Day 50 I see people

Today is Thursday.  Today, I had a conversation at lunch with a relative.  She started the conversation with “those kind” of people.  “I don’t want to share a bathroom with ‘them’.” She lowered her voice.

I asked if she had someone moving in with her since she was going to share a bathroom.

Since there are stalls in public bathrooms and unless one is peeking under the door how would one know who is in the next stall?

“Well, they might leave their disease on the toilet.”

Hmmm, I asked if “these people” were lepers.  She didn’t appreciate the question.

“I don’t want them talking to or touching my kid.”

I told her all her kids were middle aged and we were quite capable of going to the potty alone.

I have taken a side step from discussing prison or my son today.

I don’t know where you stand on the issue of who and where one can take a pee but I just see people who  want to empty their bladders or bowels.

In Nazi Germany, Hitler had Jews, gays, lesbians, the mentally ill, and the disabled murdered.  Then the killing extended to Gypsies, Poles and anyone else he found offensive to his thinking.


Day 49 from jaded to hopeful

Today is Wednesday.  Today, I read a letter from the incarcerated man with whom I  have been corresponding and whose wife is terminally ill.  He related to me how this man who became his friend had stood up for him against a very powerful enemy.  This man traveled more than 80 miles to visit the ill wife and encourage her.  This man continues to work tirelessly for his friend.

This man is a lawyer, a public defender.

He has the courage of a lion and the persistence of a bulldog.  He has made it his mission to see justice for a client who became a friend.  I am encouraged that he will stay the course for my incarcerated pen pal.  There is no guarantee that they will win, but my pen pal will know that someone fought for him and stood with him against injustice.

I have been jaded during this entire nightmare for my son (except for a compassionate, transparent, honest and fierce fighting attorney from Canada who became a good friend to our entire family..Lily you rock!)

This public defender has given me a bit of hope that there are some out there who truly care about others and stand up for them.  I salute you Michael and your client and friend, Dan.  Stay strong guys.


Day 48 the prof, the author,the friend

Today is Tuesday.  Today, as I drove home from work I  was pelted by heavy rain and hail.  This is the time of year when the weather gets a bit erratic.  The skies can be perfectly clear and then in a blink of an eye, the clouds rush in like angry beasts thundering and gnashing.  It can be quite intimidating.

Matt informed us that he had rain where he was, too.  He spent the afternoon reading.  He requested the copy of Gabriella Coleman’s book to be sent to him.   She signed a copy for him writing a very sweet message inside.

When he was incarcerated in Canada, Ms. Coleman came to visit Matt and spent about an hour and a half just chatting with him.  He says he will always remember how she took time out to come see him.  He was impressed by her kindness and her down to earth personality.  “A brilliant but humble lady,” he says.

Thank you, Biella, for giving my son your time, your support, and your fascinating book with a personal message. 🙂

Day 47 Huntington’s disease

Today is Monday.  Today I read about an activist, Jay Chase, who got another year tacked on to his sentence he is currently serving for tossing human waste at a guard.  He’s been in solitary confinement for eons with no medical help for his disease.  I guess when one is treated like “shit” one will throw “shit.” He has Huntington’s Disease.

Shame on the presiding judge for lack of compassion and obviously not knowing how this disease affects the brain.  It is a ” neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to mental decline and behavioral symptoms.”  People afflicted with this disease will most likely end up with dementia.

I had the very sad opportunity of knowing 2 people who dealt with this disease.  One is dead and she died horribly.  Her son, who may still be alive, suffers from it.

Jay, my heart goes out to you.  No one should die slowly like this, least of all in an inhumane prison.  Today, you are my hero.  Today, I salute you for your courage.  Today, I honour you for your life.  Peace, dear Jay.


Day 46 suntan

Today is Sunday.  Today, Matt told me he had a suntan..:)  That means in just a few days he’s had more sunshine than he’s had in a year.

He has been reading a book, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Mike Taibbi.

“In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice—the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights.”

Matt says he knew it was bad but not to the extent that Taibbi catalogs.  The militarization of police: an average of 300 times per person in NY for “stop and frisk,” and the constant home invasion of those on welfare have to endure to receive funding to support themselves and their families.

Today, I read an article where a judge threw a special forces guy in jail for being violating his probation by failing his urine test.  The man has PTSD and drinks.  He’s been to Afghanistan 3 times (clearly who wouldn’t drink after that?)

But, the most amazing thing, the judge went to jail with the man and sat in a cell with him all night.  Who does that?  Someone with some sense of compassion I think.

Don’t assume anyone with “sex offender” charges is necessarily guilty.  Matt is finding more and more guys who have been screwed by the system to take pleas for something they did not do and are willing to return to prison because they are innocent.

Oh what evil is perpetrated.

Day 45 Garden

Today is Saturday.  Today, I planted more vegetables in my garden.  I had already put in peas and potatoes a month ago.  Today, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, swiss chard and zucchini plants found a home in my garden.

Today, I am more resolute than ever to grow my own food.  Today, I want to be certain there is nothing in my food that shouldn’t be in my food if you get my meaning.

Today, I thought about how my son and others didn’t have fresh veggies or fruits for an entire year.  Where he is at now, Matt gets fruit and veggies.  I am so very grateful…so very grateful.

Today, I fantasized about gardens for the jail in Bowling Green and other like jails/prisons.  I imagined staff and incarcerated working together growing fresh vegetables and sharing with each other and the struggling families of underpaid guards and destitute prisoners.

Today, I imagined what taking care of each other might look like.  I imagined what restorative justice, rehabilitation, and mutual respect might do for all involved in the prison industrial complex.

As, I gently placed the last zucchini plant in the ground, I said a silent prayer for all those who don’t have access to fresh food; not because it can’t be provided, it won’t.