November 2018 - 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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November 27th, 2018

I  woke up this morning at about 5.45am...I didn't get to sleep until midnight as I tossed and turned after reading an article about my co-defendant whose execution date is next week. The article was littered with inaccuracies, and some pretty blatant mis-statements that don't actually reflect the record of evidence and statements given by my other co-defendants, but I'll leave it at that. I guess my main problem with the article as a whole is how someone can claim to be a devout Christian, yet be so loose with the truth. But that is a story for another day...A group of my friends and supporters have come together to produce a response to the article, and asking that the reporter check the court record and double check the facts...The truth doesn't change, and my truth hasn't changed in all these years. You can read the article and the response from my friends under the "News" section of the website.

After waking up, I was told I was scheduled for recreation, first round, in  B-dayroom. I rolled out of bed, got ready, and was out of my cell by  about 6.20am. When I went out, a large crew of maintenance workers were  coming by cells and checking the air. Yesterday, the warden came through  and he could smell all of the mold and mildew...Apparently, and I  hadn't seen this for myself, but on A-section, one wall was covered in  its entirety in mold! The warden blew a fuse and started screaming at  officers and other ranking officers demanding to know why this issue  wasn't addressed. He ordered an officer to grab some trustees on the  clean up crew and had them scrubbing the walls with bleach, all day long. He even had them to into some cells to scrub the walls. When  my neighbour and I addressed the issue on B-section, the warden told us  that he was going to get it taken care of. Well, the maintenance crew  that came through kept saying amongst themselves, "It's fine...the air  is on...It's warm in here." Another inmate had to explain to them that it was the air flow and ventilation. No air is moving. Sure, it's warm, but the air is stagnant and the moisture is trapped, which is causing the moisture to sit. Even as I type this, my back wall is dripping with  water and I'll have to scrub it shortly before it starts to bloom again.  

After  maintenance left, I started working out and was back in my cell a  little after 9 in the morning. I started writing a letter to my girl,  doing laundry, and then I decided to bathe in my cell because I'm not going to wait on this particularly lazy bunch of officers to start showers...They've just been slothing around and doing nothing...Serenity  now!

Anyway,  I'm just trying to press on and stay positive and focused. I believe  the universe has my back and I'm in good hands! It does little for my  well being to stay stressed about things or to worry.

I'll close today with a quote from my Small Stones From The River book:

be the miracle
in someone's day

an unexpected kindness works fine

Something to focus on!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith...


November 24th, 2018

I've  been busy all day catching up on writing and filling out holiday  cards...I had to clean my cell AGAIN, because of the black mold and  mildew...I can't deal with this crap much's driving me nuts!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 23rd, 2018

I  started the day by getting outside for first round rec. It felt really  nice, and we played 50 games of ball. When I came back in I went  straight to the shower and settled in for the rest of the day...I will  say that I'm getting tired of cleaning up mildew and mold...I clean the  cell every day, and when I wake up the next morning, the back wall is  covered in black blooms again! Every one of the guards is complaining  about the strong smell of the mold and nobody is doing anything about it. My neighbor said when he gets a visit he's going to talk to his girl and see about talking to the warden about it. I can't remember a time that it has ever been so bad...I've never had to deal with it on this  level since I've been on death row.

The  rest of the day I've just vegged out and been listening to some  radio...Tomorrow, I really need to get caught up on some writing.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 22nd, 2018

Happy  Thanksgiving! Firstly, I want to thank everyone who reads my words for  whatever reason, and for the people who offer prayers and are pulling  for me. It means more than you could ever realize.

I  also want to thank my friends...having you all in my life has been a  real blessing, and saying "thank you" could never be enough, but I do  thank you. I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I really hope that I'll be around for another and another...

Well,  we had a really good meal! They brought the dessert tray first, which  had a piece of pie, a piece of cake, some black olives, fruit infused  jello, sweet pickles, and celery sticks. When the actual meal came it was loaded down...We had a giant biscuit, stuffing, a pretty good sized  piece of turkey smothered in brown gravy, and a piece of ham that was  smothered in gravy too...There was also some corn, beans, green beans,  and cranberry sauce. I was stuffed! For dinner they gave us an apple and  an orange, as well as two salami and cheese sandwiches, with two home  made cookies.

All in all, pretty good!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 21st, 2018

Thanksgiving  Eve...Well, the holiday weekend has officially kicked off and it feels  like a Friday, and not the middle of the week! I went to recreation,  first round, very early this morning, and when my rec time was over, I  was told I had a legal visit. Fortunately, the guards let me jump  straight in the shower so I could clean up before I went out to visit,  and as soon as I was ready, the escort crew showed up to take me out to  my legal visit.

Yesterday,  I had a legal visit as well, only not with my attorneys, but with an  investigator working on my appeals, and I am hopeful she will be able to  uncover some good stuff that will help me...It meant a lot to see both  my investigator, and my attorneys, right before the holidays. It says a  lot about the caliber of people they are, and how much they care about their clients.

As  I was waiting to get back to my cell, I noticed a large family come in  and sit in the booth in front of me. It made me smile that a family  would come to visit their loved one right before Thanksgiving...That is  real love.

Well, here's to hoping that we get some really good food tomorrow!

Courage. Strength. Hope and  Faith.


**Warning...Contains explicit reference to drug use**

November 19th, 2018

Today  was one of those days...not terrible, but not the greatest day in the  world either. If a word could describe the day, it would be, "Meh."

I  woke up with the intentions of getting outside and enjoying the cool  weather...I knew it would be grey and cool, but there was no rain  forecast for the day. Wrong! Just before I was about to go outside, we were hit with a torrential downpour! I called it off, even though the guards hadn't shut the outside rec yards down. I can handle getting a  bit wet - I love the puddle hopping, and splashing around like I've lost my mind, but when it's this cold? I'll pass! Fortunately, the guards let me get straight into the shower, so I was able to get that out of the way and get on with my day.

When  I got back to my cell, the mail room lady had shown up and posted a  notice...This is VERY IMPORTANT for anyone who writes to prisoners in  Texas, because it applies to all units...Apparently, people have been  smuggling in a chemical called "K2", via letters and other methods. The  chemical is sprayed on paper or pot pourri, or some other leafy materials, then it dries out and can be smoked. Using this drug causes  an hallucinogenic effect - so much that it causes people to freak out  like they have taken Angel Dust or something...It's become quite the epidemic in TDCJ, and has caused many inmates to be taken to hospital.

The  mail room, in an effort to get control of this epidemic (Why don't they  ever look at their own??? Things like this don't come in just through  letters, and they always blame the inmates and the people who write to  them!) has decided to come up with new receiving mail rules...They are  as follows:

  • No stickers on letters, of any kind.
  • No lipstick kisses (this one sucks because my girl keeps me topped up with kisses, which makes me happy)
  • No letters sprayed with perfume, or ANYTHING else that they feel cannot be inspected.

You  do not have the right to appeal any decision made by the mail room, and  you will not be allowed to receive or read the letter. It will be  denied and destroyed.

So, keep that in mind people...

[Update:  Randy wrote this journal on 19th November...We have no mail or  journals, as yet, for after that date, and with Thanksgiving holidays  and generally slow running mail out of Polunsky, it may be a few more  days before we receive anything further. With all of the differing  stories going around about this policy being either "in force",  "cancelled", or "on hold", we are sure that Randy's later journals will  have an update on what has been decided. Obviously, when he wrote this  journal, the only information he had to hand was the notice the mail  room had handed out to all of the inmates on that day, but at least it tells us why such action regarding the mail is being considered/in force  or whatever...We will update again when we know more, but in the  meantime, we suggest people call Huntsville if they want clarification  on the current state of play]

[Update  10th December, 2018] According to the mail room at the Polunsky Unit,  the rule about no perfume, stickers or lipstick kisses is not in force]

Well, that piece of news made my morning a bummer, but I trucked along, determined to not be in a bad mood!

When  the afternoon came, a guy came to our dayroom and started demanding I  cook something for him to eat whilst he was there...Everyone knows I  have a new hotpot now, and people have been asking me to cook. I'm  "booked up" with cooking plans, and did not intend to even touch my hot  pot today, so I said..."I'm not doing anything today. Sorry." He kept trying to talk me into it and I kept saying, "No." I was starting to get  a little irritated the more he pushed, and I finally said, "Look, dude,  I don't cook on demand! Drop it...I'm getting annoyed, and it would be  dumb for us to fall out over cooking something. When I cook I'll send  you something, but for now, just drop it." He backed off after that and  things were calm...We even joked around to lighten the air.

I  don't mind cooking - I actually enjoy it! And I always share just about  everything I own. I often tell people I have no material attachment to  anything I own except personal things like cards, letters, and pictures,  as well as my radio. That's it. If I've got anything else I will always  share it, because I am lucky enough to have good fortune and blessings  at times...But ask, man...don't demand it of me.

After  that was done, I cleaned up my cell because (as I mentioned in an  earlier journal) we're dealing with a condensation problem on the back  walls, and a very bad mold/mildew problem. I needed to get my toilet  fixed as it was starting to leak, and when maintenance showed up, he had an inmate helper with him who asked my name...I said, "Randy"...He told  me he was in a faith based program, studying to be a minister and said,  "I'm going to pray for you and your appeals...I hope you get out of  here." That really touched me. He doesn't know me from Adam, and it was a totally sincere gesture. I thought, wow...what are the odds? My toilet  is acting up, we get it fixed immediately, and this dude tells me he's going to pray about my situation, and I didn't even know him? Pretty  wild, but I'll take it!

One last thing...It's my understanding that someone has posted some very  disrespectful things on a public platform, towards the victim (Officer  Hawkins) of the shooting on the night of the robbery at Oshmans. Those  statements - and anything like them - do NOT reflect my views in ANY way, nor do they reflect the views of any of my friends and supporters who are fighting for my life. And from what I'm told, the person behind the comments is NOT connected to anyone here on death row either.

Officer  Hawkins was a good man, and I have the utmost respect for law  enforcement. Now, some people will roll their eyes reading that from me,  but for anyone who knows my childhood, they know my dad's best friend  was the Chief of Police who taught me Karate and boxing, and when I went  to boarding school in Kentucky, he often visited me there.

Over  the years I've spent on death row, I've seen many crazy  things...Unfortunately, life on death row often attracts some things we  would rather not have to deal with, and thank G-d these things usually blow through quickly. But that doesn't mean we aren't affected by these things...nonetheless, they are out of our control. We have no link to  the outside world other than through mail, or a visit from a friend or loved one, so we are clueless about what is going on outside. So I ask  only that people who read disrespectful and distateful things about a victim, or anything to do with someone back here, they do not  automatically associate it with the inmate.  

Thank you.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 18th, 2018

It's  1.49pm and I'm getting caught up on writing my Memoirs...I've started  the day off finishing up laundry and cleaning my cell from top to  bottom. We're facing a mildrew and mold problem because it has been so  damp and humid, and the circulation of air is really messed up. The  smell of mold and mildew is so strong it was giving me a headache...And when I scrubbed underneath my bunk, which is a large metal frame, the  rag came out pitch black! I had just cleaned all of that out a couple of days before. My neighbour told a guard that they should pass out face  masks so we don't have to breathe in this crap because even the guards are complaining about headaches and allergy issues. This new warden has  the trustees running around polishing brass drains and door knobs, but  this mold/mildrew issue hasn't been addressed thus far. I'll probably  write a grievance about it on Monday morning. If people reading this  have loved ones on death row, please encourage them to file a grievance...On the outside, you can legitimately complain to officials  (the ombudsman office) about the issue. There's little doubt in my mind  that if this was a public facility, any inspector would condemn the  building.

Anyway,  I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays. One of the radio  stations is already playing its 24/7 Xmas music, which will put anyone  in a good mood! Chanukah is approaching fast, and to my Jewish Brothers  and Sisters: Happy Chanukah...I might share some funny stories this year, in my journals, as it approaches.

Well, here's to a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I'm going to force myself to get into a better mood...!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 17th, 2018

I'm  facing today in a bit of a sour mood, but I'm really trying to shake it  off! I wrote about how things were in a state of chaos yesterday, and  after I finished writing, things grew impossibly worse...First, a bit of  clarification...Yesterday I wrote that Patrick Murphy had received a  date - this has NOT happened yet. The position is that the DA had only  requested an execution date for late March, but it is up to the trial court to set the date, and they do usually side with the DA of that county. Nonetheless, nothing has been confirmed yet, so we must remain  hopeful, as always.  

So,  where to begin? I was scheduled for recreation, 4th round, and this  usually lands around 3-4pm. It's very rare that the guards get 5 rounds  of recreaton out on first shift, but it can be done quite easily. That  being said, it was looking like 4th round of recreation was going to run into 2nd shift, which I really didn't mind because I figured I would  get back in around 7pm, get my shower, and then listen to the Prison Show. I was really looking forward to getting outside because it was a beautiful cool day - not warm, not cold, but just perfect! Getting outside didn't happen...3rd round of recreation was out until 6.30pm!  They didn't pull out 4th round of recreation until almost 8pm and so I had to skip out on recreation because I didn't want to miss the Prison Show, so I figured I'd just get my shower at 9pm, and even though I wasn't happy about that, I was certain I'd be back in time for the shout  outs...I really wanted to hear my girlfriend's voice...9.30pm came, and I was still in the shower...10pm came and I was still in the  shower...The guards had disappeared to the other side of the pod!! I  didn't get back to my cell until 10.35pm having been trapped in the shower for an hour and a half!!! I was soooooo angry, and hoping I  hadn't missed the call, because she is almost always on in the first 10  minutes of the calls...But when I put my radio on, the reception was so  staticky that I could barely make anything out for the rest of the show...Sigh...

The  guards didn't finish showers and recreation until after midnight! This  is insanity...I'm amazed at how this new warden is doing everything in  his power to make our lives as miserable as possible, but he does NOTHING to make the officers do the job they are supposed to do. Not all of them are lazy, but I'd say three-quarters of them are, and no  ranking officer ever tells them to do the job they're supposed to do. However, they can write us up on bogus cases, or enforce stupid rules  that do nothing but make our lives difficult, and have nothing to do  with actual "security."

Alright...blood pressue is going up again...I need to get to some laundry and cleaning, and keep my brain occupied.

Courage. Strength. Faith and Hope.


November 16th, 2018

I  woke up early in the morning with a little panic attack, and feeling  slightly distressed...It came because last night, my neighbour had  received an update on the most recent execution dates, and my other  co-defendant, Patrick Murphy, received a date for March...that leaves me  as the last one of us...As positive and hopeful as I am trying to be,  it feels like I'm at the edge of the cliff, holding onto this tiny  little root sticking out of the ground, and I just hope it's strong  enough to hold me and keep me from falling. I have to press on through  though, keep hopeful, keep praying and asking for mercy, and believing  that something positive will happen. As Yoda would say, "Difficult the future is to see, always in motion..." [Update from Randy: the news  about Patrick Murphy receiving a date was not entirely true...What is happening is the DA in his case is pushing to have a date scheduled for  March 2019, but NOTHING is confirmed by the TDCJ as yet].

The  day started off a bit on the crazy side! I woke up, shook the  negativity out of my head, and had a cup of hot - yes, hot - coffee! I  was finally allowed to purchase a new hot pot yesterday, after going weeks without being able to have a hot drink, or to make any hot food for myself. After my coffee, I started writing my daily letter to my  love, and then had a conversation with a guy in the dayroom when suddenly there was a whole lot of commotion, screaming, chaos and confusion...apparently, as the guards were taking someone to recreation,  another inmate tried to stab him with a homemade spear, as he passed by  his cell. I don't understand being so angry with someone that you want  to do physical harm to them, and if you do feel like that, just step  back, breathe, and blow if off...Some guys just can't do it...It's a  pride thing, or something to impress their so-called friends with, and  some just want to come across as "tough". It solves nothing, impresses  no one, and now that guy is going to be in the dungeon for the entire  holiday season...Why? Because he couldn't let something go...Back here,  we should know more than most that revenge never solved anything!

Weather  wise, we've just had a deep freeze, and now we're thawing out. The only  problem is that the back walls were "sweating" from condensation, and  as things are drying out, there's this persistent smell of mold and  mildrew...It's disgusting! I'm just glad I can go outside this afternoon and breathe some fresh air and clear my head. Until then, I wanted to  share a passage from my Small Stones From The River meditation  book...It's a book my girlfriend sent to me at the beginning of the  year, and I pick it up just about every day. The passage I want to share  speaks about how the way we respond or react to things can have an  equal response in turn, and how everything in our lives, whether we see  it or not, is interconnected...

tug one string
and the web ripples

the scowl you receive
is the scowl you once gave

so smile to receive a smile

lessen a burden
and feel your burden lifted

we live together
in the web

and all of us
are tugging on it

Isn't that amazing? I'm doing okay, and keeping positive!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 12th, 2018

Well,  I thought today was going to be an observed part of the Veteran's  holiday, but it appears it isn't. That being said, the day has been loud  and chaotic and nothing has gotten done - I got my shower at 4pm! I was  fully expecting to get it this morning because I skipped out on  recreation. Sigh...Can't win them all!

Anyway,  I put my head down and got busy working on the latest chapters of my  memoir - I'm up to chapter 3, part two, and they will be posted up on  the website soon. It's kind of strange writing about how things continue  to get worse...there are moments when at that time I thought, okay...things are going to get back on track, only for me to self  sabotage myself or make a bad choice about things...It's hard. And it  builds and builds until it all explodes...Very difficult to write, but I  have to get through it.

The weather is extremly cold! We're expected to hit the 30s tonight...Anyway, I'm still holding on to...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 11th, 2018

As  I type this I'm smiling to myself because I've just finished Part One  of my Memoir! Chapter 16 ties up the end of 1995, and I know that  writing Part Two (which covers 1996) is going to be emotionally difficult...But I will get it done! I'm wondering if going through that period of my life will offer new insights, maybe bring back to the  surface any forgotten or supressed memories...There's so much to write about in that period of time, and how things stacked on top of each  other. I'm planning to begin Part Two over the Veteran's Day holiday weekend.

For  all of you who are following my Memoirs so far, thank you! I really  couldn't have gotten to where I am right now without the help of my  love, my friend, my everything...Her encouragement, her enthusiasm and  support...Thanks, babe!

Well,  election day 2018 has been and gone...On Tuesday night I waited on  pins, unsure of what to expect. I was in this exact same cell when the  2016 elections were taking place, and by the Wednesday morning of that  year, I remember being an emotional wreck! I was in a state of shock, disbelief, and couldn't wrap my head around it. I remember a week or two later, I was on B-Pod, writing pages and pages of emotional vomit, just  trying to process what had happened. And whilst the Democrats lost more  seates in the Senate - something I don't understand when the candidates who ran for the Republicans (outside of, maybe, Mitt Romney) are as  extreme and far right as you can get. The Democrats did win the House though, so it wasn't a total bust! The other thing is that with  Democrats in control of congress, they can subpoena Trump's tax records  and other things...I think this has him a bit nervous, and it was  reflected in his rambling incoherent and nonsensical press conference yesterday...He actually called a black reporter "racist" for asking him  about racism! I was scratching my head on that one...

Anyway,  it does give me a little hope and maybe - God willing, and with his  mercy - I will be around for 2020 to see even greater things happen. I  certainly woke up in a much better mood the day after the 2018  elections.

I'm  looking forward to the coming holiday weekend and especially the fast  approaching Thanksgiving holiday...I think I'm really going to throw  myself into the holiday spirit this year. Let's make it fun and full of  love!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!


November 3rd, 2018

I  can't believe how fast this year is going by! It really is mind  boggling...I always look forward to this month and getting into the  holiday season, and the weather getting cooler - there is something truly magical about it. In getting into the holiday spirit and the  tradition of things, I have made my own traditions over the years and in  particular, listening to "The Wizard of Oz" and "It's a Wonderful Life"  on my radio is something I enjoy every year....along with many other positive things.  

Something  I really want to mark this year, especially, and it really is a moment  to celebrate, is that my girlfriend is stepping out on her own and  beginning a new and brave journey with her own business. To say I'm proud is an understatement! She is a crafter who makes beautiful things, and works so hard every day of the week...Over the months I have been wowed and blown away by how fast things have moved for her, and I've  tried to help and encourage her in any way I could. Of course, since I  first met her, I was always amazed by what she does and her creativity,  but when you fall in love with someone, it becomes immensely more  personal and it feels like you have an even greater investment in that  person and their success.

I've  been reluctant to talk about it in my journals, but she says I should  let people know how I contribute, and I do find a lot of joy in coming  up with ideas and input when I can. One of the things I helped her with  was coming up with an idea that came to me when thinking back on the times my parents would drag me around craft fairs as a child...They are  often huge events with so many things on display, and if I ever touched  something, I'd be screamed at! So, I thought, "they've got to have something that entertains and occupies the kids...something that makes  the parents feel it's a nice touch, and it deserves their business..."  So, I suggested putting together some grab bags with crayons, colouring books, little novelties etc...I fully expected her to say, "yeah...not  doing that!" But she ran with it, and it turned out to be a huge  success! It put a smile on the kids' faces, and brought the parents'  business her way too...Soon, she noticed that other booths at these  fairs were copying her grab bags...I guess imitation really is the  sincerest form of flattery!

After  that the ideas kept flowing, like, a drawing contest for the kids with a  prize for the best drawing...The kids pin their drawings to a cork  board, and someone judges the entries...And she runs prize draws for the  adults on occasions too. Needless to say, it has all helped her, and I can't help but beam with pride at the hard work she puts into all of it!  We just work together really well, creatively...I can't explain it, but every now and then someone that is a freakin' Unicorn comes into your life and she is my Unicorn :-) I'm  really fortunate...

In  other news...The weekend has been long and boring as usual...I don't  know what it is about this pod since they swapped a bunch of people out,  but even the weekends have gone from peaceful and quiet, to loud and  chaotic. It's really crazy, and has hindered my focus, but I'm trying to  get back on track. Then, I've got this guy upstairs from me who has  suddenly taken to banging all of the time...I used to have the worry of  him flooding me out, but now I have to deal with him banging and tapping  all day! The other night I said, "What are you doing, building Noah's  Ark? Geeze, dude..."

Well, I'm hoping to get eveything back on track with more writing, and other stuff to focus on...Stay tuned!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!


November 1st, 2018

Man...this  year is flying by! So much to look forward to this month! We've got  election day next Tuesday, and I know I'll be a nervous wreck the entire  day, building up to the results that evening. Then, Veterans' Day on  the weekend of the 10th, and Thanksgiving day holiday on the 22nd...

Yesterday  was Hallowe'en, and the kids in this area were most likely really  disappointed because it rained so hard, and the storms were something so  fierce that I doubt they got out to trick or treat...I hope they got to  do something!

So,  today, I want to share a Hallowe'en story that happened in 1990...At  the time I was a huge Batman fan, and still riding off the excitement of  the movie by Tim Burton the previous year. My best friend Chad, and I,  had decided that for Hallowe'en we were going as The Joker. I had a  suit, a long trench coat, a purple hat, and I bought a make up kit and  green hair spray that sat in my closet a good two months before  Hallowe'en.

At  my school in my 7th grade year, I had made a new friend from Brazil and  his name was Conzo. His mom had invited me out to some haunted house  along with him, so a few weeks before Hallowe'en, on a Saturday night,  she picked me up and off we went. It was a blast!

Now,  around this time there was a lot of stories going around in the news  about kids huffing gasoline and spray paint, and turning into  vegetables..and parents were warned to be vigilant and keep these items  out of the reach of kids and teens. I remember Chief Waybourne, the head  of our suburb's police department, speaking to my dad about it.

So,  I came home after being out with Conzo and his mom, and my dad asked me  how the evening was...I said it was a blast, but then he starts  crinkling his nose up and he says, "What is that smell on you?"

"Huh?" I replied.

"That smell...It smells like spray paint," my dad said.

"I don't know...I don't smell anything." I said.

"Have you been huffing?" He asked me.

"What?!? No!"

"I smell paint. You've been huffing with that new kid, haven't you?"

"No! I swear!" I kept saying.

My mom came into the living room and my dad says, "I think Randy's been huffing. Do you smell anything?"

Mom gets close to me and sniffs, and says, "I smell something, but I can't make it out."

Now,  I had just turned 13 years old...I'd never touched a single drug,  huffed anything or had anything to do with drugs leading up to this.  I  wasn't doing great in school - actually I was doing pretty badly in school at the time, but I was also busting my butt studying for my  Bar-Mitzvah. I couldn't believe I was being accused of huffing!

"Go to your room until we figure this out." Dad ordered, sternly.

I  couldn't believe it...they had no reason not to believe me. I went to  my room, turned on my stereo and paced back and forth. I decided I was  going to have to make something up to defend something that never  happened. I opened my closet, pulled out the green hair spray, broke the seal and let out a couple of bursts. Then, I walked out to the living  room and handed the can over to my dad...

"Is this what you could smell?"

My dad held the spray tip up to his nose and said, "Yep, that's it."

"I was playing with it earlier. I'm sorry. I wasn't huffing...Just getting excited about Hallowe'en."

My dad handed the can to my mom and said, "Well, you're still not going trick or treating this year."


"Nope. Me and your mom just decided you're too old anyway...You can stay home and help pass out candy."

I  was and Chad had planned this out! My parents bought the  costume - or most of it anyway. Not only was I accused of doing  something I didn't do, but I had to make up a story to cover for something I didn't do. I thought maybe they would change their minds,  but they didn't. On Hallowe'en, they took Wesley, Jimmy, and an an  infant Kevin, out to trick or treat...I stayed home to pass out candy. Chad stopped by to hang out a bit and then went out on his own. I did my best to make it fun, though...I had a scary sounds record that I put on my dad's stereo, and I made bowls of spaghetti to look like brains, and  a soupy gunk with grapes for eyeballs, and told kids they had to stick  their hands in it before they could get any candy...It wasn't a total  bust!

The  following year, I was stuck home once again while Chad was about to  head out. I guess my dad picked up on the fact I was down about it, and  said, "If you can throw a costume together really fast, you can join  Chad." I leapt off the couch, ran to my closet, and grabbed a camouflage shirt and pants, then ran to the games room and tore through my  brothers' toys...I found a war helmet and said, "I'm going as a  soldier...bye!" Then I ran out the front door and all the way to Chad's  house before he took off to trick or treat. I don't remember what our  candy score was, but I do remember the night being really chilly. All of  the following Hallowe'en holidays I had were spent in Kentucky.

Anyway,  in other news...As I expected with this new warden and administration,  and as guards had been threatening to do, many have quit the place and  we are once again short staffed. Nobody wants to work for peanuts and be  screamed at by an out of control warden who riles up the inmates and  then leaves the guards to clean up the mess. The policies are supposed  to keep the place safe and secure for both inmates and guards alike, but  they do the opposite because they're so arbitrary that they make little  sense, and are now more about control than security. In turn, the  officers have to enforce the arbitrary policies, riling up the inmates,  and they then have to deal with the fallout of that...And if they don't  enforce the policies, they are threatened by the ranking officers or warden, put on probation, or else they have their pay docked...It makes  no sense, and Huntsville has to figure that out! You complain about not  having enough staff - well look at how they're running things! To quote an officer in the Houston Chronicle, "It's not the inmates who are the problem. It's the administration."

But hey...I just live here and observe things from my cell...What do I know?

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!


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