Three Strikes & A Suicide
by Letters to the Editor, May 18, 2011
The man in the cell next to mine hung himself yesterday. I knew him for almost four years. He had what I have: an unreasonable Three Strikes sentence. They dragged him out of his cell after cutting him down and attempted CPR on him unsuccessfully right in front of my cell. It was a terrible sight. I'm sorry I watched it. But I kept expecting him to breathe, already! He was someone's son. Someone's father. Someone's brother. Someone.
Unfortunately for his family, he didn't make it. Luckily for him he didn't make it. I say luckily because that's what he wanted and he is now mercifully free of any more state-sponsored pain and suffering. And how screwed up would it be to go through all that and wake up right where you started? I know the pain and loneliness and despair and hopelessness he felt. I've been to the edge of a dozen times or more. The only thing that's kept me from looking into the abyss is my family. Especially my mom. She's done every minute of this time with me. God bless her saintly soul! I could never hurt my Mom, Dad, sons like that. I may be too old to ride when it happens, but I want to live to walk out of this place. I don't want my kids to see me die in prison. And I'd never give my enemies the satisfaction of a suicide!
A big problem I had with Peewee's suicide was this morning some psych techs (LPTs) came by everyone's cells with some stupid ass questions. Mainly, “Are you okay with what happened yesterday?”
What? Hell no, I'm not okay with what happened! Are you? (Says I.) I am not okay with any of it. Including the state's “automatic” defibrillator which kept insisting “no shock recommended. Continue CPR.” I have personally watched this contraption which is designed to protect staff members from any liability, say the same thing, with three deaths. I watched all three unlucky souls involved die from this “order of inaction.” (It never did recommend to defibrillate.)
I have a huge problem with a system that drives people to commit suicide. I have a big problem with a state that torments people until they feel that suicide is an option, until people are in so much internal pain and despair that it overrides the fact that they will be causing their families pain and despair.
There's a guy on this tier who's been here 18 months. He says he's watched six people get dragged away in that time. That's just this tier! There are six tiers: three floors, two tiers per floor. Do the math and don't round down!
Does anyone see or care what the state is doing to its own people? Yes. I blame the state. And the Three Strikes law. I've been emphasizing “people” because that's something I feel is lost on most of society. The people who are in prison are people! Everyone in here, minus a small percentage of illegals, are American citizens. Their families. Their children. We are Americans. Some of us in here are surely the type of Americans “polite society” frowns on to say the least! But Americans just the same. Some of these incarcerated Americans probably shouldn't ever be let loose upon society. But that number is truly small. And some, like myself and my recently “self paroled” neighbor PeeWee, are (were) way overdue for release. This state chews up its own and shits them out. This California Three Strikes law is the death sentence in slow motion. It is an attack on the American citizens. It's the most irrational, draconian “blanket” law since Salem. People commit crimes. So punish them. But let the time fit the crime. My crime carried a four-year maximum. I've done 12 years and have to do 20 more before “they” will even consider release. And even then there's no guarantee. Attention American citizens: the evil being done by this law is being done in your name.
California has more of its own citizens “incarcerated” (what a genteel, polite word!) than almost every country on this planet! That's one state! Close to 200,000 slaves! And yes, that's the correct word. My last check? $6.60 for the month of February, 2011. (Yes, I have the “paystub.”) Now tell me I'm not a slave. And I'm one of the “lucky” ones who even has a pay number. Most people don't.
When I was sentenced the state did not just take my freedom from me. (I'm so proud of our soldiers who are fighting to “keep us safe,” by the way!) The state also took my kids, my fiance, my career. But what the wonderful state of California also took (in your name, citizens!) was my children's father. The state, in all its wisdom, left my sons without a father. Forever. Hey, maybe I screwed up. Maybe I committed a crime. But let the time fit the crime!
“Let not the sins of the father be visited upon the sons.” I'm paraphrasing, of course. The Bible's all Greek to me. At least the Greek Orthodox Bible!
It's probably going to be the “almighty dollar” that finally frees the slaves. It's terrible that the citizens of the state think it is time for these Paul Blart Mall-Cop, Police Academy III reject prison guards to make ridiculous amounts of money to hold a group of fellow citizens hostage and ruin the lives of those citizens' families in the meantime! What kind of twinking is that? Is it just cowardice? By the way, how are those cuts to your children's education feeling? How about the cuts to the disabled or the elderly? Man! If you could just step out of it and look at it from a different angle! But hey! Just as long as those prison guards can buy their boats and Harleys and snatch up those foreclosed on houses at cut rates! If you could just see these clowns sitting on their asses for six of their eight hours a day with their “Pennysavers” and “auto ads” and “Homes” magazines trying to spend all that money that they don't earn. Oh well! As long as nobody breaks in your dang mailbox! Disgraceful!
Do I sound mad? Well at least I have a reason to be mad. My crime carried four years. The voice of the California citizen has already made me do triple that. And I have five times that to go! The way things currently stand I'll be 67 years old when I parole. Too old to give a damn, nothing to lose. 32 long pissed off years behind me. I wonder how the offspring of all you wonderful citizens are going to feel about your “sins of the father” policy when I and the rest am finally free?
PS: For the record, I was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, protecting my girlfriend from being “jumped.” One of the other people got a cut, half an inch, no stitches! (It's in the transcript.) For that I got 32 to life? For that you abuse my children's lives? Tell me — who has committed the real violence? Fair and balanced? Yeah, just like Fox News.
Enemy of the State
San Luis Obispo