A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

June 28, 2017 | 6 Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

What is life like on Death Row?

Nothing in your previous life prepares you for living on death row. You’re like a head of cabbage in a garden: planted, forced to lead a static existence, every day exactly like the last and the next. Unlike the cabbage, though, your life is without purpose. You are a cipher merely holding a place, awaiting your turn in the execution chamber. Until that day comes, perpetual misery is your condition in life, and your reward for surviving today is that you get to suffer tomorrow as well.

On April 11, 1962, I was cuffed, chained, and transported to Louisiana’s death row. There were twelve other men living in the fifteen available cells. Roaches scattered as I entered Cell 9. It was about the size of the bathroom in a typical middle class American home: six feet wide by eight feet deep.

Restlessness went with living in such a small space. There was room enough only for push-ups, sit-ups, and squats, insufficient to exercise all the body’s muscles. We were allowed out of our cells and into the hallway — one at a time — for only fifteen minutes twice a week for a shower. We spent years like this, always indoors, with no sunshine.

Worse than the physical toll exacted on our bodies was the toll on our minds. Death row was bedlam — an unending chorus of flushing toilets, curses shouted across the tier by feuding inmates, petty arguments over virtually anything, and competing radios trying to out-blare one another. Most of the pandemonium on death row was a result of men being driven mad by monotony, severe emotional deprivation, and the lack of normalcy.



A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

June 21, 2017 | 1 Comment » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

What was it like to play LeBron James in High School?

I played against Lebron a handful of times when he was a Freshman, so I have a little experience in this area.

I’ll relay my thoughts about the game I remember the most.

I was 18. A senior, decent athlete, a few D3 offers, a few “preferred walk on” for some D1 schools. I was 6’3-6’4 and 180-190 pounds. He was 13-14 years old, and and near the same size as I was.. but enormous feet, long arms, but lanky. Probably weighed… 170?

I’ll try to keep it somewhat short… I could hold my own against him, only because he was very, very raw. I feel my game was as polished as it could be, while he was still just getting things figured out. We both ended the game with similar stat lines, but the X factor was just the raw explosiveness and athleticism… something you honestly can’t account for when talking about size, weight and even age.

I’m sure alot of you have played basketball, maybe even lately.. but you know that first few possessions of the game? Sizing things up.. who can move, who can shoot, how are they guarding us…. Lebron was already on a different planet in terms of just sheer velocity. He could just get off of his feet, make a cut, or grab a rebound while I’m still flat footed. He didn’t have springs in his legs.. he had trampolines. I had played against alot of tier 1 talent at that point at 5-Star and Blue Chip camps, but the odd thing is.. I knew IMMEDIATELY that this guy was something different.. and that isn’t just hindsight.


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A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

June 14, 2017 | 3 Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

What Would’ve Happen If the Germans Had Captured Moscow in 1941?

One of the classic “what ifs” of the Second World War centers on how—or if—the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, code-named Operation Barbarossa, could have achieved a quick victory. Hitler certainly believed that it could. All one had to do, he insisted, was to “kick in the door” and the “whole rotten structure” of Stalin’s Communist regime would come tumbling down. In many respects Barbarossa was a stunning success. The Germans took the Soviets completely by surprise, advanced hundreds of miles in just a few weeks, killed or captured several million Soviet troops, and seized an area containing 40 percent of the USSR’s population, as well as most of its coal, iron ore, aluminum, and armaments industry. But Barbarossa failed to take its capstone objective, Moscow. What went wrong?



A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

June 7, 2017 | 2 Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

What’s it like to know you are going to die soon?

How does it feel to know you are dying? That is a difficult question, because the answer can be different from day to day or even from hour to hour. The feeling, range from denial, to fear, to guilt, to anger, to sadness and to acceptance. It is the same, I suppose, as any greiving process. You can’t work your way through one set of feelings and neatly move on to the next.

It is almost like being at the beach, standing in the water on a windy day. A wave comes at you and almost knocks you off your feet. You struggle and regain your balance, just in time for the next wave to hit. Over time, the strength of the waves subside and you think your footing is a little more secure. Suddenly, out of seemingly no where another large wave hits and you almost loose your balance again.

I suppose that pretty much describes the grieving process for anything. You can be hit by wave after wave of denial or anger, what ever, each wave trying to knock you down. The emotional waves don’t hit in any particular order or strength. Gradually, these waves do lessen in strength or intensity and you come to the peacefulness of acceptance. You are still not out of the water, and at anytime a wave can suddenly come back and hit.



A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

May 31, 2017 | 2 Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

What’s it like to be a prison sex-slave?

Soon after coming to Allred prison in Texas, *** claimed me as his own. He told me I had two choices: I could submit, or I could die. Thus began my life as a prison sex slave.

What most people don’t understand is that rape in prison isn’t like it is on the outside. It’s not random or chaotic. It’s planned and methodical. It’s business. The gangs trade amongst themselves to determine who is going to be with whom. And other inmates didn’t dare touch me without clearing it first with my owner.

*** would rape me once, twice, sometimes three times a day. Then he would force me to clean his cell, make his bed, or cook food for him. Eventually he demanded that I have sex with his friends, who took to calling me “Coco.” When a different sex slave was badly beaten for refusing sex, he said the same thing would happen to me if I didn’t comply.

When I was finally transferred to a different cell block, I was told by *** that he and his gang had “bought” me. That’s when the prostitution escalated. They made me perform sex with dozens of other inmates — white gangs, Mexican gangs, black gangs. Sometimes it was anal. Sometimes oral. Sometimes both. They did it in cells, in the shower, on the stairs. The going rate was five or ten dollars in commissary a fuck. Eventually I was moved to another building. Waiting for me there was La Brigada. At the next building it was the Akin Soldiers. Then the Ivory Kings.



What’s It Like To Be A Prison Guard

May 24, 2017 | 4 Comments » | Topics: Answers, TRUTH |

The short answer? Sometimes it’s disgusting. Sometimes it’s violent – on occasion, brutally so.  It’s always stressful and sometimes tragic, to the point I sometimes felt like it was leeching away at my soul. But it can also be hilarious, rewarding, and occasionally uplifting.  Above all, it never ceases to surprise – it’s basically a front row ticket to the weirdest show on earth, and to borrow a phrase, it ain’t for the faint of heart, but I wouldn’t trade the years I spent as a corrections officer for anything.

That doesn’t begin to do justice to the real answer, though.  The real answer is going to take time.  So if you’re really interested, strap in for a long one.
First, I should say that I haven’t actually been a prison guard.  What I have been is a jail guard – technically, a Corrections Deputy.  I worked for six years at a small, rural county jail in the northwestern United States. I know several corrections officers who have worked at larger jails and prisons; there are differences, some significant, between their jobs and mine, but the experience is similar enough that I feel qualified to answer.

Corrections work is unlike any other job of which I’m aware.  As you might expect, being a police officer is somewhat similar, but even that feels like a different world.

People used to say, “Oh, I bet that’s hard work,” when they found out what I did for a living, and I never knew what to tell them.  I still don’t.  When I think of “hard work,” I think of physical labor – stuff like clearing brush or construction, two jobs I held before getting into law enforcement.  By in large, corrections work was not all that physically demanding, although I learned pretty early to prioritize physical fitness for the rare occasions when strength or speed were required.  There are times when there isn’t even that much work to do – just a lot of sitting around or walking around, hoping nothing happens.

It is, however, exceptionally challenging, and, even more than police work, exceptionally stressful.


A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

May 17, 2017 | 1 Comment » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

What is the inmate pecking order in prison?

Jail and prison populations involve people living in very close proximity to one another (in some housing situations, the toilet seat might be only a few inches from your face when you’re lying in bed), so it is natural to expect that a culture and social structure will emerge.

At the top of the heap would be high-ranking members of crime organizations. Old-style Mafia first come to mind. These guys are still powerful, but maybe not as much as they used to be. More likely you’ll find people in what are usually called “gangs,” e.g. Crips, Bloods, Black Guerrilla Family, Latin Kings, MS-13, etc. There are also gangs that operate mainly within prisons, such as the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood, United Blood Nation, etc. Most established prison gangs have alliances with “free world” gangs. 

Members of these gangs, the “soldiers,” are the next level down. They are protected by other gang members, as an insult or assault on any gang member is viewed as an act against the entire gang. The origin of prison gangs was for mutual protection, usually against other ethnic/racial factions. Prison and street crime gangs don’t have much of an equal opportunity program.


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A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

May 10, 2017 | 1 Comment » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

What’s it like to live in Venezuala

I don’t know about the rest of the country but in my state the long lines are out of control. The government implemented a system in which you are given only one day of the week to be able to buy and this is decided according to your ID number. If your ID’s last number is 1-2 you can only buy on Mondays, if it’s 3 you only buy on Tuesdays and on and on. That doesn’t make the lines any smaller but I guess it would be even worse otherwise. Until recently people used to wake up really early in the morning, usually 4 am, to go to the store and be first in line, waiting several hours until the stores are open or it’s their turn to buy. My family tells me they’ve been waiting in lines as long as 8 hours to get a bag of milk, 2 bottles of cooking oil and flour (to make arepas). Recently they banned people from making lines before stores where opened and started issuing buses with military officers taking anyone who’s outside a store before it’s open and detaining them for 24 hours. I’ve heard they make then clean the military’s establishment but I have no way of backing this up. They call the buses “Dracula’s Bus”. This hasn’t stopped people from trying to get to the stores early in the morning so what they are doing now is hiding in the bushes so the military can’t spot them until they are able to buy.


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A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

May 3, 2017 | No Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

How Was The Buddhist Monk Able To Burn Himself To Death Without Moving A Muscle?

The famous quote by David Halberstam, American journalist who was present at the scene, adds a lot of detail to the visual experience we have with the picture:

I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming  from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his  head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human  flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear  the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked  to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to  even think.

Later we learned that the man was a priest named Thich Quang Duc who had come to the square as part of a Buddhist procession, had been doused with gasoline by two other priests, had then assumed the cross-legged “lotus” position and had set a match to himself. As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people  around him.

Isn’t it bewildering that the monk himself was demonstrating such self-control while his body painfully burned to death, and bystanders were wailing, utterly shocked by the sight, despite suffering no physical pain themselves?

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A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

April 26, 2017 | 5 Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting |

Do Police Officers Struggle With Becoming Bitter Toward the Public?

Yes. This is particularly a problem when the officer is dealing with a group who he perceives is always making work for him.

The city where I worked was a tourist destination with lots of money and liquor in the mix. It drew a disproportionate share of people who are now called “homeless” (we usually referred to them as “vagrants” or “drunks”) who would panhandle, buy, or otherwise acquire alcohol, and get drunk in parks and other public places. They had very low standards of hygiene, occasionally fought (not very effectively) with officers, and committed many petty offenses that took a great deal of time and resources to deal with.

It was very easy to depersonalize these people and essentially forget they were human. When I worked there, management didn’t make much of an effort to discourage this. The only time anyone would get into trouble over a drunk was when something truly over-the-top happened. For example, a two-officer team working the drunk wagon were loading up the drunks and then racing out of town 20 or 30 miles to the boonies, then dumping them at the side of the freeway. They got fired, but several attempts at trying them were all frustrated by witnesses who were either too drunk to testify or who just couldn’t be found when they were needed.