Thursday, October 28, 2010




I am writing this on Thursday, October 14, 2010, from prison. Along with most everyone else on the planet with access to a TV, this morning I watched the last of the thirty-three Chilean miners trapped deep in the earth be rescued after sixty-nine days underground. I couldn’t help but be moved to tears by the genuine emotions of love and relief expressed by the miners, their joyful rescuers, and everyone looking on. Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Belgium, said she couldn’t take her eyes from the screen.

Rescuers from around the world rallied to the Chilean desert to drill the hole that freed the men. Hundreds of newscasters provided round-the-clock coverage. The Chilean president put all his country’s resources to work to save the miners. Even NASA got involved, offering advice on the adverse effects of being isolated under such rigorous conditions. Poorly-paid, anonymous laborers have become “cause celebres,” international figures, their lives and the lives of their families irrevocably changed simply because they were determined to survive.

My fellow prisoners and I were deeply affected by the drama and the videos sent up from deep down inside that unsafe mine. We rooted for the men while doubtful that it could end any way but tragically. To see the last man come up—the foreman, the man who kept them all alive for the first seventeen days by doling out scant spoonfuls of food and water—we shared in the euphoria, cheering along with the rest of the world.

For myself, I can’t help but compare the trapped Chilean miners to my own life and situation, for I am trapped deep inside the pit of imprisonment, with no rescue in sight, no news reporters, no one drilling, no politicians lining up to greet and embrace me when the rescue pod finally opens outside the razorwire—topped fences.

The miners survived sixty-nine days. Today marks my 11,610th day of captivity! When the American Embassy hostages were captured in Tehran in 1979, I watched the drama unfold from a cell. They spent over 400 days as captives of the Ayatollah, which seemed like an incredible length of time at the time. Those folks—the ones who haven’t died—have been free for close to 11,000 days now. I am still trapped in the pit of wrongful imprisonment, but I survive.

One of the rescued miners said that both God and the Devil were with them in the mine, but God won. It’s no different in prison, except that the battle isn’t over, but is fought every day.

I am a Christian, and my faith in God, the promise that God has a plan for my life, has been a major reason I have survived these 11,610 days in the hell pit of prison. I’ve spent years reading The Bible, and the lessons I learned from my study have given me strength and understanding.

Joseph was the first person imprisoned in The Bible. First, his brothers put him in a pit. I can relate to Joseph’s story of imprisonment and redemption because he was also wrongly accused and imprisoned. There is a lesson there. He was eventually freed and went on to greater things.

One of my favorite jailbirds in The Bible was Jeremiah, the prophet, who was cast into a dung pit for speaking the truth. The vision of that good man deep in a hole full of excrement, depending on passers-by to provide him with bread and water, provides great meaning to many prisoners, especially me. Those in authority didn’t like what Jeremiah said, so they tried to silence him by throwing him in the hole. I can relate to that. Been there, done that, as they say. No First Amendment protections in Biblical days, or even the present day, in some places, as we have found out.

What was the last mention of imprisonment in The Bible? Wouldn’t you know it? It is in Revelation, and the lucky person is the Devil. May he stay there. Just let me out. I don’t expect to see the camera crews, the President, or cheering crowds when the prison gate opens for me. Just one or two people who love me and care about me will be enough. I do need some help, though. NASA’s not interested, and neither is Hillary or Diane Sawyer, but if you can tear yourself away from the TV set for a little while, and are willing to help, it will be appreciated. You don’t even need a drill


Thursday, October 7, 2010


DATELINE: 08/25/2010



You always thought that Billy the Kid, John Wesley Hardin, the Earps, and Marshall Matt Dillon were “gunslingers,” a breed of man that died out a hundred years ago, didn’t you? You never imagined that Florida prisons are filled with modern-day gunslingers, not men armed with six-guns, but perverts who will whip out their “equipment” in front of employees at the drop of their pants. A new law designed to cut down on such exhibitionism has created a brewing controversy.

A “gunslinger” in the prison setting is someone who exposes himself to a female employee, usually, but males are not immune to being “gunned down.” This involves a “solo act,” but the ramifications could be far-reaching, since homosexual acts between prison lovers result only in a punishment of a maximum sixty days disciplinary confinement (the box) and ninety days loss of gaintime, a disparity, some say.

The new law is Florida Statute Section 800.09, “Lewd or lascivious exhibition in the presence of an employee.” The new law reads in part:

(2)(a) A person who is detained in a facility may not:

1. intentionally masturbate;
2. intentionally expose the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner; or
3. intentionally commit any other sexual act, that does not involve actual physical or sexual contact with the victim, including, but not limited to, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity, in the presence of a person he or she knows or reasonably should know is an employee.
(b) A person who violates paragraph (a) commits lewd or lascivious exhibition in the presence of an employee, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.775.083, or s.775.084.

Whoa! I understand what the legislators are saying in numbers 1 and 2, but number 3 worries me. Read that one again. What is with the sadomasochistic abuse and the sexual bestiality? Perhaps I led a sheltered life. Will someone please tell me what “sadomasochistic abuse” is, so I don’t unintentionally commit it when some employee observes me soaping myself in the shower? And I could have sworn that “sexual bestiality” was having sex with animals, as grotesque as that might be.

I don’t get it. I don’t know where he would find one in prison, but let’s say some weirdo was having sex with a chicken in front of an employee. The freak could get arrested, go to court, and possibly sentenced to five more years in prison if found guilty, but what about the chicken? Would it be “put down,” euthanized by a veterinarian, or what? No one is really talking about that. Where is PETA when you need them?

What they are talking about is “sodomy” and other homosexual acts. This is prison, after all, and most folks have heard scary rumors about what happens to innocent young boys in those showers when they drop the soap and get cornered by tattooed, muscle-bound bikers.

Not that such violent acts don’t happen, but consensual homosexual acts are much more prevalent. I can’t count the number “men” with shaved legs, plucked eyebrows, skintight hot-pants, and lisps, who’ve swished across prison yards over the years, or the number of “war daddies,” “boys,” “sissies,” and “punks,” who carry on their chain gang homosexual affairs in front of God, the guards, and fellow prisoners without shame. Many have “chain gang weddings” and carry on like husbands and wives, with young boys coming under their protection as members of the “family.”

But what happens when “mom and dad” are in the shower, doing the “wild thing,” when an employee strolls by making the rounds, pulls back the curtain and spies the couple “in flagrante delicto,” caught in the act? The Ick Factor is in effect, and forbids me from going into more graphic detail. To hear more about that, you’ll have to read, “Chain Gang Mating Rituals,’ copyright 2009.

In most cases nothing happens. The employee keeps walking, pretending nothing happened, and the prison lovers consummate their passion.

Trust me on this—it is “anything goes” in those showers. Not that I have ever partaken of such forbidden acts—I’m old fashioned, a diehard heterosexual—but many of these people are not very discreet. I’ve seen things and turned my head from sights I wish I’d never seen. But on the rare occasions when an employee witnesses such an act and decides to write up “disciplinary reports” against the offending parties, the worst punishment they could get would be sixty days in lockup and ninety days loss of gaintime. Compared to the love sicko who pulls out his “tool” and gets five more years in prison, it doesn’t seem fair.

Some say that the prison authorities favor and condone homosexuality. The truth is that guards and officials have always made use of and taken advantage of homosexuals, exploiting their vulnerabilities.

When I first went to Union C.I., Raiford, and wanted to get a cell change to another building, I was told right off the bat not to approach the sergeant in charge of housing. He would turn me down. Instead, I was told to buy a carton of “Kool’s” ($6.50 in those pre-tax days) and take them to the prison “runner,” who ran errands for the sergeant and acted as his “do-boy.”

The runner was a freakish-looking prison drag queen who accepted the offering of cigarettes and told me to go ahead and pack up property, the move was approved. Just like that.

That prisoner was under the protection of the sergeant, who allowed him to live his life as he chose in exchange for being his snitch and personal servant. He also earned a good living making moves, and if a couple wanted to hook up and become lovers, it was no easier said than done.

It was that way all over Raiford. The prison gays controlled various little fiefdoms, doing “the man’s” bidding in exchange for living their lives unmolested.

I’m not saying that what “gunslingers” do in the modern prisons isn’t detestable. It is. As more and more women go to work as guards, the worse it gets, it seems. Perverts are everywhere, and give the “normal” prisoners a bad reputation because of what they do. We are all tarred with the same brush.

The five-year felony charges for solo exhibitions arose after a number of female employees sued the state, fed up with being exposed to such acts of gunslingers, and little being done about it. Some male prison employees even thought it was funny. Those were usually men who didn’t agree with women working alongside them and earning the same pay, perhaps feeling that they didn’t earn it. I’m not going to get into all that.

I will say that it seems weird and unfair that the same prison employee who turned his head when he saw an act of sodomy would threaten to terminate someone’s visit because he was kissing his wife in the visiting park. That has happened. Bottom line—heterosexuals want equal rights, too!