Randy Halprin

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April 2007

Randys Journals

April 01, 2007
April Fools Day. I think we all feel like fools on Death Row so no
practical jokes are played. I went to bed last night at about 2:00 A.M. and
woke back up to exercise at 8:30 A.M. I was very careful not to hurt my
back. If I
m here on this pod on Tuesday, my neighbor promised hed go
outside with me to play some basketball. I don
t want to get too excited.
As he stood me up last time. I don
t know why people havent been
exercising as much or wanting to play ball. It
s this damn isolated
environment. It
s breaking people down and its scary.
Yesterday at recreation I kept smelling the stench of urine and feces. It
was awful. I asked a guy where the putrid smell was coming from and he told
me the cell. There are several things that immediately upset me about it (I
suppose the natural reaction would be to say
what a nasty son of a birth
dirty ass bastard and cuss the guy out for living that way but it goes
beyond living dirty) (1) From all accounts a few years ago the man was
clean and social. A year or two ago he
flipped and hasnt been the same.
(2) I see it as a psychological manifestation and deserves proper treatment.
Instead, the guards don
t do anything to help nor does the psychiatric
department. (What a farce!) Instead, they let him live like this. That is
truly disgusting. I asked a guard passing by
Why dont yall get him in
the shower and have someone scrub his cell
His reply was, Well, if he
wants to live that way let him. I ain
t buying that crazy shit. He aint
All of a sudden TDCJ guards have PhD's in psychology around this
So, I see a growing trend of people withdrawing and not going to recreation,
not showering, not exercising and I suspect it will continue to worsen in
this segregated environment. Heck, some days I feel like crap and don
want to do anything either.
Time to listen to KDOL
..Yea! Just heard someone special. Shes coming in
two weeks and I
m very excited. I cant wait.
s not 8:00 P.M. I just finished listening to that show Extreme
Makeover: Home Edition
. what a powerful show! I cant see what the house
looks like, I can
t see the tears of joy on the families face, but still the
emotional punch the show throws
I get all teary eyed! Programs like this
allow me and others to feel human. When society labels us monsters- how
many monsters do you know that cry listening or watching extreme makeover?
In an environment and system designed to take away our humanity it still
shows up in the oddest places. It sill dwells in our hearts. We may have
done bad things, but that seed of goodness still existed. It just takes the
right thing to help it grow.
m reminded of the movie (okay Im going to show my darkness) Return Of
The Jedi
Luke Skywalker tries to talk Darth Vader into leaving the dark
side, Darth Vader replies,
It is too late for me. Luke says something
No, its not too late for you. I still see goodness in you Despite
the fact that Darth Vader had chopped off Dukes hand.. My point is- some of
us want a chance to show and prove the goodness within us. It is there, it
is alive and to me that makes the Death Penalty senseless and useless.

April 02, 2007
s 6:33 A.M. Im about to go to recreation, but before I do I wanted to
write about this dream I had before I woke up. It was very bizarre. I work
up in my dream in a large field. There were stars like diamonds in the sky.
Then, I watched myself appear maybe 200 yards away. A bright UFO like
thing circling around. Then another UFO popped up and it headed straight
for me watching everything. I panicked, but it suddenly flew off and
disappeared. Suddenly fireworks began to explode everywhere. I mean,
fourth of July style! Bright and vivid. I thought,
Why on earth are fire
works going off in the middle of the night?
A split second later (or what
felt like a split second anyways). I was back at home talking to my mom and
I asked what was around to eat. She told me to look in the „fridge so I do.
Inside is a whole bunch of T.V. dinners, frozen burritos etc. I dig
around and I pull out a clear plastic piggy but in the shape of Garfield The

s all I can remember. Strange dream. Gotta go to recreation. I shall
Just got back. I did a light workout and jogged for a bit. I didn
t get up
for breakfast, so now I
m pretty hungry. Yummy beans! I had an idea for a
story pop up while I was out at recreation based on my school years in
Kentucky. It sprang from telling this guy about how we had to attend chapel
services everyday during school. The sermons were boring and it would take
all the will in the world to keep from falling asleep. Sometimes I
d jerk
awake from the back of my head hitting the backboard of the pew, or I
d fall
into whomever I was sitting next to. Sometime I
d daydream or if I was
lucky enough to sit next to a girlfriend, she
d have my attention. Going
into school breaks were just as bad. Very anticlimactic
Like, regular
public schools kids would watch the clock with anticipation, waiting for the
school bell to ring. The end of the semester
We had a sermon that bored us
to pieces. When it ended and the closing prayer was uttered you were just
relieved it was over with.
Out of that, I came up with this paragraph as an opener from a story idea I
had: It
s fictional; but based on reality.
(Most school years end with a bell. Mine ended with a sermon. I sat still
trying everything I could to keep from falling asleep. I was paranoid that
the president of the schools eyes were zeroed in on me as he sat in his
chair next to the pastors pulpit. I looked around the chapel to see a sea
of students simplified by pure boredom as the chaplain rambled on about
salvation and summer. Suddenly I imagined Jesus, the Christ, in a two piece
bathing suit, long brown hair and cheeks sun kissed by the sun swinging in
an old truck tire high above a sparkling swimming hole. I began to chuckle
to myself.
Whats so funny? A kid next to me whispered. Nothing.. Just
laughing at my own irreverence.
I replied.)
s what I came up with while out on rec. I wonder if I can turn it into
something? Hmmm.
s not 1:51 P.M. I just came back from a nice shower. Popped a butter
scotch candy in my mouth and I
m about to pick up a book and read until Im
either told to pack up and move, or mail comes


April 03, 2007
Today started off poorly. A mail room lady woke me up saying I could not
mail out a dream catcher I had made for someone. It was so pretty and this
guy had put a lot of work into it
.Plus, it wasnt cheap so I was upset.
More upset that it wouldn
t be going to someone special. I really wanted it
to be a nice Easter gift. But
With this place its always about chance and
control. You have to expect and (sort of) accept that you can lose things
at any moment. Nothing really belongs to you. Sometimes you get lucky or
they let things slide..
I went outside and played some ball with my neighbor. I think in a previous
entry I mentioned how he
s one of the best players on Death RowWe played
for an hour and I was slaughtered. Out of 20 games I won 2. Two games. Oh
well. It did feel so good to run in that cool morning. The sun came out
after we played and we got about an extra hour outside. The sun felt so
nice towards the end of my recreation time. I made up my mind; as long as
the guards approve it, I
m going to try to get outside more often. I figure
since not as many people have been going to rec., it shouldn
t be too
..Ive been wanting to write about a growing trend amongst Death Row
prisoners who are about to be executed. More and more are refusing to walk
to their deaths. Some have actually put up fights (which I don
t condone,
but do respect actually) some just make them carry them. People have mixed
feelings about these methods, as they don
t see the whole picture.. They
Why do that when the futile, anyways? Why not go out peacefully or
Ive known true Christians who ultimately accepted their
fate but still have refused to walk to their own deaths. One, it shows that
you simply accept your murder and two, by carrying you to the gurney- it
makes guards that might have just watched you die- actual hands on
accomplices. The psychological possibilities long term have to be
astounding. Maybe this view is extreme to some, but I see it as if you
t challenge their own morals and values Then you are telling them
s okay to kill you. Imagine being a guard and having to carry a man to
his death
.I doubt itd be a light hearted dinner topic, unless you were
just sick hearted in the first place.
So, I think it
s great more and more of us arent walking to our deathsI
know I won
t be.
3:31 P.M. Just got back from the shower. Man it felt good! I need to wash
my exercise clothing. Then get ready to move- I have a hunch I
ll be moving
tonight. After I get all of that finished I
ll finish reading this
excellent book I started yesterday. I
ve only got 40 pages left. Its a
coming of age story called The Highest Tide. I found it at the bottom of my
book bag. I could
ve sworn I had read it a while back, but didnt
Anyways, I guess I
ll close here. Oh yeah: Happy Passover!

April 08, 2007
The weather here is insane right now.. Last night I went to sleep and it was
cold. By the middle of the night came around I had to get up and sleep in
my jacket because it was about 30 degrees and we had cold air coming out the
air vents. Imagine sleeping in a meat locker. That
s what it felt like.
Just Friday it was in the 70
You know, a lot of the global warming nay sayers are retards for real.. I
heard this program this morning and one of these yahoos say
s, Well, if
s so called global warming, why then is the country having record lows?
Because, you moron, when the atmosphere changes it sets off different
reactions in the weather system. You
re never going to have the same
conditions all over the globe. One part might be freezing, another part
unseasonably hot, another part with torrential rains, hurricanes,
tornados.. Various weather fronts clash.. That
s why its like it is. Pick up
a science book for crying out loud. Sheesh.
Anyways, it
s still cold and a very boring day.

April 09, 2007
Monday. Didn
t do much all day long, I was waiting for a new comedy show to
come on NBC so that I could listen to it and see if it was any good. Turned
out to be great. But what I really wanted to listen to was a documentary on
PBS about Jim Jones, the cult leader back in the 70
s. That was very scary
stuff. This guy recorded everything he did up to the very last minute in
which he killed (Murder suicide..) most of his followers. It was horrible
to listen to all of these people screaming and crying after some had drinkin
the kool aid. But his calm and patient voice is what freaked me out the
most. All of these people are dying around him and he
s calm, serene like.
Frightening. I hope I don
t get any night mares..
m winding it down for the night. I have to get up early and go play some
ball. The weather report predicted warm and sunny. I can
t wait. Ill
miss most of the sunshine though, as I
m going out at six. Ugh. Have to
get tobed..

April 10, 2007
Today has been cursed. I got up at six all hyped up and ready to go. I got
almost a full eight hours of sleep which is rare for me. I turn on the
radio and start a letter while I
m waiting to go outside. The weather
report was still the same. What happens as soon as I step outside? It
rains. The 30% chance of rain fell on us. We were stuck outside in cold
rain for two hours. When I come back in I dry off and wait for my shower.
We get a shower before lunch, but when lunch comes what do I do? Knock the
tray off my desk, after tripping on my headphone cord and spill it all over
me and my cell. Beans, cream corn and spinach everywhere. Lovely.
On top of that, they tell me I
m getting moved to the ad-seg pod. I didnt
care at first, thinking it would be as calm as it was four months ago.
Wrong. It
s a complete mad house here. In fact, as I write this at 12:34
A.M. some dude is screaming,
Fuck you fuckers! over and over. Why , I do
not know, but I feel like I
ve entered an insane asylum the twilight zone
or something else just as crazy. Oh well. Guess I
ll stuff some toilet
paper in my ears and try to get to sleep. Try..

April 11, 2007
s loud right now. Its been loud since I first stepped on e-pod. I was
going to go to recreation, but I think I
m just going to pass for now. Im
trying to get things taken care of before my special visits tomorrow with my
lovely gorgeous Hawaiian lady and those usually take up much of the day.
m going to ask the guard for a shower as soon as I see him. I cant
believe how loud it is. I have my headphones on right now, turned all the
way up and can still hear the madness

ll be writing how my visits go tomorrow and the next. Im really nervous,
but excited too. I know we
re going to have a great time, I just wish it
was right now. More to come.. Stay tuned.

April 12, 2007
Today was a beautiful wonderful day. Man, where do I begin? I got up early
to exercise and wash up. I was expecting a visit with the wonderful woman
who has entered my life and while we
ve been writing a while and it felt as
if we
d known each other for centuries, I was still a bit anxious and
nervous. The sun began to rise and as light began to pour into my little
window and I could see a streak of blue sky, I knew it to be a good omen.
The guards came to take me to my visit about 8:50 A.M. when I entered the
booth, I saw a smiling, gorgeous woman. We hit it off from the start. It
was truly magical and had such a bright and wonderful soul. Everything just
felt perfect and right. We talked and talked and talked those four hours
and I felt in another dimension. I felt true happiness inside. I felt
You have to understand, I
m a person that thrives off of love, sense of
family and friendship. These are the things that keep me upbeat and
hopeful. When you go so long without, and realize you took all of that for
granted in the past, the value only increases. Today I was blessed. I
already excited to see her tomorrow.
I came back to my cell and wrote her a letter and then took a nap, „cause
visits can be so overwhelming emotionally. But it
s been a great day and I
should sleep peacefully.
s getting late and I am exhausted, but Im happy and thats all that

April 13, 2007
Wow.. Another spectacular day. I
m just amazed at how well everything has
worked out for me and this growing relationship I
m in. I feel reawakened.
Alive, hopeful..
So, I go to my second visit and I got to meet her son, whom I
m officially
nick named
Big K. What a wonderful kid. He was shy at first, but after a
bit we hit if off and talked about movies, cartoons, video games, extreme
sports. He was very polite, kind and really handsome. I told his mom he
better watch out „cause when hes older the girls are going to be
everywhere. Haha. I had such a great time, but more than anything I just
felt so blessed.
This has definitely been an answered prayer for me. I
m really happy right
My attorney also showed up during my visit and so when I finished seeing my
girl, I talked to my lawyer. Things seem to be about the same. We have so
much stuff that will help me out just growing and growing. I don
t want to
be too optimistic, because this is Texas and trust me anything can happen,
but I feel good. I want to trust the system and that things will work out,
but really only time will tell.
m really tired and so I think I will take a nap, but Ill be smiling.
s for sure.

April 15, 2007
Yesterday was mostly a rainy day. I went to recreation and walked around
and then came back in and ate some mixed nuts. I passed the day reading and
then listened to a concert of the band
Garbage on PBS. When I woke up
this morning it was very chilly, but sunshine was pouring through my window.
ve been cleaning out some junk, cause rumor has it were going to be on
lock down any day now. I should be exercising, but I keep putting it off.
ll do it later on. I mean, Ive got all day, right? Really, Im going to
exercise.. I mean it!
Tonight I want to listen to this documentary on PBS that
s supposed to be
really good called
America At A Cross Road It starts off with the 9/11
incident and goes into our perception of the world and how the world
perceives Americans. I
m actually looking forward to it. I love a good
Guess I
ll stop here. Not much else happening around these parts.

April 16, 2007
m taking a break from doing laundry right now. Ive got one set (a t-shirt and shorts) drying right now and another two shirts soaking in my sink. Since today our section doesnt recreate I figured Id get caught up on everything.
s gorgeous outside. If I knew what direction I was facing Id say out to the south or north.. Haha, but really in the distance is a green pasture where normally horses would be grazing, but I cant see any. There are a few hawks gliding around, probably scanning the fields for a small snack. Its pretty interesting to watch.
This morning I read the first chapter of the book that
s all the rave right now called The Secret. Me and my girl decided to read it together. Its about the power of positive think-ing. The only thing that kind of irritates me about it is it keeps on bringing up if you want money/wealth…” But other than that, it does have some really good tid bits on posi-tive thinking.
Last night I listened to an awesome documentary called
America At A Cross Roads on PBS. Its going to be six parts, and it started off talking about where the roots of Al Qae-da started. It also got into Islamic fundamentalism. Very fascinating stuff. What made it more interesting is that when the U.S. defeated the Taliban after 9/11 (which most of the Muslim world and had condemned the attacks) we had actually had the upper hand in The war on terror. When the U.S. invaded Iraq it was seen as a power grab and most of the world shunned the invasion. It fueled Muslim Extremism and we played into the hands of people such as Bin Laden. Tonight's second part will focus on Iraq. Some theor-ize that Al Qaeda's strategy now is to slowly bleed the U.S. out by stretching our fighting forces beyond capacities, because well chase them around anywhere, like cowboys Bin Laden said. Eventually we will have no money to fight, nor the soldiers or Americans hearts. (Which is what is happening) Crazy stuff.
s really loud right now. I just have one more day on this pod- hopefully! Ill be glad to move.
s now 7:26 p.m. At 5:00 p.m. I heard the news about the 32 students killed by a shoo-ter at Virginia Tech. University. Just horrible. What is it inside of us that causes a snap deep within? What is it that creates a fissure so deep and jagged that separates us from our true selves? As I listened to the news reports tears streamed down my face. What is happening to our humanity, not only as a country, but as a world. Is this our fate? To separate spiritually and regress into animals? Ive been there, I know what it feels like to fall apart and lash out at everyone around me. But I also faced myself and knew this wasnt who I was- an animalSomething in our society and culture needs to change. Im all for gun control. I despise guns, but it has to be deeper than that. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. We have to ask questions and not be afraid of the answers
Just random thoughts bouncing around my head right now. The sun is setting; a mixture of white and grey clouds washed against a sky of orange, violet, and blue. Perfect in its beauty but underneath God
s imperfect servants waiting for sleep.

April 17 - April 22, 2007 (summary)
The past week was very boring and to be honest depressing. After the shootings in Vir-ginia, they saddened my heart very much. I can
t begin to understand why such violence exists in this world. I cant begin to understand how in my life I had ever contributed to that violence. Ive been dealing with the question of how we as humans lose touch with ourselves, our goodness, as I want to believe all of us have inside..
Tuesday I was moved to A-pod and it
s not too bad up here. Last summer I got into it with this guy whos my current neighbor. Hes a jerk, but I was shocked when he actually apologized for what happened last year. We dont talk too much, but its nice to not have to avoid him all together.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all I pretty much did was read and go to rec. The weather has been really nice all week long and I got to go outside on Thursday. It was a pretty sunrise. Friday I relaxed and listened to a movie. Saturday was long a boring. My highlight was listening to a marathon of the T.V. show
Heroes and then some music. I was going to stay up late and listen to this midnight movie, but passed out about a quar-ter of the way through. I woke up, cleaned up and have been listening to the radio and
doing laundry. I just heard my baby call in not too long ago, so of course I
m smiling. I really am more blessed than I probably deserve to be.
Right now as I type this, dinner is being passed out and I
ve got my first batch of laundry hanging to dry. Ive put my fan underneath it to speed up the process.
Guess I
ll finish up here and kick back and wait on my dinner.

April 23, 2007
s 7:00 P.M. Monday night. Theyre still running recreation and doing showers, though Ive already had mine earlier today. The sun is setting, but its not too spectacular to-night, as its very grey outside. It looks like it might rain. Im sitting here typing waiting for my favorite T.V. show to come on, Heroes. I cant see whats going on in it, but the story line is so good I can pretty much guess whats happening, plus Ive read several magazines that help fill in the visual blanks.
I went outside today. The guy I went out with didn
t want to play basketball, but would exercise with me so thats pretty much what we did for the time. I talked him into jog-ging with me for a bit. I said, Cmon, just fifteen minutes. You can handle that. He ar-gued, Im only good for five. If that. He didnt bring his watch out, but I did so I kept track of the time. He kept saying Let me know when we get to five minutes.. As the time wore on he was pretty much squeling, I know my time is up! Please! I kept say-ing, Almost there, almost five minutes. When he looked like he was going to pass out I told him he ran for eleven minutes. He collapsed on the concrete and just laid there. It was so funny.
I came back in and have been reading and thinking. I heard on the radio that some guy went on a shooting spree in some apartment complex in Houston. Then, as it seems to be the standard practice after killing a bunch of folks, he killed himself. Life these days just seem to get more insane each minute. I think America in general has some real an-ger issues and until we can find a way to get past this and find true inner peace, then we
re going to keep on having these shootings and all of this violence.
Though, I remember reading some Sigmund Freud a while back and he was talking about how societies manifest things such as fear, and violence. He even went on so far as to say that religion was a manifested insanity of sorts, but I disagree with the latter idea. I do think our culture may indeed be manifesting this violence and anger, as it seems to be spreading like a virus. Saddening and crazy.
All that
s left for the day is mail. I sure do hope on some lovin from my girl : )

April 24, 2007
m settling down for the night. I am so tired. About two hours ago I was moved to another cell and cleaning it up. I was pretty sure I was going to get moved earlier, so I had already packed my things up. Then at about six in the evening it was time for me to go outside and get my recreation. At the same time I was told by another guard that I was getting moved. That worked out pretty good for me. Outside we played a couple quick games of ball and did some exercising. It looked like it was going to pour, but the wind felt so good. I couldve stayed out there all night.
When I got on the next pod and right outside my cell, some guy in a real hostile voice yelled from his door,
Hey, who are you, whats your name? The tone of the voice put
up my guard, so I went to a defensive tone myself and said,
Randy. Randy who? The voice said back. Now, this guy had his light out in his cell, so I couldnt see who it was. I was thinking that it must be some new guy who thought he was billy bad ass. I said, Just Randy. What are you the police? Then, the voice changed and he started laughing, Calm down Randy, its me! Im just yanking your chain. Dont get mad! I admit, I was getting a little irritated by the tone of the voice, but it just turned out to be a dude I was cool with. The joke was on me.
Not much has happened today. Been thinking a lot, but not been able to get things down on paper. I don
t know why, but I have all of these ideas for things to write, but every time I try I just go blank. Its been like this since last August
Guess I
ll close here and brush my teeth, wash my face and go to sleep.

April 25, 2007
Went to rec. Ate some cookies my neighbor shared with me and not much else. Mind is blank.

April 26, 2007
Tonight I
ve been thinking on a couple of things. I received a couple of emails that sent my heart and mind in two different directions. One email was from an old baby sitter of me and my brothers and it brought back so many memories I had actually long forgot-ten. It was crazy. Even if Im not sure if some of the memories were from the same baby sitter or not. She did remind me of how she would let us stay up past our bed time watching movies and such until mom and dad got home. The way we could tell when they got home was the electric garage door. It would make this loud hum that would reverberate all through the house. Thats when Id take off running to my room and jump in bed. Shortly after Id hear my dad and mom come in and ask how her night was. Its nice to know that people from a past that happened so long ago can actually remember you. You go through life thinking you are not even a blip on another's radar screen and turn out to be more than you thought.
The other email was a valid opinion against the death penalty, but I still feel they
ve got it all wrong. The only point I will conced with him on is when he said, You can sit in pris-on, play ball.. lay down-anything. The other persons life taken can do nothing and their families are left with nothing. Hes absolutely correct in this sentiment. I do deal with the guilt of that, and while Im not a killer, I often think that our complaints about life back here are not valid, because there are victims of crimes who have nothing. There are people throughout this world with nothing and here I am with many things. I never want to portray my life as it is not as me having a grand old time, because often it plain sucks. And thats not out of feeling sorry for myself, but because its an existence. Nothing more, nothing less. Were kept alive and frozen in time until the day its time to go.
Also, my intentions in my writings and fight against the death penalty is not have people feel sorry for me or anyone else on Death Row. If I
ve done that, then Ive failed com-pletely in my intentions. My only point is to show that we are still human beings.
So, that
s whats on my mind tonight.
The day has been so-so. It would have been nice to go outside and get some sun. When I went to recreation, the section I was on right next to the outside rec. yard. There
s, I think, eight huge window pains and sun light poors into the pod. While I was out at rec. I kept thinking, man, itd be nice to get some of that sun! Instead, I just exercised and talked to a few guys on that section.
Time to get some shut eye : ) Peace.

April 27, 2007
Got to go outside today. Man, did it feel nice. We played some basketball and I
ve really got to get good again. I lost 14 to 10. Ugh. I cant believe that Ive gotten so bad. I mean, last year I was unbeatable. What happened? Either everyone got better or I just really suck. Sheesh. I think from here on out, Im going to beg and plead the guards to get outside as much as possible. I really need to practice. Im just going to start calling everyone I know out and challenging them. Ill trash talk everyone I know just to get them riled up so we can play.. Yeah, thats what Im going to do.
I can
t believe the weekend is here already. And May is only a few days away. Craziness.
So, today I heard on NPR that there
s some Texas law maker trying to speed up the ap-peals process for anyone whos a so called Cop Killer. What upset me about the report is how he gave complete inaccurate statistics on the time it takes a current appeal for any inmate after about 1996. They had already stream lined the process under an anti terrorism bill that was put into place so that they could execute Timothy McVeigh faster, after the Oklahoma City Bombings. Texas took full advantage of this law to kill its own. If you look at the execution list from those who received the death penalty from about 1996, the appeals process has taken about 6 to 7 years tops. This guy claimed that the process takes about 12 plus years which just isnt true. Maybe on a national average, but not in Texas. Not only is this wrong, but it is only going to ensure that more innocent people will be killed. Im hoping the other congress people of Texas will realize that.
You know, this is how Blood thirsty the state of Texas is; Most of the country has either abandoned the death penalty or slowed it down, while Texas is dug in and is trying to find quicker and better ways to kill people. It
s sick.
I mean, the Dallas Morning Newspaper has come out against the death penalty. There
s a bit of a scandal going on in Harris County (Houston) in which a guy that was back here has received a new trial on grounds that none of his DNA matched the DNA of that found on the evidence.. What happens when hes brought back to Harris County for the trial? The evidence the prosecutor are sure will find him guilty mysteriously is misplaced and cant be found. How sickening is that? And so the Texas legislature still wants to find new ways to execute people?

April 29, 2007
s Sunday afternoon as I type this. It looks gorgeous out my window, with sunlight pouring into my cell. I woke up this morning at about 8:30 A.M. and started my day. I kept telling myself to exercise, but then the lazy part of my brain said, nah, youve got all day to do it. Finally I had to override Mr. Sloth and say, Listen fat ass, youre going to exercise right now. Turned out to be really good. Intense. Though, my back is a little tender right now.
Other than that, I
ve just been doing laundry waiting on a couple of messages on KDOL. Just thought Id drop in and say, Howdy so.. Howdy.

April 30, 2007
s the last day of the month and then May is here. April really flew by. Im actually look-ing forward to May. Dont ask me why, it just feels like its going to be good. Many of my friends birthdays are in May, Youve got Mothers Day, Cinco De Mayo (which always
means a good meal on that day). It
s when we start getting a few slices of watermelon every now and then, maybe some cantelop. My friend David is coming this Thursday and Friday to visit. Im excited about the month.
Man, my brain is just going crazy with ideas today. I
ve been writing pretty much non-stop since ten in the morning and its 3:11 P.M. right now and Ive got so much more to write! Actually, I just got done writing a couple of articles for an anti dp movement. Now Im doing my journal. Im a mad man. I feel like a dam in my mind has been blasted open. Im rambling. I promise Ive only had one cup of coffee earlier this morning.
Right now it looks gorgeous outside. It was predicted to rain and I thought it might ac-tually do so, because it was so overcast. It
s pretty warm, too. I should turn on my fan. Rambling again.
So, today I was going to share another prison story. To be honest, I don
t know if Ive written this one in my journal or not. Ive told it to a few of my friends, so maybe thats why it feels rehashed, but its a pretty ugly, but powerful one to tell about the machina-tions of life in general population
I think I was about twenty years old. I
d only been on the conally unit for about three or four months and I was starting to get an idea of how everything really was in a real pris-on. A month of so earlier we had gotten off a summer long lockdown after a huge gang fight broke out in the dormitory and a couple of inmates had been killed by having their head bashed by cans of mackeral (theyve since done away with all canned foods that were sold) that were placed in socks and used as weapons. I remember looking out the window of my cell and watching as a nurse walked along side a gurney with what ap-peared to be a Hispanic guy, his head split open. After that incident the entire prison was placed on lock down.
My cell mate was a black guy they called
Psycho. We actually got along fairly well and spent the time on lock down bonding and playing scrabble and Battle Ship. I didnt have a radio of my own, so he would let me listen to it late at night and when he took naps. I always thought that was really cool.
Psycho had a few mental problems, thought and I had to get used to them. It was the first time I
d ever been housed with a guy like him, but I learned to deal with it. One ex-ample of his mental health issue was that he would sprinkle comet all over the toilet seat, but then not clean it off. So if I had to use the bathroom and it was very urgent, Id have to dance around and clean the seat of the toilet before messing myself. It got fru-strating at times and I ask him to not do that, but what could you do? Were in prison and you cant tell another man what to do. He also used to cut words out of magazines and label things all over the cell with the various words. I drew the line at bringing spid-ers and other insects in from working in the fields.
During this time that he was my cell mate, a guy had loaned a magazine to me. While I was in the dayroom watching T.V. he asked if he could get his magazine back. I said sure and went up stairs and asked Psycho to hand me the magazine. He grabbed from under my bunk and slid it to me under the door.
preciate it, Celly. I said and left to return it to the guy and resumed watching T.V. not long after that, the guy that loaned me the magazine came up to me very upset. What the fuck happened to my magazine? Its all cut up. He said. Dude, what are you talking about? I didnt do shit to it. I said. Man, I was flipping through it and its cup up, here look at it. He handed me the magazine and I flipped through it. I noticed that words had been cut out of various pages. My stomach dropped. Dude, my celly did this. Ill go talk to him. I said. No, Ill go to talk to him. He fucked up. Dude, it was my responsibility. Ill go ask him. Calm down. I said.
I went back upstairs and asked my cellmate about the words being cut out. He imme-diately denied it. As I was talking to him, the upset guy came up behind me and started
raising his voice, cussing Psycho out. From the point of the day room it looked like two white guys trying to check a black dude and a few black guys playing dominos didn
t like this at all. One of them came up the stairs to ask what was going on and that two white boys wouldnt be checking a black guy. I explained to the black guy what happened and told him it was my problem. Then, I told the magazine owner that he needed to let me handle things before he started a freakin riot. I was trying to be as calm and diplomatic about the situation as possible. This had every potential of turning into something huge and it didnt need to be like that. I was scared as hell and never had been in this situa-tion. I wasnt street smart and if pushed to far I could easily become angry myself.
Look, Psycho. Youre the only person I know who cuts words out of magazines. Just ad-mit it and replace the magazine. Thatll be it. Its all Im asking. This guy is very pissed right now. Im responsible.
I didnt do it. He replied.
Yeah, you did. Damn, why are you being so difficult?
All of a sudden Psycho erupted.
Fuck you, bitch! White son of a bitch. Get the fuck away from me! He yelled this so loud that everyone in the day room had looked up at me and a few guys whispered something amongst themselves. He had just disrespected me in front of a whole bunch of people which was not good. To be honest, I was shocked, turned around and went back downstairs.
When I got back to the day room some white guys approached me.
Say, Randy you gonna let that guy talk to you like that? Whats up with that? Man, dont talk to me like that. Hes my celly, hes just troubled. Hes having an episode.
Dude he just disrespected you in front of everyone. You dont check him and someone is going to think youre a punk and then next thing you know dudes will be grabbing your ass. Said another white guy. I felt cornered. It was already hard enough being Jewish, the last thing I needed was to worry about people trying to take my ass. I had no choice. I had to fight him.
When they roll the doors, Ill go fight him. I said sound unsure to myself.
Yeah, thats good Randy. Go earn your respect. The little group of white people I no-ticed as I walked upstairs the black guys watched me as if thinking I had pussy, as they say.
I went back upstairs and my cell mate was pacing back and forth nervously.
Say, Psy-cho, when the roll the doors, just stay in the cell. We have to fight.
Aww, Randy, man, I apologize. Okay. I cut up the magazine. Ill replace it. Tell him Ill give him my radio.
Dude, I dont want to fight you either, but I have no choice. You disrespected me in front of everyone. My hands are tied.
The cell door opened and I went into the cell. I noticed a couple of guys came upstairs to my cell and stood outside it to make sure we fought. I put up my towel in the window so no one could see inside from the control center and then I said,
Cmon, celly, lets get this over with. He understood and so we began to swing at each other. I remember it lasting only a minute or so and I had a busted lip. I pulled the cell down and the guys confirmed we fought. I apologized to my cell mate and he apologized to me and we both agreed to just let it go. I told him, Do not give that guy your radio, its not worth that. Give him a few snacks to replace the magazine so we can squash this crap. Okay?
About an hour later, they opened the cell doors back up and I was able to go back into the dayroom. People; whites and blacks were shaking my hand for fighting. It was the oddest thing in the world. Just an hour earlier everyone was looking at me like they wanted to kill me, now guys were saying I had their respect. I remember thinking how pitiful it was that people had to fight to be respected, but realized that prison
s rude awakening. I did learn an important lesson in politics, though.
Wild, huh?
Dinner has just arrived, so I will close here. I
m actually going to knock out a few exer-cises, take a bird bath and then eat my yummy beans. I think Ive written enough for the day.
Oh, before I close I
d like to suggest some required reading. This will really open your eyes on some other aspects of the death penalty. The book is called Deadly Speculation: Misleading Texas Capital Juries With False Predictions Of Future Dangerousness. You can get this book at www.texasdefender.org.

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