July 2016 - 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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July 27th, 2016

I listened to Bill Clinton's speech last night at the DNC, and I think he did a very good job of really humanizing Hillary. He went through her history and all of the good she's actually done...Look, I would prefer Bernie Sanders...he would've been the better candidate by far, but I also think that nobody can take anything away from Hilary's career, and how much she has fought. She might be part of the system and she knows the system well, but I'll say it again, if progressives give her their vote, just hold her and the democratic party accountable. You have that ability and power. She'll owe that to you guys. Just don't give it to Trump. Don't NOT vote or do a protest vote...It is like knowing a hurricane is on the way and being indifferent to it. "...I may be the mayor of the town and can save my citizens but you know, I'm pissed off at 'em so fuck it. If it tears shit up, it tears shit up".

We're on day 9 of the lockdown and one of the guards said they're on A pod wrapping up the shakedown for the building. I don't know if that means it will end for us tomorrow or they'll just wait until next week...If I understand it correctly, they're supposed to shakedown 10 building (the medical building) and 11 building, which is general population, transit, and pre-hearing detention (where they lock people up if they get into a fight or any other serious infraction that requires them attending a sort of kangaroo court hearing) before next Monday...We'll see...!


July 26th, 2016

Woke up this morning and it was quite cool - a much needed break from the record we've been having for the past couple of weeks. We had a thunderstorm move in yesterday afternoon, and it was surreal! I was waiting anxiously for the shakedown, as the guards were in the next section over, doing thier thing, and we all knew it was getting close to shift change...So, the question on our collective minds was, are they going to get to us before they leave? Maybe leave the other three sections remaining for 2nd shift or just leave it all until Tuesday? We already had our things packed up in the red property crates, cells cleaned and ready to go...And so I stood on my bunk staring out in the distance as clouds as dark as coal rolled in. Lightning began to flash all over the place...One bolt, while a few miles away, seemed to come crashing down right in front of my eyes because the thunder clap was a split second after the strike. It scared the living crap out of me and I jumped. I had a flash back to when I was back in Kentucky one summer attending summer school. Me and my friend, Wayne, had been doing something in the gym when a storm broke out. The adult supervisors told everyone to return to their dorms and so we left the gym and took off running through the rain. A bolt of lightning came barreling down right in front of us on the street. We both dived to opposite sides and were yelling "Holy shit did you see that?!!!" We were shaking and scared to death. We were shaking for an hour after that and then like young teenagers do, we thought it was the funniest thing in the  world.

So, I watched the storm until 2nd shift came on and about ten minutes after shift change a swarm of guards came pouring into our section to finish the shakedown. I will say this: compared to the last shakedown where I lost some pictures and letters, this was painless. I lost only a pair of shoe leaces that I use for a clothes line, and that is it. I had left an empty eye drop bottle on my desk as an offering and they didn't even take that from me. When I was returning to my cell I was fully expecting to see my property strewn across the cell as is common practice for the guards, but instead everything was neatly stacked on my bed. We should be good to go for another 90 days or so. Yay!

The rest of the evening I listened to NPR's coverage of the DNC convention and I think it went pretty well. You had some die hard Bernie or Bust supporters who were constantly booing everyone, but I think Sarah Silverman, a Bernie supporter herself said it best: "to all  of you Bernie or Bust people...you're being ridiculous". That needed to be said. I think Elisabeth Warren gave a rousing speech and I think Bernie made a case as to why his supporters should get behind Hillary. I think he did a good job and given the current circumstances, I think he was probably successful in converting some to a pragmatic logic in supporting Hillary. I also liked that he basically said, "Look, the revolution doesn't stop here...hold these people accountable". And that needed to be said. But by far the best speech of the night was Michelle Obama...It was honest, personal and emotional. She talked about her husband's election in a historical context and said we're at a moment in history to do it again by electing a woman to office. And I think she's right. Whatever reservations you have about Hillary's character, it is way past time to have a woman in the White House. I'm telling you right now...You're going to see Hillary tear Trump apart in debates. He doesn't stand a chance. Insults vs. solutions. I wouldn't be surprised if it goes down as the most watched debate in U.S. history. Bring. It. On. But please Hillary, don't be glib. That would be her worst mistake - to go in cocky and gleeful.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do for the rest of the day. I need to do some reading, then I'll listen to a two hour special of the "classic club hour". I'm telling you, if you're into new wave, 80's/90's modern rock...that is where it's at. You can listen at KPFT.ORG on Tuesdays at 2p.m. central time. And if you like it, please donate to the station because they are a community station and it is the only way prisoners like me can get some good music, because mainstream radio stations suck. Keep it going! I should add that on the last Tuesday of each month the DJ does a full two hours of classic club.


July 25th, 2016

I have no idea when this will be posted, but the goal is to have a new and improved site and outlet to be able to post these journals.

So, here's a recap of what happened back in April this year...An anti social media policy was inacted by prison officials. The policy, known as "rule #4" was written in an arbitrary and vague way and no one really knew how to apply or even interpret the policy. Inquiries were made and there was some push back from free speech proponents and prison reform activists, and a clearer definition was given. There are still some questions left unanswered but for now websites are allowed.

As I write this we're currently on lockdown...Day 7 to be exact. Death Row is placed on lockdown four times a year due to a scandal in which a death row inmate was able to obtain a cell phone and threaten a Texas State Senator. Ever since, we've gone through these lockdowns so that officials can "shakedown" each cell individually for contraband, although it's been several years since they've found anything "dangerous". It's mostly junk like homemade speakers or "fishing lines" - strings used to pass books or food. But even though it is a minor nuisance, I really don't mind the lockdowns if only because they offer a rare week or two of peace and quiet because everything is shut down.

Hopefully, I'll get back into the swing of writing more...


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