borderline depression sinking in. I'll probably have some nightmares tonight. I don't handle death too well. It's not that I'm in denial of death, or my death...It's a part of the circle. It's just knowing how and when that freaks me out…I'm rambling. Numbness sinking into me...My thoughts are running off and no longer coherent in my head. Kind of like a marble spinning around in a coffee can. That sort of, kkkkrrrrrrchunkachunkakkkrrr sound, around and around.
This place really really sucks!
Guess I'll close here.
January 9th, 2007
Today started off on the wrong footing. We've got this real mean guard working right now. She keeps messing with the lights in the cells. My light is on, but some guys keep theirs off at all times. They can control the lighting from the control center and she keeps flicking them on and off. Everybody starts to yell “Turn off the cell lights!” and she says on the intercom system, “No! If I want the goddamn lights on, I'll keep them on! You should've thought about that before you all killed them people.” Of course, that gets a reaction of insults and curses...I just talked to the floor guard very politely and said...“Hey, she's getting these guys riled up and it's gonna blow up in your face.” You might want to ask her to chill out.. He said he was going to talk to her.
We haven't had clean clothing in the past five days, which is pretty ridiculous. I really don't like writing complaints unless I absolutely have to, but I plan on filing a grievance on this. I had a really interesting conversation today outside with a guy who has literally been all the way to Huntsville for his execution, eaten his last meal, but them got a stay. Man, talk about a true horror story. It really freaked me out. Bothered me in a profound way. The whole conversation started out by me bringing up the fact that there was an execution tomorrow and I knew the guy who was going to be killed. His name is Carlos and he was a little annoying at times, but overall an alright person. I had heard that knowing his own date of death was really causing him to lose it a little, with all the mental anguish...The guy I was talking to has a nickname, “Kilo” and Kilo surprised me by saying, “Dawg, I was there, man. I faced death. I can't even begin to describe it.” He said, that before he received his execution date he starting having weird dreams and felt that he was about to get a date. When he finally did, they pulled him out to the Major's office and served him with the papers. They then told him to pack up his items, that he'd be moving to “Death Watch”. Basically, what “Death Watch” is, is an isolated section on a pod where those with execution dates are housed until the actual time of their murder. Then, like cattle, one by one they are lead off to their deaths. “Randy, you do not know what it's like to watch a man you know, have laughed with, shared food with, cried with...You can't begin to understand how it feels to see that man taken away and never return. It just ain't right, man. It just ain't right..”
One day, Kilo was pulled out to go talk to one of the ranking officials. In the office he was told to sign papers relating to how he wanted his body “Disposed of"...Yes, that was the exact words...Kilo said that he refused to sign the paper and told the officer, “My appeals are still going on. I won't be killed. I ain't signing them.” The officer told him, “do you know how many times I hear that? Better face reality, son. We're in the business of killing.” Kilo, still refused to sign the papers and the officer became mad and said, “Get this piece of trash out of my office!” Around this time, there were some people who kept up with all executions and they begin to flood those with execution dates with hate letters that say things like, “You ready to meet your maker?” And, “You better accept Jesus now because you are going to die and you will be going to hell..” Up until the point of his incarceration, he'd never received any hate mail. Just another way to kick you when you're down. His last day came and while he still believed that he was going to get a stay and his lawyers kept assuring him of this, he said his last goodbyes in a visit. His whole family had shown up and he said it was the most heart wrenching thing he'd ever been through.
At noon, the warden showed up and told him it was time...He said his last goodbyes, choking on tears and was shackled and walked away. Now a numb sensation settled over him as he was walking to the van. A crowd of spectators of guards and people in civilian clothing gathered around him. He could see them shaking hands and laughing, much like the scene I witnessed from my window when I wrote about Gary Sterling's execution back in August of 2005. When he arrived at the death chambers in Huntsville, he was lead to a cell and was given some more papers to sign (He refused to sign those also..) and an order form for his last meal. He told them he didn't want a last meal and they begged him to have one. He continued to refuse, so one of the guards said, “Well, how 'bout we make you some cheese burgers and some other good stuff.” But Kilo said, “You can make whatever the hell you want to make. I ain't eating it.”
Shortly after, he was told he was going back to Livingston to death row, he'd been given a stay….I've got goose bumps, just writing about it...
In other news, there was an article in the January 8th edition of USA Today about Texas outsourcing it's execution team. How insane and morally disturbing is that? Yes, the article said that those who are involved in the executions here in Texas, have gone to other states to help them out on executions. A freakin' death squad is what that is! I highly suggest you google this article and read it for yourself. Look in the USA TODAY publication, you'll see it there. Well, since they didn't give us any clean laundry tonight (I use the word "clean" loosely..) I've got to get to washing my own stuff.
January 8th, 2007
It's a bright and beautiful Monday afternoon as I sit here, with sunlight pouring through my little sliver of a window. I don't have much of a view in my current cell, all I can see is the back wall of another building, but still the little piece of blue I can see outside is a blessing. Can you imagine the old days when they couldn't see anything? Life can be hard here, it's far from exciting and “fun”, but still..I'm better off than some.
So, earlier this morning I had been thinking of my little brothers. They are adopted from Korea and were always very important in my life. I pretty much missed most of their life. The last time I saw them was 1995..I remember my brother Kevin's adoption the clearest. I was in the fifth grade and I remember when my mom told me that we were about to get another brother. I got real excited and was running around yelling, “Yea!!!” I don't think Wesley was too happy. He was a pretty territorial kid and someone else entering our family would get in the way of what was "his". My dad had to fly to California to pick up Kevin, who would be flown in via the Hold Adoption Agency, from Korea. Then, dad would fly back to Dallas/Ft. Worth and we would greet him there. I was so excited I could barely contain it. Whenever I got real excited in those days, I tended to get extremely clumsy and goofy (well, I still do...so mom was trying everything to chill me out. Me, Wesley, Jimmy and Mom got into the car to drive to the airport and meet dad. There were other families waiting on their newly adopted children also, so it was crowded. A few news channels were there, too.
The plane finally arrived and we waited for dad to come with Kevin down the terminal. I saw him and began to yell, “There he is! There he is!” It was practically a scream. Mom told me to calm down and I remember Wesley hitting me. “Mom! Wesley just hit me!" And she said "You boys both calm down or you'll have to go sit down. Here, Randy, take the baby bag” She said, giving me a large blue bag loaded with baby formula, diapers and other stuff. It felt like it weighed a ton. Dad showed up and I ran to him. He was holding a tiny little bundle with a blanket wrapped around him. Dad kneeled down to let me look at him and I gave the tiny little guy a kiss on the head. “Wow.” I said. Wesley was indifferent to the whole scene...Of course, with dad traveling it was always custom for him to bring us back a gift. So, we waited in anticipation for dad to hand it over. Mom took Kevin and dad dug through his travel bag and pulled out a white plastic sack. He handed it to me and said, "One for you, one for Wes.” Now, this had to be about 1988 or so and the big fad then, was the "California Raisins", so when I pulled out a t-shirt with a cool, singing raisin on it, I flipped out..”Oh! Oh! Thank you dad! Thank you!” and I began to sing too. “I heard it from the grapevine..” dancing around with my t-shirt. Yeah, I was a nerd.
All of this was captured on video. I wish like crazy I could see/get my hands on it. We brought Kevin home and he was a delight. I miss him and I miss the crazy things he used to do...One time when he was about five, he called me into the bathroom to help him with something. I didn't know he was on the toilet and for a little 3 ½ foot kid he sure could stink up a place. I walked into the bathroom and gagged, “Kevin!” I said “ You stink!” He just started to laugh. I fell for it, little rotten booger.
When I started having girlfriends, Kevin used to always get on another phone in the house and interrupt screaming “Randy wears polka dotted underwear!” And began to laugh hysterically. Good times. You don't realize how much they mean to you until you're looking back. I hope he grew up to be a good guy. He should be about 19 now. Wow. I know his birthday is tomorrow.
That about does it for today.. Peace.
January 7th, 2007
Not much happened yesterday or today. I think I have a stalker (long, long story) but I did have a crazy, crazy dream last night. I was in some sort of relationship. It was very realistic...Hugs, kisses, holding hands. But the woman I was with was faceless. Though, I knew her and was even kissing her, I couldn't make out her face. It was like a grayish color.
I've spent most of the day listening to the radio and nothing else. They just came to my neighbors cell and made him do a piss test for drugs. He passed.
I'll be writing more tomorrow. Just checking in.
January 5th, 2007
They were just doing hair cuts and the funniest/most stupid thing just happened…Because I'm going bald I shave my head (yeah, I know, doesn't make sense, but I shave my head bald to keep my baldness from showing…) Well, there was this young, must be about 19 or so, new guard who is way over zealous in his job. He's forcing guys to get hair cuts per the lieutenant's orders. He comes to my cell and says “C'mon. Haircut." I look at him like "Are you kidding me?" And then I say...
"You see that I have no hair, right?
"Well, I don‟t care. The lieutenant said that everyone has to get a haircut." He replies.
“Man, I have no hair. How can I get a haircut? "Im biting my tongue from adding, "Are you retarded?‟
“The lieutenant said that I have to give everyone a hair cut - or do you want a case?” He says.
I say “So what? You're going to walk me down to get a hair cut, sit me in the chair and walk me back? That's idiotic. I swear sometimes I wonder how you folks get hired"
"I do what I'm told" the guard says.
I strip out and then get dressed and have handcuffs put on me and then I'm escorted out of my cell to get a haircut. Well, just as I‟m walking out the lieutenant shows up. He says, “What the hell you doing with him?” I start to laugh, I couldn't help it. The young guard says "You told me to give everyone a hair cut"..."I said give a haircut to those who need one. He don't got no damn hair. Take him back to his cell. Are you retarded?" I looked at the guard like, ‟tried to tell ya‟. This place is odd sometimes.
January 4th, 2007
Man…The day has finally come to an end. It's 11:48 p.m. and I've just gotten settled into my “new” cell. Actually, I just lived in the exact same cell a week ago. Crazy.
The day was pretty boring, and I'm feeling very tired now. Why??? One of life's mysteries. Anywho… I've got to get this mailed tonight so it's a short one! After I pop this into an envelope I'm taking my butt to bed.
January 3rd, 2007
Today has been…peculiar? It's definitely been strange. I went to recreation and had a good long workout, but when I came back in I got a note from an inmate that goes by the nickname "Rainbow"... Well, the dude is a little off in the head and he's gay. Last night he was in our dayroom masturbating on another inmate. Some guys started cussing him out for doing that out in the open (I must admit it was quite funny at the time) So, he sends me a note today talking about how someone told him I was talking smack about him. Then he said he was going to kill me and “We're at war” and so on. I didn't pay it any mind. I get lots of threats, no big deal really.
I sent him a note back saying “Look, it's okay that you're gay, but to masturbate in the day room is very disgusting and disrespectful. I laughed, but did not talk bad about you. Calm down it's going to be alright! Peace, brother, peace!”
He sent a note back saying he was sorry. Well, it got me to thinking about the various types of mentally disturbed people back here. You've got aggressive and docile. Some are manically aggressive. Very boisterous, loud, rude, and unable to function on a normal level. Then you've got the slow, docile, peaceful ones. I'm not sure there's an in between. The bigger question is, if someone who has mental health issues is one of the docile people, what was the trigger that caused them to possibly commit murder? Or harm to others or themselves? I think it's got to be a neurological miswiring. Something isn't firing right in the brain. I just wish the prison system had a better mental health department. It's really archaic stuff back here. I think the Texas system needs to be less punitive and more rehabilitive. I've said all this before. Some people have no concept of punishment. It's like with the guy who was masturbating in the day room…If I had reacted aggressively, he would've not really understood and probably been more agitated than anything, but words of comfort seemed to ease him a bit.
The day went from being beautiful outside, to cold and nasty. It's raining now as well...I was hoping to catch another glimpse of the full moon. I'm waiting to find out if I'm to be moved to another pod or not. Nope. It's 9:27 p.m. and I'm still here. Got some mail about the "new look" of my site - I do agree it is is too distracting and takes away from my overall message. When my friend returns from Ethiopia I will be making the necessary changes to “Reforms” on my message. Just hold tight.
I just had my cell searched by some guards, which is pretty routine in this place. Nothing like some good ol' search and seize...I'm going to call it a day, or night. Man, it's cold!
January 2nd, 2007
It's 7:16pm, and as I write this, I'm waiting on some glue to dry for an eye glass nose piece I'm fixing for someone. Don't ask me how I became the general maintenance man around here, because I'm clueless when it comes to really truly fixing something - though I've become a master at rigging stuff up. I surprise myself at times...
Today has been fruitful. I got up at 6:30am for a shower, and when I came back I spent two hours helping my neighbor, who is illiterate, to write out his commissary list and add it all up. I had to help him price things, give him recommendations on how to save some money and all that. No easy task, because he wanted to argue with me on things. Yeah, it's his money to spend how he wants to spend it, but I figured I'd show him how to buy more for less. He was very happy with the end result. He even said “I love you, man!” I was like, “Cool. Love ya, too, but I'm still not writing a sex letter for you!” Haha. Oh, the craziest thing happened coming back from the shower...See, going to and from anywhere back here, we're handcuffed. We have to squat down and stick our arms out a slot backwards to have the handcuffs removed. It's kind of second nature after doing it for 3 ½ years. The guard that was working seemed a little…Gay, I thought. Well, my thoughts were confirmed when I was in my cell and having the handcuffs removed. I stuck my hands out and he rubbed (like you would to a girlfriend!) his finger down my palm! I was like, “What the hell man?!?” I literally jumped. Haha. Then he smiled and looked down at my boxers, I guess wanting a little peep show. I had to say “Man, I'm not gay.” He, I assume, understood and gave a little “humph!” and walked off. I swear, this place is such a head trip at times. It's like the land of oz. Nothing, and I mean nothing ever appears as it seems! (Hold on, let me attach this nose piece to the eye glass frame now…)
Wow. I'm surprised we actually just got mail. I'm kind of…confused over a particular card. It was from my ex and it evoked a lot of emotions and well…Eh, never mind. I'm not even going to go down that road, so why can't I get these damn tears out of my eyes. Geeze.
Anyways, I spent most of the rest of the day working on my “I Am Human” project typing stuff out. Editing, etc. My friend who does all of this on my site is away doing humanitarian work in Ethiopia so I can't send it out just yet. Still, better to get caught up on the things I needed to do than to procrastinate. There's a prayer I wanted to write down that really touched me; it's by Etty Hillesum and it's taken from her diaries...
“Oh God, times are too hard for frail people like myself. I know that a new and kinder day will come. I would so much like to live on, if only to express all the love I carry within me. And there is only one way of preparing the new age, by living it even now in our hearts. Somewhere in me I feel so light, without the least bitterness and so full of strength and love. I would so much like to help prepare the new age.”
Beautiful words to be reflected on. Tonight there's a beautiful full moon and I can see it out my window. One day I want to cup the moon in my hands. Bathe in the yellow moonlight…
January 1st, 2007
Here I am…Did you miss me? How do you miss yourself??? Happy New Year! Here's hoping that 2007 is so much better than last year. I can remember all the bad omens I was getting that first day of January - it had all started when I tried to call my ex wife and she wasn't home. Then, things just kind of steam rolled from there. But…I've had good omens this time around. Here's to hoping for the best.
For the past two weeks I've been reflecting on the events that led me to being on death row. In a way, I wanted to just not disrespect that tragedy by writing anything upbeat or positive. I don't want it to seem that it doesn't bother me because if you knew how much it truly does…
My lawyer came about 2 weeks ago. It was a great visit. He thinks I'm in a unique position to get a retrial. I'm excited about that. I don't want to get my hopes up too high, but the odds are in my favor. He was quite pissed about the negative attention my MySpace page received, more so out of concern about my words being taken out of context. I understand that completely - my own words were used against me during my first trial. So many things twisted and misconstrued. I told him I was only trying to put a human face to death row and I feel obligated to use whatever writing skills I have to do so. It's not really about me - yes, I use my life as an example of the possibility and hope of change, and believe me it's odd to do so at times. Especially being so open and honest about it. I feel very naked at times...But it's also why I've wanted to start telling other's stories, as I am beginning to do in various entries. So, I really can't just up and quit what I'm doing. If my words and message is misconstrued, it's a risk I have to take. In the end, I know my heart and intentions. In regards to this, my lawyer said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions..” and that may be so, but it's an obligated good intention. Ultimately, my life falls into the hands of twelve people, should I get a retrial, and I can only hope that they have within themselves the same sparks of compassion that I write about. I would hope they would see my writings as such...and heck, even if some do find the things I write about as controversial or questionable - at least it's honest and it shows that I do have faults, that I can identify them, and admit to them. I'm only human.
I can't even begin to tell about all the things on my mind right now. I'm gearing up to participate in a hunger strike that I will begin tomorrow. I think some did it today. I want to at least go three days to show some solidarity and support. We shall see how it all goes. A funny thing happened Friday night...My neighbor is illiterate and a little mentally challenged so he has to have people read his mail to him. I guess he is married or has a girlfriend and so he wanted me to read the letter he received. I was like “Sure. I can do that for you.” There‟s a fairly big hole in the wall between our two cells and so he slid me the letter. This isn't the first time I've read letters to others who can't read and sometimes there's real personal stuff in them and so I scan the letter real quick and if I see a personal thing I make sure it's okay to read it. Some get real weird about letting other people read their private stuff, even though they have no other way to know what's in the letter...My eyes caught some very sexually graphic stuff and I was like, “Whoa! Uh, this is a sex letter. There's no way I'm reading this to another man!” He pleaded with me to read it to him and I did feel bad that he couldn't read it so I was like, “Dude, you absolutely cannot let anyone know that I read a sex letter to you!” Talk about feeling very awkward. Haha. Well, today I had to draw the line. I was helping him write a letter when he asked me to write a sexy letter to his girl for him. I told him, “Nope. Ain't happening! I don't mind helping you write a letter, but I can't write something like that to your lady.” Sheesh and he was deadly serious! He offered to pay me and all of that. I just couldn't do it. Haha. It does make me feel good to help someone out, but that's pushing it a bit!
I have to get to washing some laundry so I will wrap this up for the night. Before I close, though I wanted to share this passage from a Holocaust diary that I read a little bit ago. I found so much inspiration in this person's words, through all of her struggles. Her name was Etty Hillesum and she was killed by the Nazis in the concentration camp in Auschwitz...She wrote on June 20th 1942..
“I find life beautiful, and I feel free. The sky within me is as wide as the one stretching above my head. I believe in God and I believe in man, and say so without embarrassment. Life is hard, but that is no bad thing. If one starts taking one's own importance seriously, the rest follows. It is not morbid individualism to work on oneself. True peace will come only when every individual finds peace within himself; when we have all vanquished and transformed our hatred for our fellow human beings of whatever race into love. Although perhaps that is asking too much. It is however, the only solution. I am a happy person and I hold life dear..”
It amazes me, looking back at my old journal entries, at how we share such different experiences. Though, we both faced death...Yet, how our words are so much alike. In hopes and desires that one day things will transpire into a love of all. For all. Maybe it won't happen in my life time, but I want to believe one day, there will be this collective awakening within every single creature on earth and we'll all look at each other and say, “You know what? I love you, man. I love everyone, everything.” Life really isn't that bad. We make it what it is. Here's hoping 2007 ushers in a time of peace and humanity. It may sound hokey and utterly bleeding heart liberal of me, but I hope. You know? I really do hope.