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Thursday, April 26, 2012

George Zimmerman -- 2nd Degree Murder -- April 12, 2012

For the last month, I have intentionally been trying to avoid the biased news coverage of the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin. It was obvious to me George Zimmerman was the target of a deliberate smear campaign by America's liberal dominated mass media. Almost anytime CNN's Anderson Cooper puts someone or some issue in his cross hairs, you can wager he is doing so for some underlying political purpose. These television tabloid journalists care little about balanced reporting, truth, or justice. They care mostly about ratings, sensationalism, and spin. The likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are only slightly different when they fan the fires of social and political division. Despite how there is little or no evidence, George Zimmerman was not defending himself. I knew the mass rallies by African-Americans would create enormous pressure on the state's attorneys office. Thus, yesterday I was not surprised when the special prosecutor, Angela Grey, announced 2nd degree murder charges.

From the beginning, it was flagrantly apparent news media sought to villainize Zimmerman. Typically, the media waits until a person is arrested to begin their attacks of a suspect, but this was not the typical case. This was a case which involved gun rights and race, two virulently divisive hot button political issues in the U.S. The political left seeks to re-interpret the U.S. Constitution and create a liberal utopia. This utopia does not include 2nd Amendment rights to bare arms, liberty, or the rugged individualism sought by the founding fathers of the Republic. "Progressives" view these values and ideas as outdated. Instead, they seek government dependence and forceful suppression of certain groups and the up lighting of others to create a multicultural egalitarian society. They do not mind if this means oppression and a nation reduced to the lowest common denominator. Little did Zimmerman realize by volunteering to serve his community in a neighborhood watch program, that he would become the arch nemesis of a powerful and pervasive ideology.

One of the most effective tools television news can use to influence public opinion is the use of imagery. I could not help but notice how disparate the photos of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman were. Trayvon was an athletic 17-year-old over 6 feet tall. Yet in initial photographs, he is shown as a child. Not only were they several years old but they always portrayed him as a happy, carefree, and angelic boy despite how he was in fact an older juvenile delinquent with prior arrests. It was not until today that I saw a recent photo of Trayvon more serious, mature and dressed in hip hop or gang attire. Contrast the child photos of Martin with the photo of Zimmerman unshaven in what appears to be an orange jumpsuit a convict may wear in prison. Indeed, the photo looks like a mugshot and makes him appear meaner and much heavier than he actually is. According to newspapers, Zimmerman is actually shorter and weighs less than his alleged victim. Interestingly, just recently some news outlets have begun to use a smiling photo of evil incarnate. Could there finally be some facade of objectivity occurring?

Yesterday, I watched several news programs on CNN and Headline News. Nancy Grace was jubilant when George Zimmerman was brought to Seminole County Jail. She said this was the first step to justice, and ridiculed how the man was covered in a jacket when brought in by police The former prosecutor shows contempt for all defendants despite the evidence or lack thereof. She is an equal opportunity "hater," and I suppose this gives her some consistency but also makes her one of the most asinine legal talking heads on TV. Nancy Grace interrupted her show immediately to show Zimmerman's mugshot and it seemed to give her great satisfaction, although she was disappointed by his rather neutral expression. She asked a purported psychologist what he made of the photo and the "expert" said this was obviously a man who had a little bit of smug authority being humbly brought down and worried justice will be served. I flipped over to Anderson Cooper and he zoomed in on his face to show he had no visible injuries. Outrageous, I thought.

After I was roughly interrogated for two days, the police paraded me in front of a large crowd of camera crews and news reporters on the way to the Cook County Jail. The media depicted me as cold and stoic. A few even compared my demeanor to be similar to the perp walk of Timothy McVay who was later executed for the bombing in Oklahoma City. They also commented on my size and muscularity, although I do not know how this was relevant when the victim was shot. Before I walked out the doors of the Barrington Police Station I was given some silly orange sponge slippers with happy faces on them to wear. Not surprisingly, the film footage of me never showed this despite how it was used a thousand times by various news agencies. I suppose it did not fit with the perception of a cold blooded serial killer they were trying to create. However, the news media did mention how there were no signs of physical abuse by my interrogators.

Zimmerman sustained injuries from Trayvon Martin 45 days before his arrest. Over a month's time, a fractured nose or any bruising to the face is going to heal. Furthermore, gashes to the back of his head are not going to be seen in a mugshot. He is also not going to have on the same jacket with grass stains, or possibly blood. Television reporters, however, dismissed this and replayed a very poor overhead video of Zimmerman entering the police station not long after the shooting. Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan commented how he looked fine and was walking well. I have seen men pulverized or knocked unconscious in prison, jail, UFC fights, and elsewhere who eventually get up and walk without difficulty. As for myself, I never claimed to be beaten pervasively. I was mostly intimidated and threatened. On a few occasions I was slapped or punched in the face when I refused to talk or made snide remarks about the violation of my Miranda rights.

It is amazing how one-sided the news coverage of the shooting of Trayvon Martin has been. All the evidence of Zimmerman's injuries and claims of self defense has been brushed aside. The media instead largely spoke in unison that an innocent black child carrying only Skittles and ice tea walking back to his home was stalked and gunned down by a racist. Full coverage was given to people such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who made the shooting comparable to a Klan lynching, galvanizing the black community to protest in mass. The Black Panthers were reported to put a bounty on Zimmerman and movie director Spike Lee even gave out the address of Zimmerman's family to purportedly just harass them. Fortunately, he published the wrong address but caused another family to flee from their home. When George Zimmerman's brother appeared on the Piers Morgan Show and others, he was treated with hostility as was neighbor and friend Frank Taafee who I must respect. Despite the angry mobs of black people and media's ridicule, he continued to steadfastly defend his friend. While Zimmerman's friends and family were treated poorly, criticized and words edited or not even heard, there was overwhelming coverage, support, and sympathy for Trayvon's parents and numerous lawyers. I never heard of a purported victim's family having attorneys let alone the number of them they had. There was Daryl Parks, Benjamin Crump, Jasmine Rand, and still others I cannot remember.

Today I watched an interview of the parents of Trayvon Martin by Nancy Grace. Sabrina Fulton, Martin's mother, had earlier said how she believed the incident to be an accident, however, on the Nancy Grace Show she retracted this statement and said she had misspoken, but this was readily accepted by the former prosecutor as it was by all the news media. If it had been anyone else, I wonder how this retraction would be taken. Just imagine if George Zimmerman claimed he misspoke. The media, but especially Nancy Grace, could have pounced and eviscerated the man. Watching Nancy Grace I noticed how she intentionally sought to pull out emotion from the parents. It was almost sick how the tabloid television journalist tried to provoke pain and grief. When the parents did not express enough emotion, Grace incredibly began to break down herself. I thought she was even going to cry just for television ratings.

The cases between Zimmerman and I are greatly different, but how we were treated in the news media was very similar. The media went to extraordinary lengths to villainize if not demonize me after my arrest. The press, but especially the television news, was blatantly one-sided, inflammatory, and slanderous. I do understand the Palatine Massacre was one of the most brutal and infamous mass murders in Chicagoland history, but this does not excuse the media from having some integrity in their reporting. The story was not only hyped and sensationalized but maliciously slanted. I was tried and convicted in the media before ever having my day in court. This is what is also occurring to Zimmerman which makes me so incredibly mad. Because of the stand your ground law in Florida, he should have never even been charged.

The special prosecutor during her public address at 5 p.m. Wednesday said her decision to charge Zimmerman was not due to public pressure. This is absolutely absurd and the fact there is even a special prosecutor in itself shows this. For well over a month no authorities chose to arrest Zimmerman. It was only after Anderson Cooper, Nancy Grace, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and mobs of black people began demonstrating in the streets demanding justice that the state's attorneys office charged Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder. As I fully am aware, facts become irrelevant when emotion and politics become involved.

In the Palatine Massacre there were no large groups of people marching with a lynch mob mentality, however, there was tremendous pressure on the Palatine Task Force and state's attorney's office to make an arrest. The police were coming under increasing criticism for not solving the mass murder and possibly bungling the case. Thus, when my co-defendant was arrested for a murder in his home town of Barrington coincidentally close to the still unsolved restaurant murders in Palatine, and tried to frame me for the crimes, police were quick to seize the opportunity. Robert Faraci had no credibility but his straws of hay were spun into gold by the prosecutor's office. Like Zimmerman, Modrowski would be offered to the public as a scapegoat.

Politics reign over the judicial system despite the common illusion it is blind, fair, and independent. This is shown not only in how Florida officials bent to the will of the liberal media and a vocal minority group, but in how Barack Obama's administration became involved. When state authorities were not willing to indict Zimmerman, the attorney general of the U.S. sought to investigate whether the civil liberties of Trayvon Martin were violated. That the U.S. even has special laws for special classes of people is in itself unjust. However, it was clear the White House was playing politics to cater to the Democratic black constituents. President Obama has been in full campaign mode for almost a year and nearly everything he does or says now is done to win reelection. The President even chimed in the local Florida matter to say Trayvon Martin could have been his son. Does this mean if the person killed had been Caucasian, or Hispanic, he would be indifferent? This was supposed to be a President who transcended race and political division. All Americans of any race should be deeply disappointed in Obama for sinking to such lows and political opportunism.

I noticed in the Zimmerman case, the prosecutor did not want to submit testimony before a grand jury to gain an indictment. Instead, the prosecutor submitted a very thin "probable cause affidavit." Allen Dershowitz, a criminal defense attorney, appeared as a guest on the Piers Morgan Show and ridiculed the document. He said the affidavit was morally reprehensible because it lacked any substance and did not mention any information which was favorable to the defense. I thought the evasion of a grand jury took away some of Zimmerman's due process rights, although in Illinois and many other states a grand jury is a mere formality. For example, in my case, the prosecutor was able to call witnesses but they could not be cross examined. They also could testify to hearsay, which is very incredible and is not allowed at trials. Some people stated on television news programs that the prosecutor did this as a matter of strategy to not show their hand. However, I tend to doubt this and believe if anything it was done so the state's attorney could pretend to have a full house while in all actuality they are bluffing and have nothing or a pair of deuces.

A defendant has the Constitutional right to know exactly what he or she is being accused of and full discovery. The defendant also has the right not to be detained without just cause, and I believe the U.S. Supreme Court should mandate detailed indictments and open grand juries when a person's liberty is at stake, especially in a case like Zimmerman's where he faces life in prison. Many of the supporters of Trayvon Martin publicly demonstrating demanded justice. To most, this meant Zimmerman's execution, but a few said they just sought his arrest and prosecution to determine if he is guilty of a crime. However, citizens should not be arrested or prosecuted without compelling evidence indicating guilt. The sentiment of protesters is a shame, and already Americans liberty can be taken away easily. Constitutional rights basic to our values of freedom should not be further eroded despite the heated passions of the mob.

This morning, I woke up at 5 to attend the law library. To give prisoners extra time to research their cases, the warden is permitting a third library line to be run, but it goes out before the crack of dawn. While at the library, it was very quiet and I could even hear black inmates talk hostilely against George Zimmerman. Earlier in the week though I listened to Caucasian and Hispanic inmates who believed he was innocent. I tend to believe liberals encourage this racial divide despite their twisted support of multiculturalism and equality. For those on the extreme left of the political spectrum, race, class and gender warfare is a means to an end for them. Recently, Obama accused Republicans of subscribing to a doctrine of social Darwinism. Instead of defending themselves, they should have embraced this difference in ideology. Conservatives believe in freedom, empowerment and equality of the individual, but not select groups. Given a choice between the oppression of communism and liberty of social Darwinism, I tend to believe the vast majority of people would gladly take the latter. I know I would.

Instead of being goaded by inflammatory and divisive news reporting, I have sought to look past the spin and learn the law as well as true evidence against Zimmerman. In Florida and elsewhere, stand your ground laws allow registered gun owners to shoot an attacker if they believe they are under threat of felony, serious harm, or loss of life. The law forbids prosecution if a gun is used in self defense, and Zimmerman will soon have an immunity hearing. Disregarding various innuendo by tabloid journalists, the affidavit against Zimmerman states simply that he shot an unarmed 17-year-old and disregarded a dispatcher's comment he need not follow the suspect, Trayvon. Because he did not apparently listen, he is accused of being the aggressor. Zimmerman is also accused of profiling the teenager and the affidavit claims the mother can identify her son as the person yelling for help. I do not believe failure to abide by the dispatcher makes the defendant guilty, even if true. The age of the victim is irrelevant as is his not being armed, according to the law. I question if the voice heard is actually Trayvon's and if it was not spoken after being shot. Second degree murder is defined as having malice or "depravity of mind" which I believe cannot be determined. I am not the only one to be suspect of the state's case. Several legal experts predict the charges will be dropped down to lesser offenses. Having said this though, others believe the states attorney will pull a rabbit out of the hat. This is unreasonable and an empty hat is likely to stay empty. Angela Gray charged Zimmerman to appease the public and believes she will win politically regardless of the outcome.

Many find it hard to believe Trayvon Martin attacked an older man, despite his injuries. However, from my own personal experience, I do not. When I was the exact same age as Trayvon, I sped through the subdivision in my Mustang to park on the driveway of my home. Not only was it after midnight and no one was around, but the subdivision was surrounded by cornfields. A car followed me and stopped at the curb. I have had dealings with very violent people in the past. Some of my associates regrettably, those they associated with, and various enemies were brutal men often connected to the mafia. The man who waited in the car I could not see because it was very dark. I did not know if I was in danger and stayed in my car pondering what to do. I had to make a decision to flee or fight, and I was not the type of person to run away. With a pair of leather gloves on my fists, I abruptly got out of my car and approached the other vehicle. The man stalking me also got out and I noticed then that he was an older, well dressed man. As we closed distance, he began to explain to me he lived in the subdivision and was concerned about my "reckless" driving because he had children. With adrenaline coursing through my body, I began to shout at the man. My mother heard the commotion and came out in her bath robe. If it was not for her, I may have very well pummeled that kooky "self appointed neighborhood watchman."

I speculate the circumstances which occurred to me 20 years ago are similar to what happened on the night of February 26th between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. However, this is more conjecture, and unlike so many others, I will not let it affect me. I will also not let emotion, politics, or the slant of television news reporting prejudice my thinking.

At one time, the public believed strongly that I was the person who killed 7 people at a Brown's Chicken restaurant in Palatine, Illinois. Others believed I was somehow, some way, accountable for the Barrington murder committed by my former roommate, and they still may, despite what proof I show to the contrary. There are some cases which can never be figured out with absolute certitude and thus why the law demands that crimes must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Trayvon Martin's death was a tragedy but George Zimmerman's prosecution is not justice. Unlike others, I will not presume to know what happened on the night of February 26th in Sanford, Florida. I have been convicted of a crime I did not commit and do not judge others precipitously.

Home Improvement -- March 29, 2012

Recently I have been preoccupying myself with a litany of different projects to improve my living conditions and this cell. It seemed like an appropriate time to do some remodeling. Although weather conditions have went from unseasonable summer-like temperatures to mornings with frost, this was the first full week of spring. Life in maximum-security prisons, especially a debilitated and austere penitentiary like Stateville, is very uncomfortable and inconvenient. Life here is spent mostly within the confines of a cell many would not cage animals in, let alone humans. I have been denied transfer to more hospitable prisons and thus try to make the best of what I have by making regular adjustments and repairs. Prisoners comment I am a perfectionist and I am probably overly concerned about achieving perfection in a most unideal place. However, because I have a life sentence without the possibility of parole, I do not have the perspective that this is a temporary residence of captivity. This is my home.

One of the first projects I took on this week was designing new hooks for a privacy sheet. Nearly all prisoners at Stateville use a bed sheet to block the back corner of the cell when they use the toilet or bathe. Unlike medium or minimum-security prisons, the front of the cell is made of bars and there is no ability for a cellmate to leave into a dayroom. The hooks made before I moved into this cell were on one wall and underneath the bunk. Most inmates will only require one wall hook because the other side of the sheet is placed underneath the top mattress. However my cellmate has a narrow ragged old mattress he has pressed against the wall to create several inches of space on his bunk to act as a shelf. In this area he has a variety of things including a pen, some Q-tips, a roll of toilet paper, some hard candy, a rolled newspaper, and a tube of hemorrhoid cream. The hook underneath the bunk is inconvenient for me to use.

Typically, I like to fuse plastic to surfaces by melting them together. However, when I attempted to melt an old toothbrush to the upper lip of the edge of the bunk, it fell off. Obviously the light casting of gray paint on the steel bunk was not enough to fuse the plastic to it. Thus, I used some glue I received from another prisoner. Cutting out two rectangular pieces of cardboard that came with the writing paper I am currently using, I glued them together with a paper clip wound inside and out to act as a hook. I then glued the cardboard to the bunk. Because the bunk has a 3" lip on the outer edge to keep a mattress in place, I was not only able to make it more convenient to use but raise the sheet. Although a low privacy sheet is not important to a midget using the sink like my cellmate, for someone over 6' tall, it was an improvement.

After attaching the first hook, I decided to add another to the end of the bunk by the back wall. Therefore when I use the privacy sheet it makes a square enclosure around the sink and toilet. To make the cardboard less noticeable and nicer looking, I painted it gray to match the color of the bunk. I also sharpened the tips of the paperclips so the sheet would easily be pinned. I was fairly happy with the improvement but my cellmate expressed concern he may poke or scratch himself despite how I pointed the paperclips horizontally. I asked Little Bobby sarcastically if he was scared, and he said, "Damned right I am." I took my nail clippers and cut off the tips to alleviate his concerns.

After making the new sheet hooks, I secured some pencils in the wall. The walls of this cell have holes in them which were once where bolts or screws used to be before the cell was gutted of all shelves and accessories. I assume these were removed on the orders of a previous administration long ago which believed they were a danger. Prisoners could break or disassemble the steel to make knives. Furthermore, the shelving units were just another place inmates could keep property and it was much easier for guards if they only had to search two plastic boxes. In any event, the holes are useful to hammer in nails, pens, or pencils to hang various things on. For example, although I had folded up my jacket and put it under my mattress, I had to bring it out again this week for the chilly weather. The pencil pegs I made are also convenient for my cellmate to tie a line between to hang and dry his bed sheets which he hand washes in the sink.

The main reason why I secured the glue, however, was to fix my radio and my fan. My radio was cracked by ransacking Orange Crush guards and my fan by a former cellmate who dropped it onto the concrete floor. Radios are no longer sold in the IDOC, only Walkmans. However, I could buy a new 9" plastic fan for $30 at the prison store. This I will not do unless I must because the product has been cheapened and I have become increasingly frugal as prices at the commissary have been inflated to make prisoners help pay for the costs of their own incarceration. Already the State of Illinois spends approximately $2 billion to confine 50,000 prisoners, and this amount is only to increase in the years to come.

Initially, I was not certain if the adhesive I had would work to fix the cracks in my radio and fan. The adhesive was not super glue and I am not certain exactly what it is used for. However, after some time I was able to reconnect all the major breaks. I was impressed by how well the epoxy worked and almost glued my fingers together. It may not be super glue, but it was very strong. This made me think how I could glue my cellmate to the toilet seat and other malicious although amusing purposes.

Unfortunately, my fan was not yet completely repaired. Because I move my fan around the cell regularly for various purposes and yank its cord out of the electrical socket, the wire has developed a short. To fix it, I had to disassemble my fan and take out the old wire and replace it with a new one. I used an extension cord and cut the end off to do so. My cellmate, seeing how easily I was able to repair my fan, asked me to attempt to fix his. He bought his fan last year and since he purchased it the fan will only spin slowly. Numerous other prisoners had returned their defective fans, but for some reason Bobby kept his. After bypassing the switch box and the fuse, I determined the fan's motor had been improperly made and there was nothing I could do to repair it. After telling my cellmate his fan was unrepairable, I thought he would discard it. But to my dismay, he kept the useless fan that makes a breeze as light as a folded up piece of paper being moved back and forth.

In the evening Monday, I surfed the stations on my television trying to find something interesting to watch. As I did so, I noticed the stick I use to switch stations was in need of replacement. The stick is made up of wound pages from a magazine that I taped together and stuck a pen down the center at the end. The bottom of the pen tube fits perfectly around the buttons on my TV. Remote controls have never been allowed in Illinois' prisons for reasons I am unaware of. While I waited for the 8 p.m. DVD to be played, I made myself a new stick. I have a tradition of always naming my new TV button staff. This one I called "Apache," after the oil and natural gas exploration company, Apache Energy, whose corporate report I used to make it.

On Tuesday, I spent a chilly morning lifting weights and running on the large South yard. When I returned, stuffed in the cell bars were the laundry bags and sheets I had sent out to be washed the night before. I noticed one of my large mesh laundry bags was frayed and torn in spots. I have sewn it repeatedly but it was now time to dispose of it. Later, after I bathed out of the sink and folded my clothes, I began to make myself a new bag. On occasion the prison clothing room will supply inmates with new bags. However, they are half the size of my old one. If an inmate wants a nice big one, he must buy it from commissary for $5. Increasingly, Stateville is cutting back on the clothes issued to prisoners and forcing them to buy them. As a ward of the state, I believe it must provide me with all basic necessities: adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Thus, instead of buying a new bag, I cut two state issued small bags and sewed them together into one large bag. This process took me a few hours but it was worth my time rather than providing the State of Illinois with more money to continue my wrongful incarceration.

On Saturday, I watched Fareed Zakaria on CNN. He had a segment about the ironic priorities of the U.S. spending more money on the prison industrial complex than on educating students. He focused on the State of California which has a $10 billion dollar budget for their Department of Corrections. This caused the state to spend about $50,000 per inmate while only spending $8,000 per student. In the last decade, California has built 11 new prisons, but only one school, and despite this because of draconian sentencing laws, they still do not have the room or money for their increasing prison population. Interestingly, the only state to have a worse credit rating than California is Illinois. Governor Quinn has spoken about budget cuts, however, I doubt if he is committed to them or to restructuring the criminal and sentencing statutes in Illinois to curb the absurd spending.

After making my new laundry bag, I needed a black marker to mark it. The laundry bags return mixed together and cell house workers need to know where the clothing came from in order to deliver it. Mertz happened to stop by my cell after his visit and I asked him if he had one I could borrow. He told me he did and he would have it sent down to me after he was locked in his cell. I told him it may be useless after I am done with it because I plan on not only marking my laundry bag but every article of clothing I own. Even my underwear was going to have my name and number on it, just like Steve's. Mertz knew I was making fun of the Danny DeVito look alike downstairs. Both of us thought it was very odd the man put his name on all his clothes.

I have noticed Steve had his name on all his outerwear but I did not realize he did it also to his underclothes. While in the shower holding area, I saw that he had his name printed in bold black magic marker across the waist. This was ludicrous and I asked him if he thought someone was going to steal his boxers. He told me when the guards ransack his cell he oftentimes cannot determine his clothes from his cell mate's because they are all mixed together. To avoid the confusion, he has his name on nearly every piece of clothing. I asked him, "Is there really another man with size 5XL boxers?" Then I made fun of how the issue was not serious and if he was unable to discern whose clothes were whose he should just divide them appropriately. My solution was not adequate for him, however.

Although I did not mark all my clothes, I did mark an assortment of my property while I had the marker. I marked the lids of all my peanut butter jars, boxes of instant oatmeal, and 9 x 11 envelopes. The purpose of this was to discern easily what was inside them. For example, I have 20 jars that all are identical, and I do not know what I have stored inside until I pull them out of my box. I also have about 20 envelopes in my legal-correspondence box on their side, similar to a filing cabinet. They are already labeled in pen but the black marker makes them easier to identify.

Wednesday, I spent my morning exercising while my cellmate was at the law library. With him not in the cell, I was able to use the entire floor to workout. When I finished, I was surprised my name was called over the loudspeaker for a visit. Typically, any visitors spend hours waiting and I am not called until noon or later. However, the warden has ordered the empty visiting room at Stateville to be used for NRC inmates. Inmates from the Northern Receiving Center are housed outside the walls a half mile away and must be taken by vans into the prison. They are the major reason for overcrowding in the visiting room, and long waiting times. I am glad two visiting rooms are now being used, but do not know why NRC inmates cannot use the vacant visiting room in their own building.

After returning from my visit, I began to sew a few socks and my gym shoes. The stitches in the sides of my shoes have started to come undone. Although these are brand name gym shoes, I have come to expect cheap craftsmanship from goods made in China. The shoes are narrow and although this is ideal because I have narrow feet, I use two sets of insoles when I exercise to provide extra cushion. I typically work out on the concrete floor of my cell and this takes a toll on my joints, particularly my lower back where I have two crushed disks. It was difficult pushing the needle through the leather but it was worth the time and effort. I care little to buy a new pair of shoes and put more money in the coffers of the IDOC or the Chinese economy.

Lately, the news media has been focused on the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year-old in Florida. The liberal media has been hyping up the incident due to the racial dimension, despite how the shooter was a mestizo and because of their opposition to gun rights. The publicity is annoying to me because the political spin is so obvious and so is the attempt to villainize George Zimmerman and make an angel out of the victim who was a juvenile delinquent. When I was arrested, I also was the target of an intentional smear campaign. This case should not be tried in the media but go through a fair and unbiased police investigation. If the "stand your ground" gun law of Florida needs to be reviewed, it also should be done without the inaccurate reporting and pressure of left wing tabloid news media.

While stitching my shoes, I listened to conservative talk radio but even they could not avoid the story. Although they were much more balanced in their reporting, I did not care to listen to any more news about the shooting and turned to a music station. Unfortunately, even on the 2nd floor, radio reception is poor and I was only able to tune in several FM stations. Therefore, after completing work on my shoes, I went to work on an antenna for my Walkman. I used the cord I had taken out of my fan that had a short in it to make a long wire. This wire I wrapped around the jack of my headphones, through my cell bars and up and over a pipe on the ceiling of the gallery. Still, I was unsatisfied with the radio reception and I extended the wire outside the second set of bars at the edge of the gallery. These bars were added in addition to the railing to prevent people from being thrown off, which once did occur regularly. Finally, I was able to get a full spectrum of radio stations.

For several days, Mertz has been scraping the rust off the countertop in his cell. He has been using a broken nail clipper and I gave him credit for his determination. By Wednesday, he had removed most of it and made a smooth surface. I sent him a cup of gray paint I had made by mixing the white paint I had with some black I received from another prisoner. When I came out for a meal of soy spaghetti, I stopped at his cell to see how his newly painted shelf looked. The color was not a perfect match to the walls, but it looked much better than it once did. I told him to let it dry a day and then add some wax so the paint never bleeds. I returned to my cell to watch the newly released DVD movie "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." I was glad to be able to watch the interesting film without disruption from my cellmate or gallery disturbances as were so common downstairs.

I am currently sitting at my new table as I write this post. The cells of Stateville were originally designed with bunks and tables supported by chains. Those were taken out long ago but many cells still have the brackets. I used them to tie shoelaces around my box lid and it hovers perfectly perpendicular to the wall. For a stool, I am sitting on my small box. I tend to like being here rather than on the edge of my bunk because it provides me with greater distance between myself and my cellmate who may be at the sink, toilet, or rummaging in his box. I regularly feel cramped living in a cage with another man, even if he is only a little over 5' tall.

It is almost time for mail to be picked up but I am leery of sending this letter out. My mail is increasingly being intercepted by Internal Affairs and delayed or destroyed. The prison's security unit cannot legally infringe on my 1st Amendment rights to correspond with the outside world. However, they can, and have, thrown out my letters and continue to deny doing so. Possibly, soon a couple of goons will throw me in Seg on trumped up charges as they have in the past. Possibly, they will cite this table as a misuse of property. I think they realize though that in Seg I will only have even more time to write and more to write about. If I.A. was wise, they would allow me to transfer to a nice medium-security prison where the administration would not be so ashamed of the living conditions and ongoings. However, I doubt they want to reward me with such a great home improvement.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

An Easter Weekend Without Faith -- April 16, 2012

Easter weekend was only peripherally different than any other at Stateville. This is just as well because although most inmates identify themselves as Christian, the vast majority are in name only. Outside these walls, I realize religion is often a very shallow facade but it is more so with prisoners. Even those convicts who "find God" usually do so out of weakness of character and lack of any inner strength or purpose. Many prisoners used to put up a front when there was a parole board but this has diminished greatly with men who realize they will die in prison regardless. A good number of inmates here are Muslims or other non-Christian denominations. Despite my agnostic beliefs, however, Christianity's cultural and historical significance is notlost upon me. Indeed, from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, the Christian holiday was regularly in my thoughts.

It seems ironic Christians consider the day God died as Good Friday. However, I understand they believe Christ intentionally allowed himself to be crucified as a sacrifice for all mankind. Apparently in this religious sentiment of redemption, the Catholic Governor of Illinois granted 56 clemency petitions. There was no media coverage in the morning news except for a ticker tape at the bottom of the screen stating the fact. I sought out more elaboration but failed to learn any more details. Later though, a prisoner told me they were mostly commutations of sentences. Considering the draconian sentencing statutes in effect, I would not be surprised if the Governor used his executive power to moderate punishments handed out by the courts. There are over a thousand clemency petitions waiting to be ruled upon and the majority are pleas from prisoners to have their sentences reduced. I have asked for a full pardon based on actual innocence but in the alternative I asked for a commutation. I do not expect any decision by Governor Quinn for a long time, however, due to the backlog of petitions which extend into the former Blagojevich administration.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a prisoner named Nick. He has been incarcerated for over two decades for a murder he committed in the late 1980's. Although the statute of murder at that time was only 20 to 40 years, Nick was sentenced to natural life without a chance of parole. The judge extended his sentence based upon his opinion the murder was accompanied with a kidnapping, which is an aggravating circumstance. However, according to Nick he did not force the victim in his car and no evidence was introduced at his trial to prove this.

I tend to believe Nick because he does not deny the murder and he is not the only prisoner whose judge extended their sentence unjustifiably. Indeed, even my own sentence was increased from a range of 20 to 60 years to life without parole based upon the judge's finding the murder was committed in a brutal and heinous fashion indicative of wanton cruelty. It did not matter that the same judge ruled I was not at the crime scene or that the only evidence submitted at my trial which suggested a cause of death was a gun shot. Before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Apprendi vs. New Jersey (2000), trial judges were permitted to increase sentences beyond the statutory maximums without the aggravating factors placed in the indictment, or proved beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury. Unfortunately, the ruling was not made retroactive and because of this tens of thousands of prisoners across the country continue to languish in penitentiaries unlawfully.

When I met Nick last, he told me the Governor was going to commute his sentence to 40 years before Easter. Many inmates have fantasies of being released and when I was told this I could not help but be skeptical. Initially, I was not going to comment because these delusions are much like people's faith in religion. It is not grounded in reality and despite being confronted with inconsistencies, contrary evidence, and logical arguments, it will not make any difference to most people. Some people must believe in a divinity, supernaturalism, or an afterlife just like many prisoners must believe they will be released. Nick told me I was looking at a free man and he will be home to enjoy Easter with his family. His absolute confidence compelled me to question this assertion whereupon I was told a Bishop, the Hellenic Society, and a powerful union group were lobbying on his behalf. Although the Governor is Catholic, Nick was certain a particular Greek Orthodox Bishop would influence Quinn. He also believed the Greek constituent group and the union could not be ignored because of their political clout. I was amazed by his sense of self importance and belief the Chief Executive would be so easily moved. When I attempted to diminish his absolute faith in being released some more, he told me Quinn had already given his word that he would be home in a couple of weeks. I was greatly skeptical, but if a man wanted to live in delusion, so be it.

When I saw the ticker tape on the news Friday morning, I briefly wondered if Nick was one of the 56 granted clemency. However, after some more thought, I knew he was not because word in the prison travels quickly. By Easter Sunday, I had spoken to a few people who lived in his cell house and any doubt I had was gone. Nick was still at Stateville in the same cage he has been. I wondered how he was dealing with the disappointment and was told he was mentally falling apart and has been for a while. He did seem to have lost a lot of weight and there were dark circles under his eyes, but then people say this about me. After mentioning his physical appearance, the prisoner who lives on his gallery said there was a lot more to Nick's deterioration and people had began to think of him as a "bug." I thought this is what weakness and blind faith will lead to. A man must be strong enough to accept reality, despite how grim it may be.

For a couple of months, kitchen workers have been serving fish on Fridays for one meal. This is an accommodation for Catholics who are not supposed to eat meat on the day. While I was at the chow table, I asked Steve, who is a Catholic, what the reason behind this was. No where in the Bible does it say to follow this rule. Before he answered, another prisoner said it was a sacrifice as well as a reminder of scripture which often speaks of fish literally and allegorically. I did not think eating fish was much of a sacrifice especially in prison where most prisoners prefer fish over the soy imitation meats usually served. Despite this, I gave my piece to Steve who greedily ate it along with his own. I only ate the macaroni and cheese and a small portion of lettuce. I do not like soy hybrids myself but I also do not like greasy foods and the fish pattie was fried.

After chow, prisoners were sent out to the South yard. Every summer at Stateville, inmates are given an extra yard period every other week during the evening. This was the first week the schedule began and I was surprised it began so early. Spring had only began a couple of weeks ago, and most administrators wait until after Labor Day to run the extra recreation lines. The yard period, however, went by quickly and men were back in their cages before sunset. This was unfortunate because I was looking forward to seeing the full moon rise above the prison walls. A full moon rises with the setting of the sun. Later, I looked out the penitentiary windows but they were too filthy to see through at night. I will have to wait until they are tilted open.

Upon returning to the cell, I had anticipated washing up in the sink. However, the guards ran showers immediately after the yard line returned, which was unusual. I typically do not go to the cell house showers as I mentioned in an earlier post, but it was convenient timing. Unfortunately though, I ended up waiting in the shower holding area for a half hour before a shower stall was available. I spoke with Mertz mostly to pass my time but also to my new neighbor who goes by the name "J-Bone." J-Bone is an older white biker with wavy balding gray hair kept in a pony tail. He has been incarcerated since the 80's and is now dying of liver cancer. Apparently, the Illinois Department of Corrections will not pay for organ transplants or their health care provider, Waxford, does not cover them. Many men at Stateville are in need of a kidney, liver, heart or other organ transplants. Many men are in need of just basic health care and are being denied treatment or delayed indefinitely.

When I returned from the shower, I made myself some chicken fajitas with food I had purchased from commissary. I was very hungry after exercising for two hours and not having anything to eat since an early lunch. I ate while watching the movie "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston. I already had missed the first hour of the film but was still able to catch the part where Moses demands the Pharaoh of Egypt let his people go. The scene reminded me of the 50,000 prisoners in Illinois and 3 million across the U.S. Unfortunate there was not a man with the power of God to order Quinn and the other Pharaoh-like Chief Executives to dismantle the vast prison networks under their control which often punish the innocent as well as the guilty.

Saturday morning, my cellmate went to Christian services. There was no special mass or celebration for the Easter weekend. The service my cellmate attended was the same one which is offered every Saturday unless it is cancelled for one reason or another. The last couple of weekends, for example, the guard claimed he could not unlock the gym door. After one such incident, Steve told me he asked the guard if they could simply enter through the back door. The automaton gave him a look as if he was crazy. Religious services are almost always held in the gym. There is a chapel building on the grounds of Stateville but I do not think it is used any more. It is yet another empty debilitated and possibly condemned building like others inside the 30' high walls of the expansive penitentiary. Hopefully some day all of these buildings will be empty.

I have never attended a religious service while at Stateville and cannot describe what it is like. I do know they are held on the upper floor of the gym where there are a few rooms and a balcony overlooking the basketball courts. For larger gatherings possibly the bleachers are pulled out and services are held downstairs. Most prisoners go to the religious services mainly not to find any spirituality but to get out of their cells and socialize. The services allow men to meet and talk with people who are housed in different cell houses. Many gangs will use this opportunity to discuss gang matters rather than scripture or other religious creeds. There are a wide diversity of religions which are permitted to meet, but most are either Christian or Muslim. Catholic services are predominately attended by Mexicans while Islamic services are attended by nearly all black men. The services are presided over by the prison chaplain or a volunteer and last typically 2 hours. In order to attend a religious service a prisoner must first declare himself a specific denomination and have it approved through the chaplain's office. The religious affiliation will then be printed on the back of an inmate's ID card. Only inmates whose card identifies them as a specific religion can attend the corresponding service. Sometimes, an inmate still needs to be placed on an approved list for certain services. I have thought about declaring myself a Catholic to possibly increase my likelihood of gaining the sympathy of the Governor, however, I have too much integrity for this. If my petition is granted, it will be based on its merits and not any influence peddling or pretending to be someone I am not.

I used my time in the cell without my cellmate to exercise and then wash up in the sink without his presence. Lunch lines were run while he was gone but I did not go. I was not going to decrease any of my time alone nor did I care for what was on the menu. There are only a few meals I would consider interrupting my rare solitude, and sausage was not one of them. Last week there were people demonstrating in Chicago for the closure of the state's supermax penitentiary, Tamms. They say solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment. Personally I think they have it backwards and they should be protesting Stateville and advocating for the prison with single man cells and isolation. However, I do understand the majority of prisoners do not feel as I do.

Saturday afternoon I spoke to a family member for an hour on the telephone. We did not speak about Easter nor any subject but the economy and investments. With the Dow Jones Industrial Index well over 13,000, I thought the market was excessively overpriced. I understood keeping money in a bank earning virtually no interest was not appealing especially with the Federal Reserve and Obama administration policy devaluing currency and creating inflation. However, it was better than buying into a superficially uplifted market backed by trillions of dollars of debt. Barack Obama is desperate to keep the appearance of the economy looking better than it is until he is reelected. Then, as he told the president of Russia, he will be able to show his true colors. I assume this means not only his socialist ideology and military capitulation but exposing the true shape of the economy.

On Easter Sunday, I spent the day reading a large corporate report by British Petroleum. It has almost been two years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill and I was interested in how the company was rebuilding. However, during my study of all the minute financial data, my mind drifted to thoughts of Easter as a child. Just as I do not have faith as an adult, I never believed in the Easter Bunny. I recalled how one morning I woke up early to savage my basket of treats on the holiday, but it was not there. I awakened my mother to get my candy, and she apologized for the bunny not putting it out where I could find it. My basket was brimming with chocolates and other candy, and I did not care about the Easter Bunny tale. Thirty years later there were no special treats or meal, although many prisoners probably thought the fried chicken served for dinner was special.

Supper was the only time I came out of my cell on Easter. It was very crowded and I was glad guards separated 2 and 4 gallery in the chow hall. I was able to sit at a table with only two other people. I asked Mertz if when he was younger he believed in the Easter Bunny. He said not only did he, but he raised rabbits. I thought he was joking but he continued to say his father kept them outside and they fed, bred, and killed them for food once they got big. "Are you saying you killed the Easter Bunny?" I asked. He said he did on occasion kill and gut them. I told him that was a classic sign of a future serial killer, but he replied he did not inflict any pain on them and ended their lives quickly by snapping their necks between his fingers, and he illustrated. Mertz said with any force their heads would come clean off. "A rabbit snuffer... The Machine did not wear his leather mask with twisted zipper mouth while he snuffed out the rabbits did he?" I asked. "No wonder they gave you the death penalty. No one gets away with killing the Easter Bunny" I said.

When I returned to my cell, I looked to see if there were any films on with a holiday theme but there were not and I watched the movie "300," although I had seen it a number of times previously and did not appreciate the distorted history. During the movie, the Spartans are portrayed as fighting for democracy and universal rights against the tyranny of Persia. Although Athens was a democratic city state, Sparta was anything but. It was an authoritarian hierarchy based entirely around war and enslaving the other Greeks around them. The Spartans did not believe in the equality of men, women, or mankind, they believed in Sparta. Sparta was the heroic bulwark which prevented the vile cosmopolitan Persian empire from the East from conquering the wellspring of W. Civilization, but leave it to Hollywood to portray them as defenders of social democracy.

The distortion of Spartan history reminded me of the distortion of Easter. Originally, Easter was not a Christian holiday but a pagan one. Easter derives its name from the pagan deity Esther who was a fertility god. The holiday was a celebration of the return of good weather for the planting of crops. The rabbit symbolized fertility because of the numerous offspring it had at the beginning of spring. The egg also was another symbol used by Europeans to represent rebirth. The Christian Church realized it could never destroy the customs and traditions of the people and thus simply replaced their God with the god of the pagans. Interesting how many traditional celebrations and festivals were twisted to suit the foreign religion.

Some people tell me I must have faith to be exonerated and freed. Others tell me I must have faith in God for my soul to be saved. And yet others tell me my lack of faith in God is the reason I remain in prison and justice continues to elude me. My mittimus papers say "life without parole" and this is what I will believe until I walk out these prison doors. Moses purportedly saw God on a mountain and was given the power to divide the sea. The apostles claimed to have seen Christ crucified and raised from the dead as well as his miracles when alive. When I see such things I will believe as well. As for a correlation between lacking faith in God and my incarceration, this is nonsense. Christians around the world suffer unjustly. I will never be a man of faith despite how grim my reality may be. It is better to be hopeless than to have false hope.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Fall of Western Civilization -- March 23, 2012

Earlier this week, I thought to make use of the relative peace and quiet I have had since being moved to the 2nd floor by reading a thought provoking book. There is a stark difference from the continual disruptions and noise I had to deal with in my former cell. My cellmates, along with the commotion outside my cell bars, made it immensely difficult to focus on deep thoughts for any protracted period of time. Living in the "Big House" with hundreds of loud, obnoxious prisoners, however, is never the ideal environment to study despite wherever your cage happens to be located and I have stayed in its confines most of the week to isolate myself as much as possible. Except for a couple of meals, I have not left my concrete cubicle: no yards, no health care passes, no showers, and not even a visit. Although I typically exhibit hermit-like qualities here, I have done so more than usual to read Mark Steyn's cataclysmic book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

Initially, I was uncertain what book I was going to read. I have a collection of books in my correspondence box that I have yet to read but plan to do so eventually. I am interested in learning more about complicated investments which I have had no experience with. A prisoner gave me a large school-like textbook called Options Demystified--A Self-Teaching Guide which I was especially considering after speaking with a volunteer teacher. He just began a non-credited high school algebra class at the prison and wanted me to help tutor his students. Half of the class already dropped out and at least half of the remaining prisoners were having trouble understanding basic mathematics. I told the teacher I cared little to tutor the morons and clowns at Stateville how to count with their fingers and toes let alone algebra. However, the retired teacher said he not only taught H.S. algebra but also college level economics and knew a lot about investing. He made me a deal if I were to assist him in teaching mathematics, he would teach me about sophisticated brokerage exchanges. "Options Demystified" seemed like a good book to read before I began to have discussions with the man.

Another book I was recently given is Heydrich--The Face of Evil by Mario R. Dedericks. A few prisoners I speak to on occasion have already read the book and they are very interested in my opinion. Apparently, I am an authority on history, especially military history. They are also aware I am highly political and know a considerable amount about Germany's 3rd Reich. Oddly, a pedophile in another cell house that Steve and I were formerly in named Bickerstaff ordered this book for us thinking it would make us, but especially myself, think better of him. No, I do not care what gifts he sends. I will always have nothing but disdain for the weird old man from the Dixon area who molested a number of Boy Scouts. As a spoof, I sent a caricature of Chuck in a Boy Scout uniform trying to lure children, and wrote "Bickerstaff-The Face of Evil" to Steve who has been asking me about the book for weeks now.

Despite having these books and others, I decided reading America Alone--The End of the World as We Know It due to recent global and political events. The cover of Mark Steyn's book has a picture on it of the globe with numerous green Islamic flags with the crescent moon, morning star, and sword sticking out of it except one in the center of the Stars and Stripes. Even without reading the back cover or updated 2008 paperback introduction, it was obvious what the theme of the book would be. The author sees radical Islam taking over much of Western Civilization and leaving "American alone" to fight against the jihad. I have not seen the war against militant Islamic fringe groups as threatening to the West as evangelical Christians, neo-conservatives, or others do. However, the foreign policy of the Obama administration along with specific highly publicized events this month, has made me want to have a better understanding of the issues.

Earlier this month, U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales went on a rampage killing 16 Afghan civilians. Personally, I do not think a soldier who had a mental breakdown should affect foreign policy. However, many political pundits are saying the war is now untenable. The goals initially outlined by the Bush administration were unwise and untenable to begin with, in my opinion, and Bales' killing spree is irrelevant when compared to the hundreds of NATO soldiers serving as a police agency that have been murdered by the very ones they are allegedly protecting.

Over the weekend, a teacher and three children at a Jewish school in S.W. France were shot and killed by an unknown assailant on a motorcycle. Four days earlier in the same area, a few Algerian French soldiers were gunned down. The liberal media was quick to draw conclusions the acts were committed by a white supremacist, the usual scapegoat. However, on Wednesday the attacks were done by a lone Islamic radical named Mohamed Merah. While surrounded by police in his apartment, the Muslim confessed and bragged about the murders. He gave police the typical motivations of Islamic terrorists and said he would die a martyr before surrendering. No mention of Sgt. Bales was made and the man indeed refused to be taken alive. While reading my book, I watched the media coverage out of Toulouse, France unfold.

Mark Steyn is a well known conservative political commentator. He writes for a number of newspapers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and even New Zealand's "Hawk's Bay". I have never read any of his columns but I did know he occasionally fills in for Rush Limbaugh on the EIB Network or in the Chicago talk radio show affiliate WLS. In fact, today before I began writing this journal entry, I listened to Mark Steyn. Steyn lacks Limbaugh's booming and captivating voice, however the Canadian can be very witty and amusing. Today, he made fun of Obama's posturing on energy policy and his approval just to allow building the bottom half of the Keystone Pipeline, although federal consent was not even necessary for a pipeline which does not cross the state line of Texas. Despite Obama's deception, he is against any infrastructure or production of fossil fuels and is, according to Steyn, "President Algae-Solyndra". He also ridiculed the accounting gimmicks of Obamacare to make people believe it would only cost one trillion dollars over ten years instead of two.

The book America Alone was sent to me a few years ago by a penpal who I have written longer than anyone except members of my own family. In 2005, I placed an ad for penpals on WriteAPrisoner.com. The ad was mainly about my interests and criminal conviction. When I only received a few responses, I quickly replaced it with a romantic ad which was apparently very compelling because I received well over 100 letters from women all over the world. However, before I switched ads, I began writing a female Spanish Fascist and a Canadian man with strong conservative and Christian values. I never responded to a man's reply before because I assumed they were all homosexuals. However, it seemed the man was not motivated by such but rather to question, if not ridicule, my claim of innocence. This made me so angry that faggot or not I was going to write him back a scathing letter. Oddly, this began my friendship with Rick who later sent me Mark Steyn's book.

Although America Alone was only a little over 200 pages long, I did not finish reading it until this morning. Steyn's writing style is clever, sardonic, and amusing, but it is not structured or ordered very well. The reading material seems more suited for an unscripted, entertaining radio talk show than a serious manuscript. The subject matter he deals with is very important and deep but he approaches it in a lighthearted way. I suppose that is why Steyn is the National Review's "Happy Warrior". On the back of the book is a photo of the author that does not at all look like the person I expected. The dichotomy between his serious photo and the serious issues he addresses such that may "End the World as We Know It," and his casual rambling, fast paced sometimes goofy talk or writing was difficult to process. I often had to stop and ponder the information, ideas, and arguments made. During his talk show, I even went over the notes I made when reading his book to help write this journal entry and for my own benefit.

The introduction and first fifty pages I read on Tuesday before the Illinois primary results began to come in. I was certain Mitt Romney would win the state, but I did not want to miss any political coverage. I also wanted to see how certain state and federal congressional races turned out as well as the contest for the state's Supreme Court. Unlike the federal system where the Supreme Court is appointed by the President, all of Illinois' judges are elected. I believe it is foolish policy to allow the ignorant masses to elect their judges, especially the highest court in the state. Politics, voter sentiment, and the law should not mix. Plus, the people often have no idea who the judicial candidates are, their expertise, or records. Just as the founding fathers of America, I question the wisdom of a direct universal democracy. America was created as an elite republic and if a similar system still existed, the U.S. would not have all the problems and crises mentioned in America Alone. While Mark Steyn ridicules modern social democracy, he unfortunately does not advocate for any structural reform of citizenship, rights, or the voting system in America, Europe, or elsewhere in the West.

Steyn begins his fatalistic vision with the ludicrous apocalyptic scenarios of the political left. He mentions the doomsday rhetoric of overpopulation, peak oil, another ice age, global warming, and endangered species such as the Spotted Owl. The real crisis and endangered species is Western Civilization which is committing political, cultural, and demographic suicide. Furthermore, while the West sinks into a degenerate void, a growing menace from the East seeks to replace or destroy its nemesis. The danger comes not from China, but in the author's perspective, Islam. Islam he predicts within the 21st Century will take over all of Western Civilization except for the U.S. which will be the only remaining bastion for Christianity, freedom, and "the way of life as we know it". Western Civilization faces an existential threat from within and without, and compels readers to awaken to the life and death struggle.

Much of Mark Steyn's book emphasizes the collapsing demographics of the Western peoples. Indeed, these numbers are alarming and I doubt many realize how people of European descent are evaporating. In order for a country to maintain its population, close to a 2.2 replacement rate is required for every couple. However, throughout Europe, women are no longer having children and when they do, family sizes, if there is even a traditional family unit, are very small. On a per capita basis, the fertility rate in Canada is 1.5, Spain 1.3, and Russia only a sliver over 1. Over 30% of German women go without children, and 40% of those with college educations. Spain's population is predicted to half every generation, and Russia with a peak population in 1992 of 148 million will be under 50 million by the end of the century. The Black Plague wiped out 1/3 of Europeans in the 14th century, yet without major war or disease, they will die out in a greater proportion in the 21st century.

Many times America is noted for its exceptionalism, including demographics. The fertility rate of women in America is at replacement levels and thanks to immigration, while Europe is predicted to lose 100 million or more, America will grow by the same amount. However, there is nothing to boast about in these numbers because the cause is from the invasion of the country's southern border. It is Mexican immigration which is causing fertility rates to climb and the population to increase at a rate never seen before in the history of North America. While Muslim immigration is seen as dangerous and alarming in Europe, Mark Steyn does not have the same sense about another alien people taking over America. The entire S.W. of America will soon be Aztland, but because they are Christian, it is not so upsetting despite how Mexican crime and drug cartels have killed many more Americans than all acts of terrorism by Islamic radicals.

Like most evangelical Christians or Zionists, Steyn focuses on the Islamification of Europe. The open borders policy of America is the same throughout most of Europe, except the former is being occupied by Indians and the latter by African and Middle Eastern Muslims. While Russian women terminate 70% of their pregnancies, Muslim women have by far the highest fertility rates. Furthermore, Siberia which is becoming a vacant wilderness is also being eyed by the Chinese who have well over a billion people and are desperate for natural resources, including women. With Russian men succumbing to alcoholism, heart disease, and death before their mid-50s, and China's soon to have a 70% male population, the Yellow Horde may soon again be on their way to Moscow as they were a millennium ago. Unfortunately, the author dismisses the Chinese to refocus on Islamic demographics replacing Christian Europeans. It is startling that in France, Britain, and elsewhere, three times the youths are foreigners and in the large cities the proportion is even higher. I would be skeptical of my reading that nearly half of Scandinavia's capital's are half Muslim if not already told this by my ex-girlfriend several years ago. It seems incredible that not long ago Europe was colonizing the world and now it is being colonized.

Ironically, the Vikings which terrorized Christian Europe and conquered lands from N. America deep into Russia have had the tables turned on them by Muslims. Although most Scandinavians were in shock and initially labeled him insane, I was not surprised when Anders Behring Breivik went berserk last summer in Norway. Breivik did not focus his anger at the large population of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East but on the political left which has encouraged the mass migration. On July 23rd, Breivik bombed and shot to death 77 people at a Socialist Democrat propaganda youth camp.

The demographics as Breivik and the author of America Alone describe are only a symptom of the problem facing Western Civilization. A powerful nation implodes before it is taken over. The true cause of decline is the decadent, defeatist, and self flagellating liberal political parties and culture. Mark Steyn writes: "Advanced society trumpets its defeats as virtues." It is absurd how the political left encourages immigration, nihilism, the nanny state, pacifism, and loathing of their own country, people, and culture. The "edict of toleration laws" is used to "abase themselves before the gods of multiculturalism." Ironic how liberal groups and political parties promote feminism and gay rights, as well as the rights of Muslims who seek to destroy the former, but dare not be a racist or nationalist or these tolerant multi-culturalists will become the most hateful, intolerant bigots. After WWII, pride in nation, race, and culture has been vilified to such an extent that the West would rather commit suicide than oppose immigration. With the fall of communism in the U.S.S.R., there was a perception in Europe and America of victory. However, the vile tentacles of Marxist ideas have only pervaded the West without the arch nemesis to fight against.

Mark Steyn relates various horrific actions by Islamic terrorists thinking thereafter Europe will rip off their Marxist strait jackets, but they are repeatedly disappointed. On 3/11/04, hundreds of Spaniards were killed in a train bombing in Madrid. The attack was thought to galvanize the people much like 9/11/01 did in the U.S. However, incredibly, the Spaniards came out to vote overwhelmingly for the Socialist Workers Party a few days later. Fortunately, the Spanish have since rid themselves of this vile majority party. But the vote in 2004 was certainly symbolic of the weakness, cowardice, and appeasement of society. The lack of will is not surprising considering how degenerate and feminized European society has become.

Mark Steyn mentions an amusing book title written by Klaus Schwerma called Stephpinkeln: Die Letzte Bastion der Mannlichkeit?" (Standing Urinators: The Last Bastion of Masculinity?) Unbelievably some European toilets have been retrofitted with voice alarms if the toilet seat is lifted. The voice demands the offender to put the seat back down and threatens with a fine if they do not obey. I would not have believed this story had I not learned how feminism has taken over N. European countries. I used to razz my former girlfriend who lives in Sweden that all the men in her land have been castrated and thus why she sought out an American, even if he was in prison for life. While once Europe had Nazism, they now have feminazism. The tyrannical zeal to empower women and castrate men is the same vehement means used by other liberal crusaders to destroy the vitality, traditional culture, and virtue of the nation state until it is a perverse, empty shell.

In America Alone, secular atheism is blamed alot for the troubles in Europe. Europeans with their broken compasses and empty buckets are lost for identity and meaning in their lives without Christianity. I agree with the description, but not the deduction. The West does need to fill the nihilistic void, but secular humanism and Christianity are different sides of the same coin. Communism was the replacement of Christianity in an oppressive militant state. Collectivism, altruism, utopia are all parallel themes. What is needed, however, is just the opposite: rugged individualism, social Darwinism, and realism. A civilization does not need God to be a robust superpower. What matters is a racially unified people with virtuous values, culture, and institutions.

I also disagree with Mark Steyn's belief that the collapse of Christianity has led to the collapse of families. In Europe, religion is strongest in the south and yet other than Russia, this is where the lowest fertility rates in the world are. I tend to believe the Russian exception is due in large part to the nihilistic culture and horrendous number of abortions performed. While the Catholic Church has an admirable steadfast position against abortion and contraception (except when it comes to preventing severely deformed, crippled, or retarded births), its adherents do not. Recently, a large amount of attention has been paid to the U.S. President's insistence on contraception being provided by health insurance companies. The pill is unquestionably the cause of demographic decline in the West, far more than superficial religions. Furthermore, contraception has done far more damage to those in Europe and America than fewer babies. The liberal media vehemently attacked Rush Limbaugh for calling Sandra Fluke (pronounced Fluck), who testified before a U.S. Senate Committee, a slut for lobbying on behalf of free contraception. However, even if the college student is not a slut, the vast majority of women in the West are, and this moral depravity has had tragic repercussions throughout society. It goes far beyond a women's issue and I am confounded why Mark Steyn did not raise this issue.

The author does a good job interlocking social and fiscal issues together. For example, the social welfare state is in a precarious condition because it is based on a Ponzi scheme dependent on new marks. If the social welfare state runs out of children to heap debt on ad infinite, it collapses and the new immigrants are mostly adding to the burden rather than assisting. Ironicly, the "Shoe Bomber" and many other terrorists were on public aid. Islamic immigrants in Europe and Mexican immigrants in the U.S. are greatly dependent on social welfare. Pensions, health care, welfare, entitlements, and bailouts are bankrupting the West. Furthermore, the billions of dollars America sends to Islamic countries for oil is used to fund the export of Islam abroad. Unfortunately, little is said about China's massive trade surplus and how they are using their dollars to increase their power and diminish ours.

The nanny state is bad in America, and under President Obama getting worse, but it is still no where close to Europe. Europeans are addicted to their lavish social welfare programs, short working hours, long vacations, employment benefits, jobs for life, free health care and education. They are dependent on government from cradle to grave, and with this carefree and excess spending that took place for decades, they now must pay the piper. While America had its subsidized housing bubble, Europe has a sovereign debt crisis from its social welfare bubble. Even if these financial meltdowns have been averted, the governments of the West face massive retrenchment. A double dip recession will occur in Europe and soon thereafter America will follow. In Europe the minute retraction or even talk of reducing the nanny state has caused protests like temper tantrums of babies with their bottles taken away. Even in the U.S., the babies are whining, and it will take a long time for these people to grow up and kick their dependency on government.

The withdrawals from Western society addicted on government should be a wake up call. These dependents lose their own self sufficiency. The nanny state is not only financially crippling but socially because a country of infantiles is irresponsible, unambitious, incompetent, and has selfish, short sited, gratifying desires. When the nanny state takes care of people from their births to their deaths, they become soft, weak, dependents. Although most of Europe is graying, they are like adult children. No wonder they do not want children when they are children emotionally themselves. Obamacare even seeks to keep children on their parents' healthcare insurance until their mid-20's. The social welfare state takes away the instinct for survival, morals, and defers mature responsible adulthood. It is not just feminism, contraception, and lack of religious values that has delayed the onset of families, it is the social welfare state. Steyn ridicules Islamic men for marrying their cousins, yet at least they marry early and do not have kids in their 30's, if at all. The possibility of genetic birth defects is actually higher for babies who are carried by 30-year-old mothers than for the babies of first cousins.

Not long ago, I read about a scientific study in Russia where they sought to see how many generations it would take to domesticate the grey fox. Amazingly, by selective breeding, a more docile, dependent, friendlier and less aggressive fox was created within eight generations. If such changes in a fox can be made those can also be made within people. Imagine what changes have already occurred within the populations living within nanny states. Imagine what the effects of feminism and contraception would have over generations. Contraception not only alters the natural breeding but the hormonal balance of a woman so she favors weaker men as mates. Why have a successful dominant male anyway when women have government, feminist empowerment, or are childless?

During my reading of America Alone, I stopped to go out for chow. There to greet me was my political nemesis who regularly has some disparagement of conservatism or the Republican presidential candidates. The Lieutenant is a fervent supporter of Barack Obama and his socialist agenda. He often will call me "Mr. Tea Party," or "Tea Party Express," and we have had many political debates in the past when I used to be celled in a cell house he supervised. On the way into the chow hall I told him how Obamacare was going to be ruled unconstitutional in at least part by the Supreme Court which is hearing the issue next week. I noticed how he was drinking a cup of coffee and told him how he needs to change over to tea--freedom tea. On the way out of the chow hall I saw him again. This time I invited him over to "my house" for a Tea Party after his quasi-Marxist leader is voted out of office. The Lieutenant takes his politics passionately but is always happy to exchange zingers. He may make a good "Happy Warrior" for the left, and it would be interesting to hear him as a guest while Mark Steyn is hosting the Rush Limbaugh show.

The last chapter of America Alone is called "The Falling Camel." It is based on an Arabic proverb: "A falling camel attracts many knives." The author sums up how Islam sees Western Civilization as the sickly collapsing society that will have a thousand blades thrust into it before it hits the ground. For a long time I have contemplated the threat of Islamic radicalism. Mark Steyn challenged my beliefs that a crude small marginalized and backwards group of extremists were a danger. His book gives a strong argument about how even a 7th century people armed with 21st century technology and globalism could menace a superpower like the U.S., let alone the weak social democracies it protects in Europe. The Germanics were considered barbarians by the Romans and yet they destroyed the Empire. It was not due to superior weapons, tactics, or especially progressive civilization. Rome was dying literally and metaphorically. Due to war, cosmopolitism, and an overstretched empire, the original Italics and their culture disintegrated. Much of Rome's armies in fact were made up of Germanics and other peoples who did not share any identity or pride in Rome. The elite Roman Republic became a decadent, weak, and repugnantly vile empire. The Germans contrarily were a more robust, strong, and numerous people. They loved battle, freedom, and although they embraced life, were not afraid to die. Mark Steyn may not like it, but Rome fell not long after Christianity became the state religion and there may be some causation. The Germanics did not see a falling camel but they certainly saw an opportunity to deal a death blow to a sick imploding civilization.

Despite how it seems there are parallels to Western civilization's fate to the ruins of Rome, I do not agree with the specific dangers and plans to reverse course. I notice how Steyn and the current and previous White House administrations sought to make democracies of previously authoritarian Islamic regimes. The liberal President and neoconservatives differ in resolve and leadership but in essence are similar. It seems foolish to push freedoms onto various peoples while ours disappears and also to put their houses in order when ours are falling apart. Western Civilization needs to worry more about the home front first before going abroad. Furthermore, when using power globally, I believe in "realpolitik", unlike the author. This means that I do not care for idealistic or utopian crusades. Mark Steyn seems to believe America should extend its Christian, democratic, and values of freedom across the globe and this is like the global, international humanitarian government the liberals champion. While a nation state should have a muscular military, it should only be used to enhance its own power and security. Also while military power should be used full throttle, it needs to be used wisely.

The creation of democracies is based upon not only bringing freedom to oppressed peoples, but by reducing those people to the same level as Western Civilization. The theory is democratic states are less aggressive because they are focused on their own political infighting rather than focusing their pent up rage outwardly. A less oppressed, wealthy, and educated people are also less likely to strap bombs to themselves, risk war and death, or believe a thousand virgins are awaiting them in the hereafter. Giving women the right to vote will also dismantle the traditional Islamic faith. Their societies will become more civilized, feminized, less radical, and impotent. Possibly, they will succomb to the same evils as "The Great Satan." We can show them the nihilistic bliss of social democracy, multiculturalism, feminism, contraception, and our vile pop culture. This way we can all be one decadent, pacifist, dying people smoking the opiate of alleged progressive civilization. Dream further and we can even cause the Chinese, North Koreans, and others to peacefully demilitarize and join the global community. Soon we can all be high singing John Lennon's song "Imagine," and have world peace. But then all you hippies and confused neocons need to be slapped out of your foolish delusions and daydreams.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stateville Showers -- March 9, 2012

Rarely do I ever take a shower at Stateville. The showers do not work properly and dribble out water or spray it haphazardly. Sometimes, the showers do not work at all or provide only cold water. Even less appealing is the crowd of men I must bathe with or wait with in the holding area until a shower is available. Many inmates have poor hygiene, communicable diseases, mental illnesses, or are homosexuals. Prisoners are also very loud, obnoxious and have little etiquette. Lastly, shower lines are not run with any consistency and typically do not fit in with my routine. Today, however, I made a decision to shower because the timing happened to coincide with my schedule and I noticed only sections of prisoners on the gallery were being let out to shower, rather than everyone. I expected the shower area not to be crowded and to be able to quickly wash up and return to my cell.
 
Prisoners here are given the opportunity to shower three times a week unless the prison is on lockdown or they are in Segregation. Inmates in Seg only receive one shower a week, which is the federally mandated minimum. On my gallery, shower lines are run on Wednesday and on the weekdays, although occasionally like today, they will occur on Friday rather than Saturday. Inmates who have job assignments are allowed to shower every day after their work assignment, and I have heard many say it was a great benefit especially before the shower days were changed from once a week. There is this odd perception that showering is a privilege, however because of the deplorable conditions, I could care less for it. I can bathe out of my sink under better circumstances.

Only at maximum-security prisons in Illinois do prisoners not have regular access to showers. At medium security penitentiaries the inmates can come and go from their cells into a day room and at low-minimum security prisons, men live in open dorms. A day room is a common area shared by inmates before lockup at night. It typically has tables, phones, and a television. Connected to the day rooms or adjoining them is a shower, laundry and sometimes a recreation room or area. While I was detained at Cook County Jail awaiting trial, I was in Division 10 which is a maximum-security building. Despite this, all the decks had day rooms that inmates were allowed to use until 10 p.m. At the jail, I showered daily and never washed up in the sink. However, I was able to shower at my convenience and typically did so when the shower area was empty.

In the quarter units at Stateville, hundreds of men share a single shower room or two. In my cell house, the shower room is located at the end of the building and on the lower floor. The shower room is about 10' x 25' and has 8 shower heads along one wall. Outside the room is a larger holding area prisoners are locked into. A barrier of bars with a gate extend from the outer perimeter wall to the cells. The bars are approximately 20' high and are topped with razor wire. At about waist height is a band of cardboard about a meter in width that I suppose is to offer some privacy. However, if a prisoner is not standing next to the barrier, he can be seen naked across the entire floor of the cell house. Regardless, there is a high tech wide lens camera in a bubble just above the shower holding area.

Unlike the back quarter units of C and D, B and E cell houses have their shower rooms on the second and third floor above the boiler room and front doors. There is no holding area in those cell houses and inmates are trapped in one of the two small shower rooms. The shower rooms are about the same size but have very low ceilings. In fact, the rocky concrete ceiling, often covered with mold, is only a few inches taller than me. When I lived in B House, I recall ducking under the two dim light fixtures. The shower rooms in the front two cell houses reminded me of dingy, dark, dank caves with little room to move about and no escape until a guard unlocked the heavy steel door.

The Roundhouse which holds about 500 prisoners once had two shower areas in the basement. However, because they were deemed unsafe and excessively violent were redone and now function as storage rooms. Instead of the basement shower rooms, two cells at the front of every gallery were converted into shower stalls. The John Howard Association, a prison rights group, last year came out with a scathingly critical report of Stateville and especially of the Roundhouse. One of the issues they focused on was the filthy showers, two men being forced into the same shower cell, and that nearly the entire building of staff and prisoners could see them bathe. I found the condemnation odd because the shower rooms in B and E houses are just as filthy, albeit lacking the cockroaches, and there is no privacy in the holding area where most everyone dries off and dresses or undresses. As for being in the shower cell with your cellmate, at least it is not possibly 50 strangers.

As my cellmate and I waited for the guard on the galley to unlock our cell door, I noticed Bobby had put on his boots and laced them tightly. I told him there was no need to do that. He responded it was a force of habit. The shower room is occasionally a place where fights occur, however, in the 90's and earlier, it was regularly a place of severe violence. One of the first things my cellmate taught me when I was sent to the penitentiary was to always wear your shoes until you knew no gang hostilities were to take place and a guard was posted for protection. The guard was a prisoner and was usually armed with a knife. Every gang had their own security to make sure none of their members were assaulted unexpectedly while they were showering. However, prisons in Illinois are not nearly as violent as they once were. Furthermore, C House has the oldest and least violent population of inmates. I tend to believe my cellmate was being less "O.G. Bobby" (Old Gangster) than "Insecure Old Midget Bobby".

In the 90's, the shower room could be a gladiator pit. There were not only regular fist fights, but rapes, bludgeons, stabbings, and melees of gang violence. I still recall times when the floors were stained with blood. The gun tower is unable to shoot into the shower room and guards never looked into them. They simply rolled open the doors of the galleries letting out anyone in the building who wanted to shower. A prisoner depended on others or themselves for protection and typically showered in groups. Walking into the shower without any friends often led to victimization.

When I was on the first floor sometimes I would jest with Steve. Upon leaving the shower room, I would ask if he required my protection services. He would say he was fine, but again I would ask him if he was sure while I glanced at La La, who is a large, black homosexual. After he would tell me he was OK, I would say, "Fine, but I do not want to hear any complaining later that you were raped by a big black Smurf." On the subject of La La, he fell hard onto the concrete floor of the shower holding area in an epileptic seizure on Wednesday. I am told no inmates came to his assistance, but finally a guard and a med tech arrived and lifted the 300 pound inmate onto a stretcher. On the way to chow after the incident, Steve was very angry. He said they used his T-shirt and boxers which were on the bars by where the big man fell to wipe off his body. He demanded the lieutenant replace his clothes, and because she is a nice woman apparently she agreed to stop by the clothing warehouse. After I heard the story, I told Steve there was nothing wrong with a little Smurf spit or sweat. He could have just put those clothes right on. He was not amused with my words.

Steve has been the brunt of my jokes lately because he continues to say or do things that could be perceived as weak. Steve has only been in prison a few years and does not know how violent it once was. Thus, the pampered life in the suburbs as a teacher or pianist sometimes clashes with the maximum-security prison setting I have mostly known. Before I was moved to the second floor, he once again amazed me by his softness by making up with another prisoner who had months previously come into the shower room dressed and with shoes on threatening to fight. Steve was naked taking a shower, from what I was told, and they just exchanged some more hostile words. Since then they never spoke and had a great animosity towards each other until all of a sudden they made peace at the chow table. The overly sentimental apologies and niceness they lavished upon each other made me incredulous. I could not help but mock them before they began to exchange hugs. It was very pathetic, even for a man I have nicknamed Pudding.

The next time I spoke with the two of them I told them they need to resolve their differences not like women but men and by fighting it out in the shower room. I continued stating we can set up some ground rules just like in the "UFC", such as no striking the balls, back of the head, or poking eyes. There will be three 5-minute rounds unless there is a KO or I stop the fight. Just like "Big John McCarthy," I will referee the match to make sure everything is fair. Everything I said was nonsense because the two old, out of shape cripples could not fight. It was absurd to think they could go one 1-minute round, let alone three 5-minute rounds.

Although my cellmate wore his boots to the shower room, I stayed in my Bob Barker shower shoes. Most people probably associate the name Bob Barker with the popular TV game show "The Price is Right" which he hosted for decades. However, most prisoners believe he did not just make his millions as a game show host but in the prison industries. According to talk, he has produced many products for prisoners or with prison labor, although I notice my shower shoes say "made in China." He also was heavily invested in privatized prisons in California and elsewhere. While the U.S. began to exponentially grow the police state and mass warehousing of millions of men and women in penitentiaries, Bob Barker knew where the money was at. Apparently, the rumors about the former game show host are false, although they continue to circulate. It is odd how there could be another Bob Barker and even I was surprised to be told t was a different man.

Everyone in prison uses shower shoes in the shower room. The floors are filthy and festering with bacteria. The chances of contracting Athletes Foot or something much worse is exceedingly high for one who dares to walk in barefooted. Only the most ignorant or retarded would venture into the shower room of a penitentiary without something on their feet. I try not to even touch the walls let alone the floor. Unfortunately, even shower shoes do not always protect inmates' feet and many convicts have disgusting looking feet and toe nails. Shower shoes, by the way, are worn by nearly every inmate in the cell as if they were house slippers. As I write this post, I have my orange Bob Barker shower shoes on.

After having my cell door unlocked, I walked down the gallery and stairs to the lower floor. I hung my laundry bag with my change of clothes onto a faucet that was underneath the stairwell. This is where I normally tie my bag if I take a shower because it is out of the way and provides some privacy. With my soap dish, wash cloth, and towel in hand, I walked into the shower room with only my shorts on. I was initially only going to look inside to see how long I was going to have to wait, but surprisingly there were a few empty showers. I went to the one at the far end so I would only have one person beside me as I bathed.

The shower room in C House is empty except for the 8 shower heads, a drain against the wall, a small metal bench, and a plastic garbage bin in the corner. It is on top of the garbage bin that I placed my property, however, other men used the bench. The bench is not solid but welded of square pipes and bolted to the floor against the wall opposite the showers. Unlike the shower rooms in B and E houses, the ceiling is not low and there is appropriate ventilation and lighting. The showers, however, do not work any better and I noticed one of them not in use was broken.

While I was showering, a retarded black man with a catheter and a bag of urine strapped to his leg asked if he could share the shower with me. I told him no, and to take himself and his bag of piss to the other side of the shower room. He did as I said and stood naked staring at some other man taking a shower. I have spoken with the man's cellmate before and was told he was found guilty of murder but insane, and was released into a halfway house. However, for some reason I do not understand, he was later incarcerated. Illinois law does not allow "guilty but insane" verdicts anymore and men are confined in a mental hospital until they are deemed fit to stand trial. Then they are tried, convicted, and sent to prison. Despite the change in the law, it should not affect convictions before the new legislation. The catheter I am told is due to the man not being able to piss because of a bladder infection or enlarged prostate. There is a rumor he is to be operated on soon to remove these organs and others, but I do not know the truth of this.

Before I finished rinsing off, a man began yelling demanding to know who left his boxers on his soap dish. He was very angry and told whoever it was in a threatening manner to remove them. When no one responded, he shouted insults at the unknown offender and threw the boxers on the floor. More than likely, because all the soap dishes look alike, the man made a mistake and was too cowardly to admit it. The little rusted metal bench does not have much room on it and prisoners have little ability to separate their shower supplies or clothes. Yet, another reason why I use the top of the trash bin.

I dried myself off with my towel and then wrapped it around my waist before leaving the shower room. When I went to get my clean set of clothes from my bag, I noticed a game of chess was being played blocking my path. I had to ask the participants and onlookers to allow me to pass. They did, and I jumped over the chess board underneath the stairway. I did not like that a number of men were in close proximity, but I undid my towel and dressed anyway. After drying off my feet, I had to get by the chess game enthusiasts. I was surprised they were not playing craps against the wall with some cut out soap dice. Shower time is often socialization, play and gambling time.

I stood against the wall underneath some hot water pipes looking to see when the gate on the 2nd floor was opened so I could go back to my cell. I greatly dislike waiting in the shower area, even if it was not as crowded and loud as usual. A prisoner named Brown came to speak to me. He is an obnoxious, talkative, and possibly mildly insane white man. Since I moved onto 4 gallery, he has been trying to befriend me. I tend to believe he has been being extra friendly because of how I disapproved of him killing a man and allowing his co-defendant to take the rap for it. Earlier, Brown sent me a typed letter attempting to make peace with me. Along with the letter, he sent some commissary foods. Prisoners will suddenly have a change of attitude when they know they must shower with you.

While I waited, Brown told me how he remembered how I was set up for the Palatine murders, and he could see how I would be upset about him not helping his innocent co-defendant. However, he told me he did not make any statements against him and even if he threw himself under the bus his co-defendant would still not be set free. Apparently, the other man was guilty of an underlying felony of selling drugs, and thus any murder which happened in the course of the drug deal was felony-murder. Plus, his co-defendant made some stupid admissions that were incriminating and the prosecutor would not drop the charges regardless of what he said. Brown has told me numerous stories and I do not know what to believe. I do know he is an unscrupulous, annoying, pathological liar and scumbag, and more, however. Despite his apologies and attempts to make me like him, I thought about how he may deserve an unregulated UFC cage fight in the shower room. Fortunately, I did not have to dwell on it long because a guard opened up the gate and I quickly left.