2005, 11th NOVEMBER
I feigned chest pains so that I could be escorted to medical. Once I got there, I immediately sat on the weight scale, handcuffed behind my back, Indian style – a non-violent protest! I asked my escorts to get me some rank. A populations Sgt. ( didn’t work on Death row) asked me if I would get off the scale and at least sit on a chair. I refused. This Sgt. attempted every maneuver, to no avail, to discourage me from non-violently protesting against the oppressive Death Penalty system. Other female staff nearby asked me why I was doing this to them. I thought the more appropriate question was why they were doing this to me and my people. I shared with them that they are indirectly at fault. As tax-payers, they finance this whole process, from application, to Death row conditions. After this was said a blond-headed nurse said to her co-worker, “if my tax-payer dollars are going towards this, then it can keep going towards it.” Her and her co-worker laughed. All I could think about was the cataclysmic effect her attitude can have should she serve as a juror on a Capital Murder trial. I guess I re-enforced her assumptions that I must deserve to die because of my defiant display of humanity and refusal to compromise my dignity, and accept their relegating me to undeserving of life.
Finally, the android, Sgt. Smith (death row sgt.), who’s programmed to smile, quote rules and procedure verbatim, while simultaneously lying, showed up. He asked me if I was going to walk to my cage. I told him that I would not comply, so he got a camera-person, and went through the motions of giving me verbal commands before using minor force to lift me off the scale, then strap me to my side on the gurney. At this moment, I went into my statement: “This is a death row inner-communalist vanguard engagement non-violent protest against capital punishment. It is so inherently corrupted that its only resolve is abolishment. I also stand in solidarity with my brother (Shannon Thomas) whom the state will try to murder today.” I went on to say, “The scales of justice are imbalanced...We need a moratorium to assess how racism plays a role in the Death Penalty application.” I then quoted some of the points of D.R.I.V.E’s opposition statement and when I paused you could hear the sounds of people singing “Happy Birthday” in the background. The sounds of indifference. The sounds of zombies. But, how ironic, I thought, they would be working on Death Row and throwing a party on the same day a prisoner was to be murdered (executed). Even more strange was how the sgt’s escorts and other staff was mad at me for interrupting their party-time and forcing them to work before they went to their warm homes. I was, however, fixing to be stored into a –literally—cold cage, and later retaliated against for my non-violent protest.
Several hours later, two floor officers banged on my cage door and told me I was moving. I asked them where & theytold me level-3. I was going from an already restrictive 4 1-hour days of recreation, to 3 1-hour days of recreation a week; and without being served a disciplinary case, or without going to court. It takes one major case (example: assault) or three minor cases to warrant being placed on level-3 status. Neither of which I have. I told the officers I refuse to move, and that they had to suit up a five-man response team. That’s when officer Hichmond (one of the officers that banged on my cage door, telling me I was moving) told me I was a “Lil Ol’bitch” if I didn’t allow this five-man response team, suited-up in football gear, and armed with pepper-gas, handcuffs, shackles, and a shield, to run in on me and assault me.
When the response team arrived, I went through their strip-search routine. They only allowed me to put on my boxers, state socks and shoes. After being handcuffed, I layed down on my stomach in non-violent protest of the blatant retaliation/repression and forced the team to carry me to level-3. When I got there, they didn’t allow me to have anything other than what I had on. They wouldn't even allow me to have the bare necessities. Then they had the large blower-fans on, sucking all of the cold outside air into level-3 section. I must shower in my state shoes, and wear these same wet shoes around this cold cage, in nothing more than my boxers and socks for 72-hours. It’s so cold, officers are walking around this pod with their jackets on. But this is only the beginning...of the end.
A feigned chest pain; an escorted trip to medical; and a worthy prop, a scale, to symbolize the imbalanced scales of justice, marks day one of my dedication to the D.R.I.V.E movement. There’s a number of factors leading up to my dedication to this cause. First, it’s beyond my possible (probable?) execution. For I now look upon my murder as a sacrifice to the cause; a death for growth; a loud death, howling through the darkness. It’s about the denial of ones right to live imperfect, striving for perfection. And WE as a People are all trying to find our way through means that seems culturally polarized. Though we can’t completely relate to certain lifestyles, we shouldn’t fear what we don’t understand, but try to understand it. Then, we will see that we are all deserving of life. For change is a part of life, and therefore, a part of human nature. And when considering those who are finding it hard to find their way in the world, we must remember we are a product of our environment, which, in return, is a projection of what we think.
A vicious cycle has been placed into motion in American civilization(?). A pattern directly influenced by racism –the foundation of America –, patterns that aren’t easily broken with the mere passing or abolishing of a law, for they’re deeply graved into the psyche of Americans. Do we sit satisfied with our socio-economic conditions? The death penalty’s existence demonstrates that we are not. Being that our environment is a reflection of our subjective state, the betterment we seek starts with self. And in order to be open to change, one has to be objective. Only then will WE be able to address what’s been staring the US in the face for so long. If one cannot give a logical reason(s) denouncing the existence of racism –whether it’s subtle or overt—in the death penalty application specifically, and the American system generally, then one can’t deny [its] existence.
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351