When the Information Highway Was a Two Lane Road

White man sitting at computer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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You Don’t have The Right To Bitch

“You don’t have the right to bitch about something unless you are willing to stand up and do something about it.”

This was said in a Ted Talk. It is very good and worth watching. I believe this. That’s the name of the game isn’t it? Lots of people have an opinion about what is the right thing to do. Some also pass judgement on others, but all they do is talk. When it comes time to do anything about it they go away because it is asking too much.

We have a problem in this country. When it comes down to helping to make the change that is needed they wait for someone else to do it. “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to do”. This is not everyone but if 25% more people did more than just read about it, maybe change in rotten systems, like the criminal justice system, could happen.

It’s been ten years since the concept of “prison” entered my life. I had never known anyone who was incarcerated. I knew nothing. The only time I ever thought about it was during an episode of Prison Break.

These years have taught me what it really means to have compassion for human beings regardless of who they are or what they have done that landed them in a prison cell. Some were forced in with plea deals. Some aren’t guilty at all. Some tried to get away with doing something and got caught. Some are mentally ill and were imprisoned instead of treated. Some should never be let out because they are too dangerous to be allowed in society – but that doesn’t mean they should be inhuman treated. That makes us just as bad.

I want to thank those who have supported my effects by sharing posts and commented, subscribed to my newsletter and steamed my music. Followed my YouTube and read chapters of the book I’m writing. Thank you. Thank you.

Without you I could do none of this.

 

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Dreaming For Tomorrow

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DREAMING FOR TOMORROW

Where are you going?

I see you walking in the distance

In the open air, no walls around you

What are you thinking?

You move your feet in a tiny dance

A smile appears. There is no one to stop you

Stretch your arms, there is nothing to feel

but the wind through your fingers

and the sun on your skin

It’s been a long time since life felt so real

Where are you running?

so fast and so free 

You fall to the ground and look to sky

Watch the birds and the clouds moving lazily

You understand now what it feels like to fly

The piano music is titled “Inside The Forbidden Outsidecopyright 2015 by Sonni Quick.

If you want to hear any of the other music go to http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick. As with anything online, stats are important. Share, like or leave a comment for others to see. It would be a benefit for me. When my arm heals I’m coming out of retirement from music 14 years ago and play again.

For those not familiar with my music, it is all improvised. If there is an error it becomes part of the piece. I can’t play it again the same exact way. I recorded this as I was writing Jamie’s book. As my damaged arm becomes functional I can continue recording and editing the book.

When I woke this morning I had a vision of Jamie in the distance and these words came to mind. I thought how  it must be to never be able to stretch out your arms and not touch something. His world is so small. No ability to run with abandon. We crave what we can’t have

Looking for Testimonials of people who have been through the Justice System

open prison door in jail or prison
I want to start a new section that is about the stories of other people who have been through this. Justified, Not justified. Guilty or not guilty. This isn’t a place to pass judgement, just a place to let people know what you know about these things I write about. This is space to air how you feel and maybe talk with other people who understand. Write to me and tell me if you’d like me to tell your story.

It could be a story of life before prison, prison life or life after prison and everything in between. I invite any other prison bloggers to add their story here as well.

Inside The Forbidden Outside . . . I Have a Dream

insideOut,inside the forbidden outside,injustice system,Jamie Cummings,racism is alive and well,stand your ground,white privilege
Inside the Forbidden Outside

I originally posted this a year ago.  When I see what is happening in America through the course of this presidential election year, I’m scared.  People who would have previously denied being racist are being led by the excitement of the pack and are punching people in the face, for no more reason than being black or because they have been given license to be hateful and proud of it.  The damage this is doing to our society will show up as effects in our near future because some things can’t be taken back.  I am so ashamed of people who now use hate as their motto.  The follow a hateful man who says he doesn’t promote hate while he tells his follows to hurt people – and they do.


All people are equal and racism is no more. Is that a dream we can turn into reality? I know it takes many people to make that dream come true. It being equal is against all odds, given our history, but do we have to give in to that? Do we have to continue what our ancestors started? Do we want to survive as a species with so much negativity in our hearts?

I have a dream, my book, that I pour my heart and life into: Inside the Forbidden Outside, will get published, will be a success, and will affect the minds of people who will begin to understand our Injustice System and the way it preys on minorities for profit. I spend  so much of my day a day writing, researching, learning the business of writing, blogging, social media, searching, praying, and focusing on my dream. It would be great if I made a lot of money from it, but that isn’t the purpose.  I don’t want to only say it is important to help change the views of people wh0  insist on being racist

I want to help do something about it.I want to help change the course of the life of this young man, Jamie Cummings, who I believe deserves the chance of a free life in the outside world. Freedom to love. Freedom to be a father to my grandson. Freedom to educate his mind and also freedom to discover his talents. He can use his experience to help other people who are going through what he has, and to help the families who are affected with the same circumstances of having been branded a slave by our society and not worthy of the freedoms we have. Why will all of this happen? Because it is my determination to find a way, and I have a dream.

Racism is alive and well. The branding of a slave and using him for profit started centuries to ago. Black people understand deeply the struggle they have had since the 1500’s to be seen of people with value, who bleed red blood, who have hopes and dreams for their children, who have great minds and have fought to be equal in a society with an ego who sees themselves as superior, and has yet to fully recognize them as equal human beings. This is because people in high places are still determined to use them as fodder. They know the average man is easily swayed to believe they are better because media continually tells them it is so.

So, I have a dream, of helping to make a difference; helping people understand. Trying to change hearts and minds that have been broken since birth to think the black man to be less of a man than the white man, who clearly has white privilege. I have white privilege. My son has white privilege. My son, walking down the street would not be looked at as suspicious of doing, wanting to do, or even thinking about doing a crime. He would not be pulled over, searched and humiliated – because HE IS WHITE.

I know these atrocities have been done to more than just the black man. Looking at what we have done to other people, the American Indians and Hispanics who are looked down as having lesser worth than white people and have to fight so hard for survival. There is little respect for their humanity or their heritage. They know when we, the white man, look at them with disdain, it is because they are not white – like us. They are lesser than us. They didn’t have the good fortune to be born in this free and wonderful society with streets paved of gold and the American dream (they thought) existed. They will never have have white privilege, as long as we think we are better than they are.

Here is a very telling video of a woman who accidentally had a black child and how it affected her selfish life in a negative way, because now what will her family and neighbors think? You can view the video here: The Value of Whiteness stating that her neighborhood is racially intolerant. She cries through the film because it’s unfair and doesn’t want other women to have to go through what she has. She “bonded easily with her daughter but she is obviously mixed race.” She’s going to have to face her daughter one day for that remark. Oh! The horror of what she had to go through now to raise her! Will she be able to take her out in public? Will her friends shun her now? I hope someone had to guts to slap her. Racism it’s most finest.

Most people will not admit they are racist in public because they don’t want to be looked at as a terrible person, but in their minds, they know they, too, are swayed by media and believe the stories that are slanted to make them believe the black man is dangerous, commits more crimes, and has a basic innate nature that wants to hurt people, much more than white people do. I see it on my facebook page on a continual basis. Jamie’s facebook page you can also follow, and read other articles about prisons and our injustice system.

You learn from the media that blacks do more drugs, collect more welfare than white people and  commit more crimes because that is exactly what the media wants you to believe.  It is by no means true.  This media is owned by very powerful white men in high places who benefit greatly by you keeping that mindset. They benefit greatly by the slave trade inside the prisons. So your racism is needed by them and is locked away in your mind when a black man comes toward you on the street and they have a hidden fear that he will want to hurt you. It allows cops to shoot them even if they aren’t armed and it allows the average citizen to kill them because of the racism and fear locked in his minds that he is doing something suspicious. The law allows you to “stand your ground” and kill without repercussion. You can’t stop that feeling because you have been indoctrinated in it since birth. Yes, racism is alive and well. And yes, black people are very angry over the negativity caused by the color of their skin.

I have a dream, that my grandsons, who are black and white and brown will have the chances in life that I have, that they won’t be judged by the color of their skin, and the possibilities of that happening frightens me. So I have to fight for my dream with everything I have. It drives me forward into the wee hours of the morning. It is my passion. It is my legacy. I don’t mean a money legacy – but a real legacy, because the only legacy I can leave behind that has real value, is the affect I have had on other people who carry on the change they learned.

I have a dream, that you will recognize the power you have to help me with this dream, and share my posts with other people. I have a dream that you will want to stay interested in the book I’m writing and add your name to my email list at the bottom of the post. I have a dream there are other people who believe as I do who want a book like this published. That growing list is what spurs me on. It shows me that people care enough and my words are not falling on deaf ears. I have had wonderful feedback from many people who have expressed caring for this man, so I know his story is one that needs to be told.

Because being outside of a prison, for many, is only a dream.  for some it will never be a reality.  We also hear frequently that many men, mostly black, are being let go because it has been found they really were innocent all along, after they have spent, 20, 30 or 40 years behind bars.  We, as a country should be ashamed for allowing that to happen.  The prosecutors and judges who have been so determine to lock up every black man they can find and force them to be guilty.

Speaking today, in 2016, a woman I have recently met online, Pamela

They never learned how to make it a reality. Why? Because the prison system is set up for failure and the outside world is very unforgiving and does it’s very best to make it hard for parolees and those who have lived out their sentences to get a job, rent an apartment and are looked down on as people to be feared and people of no value. They don’t want to take a chance because they think every person getting out of prison is a danger to them. Unfortunately, in some cases it is true, so it is understandable to have that fear. But there is little said or written that distinguishes these people, so all are feared. Our government has laws that makes it hard for any person who has paid his price to have a life on the outside. The laws work against it. Should there be help from the government who imposed harsher sentencing for the black man for the same crimes the white man committed, instead of making it harder to live and eat and feed his family? Help for the person who is trying to have a better life? Does anyone care? No, not anyone with power who profits from his failure.

There will be a second book written about the outside world after the day comes when Jamie is paroled, whenever that is.. We will see then what reality is.