Randy Halprin

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***New Journals***

January 1st, 2018

It's a new year.
A wonderful person told me that we shouldn't worry about the destination but the journey instead and I've been reflecting upon those words a lot in recent days.
For so long I've been worried about the destination that I forget to enjoy the journey.
Well, how can you "enjoy" the journey on death row, Randy ? Someone might ask...This place does leave a lot to be desired and there have been many times over the past 17 years that I've thought that death was preferable to a life in prison, but I think that when a person in my situation can open their eyes and open their heart and realize that good things can and do happen and that we can affect the people around us in positive ways - that there is a way to live in these circumstances...Well, my desire to see that through overrides any sense of capitulation or defeat.
My life isn't over. I can effect change now, in the present moment.

That doesn't necessarily mean there aren't potholes and bumps - even wreckage along the journey.
At some point I'll have to get out and fix a flat tire.
I'm sure of it.
I'll probably get a ticket or two for speeding.
I'm not perfect, but whatever that destination is I'll get there.

Over the entire holiday season I've been reflecting on so much.
A big part of that reflection is the uncertainty of what 2018 will bring.
Is it my last year on this planet ? Is it anyone's last year on this planet ?
How do we know the answer to that question ?
My life is no more a guarantee than any human being's life.
Those whom in the state fight to see me killed are not guaranteed a single breath five seconds from now.
But I do want to believe that the right thing will be done.
That I won't be killed for something I didn't take part in.
I believe in justice and I believe in punishment, but as a part of that justice is seeing that people who didn't kill shouldn't be killed out of a misguided sense of justice, if that makes sense.
I'll take my licks for the messed up stuff I have done, but a part of me refuses to accept being executed.
That's where I hope G-od, the universe and everything somehow at least gets that part right.
I really need my prayer heard on that one.
I need all the prayers I can get on that one. I'll deal with whatever else comes after that.
I have things I'd love to do - most of all encourage and inspire goodness, kindness and change in an environment that is designed to do the opposite.

2018 holds so much promise ! Not just for me but the world. People will push against hate.
Women will rise up and finally have their voices heard.
The oppressed (as is witnessed by a new revolution that has sparked in Iran as I write this) will finally push back. We don't have to accept politicians that deal in hate and ignorance.
This has to be the year that all of that garbage is stopped in its tracks.

I've written about choosing kindness...and that's a step we should choose, absolutely.
But we should also strive to be good. Don't give because a book tells you to do so.
Give because you should. Don't be kind because someone tells you to be. Be kind because you should.
Not because of a self serving interest, not because the universe will reward you with karma points, eternal life or whatever.
Do it because by helping another human being you're helping humanity as a whole.

Be kind, be good but more than anything we should focus on doing the right thing for one another.
Nothing else should matter, politics, religion, gay, straight,...

I don't mean to be a Tony Robbins feel good speech but it just seems like the answer to this human question is so simple !

I close this on a note of belief that 2018 will be full of good things, that this will be a wonderful year.
For everyone who has believed in me - even in my moments of missteps and my flaws - those who have encouraged me even if not directly, but by reading my thoughts through my journal and to my very dear friends...
Thank you. May you be blessed throughout this new year and may you have the happiest new year possible.
We will make it to 2019.

Choose kindness.

Be good.


December 26, 2017

Well, after a wonderful Christmas meal we're eating sack lunches cause we're on lockdown.
I was hoping that it'd be after the New Year, partly because I'd have liked to get out of the cell to jog all of that food off and because I made a very stupid bet and have lost.
What was the bet ?
Well, I rarely bet if I don't know with absolute certainty that I will win.
So, when I got into an argument about when the next lockdown was going to be my friend David said "Bet a sexy dance in the day room on it".
I didn't even think about it. I said "That's a bet !"
Ugh...Now when I return to B-pod I have to go to F-section in the day room and do a sexy dance.
Fortunately for me a sexy dance was never defined so my interpretation of what a "sexy dance" is going to be is NOT what he's expecting, haha.
After all sexy is subjective, right ? The lockdown shouldn't be more than two weeks I hope.

Choose kindness.


December 24, 2017

This day...always such a hard day for me. I just hope there's a G-od and souls - an afterlife so that's it's known how I wish with all in me that this night, 17 years ago, never would have happened, that I didn't participate in this horrible event that lead to an innocent life being lost. It's just not in my heart. It's not ! Even if it meant my own freedom.
I was asked by the prosecutor "What would you have done if it was you confronted by the police ?"
I said "I'd surrender".
I remember him being surprised by my saying that because when Rivas was asked during his trial and why he shot at the police officer he said "I'm not going back to prison. It's me or you".

In the past I've written about a social experiment - actually a thought experiment I created.
It goes like this: an inmate is called out to the Major's office.
Two guards escort the inmate there and the Major says "uncuff him and leave us".
The Major tells the inmate to have a seat and as the inmate is sitting down the Major types something on his keyboard and pulls up an image of one section on a pod from death row.
He then reaches down and picks up an electronic red button, places it on the desk.
The inmate is confused until the Major gives an explanation: "I'm giving you the biggest choice of your life today. I'm ready to let you walk out of the prison a free man.
But to do so you have to push this red button.
It will send a signal to a group of guards who will randomly pick a cell, forcibly remove a fellow inmate, drag him on to the walkway and kill him while you watch on this monitor.
After that I'll have you sign some papers and we will release you.
You have two minutes to decide".

I only know of a few people that have said they wouldn't-couldn't push that button including myself.
One of my closest friends, whom I consider to have a good heart even said he'd push the button !
I said "But what if it was ME they dragged out ?"
He thought about it for a second and said "Well...I'd want to believe that you would want to see me go free and I'd want you to push the button if it was me on the run".

"Sorry dude, but there's just no way. I'd have to go back to my cell".

"Well, you're a fool then" he said.

It's just not in my heart. Surely...if there is an afterlife this is known. Little comfort to those that suffered the loss of a dearly loved one and I know this. All I can say, with all of my heart is I'm sorry.

The holiday has another level of sadness because it's also the first Christmas in 16 years without my friend David. I miss him so much. No person was more supportive, more loving and encouraging throughout those years. A mentor, a teacher and while no one can replace the love I have for my father, he was definitely a father like figure in my life.

And so tonight, as in my usual tradition, I will say a prayer for those in my life who have made these years wonderful in their own little way. I will be grateful for what I have and I will listen to the movie "It's a wonderful life" and cherish the life I do have. As George Bailey said "I want to live !" I really do.

Choose kindness.


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