The Falling Rain – Chapter from Inside The Forbidden Outside

Last Note 2 sm

 

THE FALLING RAIN

“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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There is No Justice For Inmates

 

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No Justice For Inmates

This is a reprint of a post dated Feb 14, 2014

Four years ago. Four very long years. But at least they are past. Unless paroled, he has five to go.  I would like to be optimistic for him but the odds are not on his side. Not having a supportive family or a place to go provided, the book and music I am writing would need to be widely successful to make enough money to help him get started. Have you ever known when you just had to do something and it was the most important thing in your life to do? Everything you learned up to this point was so you could take care of that very thing? That is how I feel about my writing and my music or I could never spend the hours I do every day to do it.

The only thing that changed, is three years ago Jamie was moved from Wynne Unit in Huntsville to Allred Unit in Iowa Park. Both in Texas. He was physically abused and beat in Wynne Unit. They had put him in solitary for a bogus reason I won’t get into now. They took everything away from him including his mattress and he had staples in his head because they ran it into a wall. After talking to the warden, who told me the guards had filed thirteen sexual harassment cases against him, and his guards wouldn’t lie (choke), Jamie knew he needed to find a way to get transferred out of Wynne.

One step up from solitary confinement is Adseg. The added privilege is being taken to the commissary once a month. They had no open cells in G5 (which is another name for adseg) So he threatened a guard. It was the only way to get moved. I talked to Allred after he was moved because he didn’t get his property for a couple months. The woman I talked to said she understood he was moved for his safety and he will get his property when there are other inmates who need things moved, too. Some things were replaced with broken items or were missing entirely. Who was he going to complain to? Because he had to be moved, they said he would have to do one year in adseg – in a cell by himself where food is brought to you and it is rare to get out of your cell. Three years have gone by and he is still in adseg, always told twice a year he had to do another six months. In March there is another assessment. Will he get moved up?
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sc cell
Mom,
They are starving us. I don’t know how they get away with this but they do. We can’t do anything about it. They put us all on lockdown again. Not because we did anything but because they want to toss our cells looking for weapons and drugs. One time they planted a weapon in my cell. They put a homemade knife on the sink. I was really surprised and mad when they “found” it. Even if I had made the knife, would I have been stupid enough to leave it out on the sink when I knew they were going to toss my cell looking for weapons? It had to be a guard. They try to get you in trouble and keep you down. It doesn’t matter if you are guilty of doing something in here, they will make sure you are guilty. It’s your word against theirs, and you can’t win.

We’re on our second week of lockdown. This is the hardest one I’ve gone through. By law they are supposed to feed you a hot meal every three days but they do what they want to anyone in a white suit, which is us. They are feeding us what they call a peanut butter sandwich which is a half spoon of peanut butter on bread. They only give us a half spoon because they are trying to stretch it out to last longer. It saves them money. They stretch it more by adding some really nasty soup or applesauce that makes me gag. But I have no choice. I have to eat it or I get nothing. I’ve heard that it costs $40,000 a year for each inmate, to keep us here. Where does the money go because it sure isn’t spent on us. Once in a while we get a meat sandwich or cornbread. Sometimes prunes or raisins. In the morning we get two biscuits with a half spoon of peanut butter or maybe two pancakes.

This system is built for the inmates to lose. If we think we’re being treated wrong by the officers and they write up a case against us ( make up a case against us is more like it ), they tell us to write up an appeal. First they take away any privileges, like going to the commissary or rec,for 30-45 days. Guess how long it takes for the answer to the appeal to come back? 30 days. It’s crazy. The appeal will always be denied, too. It’s all for nothing. I lose my comm privileges for nothing. I get punished because I appealed the false charges against me. I lose because I tried to stand up to the bullshit. There is no way around the system. All the officer has to do is lie and the next one will back it up or say he didn’t see anything.

But I know now there are effects for every cause that is made. All the good ones and all the bad ones. These guards in here don’t get away with the things they do. It’s written into their own lives. They will have to face the effects of so many lies. They don’t get away with the things they do to other human beings. They may get off treating us like dogs, but we aren’t dogs. They may talk to each other about the things they do to us and laugh, thinking they are getting away with it. But we are people. I will do my best to change the part of me that caused this to happen to my life. I will find a way to make a difference. I will become a better person. I will someday leave here a better person. I will have hope.

It’s a new year and I’m going to do my best to stay out of trouble. I never try to make trouble. It’s always someone else who comes up to fight me. But no more fighting. Nothing. But when you don’t fight back then everyone feels they can run over you. But I’m not going to fight. I want to focus on coming home. I have to raise my level before they will consider me for parole. I’m level 3. I need to be level 1 before it’s even possible. Even then they could still turn me down. They well give me something called a set-off, which means I have to wait another five years before I can see the parole board again unless they want to bring me back up again. This system is built for our downfall. They don’t want us to survive in here. There is no justice for inmates at all.

 

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked that can be played. You can also play my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Watch and Whirl – Sonni Quick.   This is my other blog. An odd assortment of rants and raves on a variety of subjects and music info, too.

White Boy Privilege – With Rose Colored Glasses

White Boy Privilege With Rose Colored Glasses

rosecoloredglasses

Royce Mann, a young man who gets it.  This is the kind of youth we need who will stand up and make our country into a place people like Donald Trump can’t even dream about. People Like Trump think of our country, our world as something to take as much as you can from, and doesn’t give a damn what kind of shape he leaves it in for the future generations. We have too many people like this who only think their kind of people are deserving of a good life. They don’t even think of the rest of us at all.

This video was on YouTube a year ago. Now more than ever after witnessing what the GOP wants to do to this country, we need youth like Royce Mann. Choke back renewable energy and cover our beautiful country and coastline with evermore drilling so we can be a fossil fuel superpower in control of the rest of the planet? He wants to make the earth bleed in the quest for power? To do that it will be more important than ever to use the lives of people who don’t matter to people like Trump.

There is a man, a long time American Nazi leader, Holocaust denier, Jew hater and all around believer in the supreme sanctity of the white man who is running for Congress in Idaho – unopposed, as a Republican. The GOP isn’t bothered about that. Why? Because it falls in line with their vision – Trump’s vision of, “Let’s Make America Great ( white) Again (??)”

Royce Mann is a young man who saw the writing on the table and knew that to continue in the vein America is currently headed, it does not make this country great.

But Royce and young people do not, can not run this country today. They have to grow up in the racist environment created for people who aren’t white. 

What is it that makes white people special? Nothing. White people are not better people. Most white people have no rich culture. Our culture is borrowed from the countries we came from at one time. Our holidays are little more than opportunities to buy decorations and “stuff”, usually cheap stuff at stores, while at the same time a later holiday is shoved down our throats. Christmas decorations in stores during Halloween, even before Thanksgiving. Our culture is a commercial “buy fest”. 

America is shallow. It spits on Hispanics yet celebrates Cinqo de Mayo. America is a fourth of July fireworks celebration with no sense of gratitude. It is just a work holiday with an excuse to BBQ and drink.

The reality of our history and the people we slaughtered to take away their land, we still spit on today as we continue to take what little they have left. We create new laws because we want whatever rich land the red man has, so we can dig and drill on it. We carelessly deface their heritage because we are the biggest white bully on the land. 

We now kick people out of America who have lived here for 30-40 years . Business men, doctors, family men who still need and want to provide for their families. Tax payers . Community leaders – “OUT! YOU ARE NOT WHITE! YOU CAN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE!” says our small minded, heartless, racist, bigoted, abusive president who fashions himself a tyrant and dictator, whose ego now wants a military parade to march by his box at the White House and salute him while he waves – to the tune of $20 twenty million dollars, even as he wants to eliminate Meals on Wheels for seniors because we can’t afford to continue to help old people eat. Get a job! How gross. And the GOP clap for him. They clap for him. I want to throw up.

I have such shame for my country now. A country that imprisons people mercilessly for profit.  Are some bad criminals?  Of course, but the rest? 

Our country has always been imperfect. Every president has bowed down to what the ultra rich want them to do so they can give Americans the feeling they are something they are not – a president who loves America, and countries with dark skinned people are shit holes. Our president said this to the world. People hate America. Our president has embarrassed this country.

Trump has managed to pull away our Rose Colored Glasses and showed the world and its people how truly evil we are, as we force other countries to do as we say with our military.

Trump truly is the face of America today. You can stay ignorant and learn only what your “side” tells you. You can delude yourself and say, “God is on our side”, which is incredibly naive. We will continue to fall down the rabbit hole.

Or, we can encourage our youth, like Royce Mann, to rise up and become leaders who change things after all these demented white leaders die off. Can we birth people who love this Earth the way people long ago did? Before all natural resources are sucked out of it and the land and waters poisoned being repair? Before all water is nationalized and bought by the likes of Nestle and Coca Cola? Can we stop what is happening? Can we change and become, “People by the people and for the people” where skin is only the shell that holds the heart and the mind which is where our true value lies? The color of our skin does not make us who we are. Our actions do.

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Stand up with me. If you don’t know what to do – if you can’t speak up – support me. Share my writings. Follow my blogs and social media. Share it with your friends. Subscribe to my newsletter. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Support my book and prison reform for the over-incarceration and abuse of blacks and minorities in prison. I can’t do it without your help.

 

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked that can be played. You can also play my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Looking Into the Crystal Ball – new music video

 

Yesterday I completed Looking Into the Crystal Ball. It is the second music video I have completed for Inside the Forbidden Outside the book I’m writing  about the life of Jamie Cummings, from childhood through juvenile detention, the school to prison pipeline, to where he is now – the Allred Unit, the largest prison in Texas with over 3,500 inmates. He has five years yet on his sentence. The third video is completed too, but won’t be put up for two weeks. I’m trying to work ahead so I don’t get so behind when I travel.

Jamie still has hope that one day he will be paroled. Finishing this project I started for him is more important than ever.  I have to keep plugging away at it. What began as a book of his letters, because they expressed so much pain of the loss of his life, as well as the truth about our prison system in America. It became a book that required more writing ability than I had at the time. (Writing a book is not the same as writing a blog post, and even that took practice and experience)

After writing the first draft of over 90,000 words, I read through it and realized it wasn’t quite right.  It read like a book of blog posts.  You could read any chapter separately.  The story didn’t connect.  Then I started studying how to write and taking writing classes. I learned to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.  I had to learn how to write dialogue the same way people speak it.  That is not as easy as it seems.  Again more practice. I began the second writing of the book using parts of what I had already written and learned to write between the lines.  I am still learning. I know what a badly written book reads like when it is not edited correctly. I wanted it to be professional.

It is the music that began to tie it all together. That is why emotional movies have music soundtracks. Without it, a movie would not be able to create the same emotion. Music swells the emotions.  It makes you feel. Hearing the music again brings back memories of the movie. All people associate music from their past to memories of that time whenever they hear it. Without music, when a movie is over, it is over.  Why not create music that can be listened to while you read a book? Why not create something that is more than just a book? And for quite a few chapters/music I have also written poetry. It spills out of me like opening a vein. I grab paper and catch it before it disappears.

Most writers would not have the ability to do that. Your mind has to be open in a creative space that spills into everything.  It can’t be put in a box. You also can’t be like that because you want to.  Most people have had their creativity stomped out of them by adults who told them to grow up and get a real job. I may have had a crazy life but it sure beat selling cars for 35 years and then “retire” so I can get old. I refused to be that kind of “normal.”

If you hired someone to write music for you there would be no real connection between what you read and the music you hear. This has turned it into a project that has taken “years” to pull together. I sincerely hope I can finish it by the end of this year. Jamie still has years on his sentence so I have the time to complete it. And then the time to sell it. I am so very happy I am doing this.  (maybe I can get a movie deal out of it! Gotta think big!) You can only accomplish what you see.  Otherwise dreams just float away.

Play the video again. close your eyes and just listen to it.  Do you feel the emotion?  Do you see a story in your mind, even if it is about your life instead?

Many years ago I read a very long, thick novel titled, Michel Michel. The Beatles tune, “Hey Jude” had recently been released.  I played it over and over while I read. It became the soundtrack for the book.  Whenever I hear it I instantly think of that book.  Otherwise, I would have forgotten about it, I’m sure.

I have been creating and writing music for a long time. I don’t have to think about the right notes or figure out what to do.  It’s innate, like the abc’s. But this music was different from anything I had written earlier.  I had to reach far down inside to spontaneously play what I was feeling, not “try” to compose, but instead let my fingers express what I felt.  When I am in the mental place I need to be when I write about Jamie – for Jamie – it is an overwhelming sad place.  When I try to feel what he is going through, I don’t know he does it, although I know he has no choice. When he tells me he is depressed it is a state of mind I think would scare me very much.

At times like this I get angry at the people who have forsaken him – thrown him away – blamed him, for what, I don’t know.  Being young and never taught his life had value? Being a follower instead of a leader and wanting friends and being swayed by the wrong ones? Didn’t many of us go through that when we were young? I did.

Jamie didn’t have the freedom to grow up through his teens and 20’s without having cuffs on his wrists and chains around his ankles. But I didn’t have to pay for my mistakes with 21 years of my life with a family who didn’t care enough to say, “No matter what, Jamie, we love you and we will be there for you no matter what.”

There are criminals and then there are people who grew up without a positive male influence.  Did he deserve to lose a couple decades of his life because of it? No. He was just another black boy who couldn’t afford an attorney. ALL of them go to prison.

That is unrealistic, I guess. Even I don’t have a family who loved me no matter what and were there for me when I needed them the most. But Jamie was there when I needed him and I have been there for him.  Everything happens for a reason.  Jamie gave a reason to play music again after a long illness and I wrote music for him.  We were each other’s reason to survive.

Now the book I am writing also has a sound track, and those sound tracks are getting videos.  I can only do one thing at a time, including writing these blog posts with the necessary social media to promote everything, so when it is done, hopefully people will pay attention. My plans for promotion go far beyond a facebook post.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe below to ITFO News. Not only does it have news necessary to incarceration, it is a way to keep up on how far I am with the book – and you can share it on your own social media! (hint hint)  I don’t have time to publish more than about once a month so I don’t crowd your inbox. I personally hate when a subscription does that. But I am honestly trying to build a mailing list so I can tell people when it goes for sale.

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked that can be played. You can also play my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Today We Need Strong Words Against the Trump Regime

 

Protest against Trump
Hundreds of thousands march down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women’s March. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

This is what America has become – deporting prominent people who work for the freedoms on which this country has prided itself for more than two centuries.We allowed ourselves the many illusions of a democracy the Republican Gestapo has actively worked to blatantly destroy to advance the holdings of the wealthy on the premise that the average person’s life has less value. 

My writing is almost always about some aspect of our criminal justice system. But what circumstances are former inmates walking into on the day they are released and want to build new lives. The America they knew and the new America they will see can’t co- exist. If the Trump regime has decided which citizens deserve freedom and liberty, I can assure you they won’t be looking at former inmates as the type of citizens they will feel are deserving of “their” help. They will want them back in prison where they think they belong. Prison corporations already try to keep from helping prisoners with health care, decent food and education because they think of the cost as something coming out of their pickets. After all, they are just criminals, right? And immigrants are rapists and murderers and gang members according to Trump’s SOTU.

Steve Prator, Louisiana’s sheriff recently said the prisons should not parole the “good ones” because they could get a lot more free labor out of them.  I suppose inmates should be used for their worth and then discarded?

If you want to be a good Republican today here is partial list of what you need to support. Feel free to write and tell me what I missed.

They have taken pride in:
1. Racism
2. Discrimination of non- whites, non heterosexuals
3. Cutting help for disabled, elderly and the poor
4. Unequal education for all children and support fir dissolving the line separating church and state because they believe their religious beliefs should be forced on everyone.
5. Gutting consumer protections
6. Gutting environmental protections
7. Taking from the poor to give more to the rich
8. Supporting fossil fuel energy and attempting to halt renewable energy growth
9. Wanting to line all our coastline with drilling rigs until this earth isn’t habitable – as we continue to invade other countries for their resources, too, because they aren’t strong enough to stop us.

10. Arresting people who aren’t loyal to them as they pretend it is Trump who leads them.
11. Wanting to destroy our right to free speech
12. Increased sentencing for non violent crimes and for Cannibis, pretending it’s as lethal and addicting as opiates but is really to keep prisons full in repayment of campaign funding by prison corporations.
13. Destroying the internet and controlling what you learn.

This list goes on and on. Registered Republicans approve of the items on this list. They support the destruction of democracy. But they can’t have their cake and eat it, too, but they think they can. Sorry, ignorance is not bliss.

I had hoped I would never read news about my country like I read now on a daily basis. This Gestapo type behavior of whisking people away, destroys their families, taking them away from their wives, children and communities where they have often lived for decades. Good people. Family people. Hard working people. Innovative people. People who contribute to our country and fought for our country. They are being targeted to get them away from “good, deserving citizens.” Trump’s government thinks these people, who have fought against discrimination, must be deported because they are dangerous. It is freedom and knowledge that is dangerous to Trump’s America.

This country was built 100% by immigrants after we destroyed its inhabitants, took away their land and didn’t honor our treaties. To this day we whittle away what little bit lasts because the government says they need it more. We made the indigenous people out to be the bad people we needed to overthrow. Now Trump has equated the word immigrant with the word criminal. But it was us who were the criminals. We were the murderers. We were the theives who took what wasn’t ours. Now Trump says : Immigrant = bad person. Immigrant= not good enough to live here – even if they had lived here for decades and have a wife and family and pays taxes. Immigrant = deportation.

It makes me sick. Trump’s America. I spit it out like spoiled food that sits rotting in my mouth. I’d rather starve than give an inch in the hell bee occupies.  Trump declared he is on the side of America’s citizens. He has no remorse for behaving like Hitler deciding what race or what nationality is worth protecting. He also decides which citizens are worth protecting. I am appalled, as everyone who lives here should be.

History books looking back at this time will teach the young about this dark period. It will explain the cause of people’s ignorance. The new generation will be amazed at how easily people fell under control of the political party called Fox News, just like we were amazed that German citizens fell under the spell of Hitler. That couldn’t happen to us. We’re smarter than that we would turn against our neighbors.

Fox News is directing our easily swayed, mentally challenged president (” I am, like, really smart” he says in his valley girl way of speaking about himself).  They tell him who to incarcerate and who to execute while inventing “facts” that don’t exist. Laughingly, smart people don’t have to tell people they are smart. They are smart enough to know that.

This dark time will be taught in school like Hitler is taught today. Children will learn what we did to other non-white countries so we could move in with our corporations and nationalize them for profit. Casualties and deaths will be counted and attributed directly to this disgraceful American President who is causing the collapse of any good we are capable of doing. We can no longer pretend America gives a shit about anyone other than the elite class who would rather see someone dead if it meant it could claw out another dollar for themselves.

With Americans targeting their neighbors and spreading hate like the Germans did, I wake each day with such sadness. As I listen to the madness of the fervent talk coming out of Shawn Humanity’s mouth I wonder if the evil was always there or if his ego and huge paycheck gave him the self importance to spread such viciousness to people caught up in the lies he tells. He has far surpassed Bill O’Reilly in spreading evil non truths to his audiences. They lap it up like a dog in heat. How can the anchors at Fox be so hateful of America. It is frightful.

America is losing its soul. It’s goodness. I used to be proud to be as American – so glad I live here. Now I am ashamed of this pathetic regime that was not elected by the people, although Trump thinks he was and it infuriates him. He won, not because he was the best person for the job, but instead by manipulations of billionaires redrawing district lines and attempting to further control who is white enough to vote. And of course, Russia. That much has been proven. The rich don’t give a damn about the people who live here if it doesn’t further their agenda.

I am ashamed of the people who allow themselves to be manipulated by Trump. I am ashamed that people I know could be so ignorant of the reality of America today – those who feel entitled. Those who pride themselves on remaking ignorance into their reality. Those who think their lives are more valuable than others. Sadly, Trump’s America will hurt them, too.

Where was the outcry from Republican citizens when a Republican politician a couple weeks ago announced they wanted to put a stop to Meals on Wheels and lunches for poor children because THEY WEREN’T WORKING and America couldn’t afford to feed them. Not WORKING? He was proposing they just let them die from hunger? They aren’t good enough or productive enough to live? I’ll bet that will motivate the lazy elderly to go out and get a job at Wal-Mart. Who cares if they can’t.

There are people who think every fetus has the right to live, but don’t expect republicans to do anything help them live. Count my life in this batch. Elderly and disabled people weren’t worth helping? This is America? Where was the outcry for suggesting that? Or perhaps Fox News didn’t report it and people never heard about it. Fox is very selective about what they consider to be the truth worth reporting.

Trump has laid our evil government on the table for all to see. He couldn’t have done this if his black heart wasn’t already there. His first year in office has only laid bare what was already hid – the undeniable beginning of the destruction of our country. If you don’t see that you deserve the consequences you will be blindsided with.

The rest of us will continue to fight for our country. We have kept our eyes open to the agenda of today’s Republican party that in no way resembles the party of my grandfather. It has sunk to lows previously not thought possible. Not America. I cry for my grandchildren and the destruction they are left with long after Trump is dead and buried.

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Destroying Human Life in Prison For Profit

illegal immigrant inmates, prison inmates

Do You Think Destroying The Lives of Prison Inmates Doesn’t Affect you?

Because I often receive negative comments about inmates – that they deserve every horrible thing the prisons do to them, you need to understand the impact on society. Almost all inmates will be released.

The quality of their lives affects society. So many people swallow the propaganda just like the government wants you to. Many people are less able today to think for themselves.

Some people think if they aren’t doing anything wrong the prison system doesn’t impact their lives. For that reason these people only read sensational headlines telling you inmates are dangerous criminals who need to be punished. Parents are often needlessly locked up for the entire childhoods of their children, making them unable to be a parent and their children with harder lives to bear. How many were un necessary? How many simply because they are black? Or Hispanic? Or anyone not Caucasian?

What good does it do to lock someone up for decades with fabricated evidence? And yes, the criminal “justice” system does that. Do you approve? Do you look the other way?  There are too many racists in this country, including our president. When you look at the fact that there are less Blacks in the US than Whites, there should be more white people in prison. Blacks do not commit more crimes or do more drugs than whites. That has been proven – over and over.

Since blacks and minorities are punished harder, the children in these families are severely affected by poverty and substandard education. Do you think that is fair? Their lives and later their children’s lives are affected while racism continues. Does that matter to you? This information isn’t new. Do you quietly turn your face away because after all they aren’t white? Do you speak up for those with no voice?

children-breakaway-outreach

A large percentage of people skim headlines without reading the articles and form opinions from that. Taking the time to read about a issue instead of being told what to believe by a newscaster is happening less and less.

Prisons and the corporations who profit from them do everything they can to keep your support – and your ignorance. Just like the tobacco companies tried so hard to convince you smoking wasn’t harmful, to get more people addicted and their profits rolling in. Propaganda you hear is meant to steer you into a precise mind frame.

People wrongly put in prison or given overly long sentences is done to create profit, not rehabilitation. This is wrong for a country that tries to convince itself it is a Christian nation. It makes me angry when some holier than thou comment is made by our leaders and politicians as they lie and cheat their way into wealth for their own kind not caring who they hurt. This is what I see today. It is shameful.

When I read what some people think about the way inmates are treated and that it should be worse, it makes me realize how little they actually know. What knowledge they have is spoonfed to them in soundbites.

They think they are safe. They wouldn’t commit a crime. Wake up. Many of the so – called criminals didn’t commit one, either. We would be closing down prisons if those people were freed, but the profit-motivated corporations couldn’t have that, could they? Does that bother you at all? Why do we have an average of 700 people per 100,000 when other countries are often in the 140-200. Why are Americans more often locked up? Are Americans more prone to being criminals, or is there too much profit in locking up citizens? Are they really guilty? Or are they money makers.

Even when it is proven an inmate is innocent the prisons and local government do everything they can to prevent them from being released. When a child is given life with no parole how does that help anyone? If they manage to get released after decades, is their life is in tatters becaus they have no life experiences to learn from? Does that make it better for you? Or him? Does that life matter as much as an unborn child? Can anyone answer that?

Many inmates are sick when they are released. They didn’t receive proper care for most medical conditions. They often lose decades of their life because the medical corporations don’t provide adequate healthcare. It hurts their profit. How does that affect you? Any part of our life that is taken over by corporations hurts us.

Chronic conditions worsen and mental care isn’t addressed properly. Inmates often aren’t given meds they were on when they arrive let alone for treatment caused by inhumane treatment. Those who suffer mental illness aren’t diagnosed and often left to die. Most inmates are released to the street with only a 30 day supply of any meds they were given, with no clear way to get more. Those who are released who need medical care can’t get it. If they are on the street they are locked up again. This often increases crime in the neighborhoods. It also increases trips to the ER which drives up medical costs for everyone.

Kids are being funneled into the school to prison pipeline at an alarming rate, in the hopes they will later fill a bed in an adult prison. The government has contracts with the prison corporations guaranteeing the prisons stay full or they have to pay them for empty beds. So increasing “crimes” to lock up people is the only thing that makes sense to the current Attorney General.

Why should the schools waste money on guidance counsellors, who rarely exist anymore except in high dollar neighborhoods, where many of the girls have eating disorders so the have prettier collar bones sticking out. They’d rather employ cops instead, to stand guard at the schools where at- risk kids go.

In many cases there is no more detention or being sent to the office. Children don’t see guidance counselors when they fall behind. Instead, kids get sent to juvenile detention. Education is extremely hard to get and when and if they are leased they have lost the social skills they need and are behind academically.

Most inmates come from foster care. They often end up committing the crimes they learned from boys who are older. Released into society these boys will utilise what the old timers taught them to survive. Could these kids have been saved? Many could have been if people cared have as much as they Do about abortion.

Prisons, and the human beings kept there are everyone’s responsibility. Changing the laws that create this is important.

 

 

Chapter – Waiting . . . Too Long

 

Last Note 2 sm

(Sonni’s note: This is another random chapter in the book I’m writing that is based on Jamie Cumming’s life. Some scenes have been enhanced.  This did happen, but exact conversations and actions are fictionalized for the sake of the story. Chapters are still being rewritten and music recorded. Publishing date not established yet)

WAITING . . . TOO LONG

Twelve years was a long time. It was hard for him to believe he had been here for so many years. A huge chunk of his life was flushed down the toilet. What a waste. He had been waiting . . . too long. Waiting for it to be over. Waiting to see his son. Waiting for someone to look him in the eye and realize he shouldn’t be here. It was a mistake. He wasn’t a danger to society. All he was doing was waiting, locked up in a cell by himself with no one to talk to.
     Jamie had been bused around to quite a few prisons during the years. Some prisons make you work the field tending acres of vegetables. Some rayuise pigs and other farm animals. They want to utilize the free labor as much as they can. If he went back to the beginning and counted how many prisons he’d been in, this was the eighth one. He had been in Allred Unit for three years now bafter being shuffled all over the state.
     The first prison he was sent to was in West Texas, a two day drive across the hottest, driest part of the state. Then he was sent to Southgb Texas near Brownsville. He was also in a unit in Huntsville in the middle of the state, and two more north of Houston. Now he was in northern part of the state, near Wichita Falls. There were a couple more prisons scattered somewhere in between.
     The last six years he was close enough to his family for them to visit, just an hour or two away, but only his mom came to see him a couple times. Some dudes in here had no family. Maybe it was better that way. They wouldn’t be disappointed because no one showed up.
     He was trying to let it go. It was hard. He couldn’t change it. He would get depressed thinking about it. His mom wouldn’t help him. She would tell him she would, but she never did. No one in his family cared enough to do a damn thing. It was hard to wrap his head around it, realizing this was the family he grew up with. After all this time. . .
     “Oh, stop it, Jamie,” he said outloud, talking to himself.
     “If they don’t want to see you, they don’t want to see you. You can’t do anything about it,”
     “Be patient,” he said to himself as he opened his locker and went through his books to see if there was something he could distract him.
     “This won’t last forever.” He found a book he had only read twice and settled on his bed to read the rest of the day away. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine a life outside these walls.
     Whenever he tried to put these issues out of his head they crept back up his neck and snuck into his brain when he wasn’t paying attention.
     He read for a couple hours and fell asleep with the book open on his chest. Even when he sleept he couldn’t get away from his thoughts. He woke thinking about Morgan. The thought of her being in his life sometime in the future was long past. But she will always be his son’s mother and he would always love her for that. They were so naive back then. Things don’t work out if you don’t plan for the right things to happen. Relying on luck wasn’t a good plan. Getting pregnant so fast before they knew each other probably wasn’t a good idea. He needed to know he could take care of a family and that meant going to school first so he could get a good job.
     Morgan went on with her life. That was okay. He wanted her to be happy. It made him sad but he couldn’t blame her for that. She ended up angry at him, though, because he wasn’t there to help her. A lot changed in twelve years.

<<<>>>

Jamie had countless hours to think every day. That was almost the only thing he did except sleep, or read. He loved it when Sonni sent new books. Sometimes he got ahold of a newspaper and found out what was happening in the free world. There was a lot of ‘not so good’ stuff going on out there that was affecting a lot of people.
     He heard about other prisons from some of the other dudes down the hall who had been bounced around like he was. They were all bad – corrupt. He knew deep down there was a bigger reason why a lot of them were locked up with long sentences. Destroying the lives of people like him also destroyed their families. That’s what the government wanted to do. He only had to look around to understand that. There was much he had learned since he came here. He wasn’t a young immature boy anymore.
     He wanted to forget what had happened. He preferred to close his eyes and think about a happier time. Maybe he couldn’t change where he was but these people didn’t have control over what he thought about. It saved his sanity more than once.

<<<>>>

A special memory was the first time he saw Morgan. It was a place he often went in his head to get out of here. Back then, in 2005, he had just gotten out of juvenile detention after four years. He had no idea what he was going to do with his life. He guessed his family was glad he was out but after a couple days the novelty of him being home had worn off. Everyone was busy with their own life and their own problems. They didn’t have time to help him with his.
     Since he had been gone for the rest of his teens years and then some, he had no experience living on his own and taking care of himself. He was twenty-one and that legally made him an adult so he should be able to figure it out. He was fixin’ to get a job somewhere, somehow, but he didn’t know what he could do.
     He didn’t have a clue how to get his life together so he started hanging out at an apartment complex known as “Little New York.” It catered to people who didn’t have their shit together. It was so scattered they couldn’t find it if they went looking for it. Low level drug dealers, users and prostitutes – people trying to survive in a day to day struggle, most of them losing. Still, it was someplace to go hang out. His shit wasn’t together, either.
     It was at that apartment complex where he saw Morgan for the first time. He thought that was his turning point and life was finally going to be good. After they got together he felt like he had a purpose. He had a family to take care of. He couldn’t believe how badly he screwed that up. Maybe that was why his family didn’t answer his letters. Maybe they thought he was a loser and didn’t want to bother with him. He wasn’t a loser, though. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, that was all.
     The time he spent with Morgan was the only time in his life where it felt like he had possibilities for the future. He used to think maybe he’d be lucky when he finished these years in prison and he and Morgan could get back together. He didn’t want to give up. He needed to believe it wasn’t over or he wouldn’t be able to survive this place.           Thinking about her was the only thing that kept him going. Maybe if there were no more cases filed against him he would be able to get out early. He stopped thinking that a long time ago. They weren’t the same people anymore.
     When Jamie closed his eyes he could picture her in his head. He was attracted to her the instant he saw her. She was at the other side of the parking lot that day. He had never seen her before.
     The day was hot and humid. Texas summers re brutal. Leaning against a car, she was in a heated argument with some dude. He looked familiar but he didn’t think they had met. He said something that pissed her off. She looked mad enough to hit him. He could tell she wanted to, but she didn’t. She bowed up to him, though, like she was daring him to hit her. He watched them go back and forth for about five minutes wondering if he should walk over there. Maybe it would stop the argument. He could walk casually by the car like he wasn’t paying any attention to them.
     Jamie wondered where she came from. She didn’t grow up here. He didn’t remember seeing her around town. Did she live here? He started walking toward the car. He was determined to find out who she was before she she had a chance to take off.
     As he walked across the parking lot the man stomped off with his hands shoved in his pockets. He had an angry scowl on his face. Jamie wondered what was up between them because they sure didn’t look like a happy couple. As he closed the distance, she opened the car door and plopped down on the seat.
     “Goddamn asshole,” she said, loud enough for Jamie to hear. Both legs were out the door, one foot on the ground. She lifted her right leg and dangled it over the other knee. She turned and reached over to the radio with her right hand and turned on the music. Country. Her foot started moving with the beat.
     “Hi, you okay?” Jamie said as he walked up to the car door.
He couldn’t think of anything clever to say. Startled, she looked up at him, ready to cut him off from butting into her business. A couple seconds later the pissed off look on her face turned into a smile.
This might be interesting, Jamie thought. That was okay. He didn’t want to look like he wanted anything from her.
     “My boyfriend, or rather, my ex-boyfriend,” she emphasized, “as of right this minute needs to find a way out of town.
     “I’m Jamie,” he offered. “You live here?
     “My name’s Morgan,” she answered back.
     “You live here?” she asked.
     “At these apartments?” He shook his head no.            “Na. I come over here most times to hang with my friends. You?”
     She glanced around in the direction her boyfriend went. It looked like she was waiting for this dude to come back to the car any minute. He didn’t want to lose his chance to find out how he could see her again.
     “We rented an apartment here not long ago but it’s not working out.” She volunteered on her own, letting him know she would soon be available.
     She continued, “Getting a job hasn’t been on his list of things to do and I’m not going to support his ass.” Morgan added under her breath,”I didn’t want him here in the first place.”
     Jamie caught that and smiled a little.
     “Where didja come from?” He wanted to keep her talking. He found out later she used to live in California and met there. She broke up with him and moved to Texas to be near family and he followed her. He just showed up uninvited. She wasn’t happy about it but he had no place to go and had no money. What was she supposed to do? She had enough of his mooching off her, she had to kids to take care of.
     Before she could answer she glanced to the right and saw her boyfriend – ex-boyfriend – walking back to the car. Jamie decided that was his cue to leave. He didn’t want to blow it. He would see her again. He was sure of that.
     “I’ll see ya around.” He turned and started walking back to his friends. Halfway there he glanced over his shoulder to see if she was watching. She was. That put a smile on his face. She sure was pretty.
     It didn’t take long before her boyfriend was out of the picture. He claimed he couldn’t leave town because he didn’t he didn’t have no money, so Morgan bought him a bus ticket just to get rid of him. She went to the bus station to make sure he got on it, and waited until the bus left so she knew he didn’t sneak off. The next bus stop was too far away to walk back.
     Morgan and Jamie were good together. For the first time since he got out of juvy he was happy. His future had possibilities. Morgan had a boy and a girl. It made him feel like they were a family.
They weren’t always careful about having protected sex so it didn’t take long before Morgan was late with her period. She didn’t take a test but she was pretty certain after a few days. She was regular. But now she had a problem. Her mom was coming to visit.
     “How do we tell your mom?” Jamie wanted to know. “Will she be angry?”
     “She’ll kill me,” she told Jamie. “I can’t tell her right now.”
     “Because I’m black?” Jamie asked.
     “No, because I wasn’t careful.” Morgan said.              “She’ll say it’s hard enough raising two kids. What was I thinking? Besides, she doesn’t know about you yet. It would be kinda hard to lay all that on her at once.”
     After a five second pause,”I think she should meet you first.” Morgan added. “We’ll tell her later, after she goes home.”
     Her mom stayed for a week and he had a chance to meet with her twice. Her name was Sonni. She came with her husband from Key West. She helped Morgan rent an apartment because by then she was living at her grandmother’s house. After she left she didn’t know Jamie moved in, too.
     They never got around to telling her about the baby before Jamie got arrested. Morgan didn’t call her mom then, either. She had to figure things out. Could she get through the pregnancy on her own? She wanted to stay near Jamie so she could visit him at the jail. He was still waiting to be charged. There was no telling how long that would take. It could be months.
     Morgan had no car now and no way to get another one. Jamie had been driving it when he was arrested and it was impounded. The fines piled up fast before she could get the money together to pay it. How was she going to get to her doctor appointments, or anywhere else? 
     Her father’s family lived in town. They wouldn’t give her the help she needed. Between the kids and the pregnancy she needed more than they’d be willing to give.
     Now Morgan had no choice, she had to call her mom. She wasn’t just hoping her mom would be okay knowing she was pregnant again, she was hoping she would let her come to Key West and live with her and help her through the pregnancy.
She briefly thought about asking Jamie’s mom to help her but they didn’t know each other very well. She needed someone who could take her to her doctor appointments and help with her other two children. The longer she waited the harder it became.
     Finally, when she was almost five months along she called her mom and told her.
     “Mom, Jamie was arrested and I’m pregnant,” she said in a rush to get it out at once. There was dead silence on the other end of the call. Morgan told her the story about what happened. She didn’t come down on her. What was done was done. Her mom had always been there for her. All she said was, “Do you want to come here?”
     Bus tickets were purchased for her and the kids. Her grandmother helped her pack enough food for a two day bus trip. A very tired and worn out trio got off the bus at the greyhound terminal. Fifteen minutes later she was in the small, separate, two story dollhouse apartment attached to the back of her mother’s house, and the prologue of the story begins.

<<<>>>

Jamie opened his eyes. That part of his life seemed so long ago. Now the baby is twelve years old and he knew so little about him. What started out so happy came crashing down in a few short months. Was that the way his life was going to go, never working out? That caused him such pain.
     Morgan had been a good mom. He knew his son was well cared for. He hoped he would waiting for him to get out. His son was his reason for living – for making it through this.
     Back then Morgan talked about going back to school at Angelina Jr. College in Lufkin. She already had the certification to be a CNA – a certified nursing assistant. He could get his GED and go to college, too. It sounded so perfect.
     He thought they had a good relationship. At least for the few months they knew each other. What they didn’t have was time to get to know each other and have a strong enough bond to last. They did have a son that would tie them together no matter what.
     He didn’t think he would make it this far. Sometimes he wanted to give up. Sonni told him not to. She kept telling him he had value. He wasn’t sure about that, but it made a difference knowing someone cared.
     Jamie had wrestled with depression since he was a kid. It was hard having epilepsy and being different from the other kids. In prison, if you weren’t depressed when you got here you’d be depressed soon after. He was finally over halfway through his sentence. Only someone who had been inside could understand what that was like.
     Everyone was so aware of time in here. Everything was about time. Life was on a schedule that never changed. Everyone’s day evolved around how much time you had until you got out – or how much time you had to live because you were never getting out. Parole could still be possible. He needed to keep that dream alive in his head.
     Jamie had been keeping it alive since he walked in the door. He never got tired of playing these scenes in his head, over and over. He replayed every conversation he could remember, every nuance. He never got tired of reliving the first day he met Morgan. Things might not be good between them now but it want always like that.
     When he was waiting at the jail after he was sentenced he didn’t know what to expect. How long would they keep him? Was prison like jail? He had such anger and frustration. It often got him into trouble. He was tired of always having to pay the price for things he didn’t do. How long would they keep him in this limbo? He didn’t know what to do. His memories were all he had left.

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There Are Two Sides to Every Story

white guy newsTHE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY

From the time we were born, the way we thought and the views we eventually held were drilled into us by family and friends in our community. We learned our truths by listening to the adults who cared for us. Their views about all aspects of life became our view8 until we were mature enough to form our own ideas.

Some people have a strong need to belong with a need for approval that can be stronger than the desire to think independently. Our personal ideas are pushed aside. Conforming to the people around you, reinforced by the news we read or the media we continually watched until it eventually gets imprinted on our brain as THE truth. The ONLY truth. It becomes safer to agree with those we are bonded to than to independently say, “But I read . . . and it makes sense that . . .”, because no one would have listened or thought our idea to be credible.

Is one truth right and the other wrong? Not necessarily, because many views about life are hypothetical, where realit only lives inside our mind. Our views are what we hope to be true. It gives us comfort. For example, is there such a place as heaven? How do you know one way or the other? You read about it in a book called the Bible, written by man? You have been told it is God’s word? Who says so? Man says it is God’s word. You believe it because you want to believe it, although there is no proof. You can believe it is true but that does not make it true. Other people who do not believe in God defend their right to believe something different. The have the right to their belief. If it goes against what some people think, it brings hostility, name calling, negative criticism and possibly the loss of family. Nothing is accomplished. No one has changed their mind.

Convincing someone to listen when they don’t want to hear your opinion can cause permanent rifts in your relationship. Inability to listen can keep you from developing your personality and stop you from openly exploring new ideas. What you think is only important to you and people who agree with you. It does not make you right nor give you right to impose what you believe on others.

What is right for one person might not be right for another. Problems emerge when parents or leaders of a community or country try to force people to accept only one truth and punish those who don’t adhere to that truth. Taking away someone’s individuality, or the freedom to decide what is right for them causes resentment and sometimes violence.

Raised with this attitude we often don’t learn there are two sides to every story. When we become convinced there is only one truth we don’t even want to learn there could be another possibility, because we think it couldn’t be true, so why hear it? If we begin to question what we believe to be true, we might have to ask questions from the people around us. It’s easier to go with the flow than rock the boat. There is often little respect or tolerance for people who don’t think the way we do, no matter whose “side” you are on.

This holds true for any idea that can be highly charged at the opposite ends of belief. When you think you are right; in fact, you know you are right, it leaves little room in your mind for discussion. You lose friends and alienate family members. How could they not believe everything you told them? How could you possibly sit at the same table and have a meal together if you both don’t believe the same thing?

Religion, politics, racial superiority or any controversial subject; no matter what we believe to be true, if confronted, we dig our heels in to uphold our truths, even at the risk of impacting our lives by losing people we love. But it’s their own fault, right? They could have listened to us and learned, we think, as we tell them how wrong they are.

If the media we watched or read only reinforced one side of the story over and over, not putting forth a balanced view, it becomes the only truth in our mind, whether it is true or not. Nothing else is worth hearing because we assume it is all lies. But if we don’t compare all sides of a story how can we discern the truth? Yet the person giving the other side is mocked and called names. Did they deserved that?

The people who originally left England, who later came by boat from Holland, left because of religious persecution. If you did not believe the truth of the Church of England you would be persecuted and likely killed. People believed out of fear and because they were avowed nothing else – until Martin Luther. People wanted the freedom to believe and practice what they chose to think of as truth, not be told what to believe or be burned at the stake as a heritic.

The Church of England used religion as a means of controlling the masses. It is disheartening to see America also use religion as a means of control, even to the point of some politicians wanting to instill biblical law over constitutional law. Do they actually know what they are proposing? Doubtful, but it sounds good to those who believe they follow God’s law. Imposing that on people who are not Christians is just as bad as what the politicians in England did trying to force everyone to follow the Church of England. It was horrible to hear a Republican Congressman say, during the Christmas season 2017, that he would gladly execute a homosexual.

Mistakes from the past have not been learned. Trying to force Christianity on the people by wanting to teach biblical ideas in schools regardless if the children come from homes who are Christian, is wrong. All other religions are not taught, yet all children are taught Christian ideas that is only right for Christians? Forcing it onto children for their own good? The push for Christianity through the government means it is not a government “For the People”. Only a segment of society is Christian and only a percentage of them do more than just say they believe in God but practice nothing. Most Christians couldn’t name the ten commandments. Religion is used by governments for control

People are taught and now think all Muslims are terrorists and many citizens have been harassed. Christians have terrorized and killed many but no one has implied all Christians are terrorists. When the media tells only one side of the story people think it is the whole truth. They buy the propaganda. People get hurt. Hate crimes increase – even by those who profess to be Christian.

There have always been Democrats and Republicans. People have always disagreed and believed only the party they were registered with. Taking an honest look at the other side instead of instantly believing only9 politicians of their party means they are not being loyal. Their own media presents only their side of the truth, which is usually not the while truth.

People won’t listen to anything except what sings to their own choir. Families are split. Friendships have been lost because emotionally, people are too angry over each other’s ignorance at not understanding the issues. Never in the history of America has there been as much violent disunity as in this Age of Trump.
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People are taught and have been taught for hundreds of years that black people are inferior. “White People” deserve more, based only on skin color. White people are smarter. They deserve a better education, the best jobs and they place higher on the social ladder, as if they are special people.

“Black People” they are taught, are prone to violence, commit more crimes, do more drugs and sell more drugs. All of this has been proven false white people are equally at fault for ask crimes, yet more black people are sentenced when they are innocent. Black people are scorned by many. Why? What are white people so afraid of? Many white people refuse to believe that and think black people are only in prison because they are guilty and only the guilty get sentenced – right? They refuse to believe racism against people of color exists or that black people are unfairly targeted.

Collectively, in families, neighborhoods and churches, people are taught to believe the same thing. Religion and politics are mashed together. Some preachers endorse politicians when they should be impartial What your preacher says is swallowed, hook, line and sinker. Anyone who doesn’t toe the line is ostracized.

Parents pass this way of thinking down to their children and instill it in them. Otherwise, it is inconceivable that white youth growing up today would embrace hurting black people for no other reason than the color of their skin. Young People join the KKK yet probably don’t understand it’s origins. Shame on the parents who teach this to their children. This way of thinking doesn’t make them superior, it makes them ignorant.

What is true is that white people have had the power and money to suppress anyone they wanted to, much the same way the rich feel they have the right to suppress anyone who doesn’t have the amont of money they have. Money is more important than humanity.

This power created an unequal social structure, which created an uneven educational system, which led to a prejudiced hiring market, which led to blacks having less money to purchase homes, and intentionally kept out of desirable housing markets that didn’t want black people living side by side with the so-called superior whites.

Police raided black communities and charged many with crimes they didn’t commit; suppressed evidence and filled the prisons, which made stock holders of prison corporations very rich. Making mone&y off the backs of black people had always been acceptable. Who was going too stop it? Elect more black politicians? It’s happening.?

Warping people’s minds into believing only one side of the truth is the whole truth has affected the pro choice/ no abortions allowed sensibility a well. It will never be solved or agreed upon. Forcing people to adhere to one side has never worked. Each side is absolutely right in their thinking. To sway an entire community means alternative reasons are never discussed. The entire country will never be swayed or made to obey. People will always find ways to have an abortion of needed, even if it kills them.

Politics and religion fights on their own side of the isle when it comes to LGBGT issues like there is only one right answer and everyone else is wrong. The emotion is high, so angry, that people are driven to commit hate crimes.

The truth is out there, but if you already believe you know the truth and believe certain people don’t deserve humanity or consideration, then society will continue on the path it is going – its own destruction. It will become too late to]0 change.

We all need to take a step back and realize we don’t have all the right answers. We need to question WHY we believe as we do? Who taught us what we believe to be right or wrong? Did we ever question it? Did we try to find the other side of the story?

 

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Chapter – Looking Into The Crystal Ball

Last Note 2 sm

(Sonni’s note:  It has been awhile since I posted any chapter edits so I thought for Christmas I would post one. This is fictionalized from the facts as I know them. The thoughts and descriptions are my own. Below is the music I posted earlier to go on the next album with this chapter. Subscribe to ITFO News to keep up with what is happening. Merry Christmas!)

LOOKING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL

Thoughts were racing through Jamie’s head. His court date was today and he didn’t have a clue what was going on. Didn’t he need an attorney? He couldn’t represent himself. What could they do to him? He had no idea but he had a feeling this was going to be a bad day. 
     A black man like him, born and raised in Texas would get as many years as they could give him. Racism is alive and well and Texas ranked with some of the worst. He had nothing to do but talk to other men waiting for their court date, too. Some had been waiting for years. He knew he was probably going to get locked up no matter what he said but he wanted a chance to tell the court his side of the story.
    Looking around the room at dozens of three tier bunks lined up across the floor it was easy to see there was more black skin than white. Maybe white men didn’t commit as many crimes in Harris county? That was a laugh.
     Jamie needed someone to talk to who would listen and help. He did not go out that night with his friends so he could rob a club. He went out to party and have a good time. He wasn’t the one who had a gun in his back pack. He didn’t even know this friend had a gun until he talked about it in the car. He thought it was a joke. He didn’t think the dude was serious. If only he had done something to stop him.
     Morgan wrote a while back and said she tried to get him a lawyer but it didn’t come through. She sent money to his brother who had a friend. He knew an attorney who would take a deposit and pay off what was owed. 
     It sounded kinda hokey to him. She they trust him or do nothing? They should have done nothing because the friend and the money disappeared. Morgan lost money she needed for herself and the kids. 
     He knew his mom didn’t have any money to help him, so Morgan sent money she earned working at her mom’s store.  He would feel better if he could at least see her. That wasn’t going to happen. She was too far away. 
     Jamie’s life was falling apart. He had no control over what happening. He wasn’t going to see his infant son when he was born. He wanted to be a father more than anything but he could kiss that goodbye. He wouldn’t be able to hold him or be the kind of dad he had wanted, too. He couldn’t break the cycle of being raised without a father.
     Life wasn’t supposed to be fair all the time, but he felt his life had never been fair from the time he was born. He grew up being told to believe in God. Everybody did, he guessed. It was the only thing to believe in and he didn’t know anyone who didn’t think  God was up there overseeing things. Have a blessed day and all that. He had no reason not to believe, but he didn’t think God had done much to bless him. He prayed desperately since this happened but it didn’t do no good. Tears began to well up in his eyes, threatening to spill down his cheeks. 

“Choke it down, Jamie,” he told himself. “Don’t let it show.” If he started to cry he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to stop. 

“If anyone saw you they would gang up on you,” he whispered to himself. He wasn’t about to let that happen.
     Even though Jamie was supposed to be in court today nobody talked to him about it. He was scared. He could hear his heart beating in his head and it echoed in his ears. He leaned against the grate covering the window. Hooking his fingers into the metal he stared outside, looking down at the sidewalk where he saw Morgan that first day when she brought his meds. He watched the seconds and minutes of his life pass by. He could see people coming and going as if it was just a normal day. 
     Clouds were creeping across the blue sky. It wasn’t normal for Jamie. He wanted so bad to leave the building and walk out into the day and be free. Could he change what was happening? Not likely. It took all of his willpower not to hit the window with his fists.

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“Cummings, you have a visitor.” 
     Jamie was lost in his thoughts. He didn’t hear what was said. The guard raised his voice. “Cummings, wake up.” He almost yelled.
     Startled, Jamie whirled around to face him. He had a visitor? His first thought was of Morgan. Was she here?

“Your attorney is here. You have to come with me.”

“What attorney?” Jamie shot back.  “I don’t have no attorney.”

“You do now.”

     Jamie hesitated. Nobody told him someone was coming. Would he help him? There wasn’t much time. He had been in the jail for months, why was he coming to see him at the last minute? He slowly walked toward the guard.

“We don’t have all day.” The guard barked. “Get a move on it.” 

     Jamie turned around while he put cuffs on his wrists. There was no going anywhere outside this cell without cuffs.
     The guard gave him a small shove to get him walking. Looking down the hallway, the door to a small holding cell was standing open. When they walked inside, a man in a suit was waiting bedside a metal table bolted to the floor. Jamie didn’t remember ever seeing him before today.
     A skinny man with acne scars spread across his cheeks was waiting for him. He glared at Jamie with contempt in his eyes. His thinning hair combed over the top of his bald head was a poor attempt at looking like he had hair. Poor dude, it was no wonder he was a public defender.  Maybe this was the only job he could get. He didn’t seem too happy to be here.
     Jamie needed someone who could help him, but this man didn’t seem at all like he was in the helping mood. 
He swept his arm in a gesture over the table telling Jamie to sit down. 
     The man continued to stand and glare at him with his arms crossed over his chest with a ‘Don’t mess with me’ attitude. It was a power trip to show he was the authority in the room.
     The guard removed his cuffs. Jamie sat and waited for the man to talk. He was uncomfortable with the silence but he wasn’t  going to let it show. The attorney took his time, letting his gaze wonder from Jamie’s head to his hands as if he expected him to jump up any minute and attack him.
      It wasn’t the first time a white man looked at him like that, assuming all black man were born violent. Jamie wasn’t a little man, but that didn’t mean he went around attacking people.

“You’re in deep trouble, son.” the attorney began his practiced speech. “You don’t have many options.”

     Son? He called him son? Was he talking down at him? Before he could say anything else Jamie chimed in. “I want to explain what happened. I didn’t . . .” 

     It was all he managed to get out before this man, whatever his name was, put both fists on the table, leaned over and looked him dead in the eyes. 

“I am not interested in hearing your story. I don’t care what you did or didn’t do. 

“I need to . . .”

“You don’t need to do anything.” The attorney paused for a few seconds. “You need to listen to me.”

“Tell your story to someone else,” he continued.

“All you need to know is . . . the District Attorney has an airtight charge against you and if you’re smart you’ll listen to what I have to say.” 
     The attorney paused again after he drilled that statement into Jamie’s head. He broke eye contact to open his briefcase and take out a few papers. He laid them on the table in front of Jamie.

“You need to sign your name admitting to guilt.” He put his finger on the line where Jamie was supposed to sign.

“I’m here to offer you a plea of forty years. You will only be going to court to admit to the judge you are guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.”

     Jamie looked up and stared him, stunned. This man was trying to scare him and it worked. Was he serious? Forty years? No way would he agree to that.

“They have you dead to right. You ran out of a club after robbing it at gunpoint,” the attorney emphasized, rapping his knuckles on the table several times. 

“The money was found with your friend in the car you were driving. There is no defense for you.”

     Jamie stood. He could feel his anger rising. ” I am not going to agree to that.” It was hard to keep his voice from shaking. “I didn’t do it. I might have been there, but I did not have anything to do with what my friend did. That is why I ran.”

     He knew it didn’t matter. He had already been tried and found guilty. Nothing he said now would matter. Being there at the club made him an instant accomplice. But he couldn’t go down without a fight. Forty years would end his life.

“I want to go in front of the judge. I am not pleading guilty.” 

     The attorney put the unsigned papers back in his briefcase and closed it. Picking it up, he walked out. Jamie stared after him, speechless. 

“Now what?” he asked the guard who was leaning against the wall. He shrugged, but he didn’t make a move to take him back to the cell so Jamie sat down. There was no point trying to talk to the guard anyway. He didn’t know anything. They waited together in silence. The guard moved and stood at the open door. Twenty minutes later the attorney walked back in. 

“I have another option for you. I sincerely advise you to take it. It is the best you are going to get.” The attorney put his briefcase on the table, opened it and took out a different set of papers. “There won’t be another one,” he added.      
     It was obvious this attorney wasn’t going to waste anymore of his precious time. Most likely he had other inmates to intimidate. Jamie wondered if he got paid a flat fee for every signed plea deal he accomplished because he certainly wanted this signed and delivered as fast as he could. He didn’t care what was best for Jamie. His motivation was his paycheck.

“You’re lucky,” the man continued. “The DA must have a soft spot for you.” Sarcasm dripped from his words. Jamie took a second to wonder why he disliked him so bad, or did he talk like this to every client he was paid to intimidate?

“Seventeen years,” the attorney paused to let it sink in. “If you don’t take it, and insist on going to court and wasting everyone’s time and the state’s money, they will slap on extra charges. You’ll end up doing fifty to ninety-nine.”

“What charges?” Jamie demanded. The attorney ignored him.

Jamie was upset. “What about wasting years of my life?”
      He was being railroaded. He knew it and the attorney knew it. One case finished and on to the next sucker who couldn’t afford to pay a real attorney? Did he enjoy making sure every person assigned to him ended up pleading guilty?

“I need time to think about this,” Jamie told him. How could he agree to give up the rest of his youth in five minutes? He didn’t plan what his friend did at the club. Why should have to pay for it with so many years of his life? What would that prove? 
     There were four of them that went out to the club that night. If he had known what his friend planned to do he would not have gone. Yes, he and Morgan needed money but he just got out of juvenile detention that year after four years of being locked up. He didn’t want to get locked up again on a felony charge with a baby on the way. Did they offered all of them the same deal? He needed answers, but there was no one who was going to explain them.
     The dude who had the gun had been to prison before. He had a record so they probably went harder on him. Why did he go out that night? Why? If only he had stayed home.

“You have five minutes.” the attorney said. I’ll be back for your answer.”
      How was Jamie supposed to know what to do in five minutes? Where was the attorney going when he left the room? Who was he talking to? This was wrong. He didn’t know how to fight it. This man was the only attorney he had and it was obvious, defending him in court was something that was not going to happen no matter what he said in five minutes. Why? Wasn’t he supposed to defend him? Wasn’t that his job? He guessed not when the DA wanted it to end another way. This was justice?
     Right or wrong didn’t matter. No one was owed justice no matter what the wording said on the Bill of Rights. There was no way for him to come out of this without paying with many years of his life. He was screwed no matter what answer he gave. If he fights it, he loses more years.
      Jamie started to stand but the guard shook his head and glared at him with a look that said, ‘Don’t even try.’ He sat back down and waited for the attorney to return. His brain was going a hundred miles an hour. How long was seventeen years? He couldn’t imagine. It was almost as long as his whole life up till now.
     Should he take a chance and go to court? Maybe give up his whole life? At least he would know he tried. What other charges they could add? They could make up anything they wanted and knew he didn’t have an attorney who would fight them.
     Jamie closed his eyes and put his head back. He had no choice. His unborn son had no choice, either. He wouldn’t have a father. He would be giving up all thought of raising him. If he did all seventeen years he would be almost out of high school. They wouldn’t know each other, not really. 
     Morgan would go on and find someone else. It killed him to think about that. The pain ripped him in two. He couldn’t expect her to wait. Maybe he could get out early. Maybe he could get paroled. 
     So many unanswered questions were running through his head at the same time. His five minutes were over. He heard the heels of the attorney’s shoes as he neared the open door. As he walked back into the room he asked, “What’s your answer?”

Jamie looked down at the table, and at the same time reached out his hand for the papers. The attorney smiled.

wh jamie2

 

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Waiting Months to See a Dentist

Medical Treatment behind bars

Waiting months to see a dentist is not unusual. knowing you are crying in pain doesn’t phase them. Prison staff should be locked up to find out how that feels.

This is a repost from three years ago.  I have written recently about what is going on with Jamie medically and how I am trying to get a Power of Attorney to have something legally I can use to get his medical records. This is a common problem I have heard about with many inmates. If the medical corporations don’t treat the inmates it means more profit.

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(Sonni’s Note: Solitary confinement is nowhere anyone wants to be.  You have to find a way to cope with real life issues pertaining to where you are, and normal issues liked a bad tooth and you have no one on your side.  No one cares.  It makes you angry. Pain makes you angry. It makes you depressed.  You miss your family and you know they are going on without you.  Where do you put all of that bottle up emotion?  It’s hard to keep it together.  People are kept in solitary, AdSeg, G-5 far more than what they should.  It’s place to put them to cage them, so they only have to do the minimal to take care of them.  Yes, I know there are bad people in Prison, but there are good people there as well and there is nothing to differentiate between the two and the are all treated badly.)

Dear Sonni,

There are things I want my son to understand. I wrote to Megan about it. I want her to drive it into little Jamie’s head. I want Megan to tell him that I never meant for this to happen. I don’t want him to ends up here like me. I hope she tells him often. I told her it would be hard for me to get through to him by her reading him my letters. Don’t get me wrong, my letters are a good thing and they won’t stop. However, I told Megan when the time is right I need to see Jamie. I want to see him. He’s at an age where he understands. He and I need to meet face to face again. It’s been over three years now since I’ve seen him. That’s a good long stretch. (Sonni’s note: It ended up being five years before he saw him again)

I sent a letter to Megan to give to my mom. I don’t have an address for her. She moves around a lot. I asked her a lot of questions. I told her that no one is writing to me but you. I’m not trying to make her angry. Just something to think about. I’m trying to see if I can get some help from her. And I asked about my family. I also told her I was sorry I made things hard on her in the past. And I told her how I was doing right now, which was not too good.

I’m waiting to have surgery on my wisdom tooth. It’s infected and it’s hurting really bad. It gives me headaches and everything. I’ve been waiting two months now. They keep pushing my appointment back. They don’t care. They want me to go off. I tell then about the pain every day.

It’s been crazy in here the past few weeks. Well, it’s crazy every day but I try not to pay attention to it. I do my best to take my days one at a time. They got me on anti depression medication because they say something is wrong with me. I don’t take it ’cause nothing is wrong with me. I go on hunger strikes off and on. The longest I’ve stayed on is a week and a half. I just have those kinds of days. I don’t want to do this or that. It causes trouble sometimes. Oh well, I I just have that I don’t care feeling at times.

Me and everyone else have been getting into it with the officers. We’ve been without hot water for over a month. We’re also back on lockdown for 30 days. Once again only peanut butter. I guess it’s part of the punishment that we, as humans, get treated in situations like this.

Then, on top of everything, an officer slammed my finger in the tray slot – on purpose. That’s the thing they open when they give us our food. He cut it open. A really deep cut. I made them take me to medial where they took a picture of it. I had to get an x-ray a few days later because it wouldn’t close. He told the sergeant he did it but that it was an accident. He said he didn’t mean to do it and he didn’t see my fingers. He lied. It wasn’t the first time he had tried to do that. I told him I wanted to talk to the lieutenant. This guy is the kind of dude that doesn’t like to be overruled by anyone. But the Lt. told me to tell them to call him about moving me to another cell because also, the cell I’m in leaks water from the shower. One night I fell getting up to use the rest room. I hurt my ankle and had to go to Medical.

They’re trying to hurt me. I know they are. The cell I’m also leaks bad when it rains and they know it because an officer told me the dude who was in here before got moved because of it. The want me to fall their trap but I won’t. I’m writing up this officer who hurt me because I feel he is a threat to me. I also feel he will try to retaliate once he finds out I’m writing his a** up. To go through this whole process will take 60-120 days. Long huh ?

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

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Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick . . . New facebook page of the past and present

ReverbNation . . . Website of Indie music not on traditional radio stations. Sonni’s featured page.

SkunkRadioLive . . . Indie radio station out of London

Soundcloud – album – Stories without Words

It will soon be listed at CDbaby, itunes, spotify, amazon and others

album cover