mind of a criminal
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January 28, 2010

I love you mom. There’s no reason for the apologies. I understand you’ve been back and forth to the hospital so it’s okay mom. Now, as far as your sickness, mom, yes I knew already. I never said anything about it because I didn’t want to be disrespectful. Also, Megan sent me a Christmas card letting me know you were sick. However, she told me not to say anything. Really, I don’t want to disrespect you by putting my nose where it don’t belong. I’m sorry I didn’t write. I was really scared and didn’t know what to say mom.

As for doing crazy things, we’ve all done crazy things. Especially when are young, because we don’t think bad things will happen to us. So you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Take me for example. This is not my first time doing something crazy. However I’m going to discipline myself to be a better person, so it is my last time.

It’s like you say, sometimes the only way to learn and get wisdom is by making mistakes. Sometimes we have to learn mistakes are a part of life. Anyway, I understand what you are telling me about your liver. However you never said if you were going to get a new liver. Megan told me you have Hepatitis C. I’m sorry you are having to go through all this.

Look at this, mom. You’re not the only one who’s been hurting. I’ve had four seizures in the past month. Don’t worry about me. I’m okay. It hurts me to know you’re hurting and in so much pain. I will continue to pray for you mom. It’s good they were able to drain some of the fluid out through your abdomen. See mom, it’s going to be okay, one step at a time. So stay strong and don’t give up! It’s good you rested awhile because I’m sure you needed it. Make sure the days you are at the store you are easy on yourself. Don’t do any lifting okay? I wish I was home. I would be there for you.

I’m glad you say you’re going to stay on top of things, even though we both know our illnesses won’t heal on their own. Let’s always look at the bright side of things. Let’s think about the joy instead of the pain.

I’m hoping I can see you. I put you on my visitors list so when you come down to see Megan, maybe you could come to see me. I’m glad you care about me mom. However, I have a question. Please don’t take it the wrong way. Why do you care so much about someone you only met once? If you were to ask me that question, believe it or not, it’s not because I love your daughter, but because I have a kind heart, too, mom. I’m real thankful you care about me. I think you and Megan are the only ones who care about me in here. I wanted you to know that. I really do appreciate all your love.

Your son, Jamie

(Sonni’s note:) Reading this letter again after 5 1/2 years makes me realize how much time has passed. It was sent 6 months before my health finally crashed, and almost exactly 3 years since my liver transplant. But not much has changed for Jamie. He’s still sitting in that prison cell waiting for family to show they care.  He has never given up hope or felt badly about the people who should be there for him, but aren’t.  It really confuses me.  I don’t understand.  Could it be that black families are so used to their family members being subjected to our injustice system that they are immune to the pain and suffering?  Are they just waiting for him to get out, throw a party for him and think life will go on as usual?  Most of all, do you think this is the mind of a criminal. I don’t think so.

I have read several books written by inmates who really were hard core criminals.  They were gang members, or grew up in violent homes in violent neighborhoods.  Some have managed, through time inside, to reflect on how they got there and were able to change their way of thinking – rehabilitate themselves.  Sometimes it is too late because they have a life sentence, but at least they are able to find a kind of peace and acceptance of their life.  Most of these people find religion of some sort.  The most prevalent, of course, is Christianity because they have Chaplains and services they can attend.  Some find the Muslim faith, and believe it or not, all Muslims are not terrorists and want to kill people. Some like Jamie – and Armando Macias, if you have read his pages found through the menu button up top – have found Buddhism. And some inmates do their time, go back out in the world, pick up where they left off, and find themselves back inside.

Jamie just wants to get out alive and be able to have a good life that includes his son.  I think he should have that opportunity.

10 thoughts on “Is This The Mind Of A Criminal?

  1. You wrote: “(Sonni’s note:) Reading this letter again after 5 1/2 years makes me realize how much time has passed. It was sent 6 months before my health finally crashed, and almost exactly 3 years since my liver transplant. But not much has changed for Jamie. He’s still sitting in that prison cell waiting for family to show they care. He has never given up hope or felt badly about the people who should be there for him, but aren’t. It really confuses me. I don’t understand. Could it be that black families are so used to their family members being subjected to our injustice system that they are immune to the pain and suffering? Are they just waiting for him to get out, throw a party for him and think life will go on as usual? Most of all, do you think this is the mind of a criminal. I don’t think so.”

    This was eye opening. First, let me say how glad I am that you survived such a life threatening illness. I knew from reading other posts that your health was not great; but from your picture, I would never know that your health had crashed to the degree that you needed an organ transplant.

    As for the question. Jamie does not sound like he has the mind of a criminal.

    He sounds like a guy with a heart, a child who desperately wants and needs to become an adult. More than this, he sounds grateful for the love and respect that you give him. What you have done for him demonstrates a depth of love and compassion unlike any I’ve seen.

    I don’t know how anyone can read this letter can come away from it unchanged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I talk to my mother about him a lot. My daughter, mother of his son told me she never wants to hear me speak his name again. She said we have a “weird” friendship. She doesn’t understand. Jamie and are not “friends”. The connection is much deeper than that. What I recognize about myself is that it is hard to see people suffer and just walk away. My mom has said, I can’t save the world. Sometimes i get kicked in the teeth because I am too trusting. But this much I believe: when I am gone, what will be left? We all leave. We have photographs and maybe a few household belongings we pass down from generation to generation. But what really matters? It is the affect we have on other peoples lives. Did we affect it in such a way that it added something positive that changed the course of their life? Were they able to pass that on to someone else? That is the only legacy we truly leave behind. So it is important to reach out to people and give to them a part of yourself that means something. Otherwise, what would have been the point of living? my doctor told me I came as close to death as possible without dying. There had to be a reason for that. And still every day I have to push through pain that incapacitating, put a smile on my face and enjoy being able to do the things I still can. I teach piano lessons in my home. i love to cook ( That is the most painful because I have to stand up for longer periods of time), play in my garden, chant daimoku and write, write, write. I think I am most fortunate to have these things., along with a husband who loves me very much. Thank you for readying Jamie’s blog. I really mean that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This post brought tears to my eyes.

        I’ve been feeling like Hell. It’s been a terrible few days. My self-confidence and even my motivation seems to have vanished and I spend most of my time near tears. I don’t know why but I’m sure it has something to do with therapy and the material I’ve been working on.

        It is awful to see connections that you hope aren’t real and then to find material that provides even more convincing evidence that what you hope isn’t real is possible.

        I’m speaking here about the connection between the Eugenics Movement and our modern day mistreatment of the mentally ill.

        It is enraging and terrifying to see evidence that the ‘accident’ of homelessness is policy..

        I can’t speak to the dynamics in your family–your daughter’s love for him is different than yours but I can tell you that from what I see in his letters to you; your love for him is an investment in your Grandchild.

        Your love is affirming and healing which is something he desperately needs.

        You are giving him the Mother that he might have wanted but didn’t have.

        When he comes out of prison it is possible that because of you, he will be a good Father. And that is quite a gift to give your Grandchild.

        I do know this. It is wrong to toss another person’s life away and when we see it happening we must do what we can to stop it.

        Thank you for being a Word Press friend.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Where to begin . . .yes, one big part of what I do is motivated by my grandson. i can see things my daughter is unable to – consequences. My children didn’t have a father. He didn’t want to be a father and signed away his rights. I know how angry my children were because they knew he was out there and they thought I made him go away. yes, I know that little jamie getting to know his dad now is important. Because he is a black boy he needs to know the dangers ahead of him. Being able to see what can happen is important. Being black is dangerous in Texas. 1 in 27 people is locked up. 6 black people for every white person. It scares me. I also know that once you are out of prison, the fight to survive is ten times harder. Psychologically you are still in a prison that has already conditioned your mind to certain behaviors that don’t change just because you want them to. You understand that. You know what it is like to want to change but part of you doesn’t. I’ve recently started working with another man, who is now out for two years but still finds it hard to leave his room where he feels safe. He’s 30 now. I put up a post https://mynameisjamie.net/2015/07/13/the-stickup-kid/. It’s easier for you to see for yourself what happened to him. I tracked him down and we’ve been talking and doing skype everyday. I am his only friend. After his family welcomed him – he said his mother said – he’s a man now so he should go get his life together. 6 of 13 years he was in solitary. he had no books. He said he would just crawl down in his mind and figure out why everything was the the way it was and sometimes, even now, things trigger him and he goes into a bad place. I’ve introduced Nichiren Buddhism to him and chant with him on skype. I’ve watched it pull him out. There is nothing else he can do to change his circumstances. He needs confidence and courage. He needs to know he has value. Because of sexual abuse he is scared of men. Even hearing their voices almost makes him panic. One way he calms himself is through masterbation. it’s a physical release that calms him. He used to cut himself but he stopped. I want to connect him to other members in his area because i know without doubt, because I know what it did for me, that what he needs to do is chant. A lot. I wouldn’t be alive today without it. It is the same thing I would say to you. You didn’t learn the right things when you were a teenager. I was 20 the first time i chanted but it took me 14 years to actually start, when my life was in a place when I knew I had to do something different. You are in pain. You have a therapist, but It’s like you have a car but you don’t have the gas to put in it. There is a reason for everything. Everything begins with a cause. Every cause has an effect. Every day we battle the effects but often don’t make the right causes. We don’t make the right cause because the life condition we were are in effects the kind of cause we make. If your life condition is low and you are suffering the the causes you make are different than if you were in a high life condition. We act in ways we don’t want to but we don’t know how to change that. You have one of the most incredible battles to fight that I have ever known. I could say it’s mind blowing – but you already know that. But i also know – if you continue to do what you’ve always done you will continue to get what you’ve always got. You aren’t a teenager anymore. You know how to chant. I don’t know if you ever got a gohonzon or how long you practiced, but you should find a blank wall and chant like a galloping horse.
          Nam myoho renge kyo is like the roar of a lion, therefore what illness could be an obstacle?
          “If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time without beginning and attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho Renge Kyo. Chanting this will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life.” reread the first line. This is where you are. Since everything is cause and effect there is a reason you and I have met. There is no such thing as luck and there are no effects without first making a cause. You made that cause when you were 16.

          Lastly, i am not aware of the eugenics movement but I am aware of the mistreatment of the mentally ill. I will research that. I do believe it was intentional. A moron would know you can’t close the hospitals and put people on the street and expect them to survive. It is horrible what they did. Since it was done at the same time as our prison population was rising and people were making money by filling the prisons that is where a large percentage end up. They treated an illness like it wasn’t there. It would be like closing cancer treatment centers and telling people to figure out for themselves how to get better. We are hearing now in the news that the govt wants to decrease the prison population and release low offenders and change some “crimes” to a lesser punishment, but how come they are still building new prisons? They may let some Americans go because they now imprison every person who tries to enter the country illegally. Their only crime – to try to survive and they end up in prison, so they can work for the corporations for free. Sorry, this is such a long post. I hope I didn’t go overboard. I tend to get a bit intense. I was ending for the night when I saw it. It’s almost 4 AM. I better go to bed!


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