Monday, January 09, 2006
Watch Them Drown
I guess it's no secret that I am not welcome at a lot of prison sites, gosh, I though all the Tic-Tacs was helping, but evidently not.
If you've read my earlier entries, you know what I am talking about. If not, one key on is an entry called,"Judge and Executioner". I got a lot of encouragement from that, to which I am grateful.
But it does not cover the fact that in the time I have been writing about prison issues, I have also been banned from quite a few. One of those I checked out today and saw a post I contributed to when this story first broke.
Let me pull you up to speed, then share a post. In a NC forum, there was an article about a youth in a youth prison that was brutally beaten nearly to death, and was in a coma. One of the members of the forum pulled the link for us to read, and I went to check it out. After I did, I made the following post:
Hi, I read the article and I came away thinking that this article was very one-sided. I took journalism courses while I was in college, and I was taught that when you do a story, you cover both sides in a fair manner.
After reading that article, it just smells like DOC has no sympathy for what happened. There was no apology that the kid was nearly killed. The spokes person only said that "these things happen" as if she could really care less. She said that the prison will handle it...how? They also said that Polk houses some of the most violent inmates in the state...and your point is? Does that mean inmates at Polk should expect to be beaten and thus waive their right to protection?
People forget that prisons are also supposed to protect inmates too, from other inmates.The article just seemed to me to not show any real concern for that kid who was savagely beaten. Where were the guards? How in the world did someone get a baton without the prison locking the entire camp down until they found the missing baton. DOC told the reporter only the very least they wanted to give, and in no way, shape or form took any responsibility for the actions that happened. It's almost as if they are saying, "let the animals sort it out for themselves, we don't care."
I may be overstepping my boundaries, but this in a nutshell is what DOC has been about, especially when it comes to youth inmates. This article, even though one-sided, tells exactly how DOC feels about their inmates. If that kid had died, they would have said the exact same thing, and would still not even apologize for that kid's death. They would have rationalized it by saying that this kind of thing happens when you get kids from the rougher parts of society, as if they have no value at all.
My deepest sympathies go out to that family. No parent should have to settle on the idea that their son has to go through this since they are in prison. The prison has an obligation to protect those inmates, and they have failed miserably.
I hope you could feel my anger in that post, because I was. I had seen such actions by DOC, and this is not the exception, rather the norm.
Shortly after that post, there were a few other post response to the situation. Soon the mom of the young boy joined and made a post, introducing herself and letting us know of the kid's condition...
It wasn't good.
The kid had to be put on life support.
I was emailing with the mom, doing what I could to keep her positive. She is a faitful lady, which is great. Many people were making post about this situation, and after awhile I wrote another post:
Hi, and first and foremost you have all of our very best wishes. I think ***** has a much larger family than he realizes now with all the people here at (prison site) just as concerned as I am.
The saying is that "no news is good news". I can accept that, but we also want to see improvement. I believe there is a two-sided fight going on here, *****'s fight to get through this, and your fight to keep your faith. I know you are in a difficult situation, because you have to watch your son suffer while it appears DOC has washed their hands clean of this situation, chalking it up to "bad inmate behavior".
I cannot possibly imagine how you feel, so I would be wrong in saying what you should do. But we all know that you must stand strong on your faith. That might mean reading scriptures every day, surrounding yourself with faith every second you are not with *****. You said that when you leave, you feel down or lost; then there is something you must work on. Every second you are awake, you have to speak, believe and talk faith. I know what we are talking about is a miracle, and if I never saw one, then I would be giving you false information, but I know miracles do happen, the DO HAPPEN!
When I was in prison, there certainly were times that I was so angry at God that I might have actually breathed fire. I covered that a lot in my first two books, but when I was in faith, I made sure to surround myself with it. That meant writing to as many ministries as I could find, remembering scriptures, tithing and anything I could possibly do to bank on my faith. I think that's what you can do. I know you're doing that anyway, but do it when you're away from ***** too. Think about it as believing for him too. Replace that lost feeling with faith. Yeah, I know, it's not easy, but even the smallest steps are better than none.
The writer in me says to write to government officials and tell them what happened to your son. The prison has to be held accountable for what happened, and from the initial report, it almost seems that DOC could have cared less. But this isn't where you should concentrate your energies now, divert that to faith now, and when ***** starts to make that recovery, THEN start letting the state know how prisons allow such horrible acts to happen, and refuse to take accountability for it. Again, first things first. Develop your faith in recovery. You have our support.
My goal in this was to not let go of what we were believing for. And I have said it before, I am NOT the most religious guy out there. But I know what I believe, and this lady needed support...
REAL SUPPORT. Words from afar don't mean a thing if there is no heart in it....some people need to get that understood before they talk about prison support.
I made several other posts, and kept in touch with the mom for awhile, until about September when I decided to leave the prison group. I talked about this in other entries, so loyal readers know about it. But when I wanted to come back, I never got a response, so apparently I am not welcome back.
But now, I am reading those posts and I see that the mom is having some difficulties with DOC. She is having difficulties and was asking for prayers from other members.
I read that, wishing I could do something. Not because I didn't know what to do, but rather that I am no longer ALLOWED to do anything.
I am no longer a member, and as such I cannot post, pm or anything.
It's like watching someone drown.
But what burns me up sometimes is there are thousands of people out there that CAN help, but think that a simple catch phrase like, "God will make a way" or "We're praying for you" is gonna mean a hill of beans to a person who need intervention.
DAMMIT, DO SOMETHING!
If I was still in that group, I would email her, ask her for the info about the situation, and write a letter and come up with names she can start sending letters to. I did this before with her.
But my hands are tied and I can only watch, while hundreds of people watch a public drowning.
I didn't join any prison group to give out cheap phrases and catch phrases, I came to help, and to use what I know, and whatever talent I have to do so. I know not everyone can do that, but I am not demanding everyone to do something.
There are people out there that read that post that could do something, but won't. It's so easy to sit on the computer from home and type out some cheap words, and then turn your back on the suffering...
God I am getting upset again......
How can we sit here and call ourselves "support" when we think words without works is enough? I am criticizing myself too, because I know I have done it before. We all have. But maybe more people do it because it is easier than getting involved. And many won't get involved because they are afraid of the prison retaliating, thinking that if they just be quiet, everything will be ok...
Until it happens to their loved one.
Anyway, I can't help that lady because I can't email her, I can't pm her or anything. I am not allowed to do so because the group has fenced me out...
So I am forced to watch, unable to help, and hoping the situation does not result in a tragic ending, while everyone else within reach watches on, doing nothing.