When the Information Highway Was a Two Lane Road

White man sitting at computer

Before the internet, the information highway was a two lane road. If you didn’t have a chance to learn anything new in the last 15-20 years, where you even begin? If you went back just a few decades the world as we saw it moved at a much slower pace.

Even though Windows 95, with the first “mouse” came into some people’s lives in the 1990’s, the vast majority of homes did not have a computer. It was amazing! You could control a curser on the screen by moving this thing in your hand that was laying on the desk and click it to do things! Wow!! But there was no internet speed. You connected through phone lines. You had to “dial up” to surf the net, what little there was. The fun stuff hadn’t been created yet. Even when you could get online it was slow and you probably had a 486 computer and waited forever for a simple picture to slowly come in.

People knew NOTHING about what was going on in the next town let alone the world. We got a little bit on the evening news but young people weren’t watching it, we were hanging out at people’s houses, not hanging out in an app. Our lives were small. We called people on phones that plugged into a phone jack in the wall. The youth were clueless about politics. It wasn’t just the youth, either. People in general were clueless unless they heard about it on TV or read a newspaper. And it wasn’t that long ago. Everything changed so fast.

It took a long time before there was ONE computer in a home. Look what we have now. Too much information and no idea if what we learn is true or “Fake News” or if it comes from a person, a bot or another country that wants to do us harm. What can we believe? This technology keeps outpacing itself. Faster and faster everything changed as our computers learned to take over our lives.

Imagine for a moment that everything you learned because of using a computer – all of that knowledge – disappeared out of your brain. Vanished. Everything you learned, because you were connected to that technology was deleted. All of the people, your “friends” you’ve never actually met who “care” about you on Facebook, Instagram or other social media ceased to exist. The phrase “social media” would mean nothing. No shopping online. The thought of watching a movie on a computer would have you scratching your head. What would you be thinking RIGHT NOW if you had no chance to learn the things you have learned? Scary, right? You’d go into a panic if you couldn’t reach for your phone.

There is a reason I’m asking these questions. Jamie was locked up for 13.5 years. A couple months before he turned 22. He was locked up for 4 years before that from age 17-21. The year 2000. People weren’t spending their time with their face buried in a device. There were cell phones – to make phone calls. There were no screens on them and they weren’t connected to the internet.

So during all these changes, as a society we learned together and became connected to the world. We communicated with people all over the world. We learned how to access information through email, browsers, Google and a wide variety of apps. It’s easy for us to tap into this. We assume other people can tap into it, too.

In the past month I’ve had to stop myself when trying to explain to Jamie how to quickly find things on the internet through his phone. Simple concepts IF you know them. It’s like speaking Greek if you don’t.

“Type (such and such) in the browser.” I’d say.
“What’s a browser??” hmm

“Tap the Google app and do a search on…”
“How do you do that?”

“Did you get the links I sent to you in a message?”
“I don’t know how to find them. I saw them come up but I don’t know how to find them again.”

There many of these type questions. Can you imagine that the first computer you used is a tiny phone? You can’t learn how to use a computer on a phone. You can’t automatically know how it works. He couldn’t get links to work. I think now he wasn’t waiting long enough. How about explaining how to put phone numbers into contact information and calling people by tapping on their names instead of using their phone number? We didn’t get that far. It is hard to help him while talking to him at the same time.

I wanted him to read his blog – this one, but he said it wouldn’t come up. The same thing about hearing the music I recorded for the book. He said it wouldn’t play. That didn’t sound right. His brother gave him the wifi password. It turns out his phone is slow, or the Verizon connection using the free government phone with 200 free minutes is slow. I need to be able to connect with him online, video chat, go over things about the book. But I realized I first have to go back to the beginning. He has a lot to learn. He needs something bigger than a phone. I want to look for a used or refurbished laptop. Something that uses files so I can send him chapter files.

Jamie may be 36, but in many ways he isn’t. He doesn’t have the life experience of someone 36 and he needs to catch up with himself. There are many who have been locked up for longer than he was. There are people getting out of prison in their 60’s who have been locked up since their teens. Are they ever able to fill in the blanks?

He got through the prison years and his head is screwed on. I have to be confident he will be okay. But gaining wisdom through experience takes time and it often comes from your mistakes . Learning how to judge people and be wary of those around you – how do you teach that? It is a different America now and it tends to not be very friendly, especially in Southern States.

Jamie is in a completely different chapter of his life now – re-entry into society. The adjustment will take awhile, for both of us.

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Sonni Quick Piano Improv

Recent music I have recorded I have uploaded to this blog the past month. Please enjoy. You may have to install the SoundCloud app. There are so many non commercial musicians at this site. Recorded on a YAMAHA DGX650

Listen to The Music Tells The Story by Sonni Quick on #SoundCloud

Listen to I Have Nothing Left To Give by Sonni Quick on #SoundCloud

 

Sign up for my music mailing list at sonniquick.net

All music and videos are there.

 

One Foot After The Other (and Don’t Look Back)

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The only legacy of real value you leave behind when you leave this earth is the effect you had on other people. It is powerful because you can change lives – for the better or for the worse. Affecting someone’s life means they will affect others. Lift them up or drag them down. In that way you live on through others long after you are gone.

What you do, say and think always has a consequence. We see that work in a negative way when parents, teachers and preachers teach children to be prejudiced and judgemental toward others in many ways. They grow up to be racist adults, or teens who bully classmates they think are inferior. They were taught to think like that.

Instead, think about how you want to affect the world around you. Take responsibility for all you do and don’t blame others for your life. This is what I have taught Jamie. He is responsible for his life as we all are. I have tried to show him through example. I’ve tried to teach him what he had no chance learn going through his youth. I’m sure his mother loved him. That love is unconditional, but we can only teach what we know.

The more you give the more you get. You reap what you sow – what goes around comes around, no matter what faith you practice. I practice Nichiren Buddhism. It has taught me more about myself than any other teaching. It taught me compassion for all people, not just people you decide is worthy based on your chosen faith. It taught me how to live and I’m still alive – so I can finish what I’ve started.

Life has been upside down the past few months. I didn’t have time to put out a newsletter  because there are only so many hours in a day. Many people have followed the blog at My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison and read blog posts about the reality of prison and how it affected his Jamie’s state of mind. I hope to think that being there for him and  knowing someone cared, helped him get through days when he felt like giving up. He couldn’t understand why his family wasn’t there to help him go through the extreme loneliness of a prison cell.

When I tried to encourage letters and explained to his family how lost Jamie felt I was told, “Just because he got hisself in trouble doesn’t mean my life stopped.”

I was then told, ” I’m not going to answer this because you’re really starting to piss me off.”

“My telling you the truth pisses you off?” I replied. “If I am wrong about any of this, please tell me where.”

“Really, it’s not your concern,” I was told. “Jamie lies a lot.”
That’s a good one. It’s hard to keep a lie going for ten years, especially when there is no reason.

“It is my concern,” I replied. “Tell me what the lie is.”

Silence

I couldn’t understand that attitude. This came from a blog post I wrote 3 1/2 years ago, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother” These excerpts were taken from that post. It still brings me to tears. I was helping his brother and for that I got slapped down. How dare I care. He’s the father of my grandson but his welfare was not my concern. 

I do not write about this in the book. I don’t say how I feel. The book isn’t about them. The most I say is how lonely he is not understanding why no one writes to him and I don’t mention any names.

Trying to finish the book and making the money to pay an editor has been a challenge. Opening an online store to make money has been fun – but more expensive than I thought. I didn’t know what I was doing. I paid marketing companies for guidance. I worked it and now I think I have a nice looking store with good products and I work on getting it in front of people every day. Slowly sales are picking up. Now I’m building a new website around the store that will have more to offer than just items to buy to give it value. I’ve learned, though, that making money the first year in business is difficult. Just staying afloat with enough sales to cover overhead eats up the most of the hours in my day and all of the profit. Most business apps have monthly fees. There are fees on top of fees.

My health is declining. I’ve been fighting for more life for 20 years when Hep C was diagnosed. Everything that could go wrong, has. I was stupid in my early 20’s and through a boyfriend I did IV drugs. It didn’t last long, but it was too late. But everything happens for a reason. What has it taught me about myself? So much. Symptoms started in my mid 30’s. I have fought hard to stay alive and today cancer is showing its head – again –

Radiation on my head after ear removal

The ugly scar you can see part of near the bottom of the photo toward the left is a botched skin graft that was supposed to heal into a thin line that eventually would fade. It is 6 months old and painful to touch because it cut into nerves. It’s more than 3″ long and still inflamed. The Dr wants to shoot a bunch of needles off cortisone into it. That will be painful. The red ball on top of my ear that looks like a wad of gum is where my ear was cut off. The skin graft was supposed be fashioned into a place my glasses arm could rest. A kinda sorta ear . There is nowhere now to put an arm from glasses. The bandaid is the biopsy site where the lump is. But hey! My hair color is real!

I’ve had several issues with cancer. Liver cancer and skin cancer – common with liver transplant patients. Which was in 2012. In Oct 2018  I had skin cancer and a pie wedge was cut out of one ear. It didn’t stop in January I ended up the top half of that ear cut off. “I am confident I got it all,” the Dr said. But he didn’t. I had radiation and it burnt off the hair on the side of the head. It didn’t stop it. Now it is spreading  internally and I have a lump on my neck. On July 15th I am having surgery – a neck dissection – to cut out all of the lymph nodes on the side and back of my neck and more radiation. If it spread further then it’s chemo time. My body can’t fight it because I’m on anti- rejection meds to suppress my immune system to keep the liver. I have lived so far for a reason.

My transplant doctor told me they lose more transplant patients because of squamous cell carcinoma than anything else. The fight is on.

I say this only because. . . I don’t know why I’m saying it other than it has complicated my life further and I’m trying to figure out where to put it in my head. I spent 12 years writing to him and 3.5 years writing this book and recording the music and videos to promote it. It’s given me a reason to keep going. I have to finish it.

last-note-2-sm

I wanted to write this book for the many people who have been through prison and understand the psychological effects of long term isolation. I want the profit from the sale of the book to help Jamie start his life again and be a father to his son, my grandson. Certain people have tried to turn this into something ugly. People enjoy negative gossip. They have no idea what this book is about. They have never read it or asked about it, but they’ve known I’ve been writing it.

Now Jamie is out, and the book isn’t complete yet. I need money and I’m stressing over the lack of it. I need to pay professional editors to work with me. This is why I started the store. Thank goodness he didn’t have to do the entire sentence and was paroled four years early. Now he can see his son, his only child.

I had just finished radiation from the last surgery and I couldn’t be there when he got out. No one was there. For thirteen years he was “Inside The Forbidden Outside. ” It was his first time being on the outside and he had to take a bus to his brother’s house. He had no way to call me even if he could. I was on a train headed back home because I found a lump on my neck.

A friend of 40 years, another musician, also a Nichiren Buddhist (and my 2nd ex-husband) suggested I start a gofundme campaign. It is really hard to ask for money. He told me there would be people who understood. I was amazed because I already have had a couple contributions. If you read the campaign you’ll see I will be sending them a free copy of the book and music when it’s published.

I estimate I have about 6 chapters to rewrite. This is the 2nd draft. With a story editor to guide me I’m sure there will be revisions. I can’t put out a book that is less than professional. There is also sequel planned, because this book only goes in time from 2006 to 2016. The sequel picks up there and goes through getting out and re-entry. Cancer isn’t going to stop me from finishing. But maybe, because of what is happening I should extend the chapters beyond 2016.

A BIT OF JAMIE’S EARLY LIFE, BEFORE PRISON.

To understand Jamie’s story a little more if you haven’t been to the blog and read the pages at the top ot any early affiliates

Jamie  spent so much of his life removed from society, never learning how life works. Four years in juvenile detention starting late in his 16th year, to keep his little brother from being sentenced after hitting a cop with a broom when he forced his way into their home. The cop knocked down their mother and broke her wrist. They wanted to send a little boy to juvenile detention for defending his mother because someone needed to be responsible and it just wasn’t going to be the cop. There have been many articles in the media showing cops doing the exact same thing to other families, but back then in the late ’90s the internet wasn’t what it is today.

The attorney convinced Jamie to do his brother’s nine month sentence, except they had no intention of letting him leave until he was 21. By then he was so depressed he was kept in a different facility far from home for incarcerated youth with mental issues. Epileptic seizures and having no family near was wrong.  He lost the rest of his youth and high school years. When was he supposed to develope the wisdom and social skills he needed to understand to get through life. Who were the right people to be friends with? So he picked the wrong people to be friends with. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong friends put him in prison before his son was born. I took care of my daughter until my grandson was a year old when she left to go back to Texas.

I helped Jamie through his prison sentence because everyone in his life who should have been there for him – wasn’t. No one helped him after the first year.  Letters and visits were as rare as snowstorms are in Texas. Money for things he needed, such as stamps and hygiene products or paying his medical fees were paid by me as well as books to read, extra food, ( he’s a big man) and even candy to bribe the guards.

Our letters are a journey through what went on his head. The emotional toll. He suffered through the heat with no air conditioning – summers when he passed out from the heat, and when guards cuffed his wrists and legs during a seizure, or when 5 guards picked him up and rammed his head into a wall or wouldn’t let him see a dentist when his impacted wisdom teeth got infected.

I will be there for him to lean on until his knowledge and experiencecatches up with his 36 years and he is a confident, strong man with a life of purpose.

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Jamie’s T-shirt and Tote bag For Sale

Help raise funds to help Jamie.

The shirts is also available at watchandwhirlshop.com

The tote bag will need to be listed but you can get it here. Help support finishing the book which will enable Jamie to survive. He has yet to take a GED class until his parole officer approves.

All profit above expenses will go into an account for him to first get a laptop. He doesn’t know how to use one and doesn’t know anything about the internet. Learning on a phone is a nightmare and he is frustrated. Mobile devises are good only if you already know what a file is and how to store and find things. Anyone have a used one for sale or donation?

Donation

Any donation from $1 up is welcome.

$1.00

Tote Bag

Yellow cotton 14″ x17″

$14.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

T-Shirt adult Sm

$19.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

Adult XX light weight cotton

$21.95

T-Shirt – XL

T-Shirt Adult XL

$19.95

T-Shirt – LG

T-Shirt adult Lg

$19.95

White t- shirt proof

T-shirt – Adult Med

T-Shirt Adult Med

$19.95

 

There is no shipping charge for orders inside the US. For orders outside the US contact me at squick@mynameisjamie.net. Depending on the country you reside in there will be an additional ship charge of what is beyond the included shipping and handling charge already included in the price for US orders.

How to Do Six things at The Same Time (and stay sane)

This is a new video made to advertise my store slowly it comes together.

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Is it possible to do that? Six things at one time? I don’t think I have ever been so busy in my life with more to do than is human possible without something (or a few things) falling through the cracks. For three months I have nearly seen up from down. I had no idea that opening an e-commerce business was going to consume my entire life. I had no idea how much I would have to learn to make it happen.

The reason for starting the business was realizing I was barely surviving after paying the bills with only a disability check ( and my husband’s meager social security). There were things I needed and I couldn’t pay for them. (new glasses since I’m missing a left ear to hang them on most it was cut off because of cancer, and medications ruined my teeth and I need dentures) so how was I going to pay an editor to help get the book ready?

Okay, “STOP” I told myself. Reorganize. What do I need to do the most to keep it going in a forward motion. I needed to make money. For three years I have been writing and rewriting the chapters of the book, Inside The Forbidden Outside and recorded the music for it. I’ve seen ads, “Write a book in 90 days”. They must be nuts. You can’t write a good book that fast.

It took hours of every day to promote everything I’m doing – everywhere. Social media consumed time like a high powered vacuum cleaner sucking up every second. I had to promote the music. Those websites also demand time to develop a following. Comments are left that need to be answered. Thousands of people know who he is and know at least part of his story. I have to finish the book.

It has been a wonderful journey. Caring about someone else’s life gave meaning to my own life. When I got the idea to write a book about him, after we had already been writing for years, I had no idea what it would take. I only knew I needed to do it. I love to write – but writing a book takes more knowledge and dedication than writing a blog post. Thank goodness we had so many letters between us. At least 800. They are a journal and a way into his mind to understand the trauma. Piecing our letters together as we answered each other’s letters has taken time to present it out clearly.

After the first draft I realized it was missing something – a sense of following time – One chapter leading to the next. I started writing again, and rewrote again and sometimes again as I studied the art of writing. During these years Jamie was inside I went through more than one medical issues which left me with the time to work non stop on not only the book, but the blog and music even if I had to do it from bed.

I knew I had a good book that many could relate to. So many millions of people could relate to it because the United States has locked up so many people in prison for extraordinary lengths of time whether they deserved it or not. Prison corporations and investors were literally making a killing from imprisoning as many people as they could. Even though all races were vulnerable, the bulk of the inmates came from black people because they were unable to fight back by hiring attorneys. They relied on offering plea deals, forcing everyone to admit to guilt or their sentence would take up the rest of their life. What would you do.

I kept on writing and promoting. I wake in the (late) morning and work on different aspects – just as I am doing now because I’ve had less time to write blog posts and keep up my newsletter – until I quit falling out of my chair when it starts to get light.

In February of this year I realized I needed another avenue of money. I saw an ad about starting an ecommerce store and thought it was something I could do. But wanting to do a business and have it fully functioning with paying customers was a HUGE commitment of time to not only learn what to do, but applying that knowledge to make it work. I had no idea what I was doing. I can see today how far I’ve come but it has a long way to go.

I started out doing eBay. It has become much more sophisticated and professional in recent years.  This was my third time in 17 years). ebay.com/str/watchandwhirlshop That in itself is a full time job. Creating listings, and learning what to do to get noticed along the powers is mindblowing. I lost thousands of feedback numbers because I could no longer get into my old email address.

Of course you have to monitor everything, re-list and try new ideas if it doesn’t sell, communicate with people and ship things, or order from a dropshipper. At the same time I opened a store at watchandwhirl.ecwid.com which is the shipping cart, the hub for any other stores I open in different locations. I also connected it to a new Facebook store. It took days to get the business connected. On top of that I had to learn Facebook marketing. So in all I have three stores with the same storefront.

watchandwhirlShop

Everything online has a fee. Every app has a monthly fee. I have an ebay store fee, with a seller fee and a PayPal fee. There ecwid fee where all the products are, an app that integrates the product and sends it to every store location – it has a fee. Every single thing you need to operate a business has a fee. Then you need a resale license, and another service to do your expenses and taxes and that has a fee. OMG!! I’m the only one who doesn’t collect a fee from myself!

Most recently I am learning how to put a website together that is more than just an online store. A place people will want to come back to for more than just to buy something. I have a vision of what it will be, I just have to learn how to do it. It is like learning how to speak a language when you don’t know what it sounds like. You can see what I’ve done so far at watchandwhirlshop.com

I have to do all of this by myself. My husband is clueless about the things I do, but he does other things. Clean the kitchen, the shopping ( he spends less) takes packages to the post office, drives me to doctor appts, and keeps my ancient laptop running. He’ll do anything I ask as long as it doesn’t involve sex! Oh well, it is what it is.

I’m not making real profit yet, but most businesses in their first year don’t make money. They just try to stay in the game. But in the meantime, I have a book to finish, and still have no money to do that.

Now that jamie has been paroled, (my next post will catch up with what is going on with his life) – it is more important than ever to finish and get it published. I am printing out the manuscript, as it stands today, for him to read. He has read some of it, but not all. Inmates were setting fires at the prison. He had to give them all of his letters, anything paper and I’m sure that included the manuscript. My letters, too. But I have copies of mine archived at jpay.com, the email system for prisons.

Gofundme Campaign

I recently started a fundraising campaign at gofundme. A friend told me I should. He said there are people that would understand what I’m trying to do. I know a lot of people can’t, but if you could share that keeps it circulating the universe. This week I have been putting it everywhere I can, but still thinking, why would someone send me money? I wasn’t catestrophically ill (although I am fighting cancer – again. I was at the hospital three days ago for a biopsy and CT scan for a swollen lymph node on my neck. I find out in 3 days). Nothing bad happened. But still I was trying. Two people this week sent their hard earned money to me. $70. It’s Amazing how many people are barely surviving. All the hype about making America great again isn’t meant for those struggling. Oh well, enough about that today 😢

It takes a lot of time to do this, too, letting people now. I’m fortunate to have places like this I can put this on. I was humbled that these people sent money.  I can’t let them down. They will both be getting free books when it is done. It is a way I can pay them back for believing in me.

So I will continue to fight to finish this book. I believe it is the most important think I’ve done that would not have been possible without everything I have learned in my 65 years of living. There is a reason for everything. Who we are is no accident. We are the product of every decision we ever made. Good decisions and bad decisions all count. We can fight or we can give up. We can take responsibility or we can blame others. Those are our choices.

Thanks for reading.

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The company that made this video for the store, and other print ads and had one of their associates guide me along way is Business Ventures Online. I recommend using them if you have a business you’d like to get off the ground. Just tell them Sonni sent you !

Walking The Halls of My Mind

Listen to Walking The Halls of My Mind by Sonni Quick on #SoundCloud

With the opening of my stores it has taken me time than I thought it would having to learn so much about marketing and advertising. I haven’t kept my blog up as w well as I should have, but there are only so many hours in a day.

This is music recorded for the book I’m writing. Let me know what you think. You can stream the tracks on SoundCloud or at my website. sonniquick.net 

Surviving After-Inside the Forbidden Outside-GoFundMe

 

Click on the link below to go to the actual Gofundme campaign page. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/surviving-after-quotinside-the-forbidden-outsidequot&rcid=r01-156113009536-8d936ff586f5470e&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m

<<< >>>

I need help to help someone else. For twelve years I was the only one who cared enough to help this man. It has taken a lot for me to ask for it. But I can’t do what I need to do without it. Here is my story:

The video explains who Jamie Cummings is and the book I am writing, Inside the Forbidden Outside, along with recording a music soundtrack of original piano improvisations for each chapter as well as music videos you can find on Youtube. This music aids the journey just as music accompanies a movie. I may be naive but I can see this story as a Hulu or Netflix series as the chapters go through quite a few prisons he was sent to around Texas. The feedback I have gotten from many people who have experienced even part of what I have written has been overwelming. There have been hundreds of comments.

The book and music take the reader inside Jamie’s head to experience the emotional trauma living quite a number of the 13 years inside a solitary cell in adseg, administrative segregation, a fancy word for solitary where he spent most of the years. I am 2/3 through the second draft as I have finetuned the story. You can read chapters at mynameisjame.net .

The music soundtrack makes this book unique. You can stream it at sonniquick.net  The book cover is done and is at the beginning of of every post at the blog that is a chapter. I also opened an online store to make money, but it is new and it takes awhile to cultivate a customer base. It is only for the continental US so far.  You can see it at Watch and Whirl Shop

This story needs to be told. It isn’t unique. It is the story of many people locked up who couldn’t afford an attorney. I wanted this to be complete before he got out, but he was unexpectedly paroled 2 weeks ago and had to go stay with family who had done little for him through the years. The proceeds from the book will help him be able to start his life. 36 years old with the life experiences of a teenager.

It tells the story of what severe deprivation can do to a human being. It goes through medical crises in prison caused by inadequate medical care and having epilepsy. You can feel the depth of his depression at not being able to see his only child, born after he was incarcerated, and his loneliness waiting for someone to visit who rarely came.

No one would take his son to see him. He was afraid he would hate him because he was locked up. I went to Texas every couple years, but I couldn’t go enough. So we wrote many hundreds of letters, his diary of sorts. As I near completion I have no way to pay a professional editor to look it over.

I can’t let him down. I promised I’d be there – to help him get an education, help guide him, help him find a way to survive. To help write the sequel, have him help with the business end, get him a computer and teach him how to make money online, and learn how to help others. He is the father of my grandson. He is family more than most of my own family. We have been there for each others through letters and they would break your heart.

I am on disability and have been recently fighting cancer – again. The video you saw was made early this year before I started treatment again. I have been unable to get to Texas to see him since 10/17. I have been determined to finish the book, but I have read too many self-edited books to take a chance with its success because I couldn’t see something wrong.

A couple months ago I went online to the TDCJ website – Texas Department of Criminal Justice – and found out he was approved for parole. They hadn’t even told him. 2 weeks ago he walked out the doors, with an ankle monitor. There was no one there to meet him. I had known no one would be there for him. I wanted so much to be there but it happened so fast I couldn’t. He was parole to the outside without any preparation. He made his way by bus to his brother’s house who had only visited him once in ten years.

The money I want to raise isn’t for me. I have tried to do this on my own.  A friend recommended I try this site to raise the money.  I want to go to Texas to go over the manuscript with him. He needs a laptop to work with me as I write the last chapters before editing. I have 70,000 words. I estimate it will end at 95,000 words. Writing through the years I am at 2012. It ends at 2016. The sequel picks up from there and goes through re-entry and all of its issues.

Thank you for any help you can give. I make this promise. The names of every single person who helps will be listed in the book. With any donation of $15 I will send you a free ebook and music when it is published and with $25 or more I will send you a signed copy of the book and downloadable copy of the album. I will give anyone who asks, a record of how the money was spent.

 

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

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Trump claims that 2 years of investigation by Meuller was too long, yet William Barr is starting an investigation that is all over the map with one goal in mind, support Trump no matter what and endlessly tie things up until long after he has anymore control over this country.

But the law of cause and effect – you reap what you sow – is very strict. We can’t pick and choose whether we get effects from the things we do and say. Trump will go down in history, not as a great president, but as the leader of the destructive driving forces in this day and age that bring down our country on all levels.

Our planet will have little hope of healing itself because of the ignorance of climate science espoused by the deluded science expert in the White House who thinks his gut is more intelligent than those with the education to back what they say. If you don’t want to believe our climate stability is in deep trouble you can decide to believe the words of someone who tells you what you want to hear – if you are willing to live through the consequences.

If you want to believe an homogenized all-white America is a good thing, then you must also think “the land of the free, home of the brave” is just a nice sounding slogan. People who have lived in the country, often for decades or generations, have no place in this white society of which the GOP dreams. How could anyone want this? Many good people are excluded while organizations flourish as they cheer for a white society. And this cake itself a Christian nation?

How do I know this? Because Republican citizens by and large ignore commenting on any subject that calls into question how it would reflect on them. They don’t want to be seen ss personally destroying the lives of minorities. They want to be thought of as good Americans. Their arguments are defenseless.

Abortion has always been their go-to subject. Concern primarily lies with the fertilized egg. It has rights! Fertilized eggs need attorneys! The are people. We must save every last one and even make mothers have funerals for miscarriages.

Should the mother get the death penalty? Can she prove she didn’t actively try to miscarry? Should they have death certificates and be named? OMG what pain might the fetus feel – until it is born. After that they wash their hands of it. It doesn’t matter if they are abused, fed or educated. That is the parents responsibility, even if the fertilized egg came to life because a father raped his 10 year old daughter. Not their problem! They only needed to make sure it was born. To hell with it after that. Go save the next fertilized egg.

We want to say America is a free nation. “Make America Great Again,” but only if the GOP can control what other people do and stifle their freedom while doing it. Republicans want less government regulation, unless it is something they think they have the right to control. What hypocrisy!

You can choose to not believe this is happening, but our grandchildren will have to live with it as well as the many combinations of races of people who make up our country who are trying to survive in an unwelcoming atmophere, even though many of these families have lived here for many generations. These people, who are less than snowy white are people the Republicans believe are inferior to the white European mix of nationalities. Only white people call the cops when they think someone is infringing on a space they think they shouldn’t be, even if they are in their own front yard.

My family used to be all-white. Now it has a mix of Choctaw Indian, African black, Island black and Hispanic. The GOP thinks my family is no longer worthy in taking part in the say so of this country. My family’s vote should not have the significance it used to have because genetically we are not “real” Americans any longer – according to rich white men who think they carry greater intelligence and should now make and enforce the laws. They believe they are superior.

That is the white male fear – that they will fall off their precarious, self-made pedestal and the minorities $ will rise up and say, “No more” will take over. God forbid!!! So Republicans are working feverishly to impose laws to benefit themselves, made even more evident to everyone after the midterms. They thumb their noses at their own hypocrisy.

Republican citizens will pay for this as well as everyone else for their blind ignorance believing the GOP has their best interest at heart, but they aren’t rich enough to matter. If you do not delve deeper into understanding what is happening and stop reading conservative soundbites as your news and education you can kiss goodbye any freedom you may still have. Let’s see if God can save the hateful, bigoted, self-serving “Christian” politicians who have fine tuned their own brand of Christianity used to control people they think should not have an equal say in our country. Only white men are good enough for that, as they have clearly said.

This is not about supporting a democratic nominee instead of Republican. This is about understanding what the GOP wants for America as a collective body. The abomination sitting in the White House, whose life is built on lies and immaturity and his active destruction of anyone or any agency that doesn’t bow to his authority goes against the very foundation of who we are, or who we used to be. There is very little left of what made this country great, and most of that is only in our imagination because we want to think of America as the land of the free and home of the brave – a nation of good people. That is gone. The good people are no match for the evil that presides.

Much of the world despises us because of the harm we done. Having an “America First” attitude which is really saying, “F*** Y**” has destroyed any good will we had left. Trump’s personal nature is an affront to humanity. If you can’t see that and instead try to change the subject to a Democrat you think need investigating, then you purposely choose to remain ignorant. Maybe it is the ego that won’t allow you to voice what you think of Trump – the man. Maybe you think it doesn’t matter.

To me, these people are an enemy of my country along with every other white nationalistic group that wants to control or rid the country of color, control women and minorities, as well as normalize rape and incest and fetuses that grow from that violence, destroy public education, destroy healthcare and medicine availability, allow unprecedented poisons in our air, water and food with little repercussions to corporations slowly killing us. Destroying or changing history and teaching fallacies to our children, using incarceration for profit that destroy families, keeping black people from voting against the laws that unfairly incarcerated them. The list is too long to print. But these are the things you approve of when you support the GOP.

So goodbye to you and good riddance.

I had written this originally for Facebook but edited it and published it at DailyKos.com: 

Is it Rain or Tears – Chapter – ITFO – repost

Last Note 2 sm

 

This is an early chapter in the book I am finishing. what a journey it has been. In this chapter Jamie is still at the jail after his arrest, before he is sent to the first prison in LaMesa, Texas. He is having problems coping. I haven’t had enough time for writing blog posts, so for those who are new to Jamie’s story – this chapter is important.

 

Is it Rain or Tears?

 

“You need to flush the goddamn toilet. You can’t leave it like that,” Jamie exploded. He raised his voice louder than the sound in the room, yelling at the man walking away from him.
     He was tired of smelling everyone’s crap. Some men have the worst toilet habits like they we’re raised by animals. They can’t flush or wipe the seat if they mess it up. The next man has to clean it, if it matters enough to him.
     Jamie bit his lower lip between his teeth, forcing himself to not throw another insult at the man walking across the room, through the isles of stacked beds. Low man on the totem pole, a newcomer to this dormitory, he got stuck in the back of the room near the toilets. The only other overwhelming smell was pungent disinfection. It got poured on everything.
     Being here was getting to him. It was too soon to let it affect his behavior. He had too find a way to keep it together. The thought of not breathing free air for seventeen years was depressing beyond words. Knowing the woman he loved was getting bigger, waiting for the birth of a son he would not be able to see, was the cruelest joke life could play on him.
       This was only the beginning of his sentence. He didn’t know how he was going to get through to the end. He was tired of this crazy old asshole coming to the back of the dorm which held dozens of bunks with men reading, sleeping or playing cards, and then leave a dump for him and everyone else to smell.
     Jamie’s bunk was in the back near the toilets, and they smelled ungodly rank. If someone was going to take a dump they’d better have the decency to flush. He was losing his tolerance for ignorance as well as losing his emotional self control. He was often angry. Angry about being here. Angry because he couldn’t change it and angry at himself for screwing up.
      It wasn’t as if the janitor came in to clean every day, or even every week. No one wanted to get up and flush the damn toilet for someone else. Some dudes think they can intimidate weaker ones as if they were some stinking ‘King of the Hill’ in a child’s game. Jamie had had enough.
      “Didn’t yo’ mama ever teach you no manners?” Jamie yelled sarcastically across the room, deliberately provoking him.
      “Oh, yeah?” This dude was clearly not liking that Jamie had the guts to get in his face. He turned around and started strutting toward him with the bowed legs of a gorilla, acting as if he thought his shit didn’t stink. “You have anything else you wanna say about my mama?”
     Jamie immediately felt sorry for the woman who gave birth to this lowlife. He must have been a joy as a kid. He clearly wanted to use this as a reason to pound somebody’s head in and thought Jamie was his next likely victim. He didn’t know what a mistake that was gonna be.
     “Da-amn,” Jamie muttered under his breath in two syllables. He was going to have to make good on what he said. He got himself together and slowly stood up. He wasn’t going to get caught off-guard sitting down.
     “Oh well.” It hadn’t been a good day so far, anyway. He might as well make it worse.

     “Oh, and you think I need to flush the toilet?” He laughed. Jamie smiled.

     As he closed the gap he spoke these words with a pause between each word. In a menacing way he walked toward him with slow, deliberate steps, trying to look more dangerous than he was capable of pulling off. Maybe ten years ago he could have, but not now. He might have scared some of the smaller men but he didn’t scare Jamie. 
     “Make me,” the man taunted him.
     He had the look of injecting too many steroids a couple decades ago and the hard muscles were turning to flab.
     “You and who else?” he demanded from Jamie. He looked like he had been in a few too many bar brawls already. Jamie didn’t care. He was strong and he knew how to take care of himself. Besides, he already had a seventeen year sentence. They couldn’t do much more to him they haven’t already done.
     The man walked over to a mop sticking up from a rolling bucket someone had left propped up and leaning against the wall. He grabbed the stick at both ends and broke it in half over his thigh. He raised the stick in his right hand, ready to swing it at Jamie’s head when he got closer.
     “Come on, mama’s boy,” the man bent forward and growled at him. “Show me what ya got.” He motioned with his fingers to come and get him.

The man would sorely regret those words. He lunged at Jamie, who beat the crap out of him all the way from the toilets, through the overcrowded room, past the open mouths of men on the bunks who were startled out of their boredom, to the locked door that led to the hall.
     Once Jamie got started he lost control and took all of his pent up frustration out on that loudmouthed son of a bitch who was never taught any manners by his mama. He knew some now, that was for sure.

Jamie didn’t quit beating him until the guards pulled him off. An ambulance arrived at the jail and took the man to a hospital. Jamie was taken to solitary confinement.
     “He’s the one who came at me,” Jamie tried to explain to the guard who cuffed his wrists behind his back and walked him to his new living quarters. The guard didn’t give a shit who started the fight.
      “So you decided to put him in the hospital?”
     “Maybe he’ll learn some manners in there, like knowing when to flush a toilet,” Jamie said under his breath.
      “What did you just say?” the guard snapped back.
      Jamie shook his head, “Nothin’.”
     “I didn’t think so,” the guard replied with as much sarcasm as he could muster.
    “You’re gonna to be staying here in this hotel room until you’re moved.” He seemed to take great pleasure in saying this to Jamie, but Jamie didn’t get upset.
     “How long will that be?” Jamie asked.
     “Where will they be sending me?” he added.
     His questions hung in the air unanswered. The guard probably didn’t know where he would be sent so it was pointless to ask again. He walked out of the cell and slammed the door. Jamie heard the sound of the lock turning. He motioned for him to back up to the small opening in the door and stick his wrists out so his cuffs could be unlocked. A second guard stood right outside the cell door making sure nothing happened.
     Jamie rubbed his wrists to get the circulation going. The cuffs had been put on as tight as possible. They wanted him to know they could do anything to him they wanted and he could do nothing about it. They weren’t going to take any chances  now they knew he had a temper.             

Jamie hadn’t meant to hurt the dude so bad. He couldn’t stop once he got started. The anger for everything that happened had been building up with no way to release it. He had to get it out.
     He had been in this jail for months waiting to see what was going to happen next. Nobody told him nothing. It was like they didn’t want to let him know what was going on. Keep him in the dark. He got some letters from Morgan who told him how his family was doing. He didn’t hear much from them himself. He did in the beginning. They were probably afraid he would ask them for money for the commissary. If they didn’t write to him they couldn’t say no. Their silence told him a lot. He was on his own.

    Morgan told him over and over she would wait for him. It was the only hope he had and he was hanging on to it for dear life. If he lost her and the baby he would have nothing to live for. He waited for every letter like it was the last letter he would get, afraid she would go on without him. Every day that passed with no letter broke him into smaller pieces. When his name was called a mail time it gave him a reason to hang on. One day at a time. That’s all he had. It wasn’t much.
     On the far end of Jamie’s 5′ by 9′ cell was a raised cement slab with no mattress that was supposed to be his bed. Not even a two inch piece of foam covered it. A folded, rancid smelling blanket was at one end. He doubted it had ever been washed. It was another way to break the inmates. Take away their humanity until they feel worthless. There was a toilet with no lid and a sink with only cold running water. A nearly empty roll of toilet paper balanced on the edge.
     If he thought the toilets smelled bad in the dormitory, that wasn’t even close to the smell in here. There was a permanent smell of piss and Lysol with the added odor of vomit and a backed up toilet that had never been cleaned. He was pretty anal about being clean, especially in this place, so this smell was an insult to his senses. 
    There was a grimy piece of polished steel for a mirror, screwed to the wall above the sink. Someone must have punched it. It was so scratched and dented it was almost impossible to see his reflection.
    A bare lightbulb stuck out from the wall next to the sink. He supposed that light was never turned off so the guards on the outside could look inside and check up on whoever was there. They didn’t have any privacy. They could watch you take a crap if they wanted to, just to embarrass you. It was a low wattage bulb, hardly enough to read by, if he had anything to read. So far no one brought him his stuff. How long would they keep him in here?
     Maybe he was better off here for awhile. Give him time to think. He needed to get his head together and figure out how he was going to handle this sentence. He couldn’t be fixin’ to beat the crap out of everyone who pissed him off. Besides, maybe if he was really good and caused no trouble they would let him out early.
     Jamie went over to the cement slab and laid down, folding his arms behind his head. There was nowhere else to sit but the floor and he didn’t think he wanted to get that close to it.
     He looked up to see a vertical, narrow window too high up to stand and look out, and too grimy to see anything. The light let him know it was still daytime. It was never daytime inside. In solitary you never knew if out was night or day if there wasn’t a window. That added to confusion and a feeling of being off balance.
     He could hear the sound of rain beating against the wire-enforced glass. When he closed his eyes and listened, the sound of the rain relaxed him. It was peaceful against the thoughts and emotions still raging through his brain. It helped clear the bad thoughts away and he felt himself begin to drift off to sleep.
     Jamie couldn’t stop his raw emotions from coming to the surface. One tear fell down the side of his face to his ear. The wetness joined with the sound of the rain running down the window pane.

 

 

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Are White Men Freed After Unjust Decades in Prison?

Are white men today being freed from prison, their verdicts overturned because they were unjustly accused? Because the only accounts I read are of black men, and it takes 20-40 years to get that freedom. I think most recently of Patrick Pursely, someone I knew through through Facebook as he awaited his new trial. I’m not talking about people who got out on parole, but people who were never guilty in the first place. It is a long list.

sad_man

Today, while reading comments on my Facebook page, My Name is Jamie, there was a post about a black man who was finally released from prison after being wrongfully convicted after 40 years. A women wrote a comment about how horrible it was to go through that. A man replied to her comment and said, “It happens to white people, too, sweetie.” The term of endearment he used was intentionally inappropriate. I won’t go further into that at this time.

I went on a search. Were there multiple white people losing decades of their lives, too, because of false testimony and I just didn’t know about it? Did I unfairly think it was  black men who were being locked away with extremely long sentences because of unfair court convictions based on suppressed evidence along with a racist injustice system that doesn’t want the truth, perpetuated by racist cops wanting to get those “Ns” locked up and off the street?

In Google search I typed the words (in different ways) “White people freed from prison after decades”. At the top of the search there was an account of a white man freed after 39 years and awarded over $21 million. He was able to buy a new home and travel. 

I went to the next article. It had a number of white people in the picture and at the bottom was the head of a black man. That is who the article was about, not the white people in the photo.

I went to the next one on the list. But this was about a black man. So was the next one. I reworded my search and tried again because I wanted to know who the white men were who unfairly lost a major portion of their lives and then finally were released. I reworded my query yet again. The same list of men was brought up time and again.

I use Google a lot to learn things. When they run out of the matches to your search they will bring up “close” matches. In this case it was people of any race being released from prison, so after ONE example it started giving me black men. No other race. Only black men.

One of these black men was waiting for a $2 million settlement, and while he waited he depends on friends and $80 in food stamps (snap). Black men don’t get $21 million. If anyone knows of any other settlement else please leave me a comment and a link.

There is a difference in the way black people and white people are convicted. I am not  talking about getting a conviction overturned after a few years. I am talking about DECADES OF LOSS OF PRODUCTIVE LIFE AND LOSS OF FAMILY. Intentional imprisonment because he is black where often knowingly suppressing evidence was used to get that conviction along with the refusal to hear evidence that would have freed him.

So I need your help. Can ANYONE give examples to show the man who says it happens to white people, too? And any examples of money paid out that come come within $20 million of what this white guy got? Which means any payout over $200k. Put it in a visitors post and I’ll publish it. We need to dispel any thought that the prison system is equal for Blacks and Whites.

While still searching as I write this I found this white woman:  https://www.cnn.com/videos/crime/2014/10/11/dnt-ca-woman-freed-after-17-years.ktla/video/playlists/freed-from-prison/.

So that makes two. No one should be unjustly incarcerated. But it doesn’t compare with the unjust incarceration of the black race. Nearly 100% of sentences overturned each year are black man through a stacked and racist justice system.

Cop killers of black men who use the justification, “I was afraid for my life,” when they shoot and kill black people, and those who beat the crap out of both men and women, have been used in the killing of black people, NOT white people. I  don’t know of one case where cops used that phrase when dealing with white people. If you know of any please let me know. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The justice system needs to change. White attitudes need to change. It’s a tired story still being used and anyone still using it in the belief their race is “better” should be ashamed. Racists in all walks of life are the ones are the inferior people.