Category Archives: Politics

Mothers & Memorial Days by Wayne T. Dowdy

happy mothers day

TO THE MOTHERS OF THE WORLD:  Two years ago on May 8, 2015, I sent out a message to have posted on FaceBook.  My publisher read and liked it so much that she decided to post it as a blog for me.  This is what I wrote:

 

“Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women out there who gave your blood and suffered unbearable amounts of pain to give life to the children you brought forth into this thing we call life.  Not to mention all you gave of yourself to raise your children the best way you could by giving them what you had been given.  May those close to you show the same amount of love on your special day.”

 

To all you Mother’s out there who do or do not follow my blogs, I resubmit to you the same feelings wrapped in words.  Each of you deserve praise for the sacrifices you make for your offspring and loved ones.  I decided to repost it when a friend of mine let me know he planned to plagiarize it last week, after having read a collection of my blogs.

 

In “Women Rule the World” (March 27, 2017), I used a bear to illustrate that women are the stronger and more intelligent of the human species.  We owe our lives to our mothers, whether she was the best or the worst, she chose not to “abort” the mission of bringing us into this world.  For those who did not read it, I will share a version of my favorite parts that caused the audience to erupt into laughter when I presented it at a special to celebrate Women’s History Month.

 

“I am Wayne T. Dowdy, a son, father, grandfather, brother, and an uncle, all the products of a woman, my Mother.

 

“The strength I saw in her and many other women has convinced me that the biggest deception in life began when an intelligent woman convinced man that he was the strongest.

 

“Yeah, right!  She says, go fight that bear to protect me, honey.  Bring me his meat and we will eat.  The man risks his life to please and feed her. …..

 

[Men do insane things to please women, some rob banks, write bad checks or worse to win them over.]

 

“The birth process is evidence of a woman’s strength.  Most men would not dare to suffer so much pain to give life, if given the option.  No, he is too weak for that kind of pain.

 

“Our species would not have survived if man carried the burden of birth.  He may go fight a bear to please her and to feed their children, but he dare not to endure such pain for nine months.

 

[Of course, there are those “males” who would love to get pregnant and become rich, but most men I know would mandate prophylactics (rubbers), not because of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, but because of the risk of pregnancy.]

 

“Additional evidence lies in the fact that in long-term marriages, if the woman dies first, the man is soon to follow.  If the man dies first, the woman keeps on going to nurture her offspring for generations.

 

“My mother outlived and buried three husbands.  …..

 

“Yes, maybe most men are physically stronger than most women are; however, the facts show women rule the world.  Evidence also suggests that she is more intelligent.  If she wasn’t, she’d be the one to go fight that darn bear to feed her family while the man stayed home with their children.”

 

It made me happy to be able to help others have a pleasant day.  A Psychologist who was present thanked me as I was leaving.  She said, “You had us laughing so hard we had to hold our sides.”  🙂

 

MOTHERS & GOD GIVE LIFE:  Both parents may have enjoyed the process of putting us children into our mother’s belly, but it was she who suffered the pain of childbirth that allowed us to grow into the person we became in life.  The formation of our life was under her and God’s control.

 

HIT & RUN:  Some fathers hit and run and left the mothers to bear the pain all alone.  Single parent mothers made even more personal sacrifices to get us the life we now have.

 

If you know any single parents (male or female), who has children at home, give them a hug and offer to help care for their children long enough for them to go out and get some time alone or time with friends.  Everyone needs a break, sometimes!

*****

confederate flag

REMEMBERING REBELS:  Confederate Memorial Day is April 25, 1866, that is, depending on who you chose to believe.  Various dates and places exists as to where Memorial Day originated.  The same is true about which group of people began the day of remembrance for the soldiers who died during America’s most gruesome war.  Civil War history is convoluted.

 

The United Daughters of the Confederacy kept memories alive of the Civil War, by raising funds to have monuments constructed to honor soldiers who died during a period of American history that America’s government wishes to forget.

 

No government likes rebels.  Those darn rebels had the nerve to create their own government, and even worse, to make their own money.  How dare those darn Rebels!  Disgusting Rebels!

monument being removed in NO

ERASING HISTORY:  In New Orleans, Louisiana, local government is in the process of trying to remove memories of the Civil War by removing various Civil War monuments.

 

On April 24, 2017, “Workers dismantled an obelisk, which was erected in 1891 to honor members of the Crescent City White League who in 1874 fought in the Reconstruction-era Battle of Liberty Place against the racially integrated New Orleans police and state militia, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.”  The New York Times, “New Orleans Begins Removing Confederate Monuments, Under Police Guard” by Christopher Mele (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/us/new-orleans-confederate-statute.html?_r=0).

 

Plans exist to remove other statutes/monuments.  The list includes a bronze statute of General Robert E. Lee, an equestrian statute of P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate General, and a statute of Jefferson Davis, who was the president of the Confederacy.  Even the monument of President Andrew Jackson is at risk.

 

Removing the obelisk is more understandable than removing the other monuments; especially, statutes of real men whose family linage and heritage is rooted; e.g., Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and President Andrew Jackson.

 

More of those darn rebels protested when workers and officials attempted the removal of Jefferson Davis’ monument on May 1, 2017.  Five people were arrested; the removal process put on hold.

old glory

MEMORIAL DAY:  The celebrated federal Memorial Day is the last Monday of each May.  Supposedly, Memorial Day got its start when a group of women put flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.  Regardless of whether they fought for the North or the South, those Civil War soldiers gave their lives fighting for their country, as has all other soldiers before and after the Civil War.

 

It is a disgrace for those in power to attempt to eradicate a part of history.

 

IMPORTANT DATES:  A misconception pumped into today’s society is that the primary “cause” of the American Civil War was to free the slaves.  Don’t mistake what I write.  I do not like what happened in America during the days of slavery.  No human being deserved to be mistreated the way some slaves were, not even terrorists.

 

I write that to stress my point:  I do not like Terrorist cowards or predators who kill or injure innocent people because of their ideological belief.  Terrorist deserve to experience extreme amounts of pain for repayment of their acts.  But to treat them the way they deserve to be treated, would make us no better than them.  In my opinion, it would be more humane to execute them rather than torture them to death, as they deserve.

 

PROOF OF HISTORICAL DECEPTION:  “On July 20, 1862, John Hay, Lincoln’s private secretary, predicted in a letter that the president ‘will not conserve slavery much longer.’  Two days later, Lincoln, wearing his familiar dark frock coat and speaking in measured tones, convened his cabinet in his cramped White House office, upstairs in the East Wing.  He had said, ‘dwelt much and long on the subject’ of slavery.  Lincoln then read aloud a 325-word first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, intended to free slaves in Confederate areas not under United States authority.”  Louis P. Masur, “Forever Free.”

 

After writing the draft, President Lincoln was faced with another problem:  “One of the weightiest questions was whether significant numbers of Union soldiers would refuse to fight in a war whose purpose was not only to preserve the Union but also to end slavery.  ‘How Will the Army Like the Proclamation?’ trumpeted a headline in the New York Tribune.'”  Smithsonian magazine, January 2013, “Forever Free” by Louis P. Masur.

 

If the Civil War was about freeing the slaves, President Lincoln would not have had that concern and the article would not have appeared in the New York Tribune.

 

Lincoln later “[o]pened the ranks of the Army to blacks, who until then had served only in the Navy.”  He had to do that to get slaves to help the Union fight the Confederate rebels who were kicking their ass on the battle field.

 

Lincoln did not write the draft of the Emancipation Proclamation until 464-days after the Civil War began on April 12, 1861.  That proves that the American Civil War was not fought to free the slaves.  At least, it did not begin with freeing the slaves on the agenda, only later was it added.

 

Slave labor allowed the Southern plantation owners to undercut the Northerners in the Cotton market, the same argument presented today by politicians about the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. using inmate labor to produce goods and services, which raises a question of whether the practice violates the Federal Fair Trade and Practice Act (?).  (I will write a blog to cover that issue in the future.)

 

The Emancipation Proclamation was not signed until January 1, 1863; 165-days after Lincoln wrote the draft on July 20, 1862, which gave freedom to slaves across America, including those in the North.  In other words, wealthy Northerners still had slaves when the war began in the South.

 

The most liked blog of mine is “Southern Pride-Waving a Confederate Flag” (July 6, 2015).  As stated, “If the Civil War was fought over slavery, wouldn’t President Lincoln have signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free all slaves before the war began on April 12, 1861, instead of on January 1, 1863?  Weren’t the slaves used by the president to fight off Confederate forces who had proved to be a more formidable force than expected by slaughtering his troops in numerous battles?  Yes, is the most logical answer based upon the facts and history of the rich using the poor to fight their battles.”

 

What would the Mothers of Civil War soldiers think if they could see what is going on today about the war that claimed the lives of their sons?   We should, as a society, honor those who gave their lives to defend our country, even if their lives were lost fighting a war within the United States of America.

 

Feel free to share this post.  For more on the Civil War, and excerpts from THE LAST CONFEDERATE COIN by S.G. Garwood and Dr. Jonathan Jackson, visit thelastcharlestonconfederate.weebly.com.

 

_________________________________________

Wayne T. Dowdy writes at StraightFromthePen.com.  Send comments to waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com, or by writing him at Wayne T. Dowdy, #39311-019, P.O. Box 725, Edgefield, SC 29824-0725

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DAMAGE & PRISON

solitudeby Wayne T. Dowdy

Prison damages people.  Those who spend decades in prison are damaged in many ways, all of which I will not go into.  For instance, exposure to violence or physical abuse that people deal with, or repressing natural tendencies to fight when having to comply with irrational demands; e.g., like ones I wrote about in “The Truth About Incarceration, Part I,” and “A Prisoner’s Story,” https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com and http://www.straightfromthepen.com.

DON’T GET PERSONAL:  A less than obvious example of damage, occurs for someone like me–a southern gentleman by nature who likes to assist people I see carrying a heavy load or otherwise look to need help; especially, women, who represses the natural desire to help.  To engage in a personal conversation may also create difficulties.

At times, I resist the desire to offer help due to fear of causing a conflict for the damsel in distress.  I still offer to help in certain situations.  Because of prison regulations and the warped, unwritten code of prison ethics, I may avoid speaking openly about an issue I would normally speak about to a person I feel I can help by offering a suggestion.

The person may or may not accept a helping hand.  In such a situation, an inmate may decline assistance at the fear of being seen as weak or vulnerable.  A staff member may decline due to fear of another staff member suspecting improprieties between him or her and the compassionate prisoner.  Personal conversations and any type of transaction between staff and inmates are viewed as inappropriate by many prisoners and staff alike.  Humanity prohibited!

INSTINCTS DENIED:  My instinct is to help others.  Sometimes I don’t because of the risk I may put the other person in by doing what comes natural.  Knowing that my act of kindness may harm the other person, makes me reluctant to offer the assistance my ethics and natural instincts tells me to do, as a decent human being.

Upon release, I will have to undo decades of damage done by the prison experience:  suppressing healthy emotions and needs.  I must learn to be a normal.

I sent out the following message to a friend who posted it on social media for me.  A lot of people liked it so I will share it.

“03/05/17:  To all my Faithful Friends:  I hope March brings each of you lots of love and success or whatever your hearts desire.  For me, I’d be happy to be able to walk through a park or to sit on a lake to listen and observe the beauty of nature; to give someone a hug, kiss someone special, or to just be able to sit and watch animals; or to pet a dog, cat, rabbit, or a chicken.  🙂  Hell, I’d be happy to watch some fish swim around in an aquarium.  I am looking forward to going to the Georgia Aquarium to see some really big fish!  So much in life people take for granted until it’s gone.  One day soon I will be reentering the human race.  Then I will be able to interact with each of you like a normal person.  Have a great day!  Wayne”

The above indicates the desensitization of prisoners.  For over 28-1/2 years, my physical contact with other humans and mammals has been severely restricted.  That is definitely true on an intimate level about lovers and sexual intercourse!  During this sentence, I have resisted romantic-relationships.  I’ve only been involved in three since 1988, and only one of those included physical contact (hugs and kisses on a visit).

I had one female visitor I got to hug and kiss, and some mice to pet while at U.S.P. Atlanta.  🙂

In Lompoc, California, I got to take care of a friend’s pet house sparrow, and to go outside to feed the seagulls, crows, other birds, and ground squirrels.  I fed the ground squirrels until the administration poisoned them.  😦

In a relationship, I love to hug and touch, to put my arm around my mate’s waist or shoulder, to sleep with my arm around her to maintain contact.  I guess I am by nature, a “touchy-feely” kind of guy.  In prison, I sleep alone and touch myself.

SEXUAL REPRESSION:  In 1980-81, when I took psychology in college, I seem to recall that a prominent psychologist or psychiatrist wrote about the damaging effect of suppressing sexual feelings and desires.  If that is true, I must be more damaged than I realize.  Perhaps I need a therapist, now!

In my opinion, sexual repression is one of the leading causes of mental illness in America.

Around 1997, a Nevada, Holier-than-Thou politician, pushed a bill through Congress that prohibited federal prisoners from receiving magazines or books containing nudity.

CENSORSHIP & COMPLEX REASONING:  Several years ago, the prison mail room staff rejected an issue of Smithsonian I subscribed to because it contained nudity.  I appealed.

The program statement makes an exception for educational or anthropological content, as one may see in National Geographic; however, understanding an “exception clause” requires cognitive thinking; an ability to comprehend the subject matter and its relation to the provision; to then analyze the situation and decide whether the matter before one’s eye, does in fact, contain what constitutes a permissible exception, a far too complicated process for someone who may not have a GED, I reckon.

The Smithsonian Board of Directors has Supreme Court justices and politicians.  If I was wrong in my assertions, the justices and politicians on the Board of Directors support publishing and distributing pornography.

I appealed the decision to reject my Smithsonian.  I took it to the highest level in Washington, DC.  No one involved comprehended the “exception clause” and upheld the denial of my magazine.  Censorship won because I didn’t want to spend $500.00 to litigate the matter in federal court, where someone with the required intelligence could understand the educational/anthropological, “exception clause.”

PERVERSION & THE POLITICIAN:  Since that policy took effect, I saw a dramatic increase of inmates put in the hole (confined to a cell 23 hours per day, restricted from purchasing most commissary items, using the phone, email system, etc.) for “gunning down” female staff members (masturbating or exposing genitalia while watching the woman).  That may qualify as abnormal behavior.

The politician who sponsored the censorship bill, later came under fire for getting caught cheating on his wife.  Throughout the years, many of the politicians who come up with such bills did what prisoners in the Georgia prison system called “Shifting the Heat,” which is to say or to do things to put the focus on other people to keep it away from themselves.

CELIBATE BY CHOICE:  In prison, I remain celibate because I choose not to participate in homosexual activities, my only other option since I do not have or attempt to have sexual affairs with staff members.  Even if involved in a heterosexual relationship with someone, I still couldn’t engage in sexual activities, even if someone visited me.  While visiting, prison rules limit physical contact to hugs and kisses when greeting and leaving.  Therefore, I remain celibate and will do so until I reenter that part of humanity upon release from prison.

LOMPOC CA:  In 1999, while I was at the United States Penitentiary in Lompoc, California, a tall and pretty, female staff member worked in M-Unit, along with a male staff member known to create drama with staff and inmates alike.

M-Unit is where those of us with high profiles were kept.  I lived in it because I was a maximum custody prisoner.  The administration scored me as Maximum custody due to violence and an escape in 1981, when I was a 24-year-old knucklehead in the Georgia prison system.  Today I am a model prisoner.

PRETTY WOMAN:  That tall and pretty woman was a mother of three.  The male guard wanted her to sit in a booth where the correctional officers, who worked in the unit, had a phone, small desk, drawers, and a cabinet to store their personal and work-related items.

She rebelled.  Instead, she chose to speak with me, within his view.  We stood talking on a tier, in an open area, where others could hear our conversation.  To learn how she might help raise her children, she asked about my childhood and history, and wanted to know what I thought lead to me spending my life in prison.  Our conversation was wholesome, no improprieties of any sort.

The next time I saw her, she asked if I’d be willing to give her an affidavit about our conversation, if she needed it.

“Sure,” I said.

The male guard wrote a complaint against her for fraternizing with an inmate.

Because of that experience, I sometimes avoided conversations with female staff members, who may have only wanted to engage in conversation to ease their tension from working in a male prison.

When sexually attracted, I must resist the impulse to flirt or to make an advance.  A rejection might result in a trip to the hole and a damaged ego, the damaged ego being the worst casualty of rejection.

As damaged as I may be from the prison experience, I will blend into society when I am released.  With a little help from my friends, and maybe a therapist or two, I will be okay and become a success story.

________________________________________

Purchase books by Wayne T. Dowdy from StraightFromthePen.com, or his eBooks from Smashwords.com  (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy).

POLITICS & PRISONS

election-dayby Wayne T. Dowdy

The United States Presidential election will be over by the time this blog gets posted. Half of the cellblocks at this institution cannot watch television coverage of the elections because some prisoners had the nerve to violate the rules by having contraband in their cells. Imagine that, prisoners who break the rules!

PRISONS: most prison administrators use an “old” military technique of punishing groups of men (and women now), because of the actions of one or a few.

I was never in the military: my criminal record kept me out. I wanted to join the Air Force to become a jet fighter pilot, instead, I become a fighter in prison.

I learned to fly high without leaving the ground and that landed me in prison. In prison, I fight for rights (read my blog, “Fighting for Rights to Write,” originally published by PrisonEducation.com).

NO BLANKET PARTY: Based on what an ex-military, staff member told me, the ideology behind mass-disciplinary techniques was derived from military tactics: if a soldier failed to make up his bed or left his area un-kept during inspection, the whole barrack was punished. As an unofficial sanction, the offender’s fellow soldiers gave him a blanket party by throwing a blanket over his head and beating the stuffing out of him to teach him a lesson.

In prison, violence is prohibited, so prisoners cannot give blanket parties or punish those who cause everyone else to be punished for their actions, which defeats any common-sense-application of mass-disciplinary techniques. Most prisoners that I have known would not give a peer a blanket party or sanction them for violating a rule, even if allowed: Some will report offenders who violate rules and would help the guards arrest and shackle them if allowed.

Federal Institutions now have a Crime Stopper Hotline, which I find amusing. Time has changed things. Maybe for better, maybe not. If the changes reduce recidivism and help to improve the lives of others, then it is all good.

MORE ON BLANKET PARTIES: If certain prisoners were given a blanket party or “sanctioned” by their peers for failure to comply with rules or regulations, it may lead to extreme violence; therefore, the ideological control mechanism for military men and women does not work on prisoners, or otherwise has adverse effects; that is, unless the prison administrators really want prisoners to clash. Many administrators do have ulterior motives.

DOMINANCE & SUBMISSION: Perhaps what drives mass-disciplinary techniques is a stroke of the executioners’ ego, more so than to produce the desired or intended effect. Then again, maybe such techniques are utilized just as a display of power to show who is in control of the masses? The politics of prison are all about dominance and submission.

Break out the whips and chains and sweat boxes to teach the scoundrels a lesson! Maybe the cat-o-nine tails to go along with the whips to really get the point across, their backs that is.

People do not go to prison for being nice men and women. Most who do go to prison come out worse than when they arrive, damaged and scarred by the prison experience.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: My view on politics is that the Democrats represent the lawyers trying to sue the big businesses represented by the Republicans. Politicians deceive voters when they run on a platform and promise to vote a certain way on an issue, but then vote otherwise when elected because of their party line agenda.

Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump: I would vote for Mrs. Clinton for the simple reason that she has Bill Clinton’s experience behind her.

I cannot believe that Americans want to vote for Donald Trump to run the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world, after he deceived the investors in his business adventures by convincing them to trust him, only to file bankruptcy, not once, four times! Trump is a recidivist.

I wanted Bernie Sanders to win but he wanted to uproot the good-ole-boy regimes and didn’t have a chance. So much for American politics, straight from the pen. Later. waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com.

REENTERING REALITY

by Wayne T. Dowdy

Time Warp - Time Dilation. Quantum mechanics meets general relat
Time Warp – Time Dilation. Quantum mechanics meets general relativity.

The clock ticks away the seconds, minutes, hours, and months until my release. The realities I must face flood the senses as my day comes closer. The last three decades of my life will have been spent inside federal prisons. For most of this sentence, getting out seemed so far into the future that I never concerned myself with release preparations, other than general ideas about where I would live when that day arrives, and how to legally provide for myself; e.g., writing my way to riches, freelance technical writing, writing “how to” books; working as an internal auditor, or helping to prepare a company for ISO certification of their quality management system, maybe starting a company. Some of my peers want me to set up a paralegal service to help those still incarcerated. Whatever I do, I will succeed as a free citizen.

FREEDOM: In recent months, I have known a few to receive commutation of sentences: Alphonso Davis, Alonzo Mackins, and the most recent two J. F. Banks, and M. L. Sherrod, all of whom were doomed to die in federal prison until President Obama bestowed his mercy upon them and gave them another chance at life. All four men had sentences of life without parole for various drug-related crimes. (See LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE below.)

FREEDOM DENIED: I have known many, many, more men whose petitions were denied, including myself. My petition was denied on September 30, 2016. I am not alone. Thousands of applicants of all ethnic backgrounds have been denied.

Personally, I have not known anyone other than African-Americans whose petitions were granted. I know race plays a role in the decision on whether to grant or not grant a petition, since President Obama specifically mentioned sentencing disparities of “minorities.” It makes me happy to see anyone blessed with freedom.

The sad part is that all four of those men I know, who were serving life without parole, are only a micro-percentage of all the others I know who are in the same position and deserve another chance at life.

I do believe that what President Obama is doing is a good thing. I do not believe the color of a person’s skin should have been a decisive factor in sentencing or relief. I know the President began Clemency Project 2014 to release people of color who met specific requirements; a few others were also released. All of the people I know whom he granted relief deserved it and should not have been serving the rest of their lives in prison for their crimes.

RECIDIVISM: Statistically, many released prisoners will re-offend, whether white, black, yellow, or brown. Only a few will commit horrendous crimes and regardless of what percentage returns, the politicians should not use that to justify not passing laws to give others another chance at freedom. (Read my July 25, 2016, blog post, “Changing Public Image of Prisoners,” (UNRECOGNIZED SUCCESS STORIES), and “Reentry Programs Will Reduce Recidivism” for more on the issue.)

TOUGH-ON-CRIME BRIBES: Many donations will be given to politicians who vote against prison reform bills. On July 27, 2016, Presidential candidate Donald Trump received a $45,000 contribution from GEO Group, Inc., a private prison group with a vested interest in high incarceration rates. www. rollcall.com, “Private Immigrant Detention Firm Gave $45K to Trump Fundraising Group” by Dean DeChiaro.

My day will come and I will walk out the door a better man than when I walked in three decades before. Most of the years I have spent in prison were due in part to tough-on-crime bills driven by funding from private prison representatives.

In the “Truth About Incarceration, Part II” (https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com), I wrote on the influence on laws by contributions from private prison officials.

lifewithoutparoleLIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: Life without parole for drug crimes was once considered to be cruel and unusual punishment in some states until the United States Supreme Court decided it was cruel but not unusual, and then upheld a Michigan criminal statute that allowed men and women sentenced to life without parole for possessing “650 grams or more of any mixture containing certain controlled substance, including cocaine.” He a first-time offender. Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957 (1991).

“Times change. The law has changed. Our culture is changing its views about how long we should put people behind bars.” The Honorable J. Merritt, Circuit Judge, dissenting in United States v. Taylor, 815 F.3d 248 (6th Cir. 2016).

Americans are reevaluating punishment for what they think crimes should carry.

The time has come for Americans to take a stand about the mass incarceration that drains the economy and ruins the family structure of those affected by unjust incarceration.

BLOGS: I wrote blogs in tribute to Alphonso and Alonzo, both of whom were friends (“Freedom for a Friend” and “Freedom for Another Friend”). In those blogs, I praised President Obama for doing what he did. I wrote other blogs that relates to others reentering society and my views on programs to reduce recidivism (reverting to old behaviors, drug addiction or crime that leads men and women back to prison).

On a different note, President Obama was an attorney before he became a senator and then the President. As an attorney, he would have seen first-hand how Americans were cast into prison for life without parole, for crimes that did not warrant such severe punishment.

TRANSITIONS: Most everyone faces difficulties when reentering society; especially, with a criminal conviction to overcome when applying for jobs. Just trying to fit-it can be challenging upon return to a different society than when the ex-offender was last free. In “No Sympathy”* I wrote about such changes.

I forewarned Mr. Mackins about the changes to expect during his transition. He was a first-time offender who had spent eighteen years of his life in an unnatural environment: prison. Reentering society after decades in prison often makes a person feel like an alien.

My time is coming soon. Am I ready? Yes!

In 1988, I did not worry about what my life would be like in 2019, sixty-two years old; leaving prison, without a home, or a car, or a job, and without money to sustain my life in a foreign world: the free society. The world I left as a young man for sitting in a second-getaway vehicle during an armed bank robbery, down the road from the bank, unarmed, alone until confederates came to meet me for the great escape.

With it now being the end of 2016, and with knowing my case manager said he will put me in for more time in a halfway house than most people receive (due to amount of time served), I may go to that distant world as early as April 24, 2018. The reality of my upcoming release sets in.

My tentative release date is April 24, 2019. That is the date I am scheduled to begin serving my five years of supervised release. I will have served thirty-years and nine months inside.

For fourteen years I was rated as High security and Maximum custody. The custody rating determines the level of security and controls needed to house an inmate.

CHANGES: In the beginning, I realized a very real chance existed that I might die in prison; especially, since I was told I would stay maximum custody, because I had assaulted staff and escaped while serving time in the State of Georgia. I never accepted I could not get my custody/security lowered, even though the classification system did have me in a trap: I could never score enough points for a custody decrease, regardless of how well I behaved.

I did not give up, even with it looking as if I would never get my security lowered because of my past. My High Max classification was based more on my behavior as a twenty-four-year-young, knuckle head, than my behavior in the federal system.

Early on when I asked about having the maximum custody removed, the unit manager at U.S.P. Leavenworth said, “You will be maximum custody when you get out in 2020.” (My release date was in 2020.)

Years later, after not having been a disciplinary or management problem, I asked my case manager about removing the maximum custody that kept me in the penitentiaries. She said, “Two things the B.O.P. does not tolerate is escape and assault on staff and you have done both. I don’t see any warden signing off on you but we will talk about it at your next team.”

At the next team meeting I asked again. She put her hand on my extensive file, tapped it with a finger, and then said, “The person I see in here is not the same person I see sitting in front of me. You’ve changed haven’t you?”

“Yeah, I changed a little,” I said and laughed.

I have changed a lot over the years and am an honorable man and a good person. Many times I wondered if I would see the outside again, especially when I sat in some of the most dangerous federal prisons in the United States, with trouble brewing that I knew could lead to a full-scale riot and result in the deaths of many men.

I maintained my sanity by not thinking about a day I knew I may never see: the day I would walk out the prison doors as a free man.

REALITIES OF RELEASE: I recently thought about some of the challenges I will face upon release: needing a car for transportation to and from work, and needing the money to buy the car and insurance for the car that I cannot buy without a job. In the city of Atlanta, which is where I will be sent for the halfway house portion of my sentence, I will be able to use the MARTA transit system to get around while in the halfway house. In the suburbs of Atlanta where I plan to live, I am not sure if public transportation exists.

When I was last a free citizen, the price of gasoline at some Georgia gas stations was $0.78 to $0.82 cent per gallon. At high dollar stations like Shell and Exxon, it only cost around $1.15 to $1.38 per gallon. By the time I am released, I am sure the prices will be around $3.00 to $4.25 per gallon.

WANTS VERSUS NEEDS: I realized through my personal experience that the lack of money management skills put people in prison, as does drug and alcohol abuse. During the last twenty-one, “sober years” of this sentence, I learned to manage my money by living within my means, not borrowing to buy, and making decisions to purchase based on needs versus wants.

If the prison commissary stocks a new item (e.g., a different style of tennis shoes I like, a watch, radio, or MP-3 player), I have often wanted to purchase the item but have not because it was a “want,” not a need. I love music and can afford to purchase an MP-3 player. I really do “want” one, but if I buy one, then I’d be buying songs for $1.55 each. I resisted the impulse and applied my limited funds toward paying for time on Corrlinks to write these blogs and for sending emails to friends and loved ones, or printing documents at fifteen cents per page.

I keep time on the first Indiglo model Timex that I bought in March of 1995. I don’t need a different watch, I want one. My relic works fine. I must maintain that level of thinking upon release.

My primary objective will be to find an apartment or home to rent or buy when my finances permit it. When I do, then I have to buy insurance on the house (and personal insurance), and then furniture for the house or apartment.

Relationships will be another adventure. God will give me who I need to make me whole.

Materially, I do not need anything elaborate, nor do I need all the fancy gadgets, such as the latest Apple iPhone. I’ll need to buy clothes to dress for success, a decent cellphone, preferably a Smartphone (who wants a dumb phone?), a computer for my writing career, and maybe a spacecraft to begin my journey into a whole new world. 🙂

In my blog, “The Internet,” I wrote about a conversation I had with my first unit team members. Read it and you will understand what I mean about a spacecraft.

Whether I have a spaceship or not, I will be okay and will be successful as a free citizen.

______________________________________
The publisher will advertise UNKNOWN INNOCENCE in their newsletter that goes to prisoners. To absorb the cost of shipping and handling, I asked that the price be lowered from $14.95 to $10.95. Purchase it now while the price is low.

* “No Sympathy” is in ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN by Wayne T. Dowdy. It is a good read for those who want to know the truth about life inside American prisons and the associated politics of survival inside the insane world of incarceration. The book is a deal at $8.95.

Freedom for Another Friend

by Wayne T. Dowdy

obama clemencyOn January 5, 2016, I wrote about Alphonso D. in “Freedom for a Friend,” whom President Obama had freed from an unjust sentence of life-without-parole.  The President granted Alphonso’s petition for commutation of sentence and gave him another chance at life in the free society.

ANOTHER FRIEND FREED:  I am grateful to write that President Obama granted 214-more commutation of sentences on August 3, 2016.  One of the men was another friend of mine:  Alonzo M., a tall, light-skinned, well-mannered, African-American male.

Before August 3, 2016, Alonzo was eighteen years into serving life without parole for a drug conspiracy case, with a concurrent 240-month sentence for a bogus money laundering charge.  He was fed to the lions by criminals who wanted time off their sentences.

DANGEROUS CRIMINAL:  Alonzo was a late bloomer who indulged in mind-altering substances for his enjoyment, not for business purposes.  He occasionally bought small quantities of marijuana, until at the age of 47, after hospitalization for a serious injury, he began using cocaine and heroin to ease the pain of his injuries.  (See SENTENCING ENHANCEMENT FACTORS below for why he received so much time.)

prisoners leaving jailFREEING JAIL BIRDS:  Alonzo ran a family-owned bonding service, passed on to him by his father.  He employed two brothers.  Mackins Bonding Service helped get men and women out of jail who paid the required fee, or otherwise put up something of value to cover the cost of the bond.  Many of his customers were drug dealers.  He came when called to bond them out of jail.  If he knew them and they had been good about paying debts, he’d work with them on the financial aspect to get them out.

UNDER PRESSURE:  Prosecutors and law enforcement officers use jail cells and the poor living conditions to pressure defendants into pleading guilty, and into cooperating with investigations by helping to put other people in jail.  That is especially true in cases based on the most abused law in history:  CONSPIRACY.  That is so even when the government witnesses are known liars who fabricate evidence to get a plea deal.

WARNING:  One agent from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cautioned Alonzo, “You are interfering with our investigations by getting them out of jail before we can interrogate them properly.”

“I am a bondsman.  I get people out of jail who pay me.  That’s what I do for a living.”

Another DEA agent came to him in 1997 and attempted to get him to cooperate by providing information against some of his clients.  The DEA agent said, “I know you have a drug problem and that you buy drugs from some of them, but we don’t want you.  You aren’t the problem, but if you don’t become part of the solution, we will see you as part of the problem.”

Alonzo didn’t cooperate and become targeted as the problem.  When he continued to do his job, federal prosecutors put the word out in prisons and jails that they wanted the Mackins and offered reduced sentences to those who provided information.

JAIL BIRDS LIE:  For sentence reductions, the conspirators mostly made false claims against Alonzo and his brother, Willie.  The lies told were payment for the Mackins’ getting people out of jail who law enforcement officials did not want out.

Read “Freedom for a Friend,” subtitle “INFORMATION FOR SALE” (USA TODAY reporter reveals scam in federal prison where inmates sell fabricated information to put other people in prison so the purchaser gets time off sentence); and for more information on conspiracy laws and unreliable information used by prosecutors to put people in prison, sometimes for life without parole in letters, or life without parole in numbers (75-years or more, without parole) straightfromthepen.wordpress.com and waynedowdy.weebly.com.

MONEY:  Alonzo broke both legs in an auto accident and was out of the bonding business for eight months.  During that time, Ron S., a pretrial detainee, whose girlfriend was the daughter of a long-time customer, gave her father $100,000 to deliver to Willie to hold for his bond, until his attorney took care of other pending charges.

BAD DECISION:  Ron S. was in jail for selling drugs.  His bond was one million dollars.  He had a detainer in another jurisdiction that he needed removed to make bond.  (A detainer is a hold placed on a prisoner by law enforcement authorities that prohibits release of the prisoner without notifying the agency who placed the detainer.)

Ron S. agreed to pay  $12,000 to the attorney to have the detainers removed so he could make bond, and asked Willie to pay the attorney for him out of the $100,000.  He did.  Months later, Ron S. asked Willie to give money to the daughter of the man who delivered the $100,000.  He did that, too.

NO BOND:  Willie attempted to make the bond for Ron S. but the jailers would not release him because of the detainer.  That’s when Ron S. instructed Willie to give some money to the girl.

When Alonzo returned to work and received a phone call from Ron S. wanting a refund of his money, Alonzo did not know what he was talking about.  He checked the log and did not find any entry for Ron S., so he asked, “Which bondsman took your money?”

“Willie Mackins,” he said.

“Give me time to investigate,” Alonzo said.  “Call me back later.”

After a meeting with his fellow bondsmen and of learning that Ron S. could not make bond, he told his brother to return the money.  He explained it was short because of him having given the money to the attorney and the girl.  Alonzo knew something wasn’t right.  When Ron S. returned the call, he attempted to set-up Alonzo, who said his money would be refunded, but he first had to sell some rental properties to get the remainder of the balance.

“You can give me the rest in something else,” he said, suggesting drugs.

To paraphrase, Alonzo told him, I don’t know where you got that idea.  I don’t do business like that and neither does anyone else here.  I resent your implications, and I wouldn’t be talking with you right now if my company wasn’t involved.  You will get your money, he said, and hung up the phone.

Ron S. lied in court and claimed the financial transaction involved drugs.  The above conversation never played out in court.  Ron S. received a sentence reduction for telling his lies, as did most others who testified.

GOOD DEEDS MADE BAD:  The fabricated money laundering charge began in the late eighties.  He is uncertain of exactly when, but suspects the theory began when he innocently loaned $11,000 to a woman against her nephew’s Mercedes-Benz, for $2,000 interest on a six-month loan.

Lola claimed they needed the money to put a relative in a nursing home.  No one ever mentioned drugs during any conversation he had with her.

She came to him later with various sad stories and persuaded him into helping her rent vehicles because she needed them to move or transport her relatives or children, and because she didn’t have a credit card to use to rent a vehicle.  Since she had repaid the $13,000 in a little over six-months, and she had brought him and his father a lot of bonding business over the years, he helped her.  Each time he rented her a vehicle, she gave him $50.00.

One of the times that she came asking him to help her get a vehicle, she had tears in her eyes and said a relative had died and she needed help.  He always gave her a helping hand but never knew of any drug transaction or inappropriate use of the vehicles.

In Court, the government claimed he rented Lola the vehicles to transport drugs for her nephew.  She had died by the time he was hauled into court, so she could not tell the truth about their relationship.  He was never involved with her nephew or other family members, other than bonding them out of jail, if Lola stood good for them.

His good deeds got him life without parole when people lied on him in court to get time off their sentences.

SENTENCING ENHANCEMENT FACTORS:  Alonzo went to trial and was found guilty based upon the conspiracy theories.  At sentencing, the prosecutor pushed the judge to give him a life sentence because of 1) their claim that he was a leader and organizer; 2) the alleged drug conspiracy quantities, never proved to a jury, but found by the judge, and 3), his prior conviction for possession of .02 grams of cocaine that a female passenger had dropped between his car seats.

In reference to the incident behind his notorious prior conviction, he said, “I saw her drop it.  I looked everywhere for it and even vacuumed the car.  I still didn’t find it, but when that cop searched the car, he found it.”

I looked at him and smiled before I said, “You are such a dangerous criminal, I don’t know how I have lived around you for so long.”

The judge enhanced his current sentence because he possessed a gun that was found during his arrest for the match head of powder cocaine.  He legally owned and possessed the firearm.  Bondsmen carry guns.

WORKING MAN:  Alonzo works in the cubicle beside me in the business office of the Federal Prison Industries, Inc.  Since news of his commutation circulated the prison network news (Inmate.com), several people came by to congratulate him.  Most everyone said the same thing:  “No one deserved it more than you,” or “It couldn’t have happened to a better man.”

I agree.  He is one of the most humble, respectful, polite and kind people that I know.  When I grow up, I want to be like him.

Three years ago, Alphonso and Alonzo worked within ten feet of each other as Quality Assurance Inspectors on a production line, inspecting small components before installation on military trousers.  I got to know both men by issuing and reviewing their inspection instructions, inspection stamps, and other documents as part of my position as the document control clerk and as an internal auditor.  Both men took pride in their work and were known by staff and inmates as the most reliable Q.A. Inspectors.

GRATITUDE:  Alphonso D. and Alonzo M. deserved the President’s compassion and have expressed their gratitude for him giving them another chance at life.  I am confident that neither one will betray his trust.

I am grateful to President Obama for blessing them with freedom.  Neither man should have been serving a life sentence in federal prison, where they were doomed to die before the President commuted their sentences.  I hope other Presidents will have as much courage as President Obama displayed by standing up for what is right, in light of the controversy his actions have caused with his critics.

JUSTICE ?:  Thousands of others remain in federal and state prisons serving life sentences, many of whom were convicted for Ghost Dope Conspiracies and other similar crimes, where no actual drugs or evidence existed, other than that provided by testifying codefendants or informants, who provided testimony to avoid prison or to shorten their stay.

May justice one day be served by Congress clarifying the law or passing others to prohibit prosecutors from using tainted testimony, paid for by giving witnesses “something of value for their testimony in court,” in violation of Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 201(c)(2), the Anti-bribery statute.

As a three-judge panel in the UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT concluded in Singleton v. United States (1998), a person’s freedom is something of value.  An en banc decision (reviewed by all judges on the Tenth Circuit) overturned the original decision, after political pressure consumed the news about the three-judge panel’s decision.  The en banc panel essentially concluded that governments have been giving deals for centuries, so it must be okay.  If asked, I’d said, the Romans fed Christians to the lions and thought that it was okay, too.  Civilization proved otherwise.

Paying a man or woman with freedom, who may be condemned if they do not perform as the prosecutor demands, taints the judicial process and has made a mockery out of the American criminal justice system by allowing dangerous criminals to go free or to be released early from prison for providing unreliable information used to put people in prison.

Paying people for testimony leads to unreliable convictions, as happened in the cases of Alphonso and Alonzo, and thousands of other American citizens.  Most criminal defendants will not hesitate to tell a lie to the tune of a prosecutor, to avoid being fed to
the lions.

Roman Coliseum with lions

_______________________________

Wayne T. Dowdy writes Straight from the Pen.  Purchase his most recent novel today, UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($14.95) from Midnight Express Books or your favorite bookstore.

VIOLENT CRIME MISCONCEPTION

by Wayne T. Dowdy

 

“Prisoners for profit, human lives a commodity?  Imagine that. ….. A lot of people profit from the Incarceration Industry in America.  Thousands of men and women serve longer prison sentences because of the Corporate greed and the desire to increase the bottom line at the expense of other humans.”

 

THE TRUTH:  The above excerpts come from “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” (straightfromthepen.wordpress.com, and waynedowdy.weebly.com).  In the essay I listed creditable sources to show political corruption associated with the mass incarceration in America.  Hefty campaign contributions to politicians made by officials from private prison corporations, influence votes and practices that keep incarceration rates high and business booming for corporations like the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA).  Recent political trends make me feel those same capitalistic-driven forces are behind actions by politicians such as Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who may have an ulterior motive in trying to influence other congressional members to abort the sentencing reform initiatives that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2015.

 

BAD EXAMPLE:  One event used to drive opposition to initiatives to reduce the prison population and correct excessive sentencing issues, is an idiot (Wendell Callahan) who received a sentence reduction and then got out of prison and murdered his girlfriend and two of her children in Columbus, Ohio, a terrible crime.  In a blog written by Seung Min Kim for POLITICO, the author reported that Cotton said, “‘As a Republican Party, we’re going to have to have a conversation about it, … But I think, ultimately, a majority of Republicans, like a majority of Americans, don’t want to let “violent felons” out of prison.'” (emphasis added)

 

I am in prison and considered a violent felon, and even I do not want people let out who will get out and harm other people; furthermore, people with no criminal histories also commit horrendous crimes.  Why attack the disadvantaged ex-cons?

 

Callahan does not represent the thousands of prisoners released.  He’s a minority.  Most ex-cons have not committed horrific crimes.  As I wrote in “The Truth About Incarceration, Part I,” people like him become Poster-Children for politicians who act tough-on-crime for votes.  To be specific, in reference to prisoners who do positive things, I wrote, “The press never hears about those prisoners because the press goes to prisoners who cause trouble or who get out and commit horrendous crimes, and thus become poster-children for the politicians who push ‘Tough-on-Crime’ bills.  Those bills are often written by members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose contributors include officials from the private prison industries that profit from high incarceration rates.”  (The Truth About Incarceration, first published by PrisonLawBlog.com, November 2014).

 

POLITICO:  “[L]ast week … Cotton (R-Ark.), the outspoken Senate freshman, lobbied his colleagues heavily against the legislation[.] ….  ‘It would be very dangerous and unwise to proceed with the Senate Judiciary bill, which would lead to the release of thousands of violent felons,’ Cotton said later in an interview with POLITICO.  ‘I think it’s no surprise that Republicans are divided on this question [but] I don’t think any Republicans want legislation that is going to let out violent felons, which this bill would do.’ …..  Conservatives opposing the legislation are coalescing around Cotton’s view, despite strong pushback from bill supporters, that the measure could lead to the early release of people convicted and imprisoned for violent crimes.  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), once a supporter of easing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders, has also made this argument.  And there’s stiff resistance in pockets of the Republican Party to do anything that might erode its tough-on-crime reputation.”  Seung Min Kim, POLITICO, January 2016.

 

POLITICS:  I suspect that presidential candidate Ted Cruz changed his stance on the bills because of political fears associated with presidential candidate Donald Trump using it against him as being soft on crime.

 

I understand not wanting “violent criminals” released.  I also understand and know all too well the “violent crime” misconception presented by politicians and others with political agendas.  Some courageous politicians are speaking out against the lies during debates.

 

Some politicians oppose the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and other sentencing reform bills, which may hinder Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell’s plan to send the bills to the floor for a full vote.  Senate Majority Whip, John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Senate Judiciary Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the White House, American Civil Liberties Union, Koch Industries, and hundreds of others, all support the bill.  Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and David Purdue (R-Georgia) oppose it, as do others, some democrats, some republicans.  Could ties to private prison companies or companies associated with the Incarceration Industry be behind the opponents?

 

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she will refuse campaign contributions from private prison lobbyists.  Has Cotton, Purdue, and Risch did the same?  Probably not!

 

DECEPTION:  Political lies filled prisons with laws like the California Penal Code, Section 667 (b)-(i), commonly known as the Three Strikes Law, which puts people in prison for twenty-five years to life, sometimes for petty crimes, not violent.  According to news segments I heard and articles I read over the years, California politicians mislead voters by convincing them that a vote for the Three Strikes Law would get violent criminals off the streets.  Some of the voters stated on television that when they voted for the law, they did not know it would put people in prison for twenty-five years to life for crimes like shoplifting or stealing pizza.  The state and federal legislatures who defined violent crime in statutes mislead voters, and their constituents who often do not read the bills they approve, by including a provision that increases criminal penalties.  In federal law, that clause became known as the “residual clause.”  (See “RESIDUAL CLAUSE” below.)

 

VIOLENT CRIME:  The majority of prisoners serving time for legally classified violent crimes are not violent people.  I know.  I live with them.  All violent crimes are not created equal.   When people think of violent crimes, most think of murderers, robbers, rapist, or those who commit horrendous crimes against people before prison or after going to prison, like Wendell Callahan did.  An overwhelming majority of prisoners did not commit “acts of violence” in the sense that the “violent crime” phase conjures an image of when used by someone.

 

Politicians, like Cotton, deceive the People with the “violent crime,” “violent felons,” and “violent criminal” terminology.  Perhaps it is done out of ignorance about what the terminology means, legally.  The phrases are deceptive.

 

What politicians did not do for the public when making statements about violent crime and violent criminals, is to define for them what constituted violent crimes according to state and federal law.

 

The United States Sentencing Guidelines (Sentencing Guidelines) for federal defendants, illustrate the deceptive terminology (violent crime) used to intimidate the public into supporting absurd legislation, often written by those with a vested interest in mass incarceration rates.

 

The Sentencing Guidelines state what the terminology means in section 4B1.2: “Definitions of Terms Used in Section 4B1.1

(a) The term ‘crime of violence’ means any offense under federal or state law, punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, that —

(b) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another, or

(c) is burglary of a dwelling, arson, or extortion, involves the use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

 

RESIDUAL CLAUSE:  The last part of section (c) is known as the “residual clause” (“or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another”); a catchall clause used by judges and prosecutors to create fanciful scenarios of crimes that “might” lead to violence, in order to justify enhancing criminal penalties for previous criminal convictions.   The residual clause is now defunct, thanks to the United States Supreme Court getting tired of tangling with its interpretation as used in the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA):  which crimes qualify as predicate convictions and which ones do not (hypothetical theories of what might have happened, not what a defendant did).

 

Personally, I believe many of the politicians who support such policies do so because of the financial incentives provided by the hundreds of special interest groups that benefit from high incarceration rates; e.g., companies providing goods and services to prison complexes, prison guard unions; stockholders in private prison industries; companies providing resources, employment, weapons, clothing, electronic gadgets, food, etc., to prison populations and prison construction, and many other less obvious groups.

 

Read “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” for more on Prisoners for Profit and the influence of private prison companies on ALEC-written-bills, introduced to increase criminal penalties or to defeat legislation to reduce prison populations (and increase the bottom line of those who profit from high incarceration rates).

 

A lot of politicians introduce legislation that is designed to get votes at the cost of human lives.  Ironically, less than a year after posting that blog, I read that CCA officials supported sentencing reform initiates; months later I read that CCA planned to invest in building halfway houses.  CCA’s plan to support sentencing reform made sense when I read about the halfway house plans and that the billionaire Koch brothers of Koch Industries supported the legislation.  Halfway Houses are where most released prisoners go before reentering society–translation:  prison-for-profit executives saw an opportunity to profit from prisoners leaving prison.  The downside is that those companies reduce expenditures at the risk of security and by cutting programs needed to decrease the chance of a released prisoner from becoming a recidivist (someone who reverts to old behaviors).

 

POLITICS & PRIVATE PRISONS:  In 2015, Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), introduced a bill to reinstate federal parole and to prohibit federal funding for private prisons.  The bill has not progressed and will die waiting for sponsors.  Too many politicians depend on campaign contributions from private prison lobbyists to endorse a bill that bites the hand that feeds their greed and drives their political agenda.

 

Purchase ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN by Wayne T. Dowdy ($8.95 at Amazon.com, StraightFromthePen.com, and all major book retailers), for captivating essays that give readers a unique outlook.

 

A more appropriate label for Tough-on-Crime policies is Tough-on-Taxpayers policies.

 

The late, great, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, clarified provisions of laws used to justify excessive prison sentences for a variety of crimes, falsely categorized as “violent felonies.”  He wrote the opinions in two cases, both titled Johnson v. United States; one in 2010 that defined the term “physical force”; the other in 2015, where the justices held the ACCA’s residual clause to be unconstitutionally vague by depriving citizens of adequate notice, and thus violating due process.  As stated above, the residual clause was a catchall clause used to convert some crimes into “violent felonies” or “crimes of violence,” by applying an absurd list of possibilities that “might” lead to violence.  The Sentencing Guidelines contained the same clause, which the Sentencing Commission removed after the 2015 Johnson decision.

 

CONCLUSION:  Maybe the Justice appointed to fill the vacancy left by the Honorable Justice Scalia will lead the way to remove absurd definitions for violent crimes, so that individuals categorize as violent felons will be those who commit violent crimes that physically harm others, not those improperly classified as violent criminals because of the misconception of what constitutes a violent crime.

 

Note:  please do not misinterpret the above:  I do not endorse any crimes committed against people.

PLOT TO STOP SANTA by Mr. D.

[The author uses his pseudonym due to institutional concerns when his publisher emails blogs into American prisons: one prison blocked their emails after sending “Zachariah Zambroski, Attorney at Law.”]

PANIC IN THE NORTH POLE: Santa’s elves discovered a package that ticked and then called in the bomb squad. False alarm. After detonating the suspicious package, the bomb squad determined the ticking package had been a miniature version of a grandfather clock. Clocks will be clocks. Real clocks tick.

PLOTS OF TERRORISTS: The feds uncovered a terrorist plot to blast Santa out of the sky. An early morning raid by the FBI netted six terrorists, five pipe bombs, four AK-47s, three pistols, two Rocket Propelled Grenades with launchers, and one computer. A search of the hard drive on the computer revealed other terroristic plots against Santa.

Santa sleighSanta security personnel installed anti-missile devices and .50 caliber machine guns on the sled to give Santa a fighting chance. Santa says, “I’ll blast them to pieces before they get me.”

Go Santa!

 

 

NO SANTA FOR PRISONERS: Santa’s not coming to see federal prisoners this year. The feds deemed Santa’s modified sled and his reindeer’s antlers a threat to institutional security and barred him from landing on prison property to deliver gifts to prisoners who have not been naughty. If he lands on federal property, he’ll be prosecuted on weapons charges and for the introduction of contraband behind the guard line.

Prisoners gathered on the yard to protest after the Warden announced the news. Guards in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse the prisoners. No reports of injuries. Prison authorities placed the prison on lockdown status and will feed the prisoners bologna sandwiches and Kool-Aid for Christmas.

CONCLUSION: The plot to stop Santa only stopped him from delivering gifts to prison, and that’s how the story ends, but at least the fortunate children will see him and get their gifts.

Terrorists will reap eternal suffering for their dirty deeds.

It turned out for the best anyway. Investigators later learned about a plot by Mean Mugger Mack and Hack’em & Sack’em Sam, who planned to rob Santa of all the gifts when he touched down, so it’s all good. The terrorists plot to stop Santa saved him in the end. As for the prisoners, prisoners are survivors and will go about their daily activities like it is just another day in the pen, hoping for the day of their freedom. May God bless them all with peace, regardless of the name used by those who pray to summon that power greater than themselves.

_______________________________
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who celebrate! I hope everyone gets blessed with the desires of their heart and that 2016 will be the best year ever experienced. Watch for my next blog on Presidential Commutation of Sentences.

Download a free copy of “An Airport Ate the Neighborhood” from https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy by using Smashwords Coupon Code MQ86S. Hurry to download your copy of ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN for 75% off by using Smashwords Coupon Code SP43N.

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RAIN, BLOGS, FROGS & POLITICS by Wayne T. Dowdy

Rainy-Day2

Rain falls as I run on my catch-up mode.  This is my first blog since I posted “Frog Napper Returns” on October 1, 2015.  I planned to write at least two blogs per month.  I did not do as planned.  Legal matters and other obligations pulled me from my plans.

BLOGS:  I worked ten days overtime last month in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR), where I am the document control clerk and an internal auditor in an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certified factor.  I also help keep the factory ISO certified by participating in external audits conducted by the National Standards Authority of Ireland, and by writing or editing technical documents used for administrative and instructional purposes.  On overtime I earn $2.60 per hour for all hours in excess of 7.25, of which I earn $1.45 per hour ($10.51 per day for regular pay).  If working in a similar position in the free society, I’d earn a five to six figure salary.  I will write a blog in the future on UNICOR & SOCIETY.  I wrote an unpublished essay on the topic several years ago that I will extract data from to update.  Anyway, the overtime alone occupied lots of time and kept me too tired to be blogging, after going to work at 7:30 AM and getting off at 8:30 PM, only to work on other pressing projects until bedtime.

To consume more of my valued time, I worked on a “Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence, Pursuant to 28 U.S.C., Section 2255” (2255) for a young Native American with an unconstitutional sentence.  The court sentenced him to 180-months imprisonment for a crime that carried a maximum of 120-months.  A recent United States Supreme Court ruling (Johnson v. United States, June 26, 2015), opened the door for him and hundreds of others erroneously sentenced for crimes captured with the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act.  The residual clause was a “catch-all-clause” prosecutors used to classify any crime with a “potential” for violence as a violent felony.  Three prior violent felonies increased a 10-year statutory maximum to 15-years to life without parole, for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  In addition to that 2255, I completed another one for a friend with the same circumstances, which I worked on for six weeks before volunteering for the second one.  Every now and then I am a nice person, even in prison.  🙂  Honestly, I am a nice person on most days of my life.  At any rate, I do apologize for my delinquent blog posting.

RAINY DAYS:  In addition to the above, I planned to write a blog on October 10, 2015, about a “Rainy Day in the Pen,” and then became distracted and thought about writing on “Mass Shootings in America.”  Rain dampened my plans on “One Rainy Day in the Pen,” after this area experienced torrential downpours that caused dams to rupture and floods that killed people, while I sat in prison complaining about getting soaked to go to the chow hall in anticipation of a pastry and dry cereal, only to find a pastry and cream of wheat I do not eat.  I’m a Southerner.  I eat grits!

This morning (11/01/2015), I  went out in the rain again for a pastry and dry cereal.  This time I succeeded at getting milk, low-cost corn flakes that turn gluey after moments in milk, and a cheese danish, all worth the five-hundred yard trip to the chow hall in the rain.  At least no one locally has drown in floods while I enjoyed the privilege of having food to eat and a roof over my head, something many free-citizens do not have, something I write with sadness.

While pondering the ideas for that blog, I listened to CNN News about an idiot who had walked into a college in Oregon and massacred nine innocent people and shot several others.  The only good part of the story being a man with courage who challenged the gunman, rather than lying down to wait for his execution.  He survived five gunshot wounds and his heroic actions saved others.  He is an American soldier who deserves a world of praise, since most people cower when faced with such danger, which usually results in death.  If you see an idiot with a gun walking around shooting people, why stand and wait for him to shoot you?  I wonder if people think the shooter will run out of bullets or suddenly be filled with kindness and compassion and decide to spare them?

Under those dire circumstances, in my opinion, I think it is best to stand and fight; to take a bullet for a cause, maybe that will allow others to live; may even be the event that causes the “herd effect,” where others follow in the charge to defuse the situation.  A passive stance will most likely lead to being shot with the other victims.  Killers aren’t compassionate people.  Such acts of cowardice only offends a psychopath with a gun or weapon.  One mass murderer in the state of Georgia, once wrote how the people laid there like cattle and waited for him to execute them, that they weren’t even willing to fight for their lives.  Me, personally, I would not wait.  Shoot me, he may do, but it would NOT be as I sat trembling waiting to be executed.  I might be trembling as I charged or found something to throw to distract or injure him, but I would not be shot while waiting for my turn.  Shoot me next.  If all else failed, I’d run like hell.  Anyway, for that blog I needed more factual information to write on that topic, so I added it to my Blogs To Do List.

FROGS:  And then I ran into the infamous Frog Napper Frye, who had just made bond for his crimes against living creatures–Frog Abduction.  Not really.  Really, that I ran into him, not really for why he was thrown into a custom-designed prison cell the day after I had last saw him, transporting a frog in a bottle.  I learned that he had freed the frog I helped abduct.  And then he delivered his bad news:  after his arrest, frog lovers freed his captive frog, Shorty Morgan; a small arboreal amphibian named after someone who had confiscated the frog-nappers’ relocated (stolen) onions and bell peppers.

I was happy to learn that both frogs had found their freedom because all living creatures want to be free.  I wrote along those lines in my blog, “#Nature:  Frogs, an Octopus, and #Escapees.” [1]  Well, my friend disappeared again.  The rumor mill (Inmate.com) has it that he was rearrested for his blog, “Embracing the Chaos”; that may or may not be true.  It could have happened, or his arrest may have been for some devious activity, but he felt that it happened because of the blog.  I read the blog and didn’t feel it contained any information worthy of casting a prisoner inside the Segregated Housing Unit, but, …. what I think doesn’t always coincide with what prison administrators and politicians think.  More will be revealed.  Read his blogs at bankblogger.weebly.com or murderslimpress.com/BankRobber’sBlog.

POLITICS:  I delayed writing that blog because the situation reminded me of the political attempt to silence the pen of a prisoner in the Pennsylvania prison system, who was involved in a “controversial case of killing a police officer.”  I needed more information to write that one:  I found it and so here I am, fingers on keys, but not the keys to my freedom, only the keys I use to exercise my freedom of speech that the United States Constitution says I have under its First Amendment.  The Pennsylvania Legislatures squeezed the life out of that Amendment by passing “The Revictimization Relief Act.”  A federal judge deemed that law “manifestly unconstitutional.”  The Honorable Christopher C. Conner, United States Middle District Chief Judge.  “‘A past criminal offense does not extinguish the offender’s constitutional right to free expression,’ Conner wrote.  ‘The First Amendment does not evanesce at the prison gate, and its enduring guarantee of freedom of speech subsumes the right to expressive conduct that some may find offensive.'” (Pennsylvania Law Limiting Speech of Prisoners Struck Down, by Andrew V. Pestano, [2015] upi.com.)

The Supreme Court relied upon the Free Speech principle in deciding on a case dealing with Hustler Magazine and its owner, Larry Flint.  Some people found the content of the magazine offensive, but the Court still protected his right to publish it.  Flint’s lawyer basically posed that if it protects those people who others want to silence or restrict, then it protects the average American citizen even more.

Prisoners only have so much freedom of speech.  Some speech can lead us to being handcuffed and then confined in a small cell without a phone, typewriter, or severely-crippled-computer, such as the one upon which I type.  There are those who will still fight for what is right, regardless of the price our actions may demand.  Most allow fear or lack of knowledge to stop them from challenging unconstitutional restrictions.  Read my blog, “Fighting for Rights to Write” [2], for an example of fighting for others who may not have the skills, as well as for my personal interests and liberties.  That is one of many incidents I fought and won.  I succeeded at convincing the administration of its error in trying to implement a process that would impede my ability to exercise my freedom of speech.  Not all prison administrators, or politicians, or judges, are bad people; however, some are more evil and devious and sinister than any prisoner executed on death row for their crimes against humanity.

At the end of the day, we are all human beings trying to find our way through the life experience.  We do what we feel is right or wrong and then worry about the benefits or consequences when the time comes to reap the rewards or pay the piper.  I have paid dearly throughout my life for making poor decisions, but now I reap the rewards of having becoming a good human being.  If you read ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN by Wayne T. Dowdy, it will allow you to see life from a different perspective about the cost of a person’s actions for being an outlaw.  After reading it, you will want to share it with a friend, especially if you have one travelling down a road headed toward destruction.

The rain continues to pour, many Southern states flooded again.  Good day for bullfrogs, and a good day to blog about frogs.

________________________________

[1]  read full text at https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com or http://waynedowdy.weebly.com

[2]  first published at http://www.prisoneducation.com in February 2014; reposted March 2015 on https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com and http://waynedowdy.weebly.com

[3] Go to http://www.straightfromthepen.com to purchase my books; or for my eBooks, essays, and short stories, to my author’s page at Smashwords.com (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy) or Amazon.kindle.

SOUTH AFRICAN ATROCITIES & A CHURCH SHOOTER

By Wayne T. Dowdy

WARNING: This blog contains graphic images of violence and disturbing contents that some may find offensive.

NO SAFE HAVENS:  I could not figure out what drove a young white male to walk into a Bible study at the Emanuel African-Methodist-Episcopalian Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, sit with nine African-American members for an hour, and then pull a handgun to shoot each of them multiple times.  I searched for the “Why” he committed a horrendous crime. I have an idea about what motivated him; it arrived in an email I received on December 7, 2013.

CHARLESTON CHURCH MURDERS:  Hearing about the June 17, 2015, murders of nine innocent people at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church troubled me.  What drove a person to act so inhumane toward other human beings?  Are not churches and places of worship supposed to be safe and sacred places?  I concluded that evil has no boundary.

(Read my June 2015 blog post, “Love and Evil Are Color-Blind” for more information on the crime and victims of the Charleston Church Murders.)

My access to information on current events is limited to what I see and hear on television news channels; read in books, and an occasional newspaper, because I cannot access the Internet. My mind works full-time to understand what goes on in the world I am so far removed from by me living inside a prison cell.  The news I am fed is censored by reporters and news agencies; however, a college educated friend sent me some information a long time ago that may help explain why Dylann Roof killed three men and six women, most of them elderly and defenseless.

Things I heard and read on the News about an online manifesto by the shooter made me wonder whether a correlation existed between his crimes on American soil and events on another continent: Africa.

WHY DID HE DO IT?  Roof referenced to people talking about it on the Internet but not doing anything about “it” (Negroes committing atrocities against white people), and then nominated himself to commit the horrific crimes he confessed to doing when arrested.

One clue as to why he may have done it concerns a flag from South Africa (SA).  As reported on various news agencies, a social media photo showed him waving a Confederate flag, while wearing a jacket with the flag of Apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).  SA and Rhodesia were once ruled by white minorities.

Dylann-Roof-Confederate-FlagHim waving the Confederate flag lead to it being removed from several places.  South Carolina officials took down the flag that had flown at the State House since 1961 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Civil War that began in Charleston on April 12, 1861.  I do not know of anyone mentioning a correlation between the foreign flag emblems he wore on his jacket and the murders.  I did hear a news report that mentioned “The Last Rhodesian” during coverage of the event.

My mind went into overdrive thinking about the Charleston Church Murders and those flags.  I searched its memory bank until I got a hit.  I remembered an email a friend had sent me in 2013 about the genocide of whites in SA.  To me, the content of the email connects the church murders and atrocities in South Africa.  This is how I believe the two correlate:

EMAIL ON DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA:  I sent out this email to everyone on my contact list on December 5, 2013:

SUBJECT:  Nelson Mandela Made the World a Better Place

On this fifth day of December 2013, the world lost a truly unique person who set an example that should have inspired everyone, even those who may have hated him because of the color of his skin, or envied him because he rose from a place of destitution to become a leader.  He was one of a kind, a very special person sent by God to do the impossible.  He was a man of strong resolve who not only survived prison and refused to allow it to make him a cruel and mean person; he rose to conquer those who had put him in prison and then ruled a nation with love, dignity, and honor.  He proved what one person can do.  He made the world a better place by showing how much a person with determination and ambition can accomplish.  He did what most would have said to be an impossible task:  rise from prisoner to ruler-a good ruler-one who did not abuse his power as most people in his situation would have done.  He left behind shoes that may take a millennium for another to come along who can fill them.  May God be with his family and loved ones as they grieve his loss and celebrate the legacy he left behind.

RESPONSE FROM A FRIEND ON NELSON MANDELA

December 7, 2013

“[T]here is some disturbing truth I felt compelled to share with you about the Mandela the media would have no one to know.  You don’t have access to uncensored Internet or International media sites but the truth of South Africa is horrifying.  I have been pen pals with men and women from SA for a long time and their country is collapsing with atrocities against white people that haven’t been seen before.  I can send you foreign articles and photos that I will send to your gmail account if you are able to access that.”

[I cannot access my email accounts due to the modified email system that I use through Corrlinks.com, which strips photos, symbols, and any formatting from messages sent to me.  Approved people send me information from email accounts through Corrlinks.]

“I had a girlfriend in 1990 from SA whose family fled before the Clinton Administration put its 7th fleet off their coast and embargoed them into handing over the country to the African National Congress (ANC).  There is a systematic genocide that has been taking place against the Boer farmers.  The Boers are of German-Dutch ancestry and colonized that part of the continent whose countries and territories have changed names over the years depending on the different regimes.  Bands of black men invade their homes where they have a pattern of systematically torturing, raping and killing the women, babies and children in front of the men before they torture and kill them.  I have been sent the crime scene photos of burnt babies snatched from their mother’s arms and set alight in front of them.  I have the photos of people’s bodies who were murdered with machetes and those who have still survived with wounds from machetes.

“The machete is their favorite weapon.  There is a memorial hill called Plaasmoorde which is the Afrikaans word for ‘farm murders.’  It is really a small mountain where the entire side is in the shape of a white cross made from hundreds of individual white crosses.  The idea is that the blacks will take the land or just terrorize the white people off it, not realizing they feed the country.

“Nelson Mandela was a militant terrorist and leader of the ANC in the 1960s and that is why he was imprisoned.  When the country was handed over to him he unleashed his retribution squads behind his grandfatherly smile and eventually gave the Presidency to Jacob Zuma who was the youth leader of the ANC and is nothing more than a warlord.

“Mandela’s first wife ‘Winnie’ is known for her necklace punishment.  That is where a tire tube filled with gas is put around the neck of someone with their hands tied and then set on fire.

“The black politicians consult witch doctors to make decisions and SA is the rape and AIDS capital of the world.  Something else that is beyond imagination is the belief that exists down there among many blacks is that they think they can cure themselves of AIDS if they rape a virgin.  Child rape is astronomical and social workers have even passed out devices that fit into vaginas that can be removed but have barbs on the inside that have to be medically removed from an inserted penis.  It doesn’t stop the rape but doesn’t make it enjoyable.  Of course, once word got out then they just told women to take it out if she had one or get her throat cut.

“My pen pals give me updates every morning on the savage violence that media can’t get out of the country and that the U.S., Canada and Australia won’t air.  There is a growing movement to get this censored genocide out and recently a world wide Internet petition and marches were held called ‘Red October’ to bring awareness.  Human Genocide Watch has begged the United Nations to do something but the sad reality is it just isn’t politically correct to bring attention to the fact that this is a black on white thing.  That would make all of the countries who pressured SA to end Apartheid look really bad for endorsing mass rape, torture and murder of the SA white people who make up only 8% of the population and are by far the smallest ethnic minority.  The ANC passed a law called BEE which means Black Employment Empowerment where whites are kept from getting jobs and are driven into poverty.  Many neighborhoods have been turned into squatter camps.  The people I message with and I have a deal where if I don’t hear from them after three days, it means they are most likely dead.  There have been two in the last three months I no longer hear from.  All of the police are black so you can imagine.  BMW and Range Rover will no longer insure their vehicles in their country.  I guess it will all come out eventually.  Probably when the world can no longer help but ask the question, ‘Hey, what happened to all dem white folks down there?’  It really is sad.

“Well, enough of all that depressing stuff.  Just shows the powerful psychology of government controlled media. …..”

The above information altered my perception of Nelson Mandela.  I still respected him for what he accomplished in his life, even though I found the SA events repulsive.  I imagine Roof operated on similar information about the SA atrocities with the Boer farmers, in order to justify murdering those at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church.  That is how I feel the South Africa atrocities were associated with the Charleston Church Murders.

Additionally, as written in “Love and Evil Are Color-Blind,” the torture and murders of a white couple, their young son and and a maid in a Washington, D.C. mansion, “may have fueled his hate and rage toward blacks.”

CONCLUSION:  No one knows what really causes people to go out and commit mass murders, other than their inherently evil nature, maybe.  I’m sure reasons vary from psychopath to psychopath.  If my suspicions about why Roof murdered the people at the church is correct, I fail to understand the logic behind killing a group of people in one country for the actions of people in another country.  Then again, I do not understand murdering innocent people under any circumstance.  That includes dropping bombs from the sky because of political reasons, whether it be to obtain natural resources or strategic positions to battle one’s enemies.

Apache helos CONFESSION:  I confess that if had the military capacity to hunt down the bands of men who go on killing sprees in Africa with their machetes, I would not hesitate to use Apache helicopters and other military weapons and machinery to obliterate them.  I’d do the same to any group of people committing crimes in the name of ethnic cleansing, who display ruthless acts of cruelty, as has happened in Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Sudan, Darfur, and other parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe.  That may not make it right but it would get the point across and eliminate those who turned from human to animal.

How can humans eliminate evil minds without becoming evil themselves?   I believe that is a paradox of human existence, and of the struggle to live a righteous life and survive in a dog-eat-dog, hostile world.

waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com

Love and Evil are Color-Blind

Emmanuel African churchWednesday, June 21, 2015

LOVE AND EVIL ARE COLOR-BLIND

by Wayne T. Dowdy

Wednesday, June 17, 2015:  A twenty-one-year-old, white male, walked into the Emanuel African-Methodist-Episcopalian Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a church known as Mother Emanuel AME. He sat in a bible study for an hour with several  prominent members and pillars of the African-American community. One of those members was forty-one-year-old, state senator, Reverend Clemente Pinckney, who was the youngest state legislator to be elected in South Carolina at the age of twenty-three. The visitor pulled a forty-five caliber handgun and killed him and eight other people whom had welcomed him into their gathering.

He did not murder Ms. Polly Shepherd so she could tell others why he killed her peers: because they were black, had killed his ancestors, raped their women, and because blacks were trying to take over the country.

The other murder victims were twenty-six-year old, Tywanza Sanders; Ms. DePayne Middleton Doctor (49); Ms. Myra Thompson (59); Mr. Daniel Simmons Sr. (74); Ms. Susie Jackson (87); Ms. Ethel Lance (70); Ms. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45), an athletics coach & speech specialist; and Cynthia Hurd (54), who was the regional branch manager at the Charleston Public Library System.

The shooter wanted to start a race war. His plan failed. People of different ethnic backgrounds united and remained peaceful. No one used the situation as an opportunity to loot businesses and the community. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized, peace is more powerful than violence. Violence breeds resentment and a desire for revenge. It never ends.

CNN reported that Dylann Roof confessed to the crimes; crimes committed with the gun used to murder those people because of their ethnic background. The State of South Carolina plans to execute him for those crimes. Now his actions have become another drive for American politicians to introduce bills to take away or to restrict their citizens’ Second Amendment right to own guns, and to remove or ban the Confederate Flag from various buildings. The flag did not kill anyone.

Dylann RoofPersonally, I am saddened by the tragedy caused by the shooter’s belief system. Nine innocent people died and a young man will die for taking their lives. Years ago I would have understood the hate and racism behind such a heinous act. Evil lived within me for most of my life.* Today I do not support taking another person’s life or harming them for looking, thinking or being different, or because of something their ancestors may have done.

I believe that only one race of people exists: the human race. I base my opinion about the worth of another person on their actions; not the color of their skin, or their socioeconomic status, or their geographical location, or because of their affiliation with any organization or group. I have friends and associates who feel otherwise, blacks and whites alike. Some of whom may have rejoiced upon hearing about the Charleston Church Massacre; others who are as appalled by it as I am; and even more whose words proclaim racist beliefs, but their daily actions and behaviors do not support their words.

I do not have the gang mentality or a superiority complex. I do not fault anyone who does. To Each Their Own. Everyone has the right to be different. No one has the right to harm another person, unless to protect themselves, their loved ones, or other human beings at imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury.

DC MANSION MURDERS:  Weeks before Roof entered the church, another terrible incident had dominated the news that may have fueled his hate and rage toward blacks. At least one black male who is an immigrant, is accused of torturing, murdering, and then burning a white family and their maid in a Washington, DC Mansion. The criminal act included the murder and torture of the parents’ young son. The motive is unclear as the investigation is still in progress. Racism, or an act of class warfare may have played a role in the gruesome murders, but regardless of the motive, evil won and people died. That didn’t start a race war either.

guns save livesGUNS SAVE LIVES: The following is an excerpt from an essay I wrote in 2008 and sent to several American magazines to be considered for publication. Each editor passed on my 3,060-word essay:  “Guns Save Lives–Gun Laws Ruin Them.”

“December 10, 2007:  at approximately 12:30 A.M., twenty-two-year-old Mathew Murray walked into the Youth with a Mission Center in Arvada, Colorado, looking for overnight shelter.  After his request was denied, he pulled a pistol and fatally shot 26-year-old Tiffany Johnson and 24-year-old Phillip Crouse.  Murray fled the scene bathed in the blood of the innocent.

Armed with two handguns and a high-powered rifle, he left en route to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He arrived at the destination at 1:10 P.M., where two sisters stood in the parking lot: Rachael and Stephanie Works, sixteen and eighteen-years-old, respectively. He shot and killed both girls with the high-powered rifle, before he entered the church with all three guns. [The murderer and his victims were white.]

Jeanne Assam was a volunteer security guard at the church. She challenged Murray to drop his weapon and shot him when he refused to comply, though, not fatally. He used his own gun to end his life.

December 11, 2007:  CNN News reported that Murray had had 1,000-rounds of ammunition in his vehicle.

If he had so much ammunition, he apparently intended on killing a lot of people. It was fortunate for the church members that Ms. Assam sat in the pews armed with her handgun. Some state laws, such as those in South Carolina, prohibit guns in a church. Ms. Assam could have been prosecuted for having the gun she used to save the masses who sat in church. According to KUSA-TV in Denver, Colorado, Murray posted the following message on a Web site between the two shooting incidents in Arvada and Colorado Springs: ‘All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you … as I can [sic] especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.’  (See http://www.foxnews.com – Colorado Church Gunman Sought Revenge After He Was Kicked Out – December 11, 2007.)”

[Due to my lack of Internet access, I cannot check to see if that link is still active, but the words I wrote seven years ago about the South Carolina laws stand true. None of the victims could have lawfully possessed a gun while in the Mother Emanuel AME Bible Study. If someone in the group had had one, then perhaps nine people would not have lost their lives.]

“The outcome of the above event supports the need for gun ownership by responsible individuals who are trained in their safe usage. The other side of the equation is that without the guns, Murray could not have murdered his victims, which is partially true. He could have killed with knives or fire [such as what happened to four little girls in 1963 when racists burned a church in Birmingham, Alabama], but that does not mean that knives and matches should be outlawed by legislators, though there are some who would probably support such insane legislation.”  [“Guns Save Lives-Gun Laws Ruin Them,” Wayne T. Dowdy, 2008]

My father was a Christian who had said he wanted to die in the House of the Lord. Years later he got his wish when he died in the parking lot of his church at an Easter Revival. Perhaps the victims at the Mother Emanuel AME Church, and other people who have died while at their place of worship, wished for the same thing and found peace after those tragedies.

Mother Emanuel AME Church members gathered on the following Sunday and held their regular services, paying tribute to their members who died at the hands of evil in their place of worship.

EVIL: Murray and Roof both killed because of their hate for a certain class of people different from themselves. ISIS, the terror group known for beheading its enemies, kills for the same reason. Evil knows no color. Evil is blind to all but the hate and rage that flourishes within the mind and body where it resides.

Most of those who kill others because of something other than self-defense (ethnic background, religious views, political affiliations, moral beliefs and values, geographical areas, etc.), probably do so because they see the others as evil or someone less than themselves, who does not deserve to live. True evil lies in their mirror.

When evil lurks within the mind of someone, it will always find a reason to come out to destroy life or cause injury, regardless of any other factor. Evil does not need justification.

Evil thrives on pain and misery and inflicts it upon everyone near. It is a poison that ruins lives, regardless of age, race, sex, sexuality identity, or color. The use of guns is only one mechanism for its delivery.

The shooter stated that he had second thoughts about following through with his plan because of the kindness the people had shown him. On that day, evil won when he decided to follow through with his plan and pulled the trigger. Good people died. I wish the good in Roof had won so no one had to lose their life. It wasn’t race that caused those people to die. It was the evil in Roof’s mind that used skin color as an excuse to steal lives.

LOVE: Love won on Sunday when visitors and members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church sang songs of praise to honor those who died in a battle of love versus evil. People gathered to rejoice, rather than to mourn, even though some wept and struggled with their anger. Many parishioners prayed for God to forgive the shooter and to allow everyone to heal as tears flowed. Love suffers loss. Love heals. Love forgives. Love will overpower evil in the end, regardless of the complexion of a person’s skin.

Visit StraightFromthePen.com for my other writings.  Feel free to contact me at waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com or at the snail mail address listed on the website.

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* In “The Search for Enlightenment” I wrote about my struggle and periodic failure to live without resorting to violence or the threat of violence to resolve issues. Each day I focus on doing the right thing so I can live in harmony with the Universe. If a predator targets me, which rarely happens, I may struggle to let love overpower the evil instincts I learned based upon my life experiences, but no matter what, I do try to be the man God created me to be.