Randy Halprin

Go to content

Main menu


May 27, 2017

Sometimes in life we are called to step out of our comfort zones and act upon what we feel in our heart is the right thing to do. To speak out against things we see as wrong. Sometimes it requires civil disobedience and earlier today I was put in a position where I had to take an action on something I felt was wrong.

It started sometime early in the morning. I don't know why the officers on our pod began to pick on this one particular guy upstairs in the cell above me, but I knew he was trying to get a shower and they wouldn't let him. The guy suffers from mental illness and while it is mild, he still highly paranoid and a tad bit schizophrenic and for this a lot of guys back here think he's "weird" or not worth their time. I've always been polite to him and will talk and listen to his conspiracy theories, but that was about as far as I'd ever take it.

When lunch came I heard him screaming about being passed up on a sack lunch (the kitchen had been temporarily closed earlier Friday because an inspection team is coming and they wanted to scrub the kitchen before they showed up) and again, I wondered what that was all about.
He wasn't banging, he wasn't making threats, just asking the guards why they skipped him on his meal.

By dinner time, we were getting hot meals again and once again he was yelling about the guards not feeding him.
I thought to myself, okay, this has my attention now, I'm going to ask the guards what is going on, why they weren't feeding him.
When they came to my cell I said "Are you going to feed that man upstairs ? You can't deny him food.
" They both looked at each other and the male officer said "No". I said "Why not ?"
"Well, the Sergeant told us not to."

I knew this was bullshit so after I grabbed my tray, I just reacted and stuck my arm out of the slot and said
"Well, we're about to find out of that is true. You can't deny a man food."

I was kind of shocked at my own action. In my mind this wasn't even a part of the plan. But intuitively my heart just told me this was the only way to get the guy upstairs something to eat. Believe me, a part of me was like "Shit Randy ! You're going to F-pod now...90 freakin' days on level 2".
Don't get me wrong, I've always spoken out against things I see as just wrong and I've been a smart ass to guards about it, but never actually taken an action that jeopardized my "comforts" as level 1...I was flying blind. The other part of me just kept saying "You're in the right on this. So what ? 90 days isn't shit. You're in the right."

I tell you what was funny at this part and I keep laughing about it...
When I "jacked" the food slot the female officer looked at me in disbelief and told the officer with her "He just jacked the slot !
" The other officer seeing my arm hanging out of the food slot looks at her and says "He did what ?" Like he couldn't believe it either.
I then spoke up and said "Look, there's an easily resolution to all of this where no one gets in trouble. Just feed the man. That is all you have to do."

They decided to call the rank.

When the Sergeant came to my cell I stood up, allowed him to close the food slot and he said "What's going on ?"

"In 13 years I've never done this. The man upstairs in 51 cell hasn't had a shower, a lunch or dinner because these officers said YOU told them not to.
I just want that man to get a meal. That is all."
He looked at me and said "I never said that and he'll get a meal. I promise you. But let me ask you this, if they write a disciplinary case on you, is that your statement ?"
"Sure. I understand the consequences but I know I did the right thing. It was the only way to get you down here."

And guess what ? The man did get fed. After that I've since waited to see if I've received  a case.
Because it is a holiday weekend the case - assuming it was written - wouldn't be processed until Tuesday so...I'm just waiting.
I mean, look, I don't want to do 90 days and I'm honestly sacrifing and putting any potential visits in that 90 day period at risk, but again...I did what was right.
It's a freakin' crime to try to starve someone. If the goal of "Justice" is to equally hold everyone accountable under the law...then why a double standard ?
Why do the enforcers get to consistently break/bend, stretch or violate the law while those who live under the rule of law are punished sometimes to the extreme ?

We'll see what happens.


May 21, 2017

I've been kind of half assing these journals lately. I just haven't had a whole lot of inspiration or anything, I suppose. Kind of existing, not really depressed but not whole heartedly enthusiastic about life on death row. I'm happy that many guys are now receiving action from a recent Supreme Court ruling finally forcing Texas to let many mentally retarded off of death row and given life sentences. That's great but also...it's annoying to be sitting on death row for something you didn't even participate in and still have death looming over your head while some, not all - many are retarded - just figured out a way to beat the system. Just being honest about it. Whatever works, I guess.

Friday was a mess of a day ! It was commissary and I was in the day room 3rd round. By far the busiest part of the day in terms of passing things like books, etc to other guys. Add commissary to the mix and it tail spins into chaos very easily because guys want to send food to friends or cook for others, or send things to guys who didn't make store. It's understood that as a community, when a person is in the day room and they need to get something to another person, we all help get it where it needs to go. It's a civil duty to an extent.
Though, there's always a risk that certain officers won't take too kindly upon passing things around because it is against the rules. Most just turn a blind eye though cause they know one, most aren't stupid enough to try to pass something that is dangerous or hurt someone and two, it's just food or books. It keeps others passive and less the officers have to worry about.

So, here I am, in the dayroom, helping out when the guard in the control center flashes the lights on me and tells me to stop. I throw my hands up in the air, like awww shucks, you got me, and when she turns around, I finish passing.
Well, one guy he gets a bag of snack stuck on the walkway. I've got to help get this off of the walkway or else someone could confiscate it. I get the guy's line and try to "fish" it. Lights flash again. I'm getting frustrated and put the fishing line down and start pacing around the day room until she isn't watching me again. This bag is heavy and it isn't budging and I'm getting more frustrated. Another guy upstairs apparently loses a pen on the walkway and is yelling for me to help me get the pen. I say "Hold on ! Let me get this off of the run !" I go back to trying to get the bag. Dude keeps yelling "Randy, come on ! Help me get the pen !" finally, irritated I snap and say "Screw the pen ! If I have to I'll replace the pen for you ! Let me get this freakin' food off of the run !"

Well, much time has passed and the bag is still stuck. Count time is announced and the lady in the control room is walking on the floor. She sees the bag and says "You need to get that off of the run or else it's gone". I politely say "What do you think I've been trying to do ?"
"Well, it needs to be gone. If I come back through and it's still there, it is gone. I ain't losing my job for you. Oh and you've got two warnings. Number three and you get a case". I just looked at her and said "Well, you might as well start doing the paper work cause I'm gonna get number three".
She walks off and I finally get the bag off of the run. I send it where it is going, climb the bars to two row, help the guy get his pen and then jump back down and told everyone "okay...I think I'm done here. No more stress please !"

I didn't get a case but man...it was chaotic. That was enough excitement for one day.

The weekend has been pretty boring. Just taking it easy, reading and listening to the radio.


Back to content | Back to main menu