Randy Halprin

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May 2007

Randys Journals

May 01, 2007
I just got back from a shower that felt wonderful. It
s been hot and muggy all day today and then I went out to play some ball, which didnt go to well. My game has really been off. I lost, Ill not tell the score. Ill just say it was pretty ugly. I even had a wipe out. I hit a wet spot from last nights rain and my feet went right from underneath me. Scared the crap out of me, because had I not landed on my butt, it wouldve been ugly. The guy I was playing freaked out for a second and was about to call the guards, but I got up and said I was okay.
After we played we were talking about the death penalty. He
s been on death row since it was reinstated in 1976. A long time, for sure. Hed never seen anyone being taken away for an execution, but last Wednesday he saw a guy lead out to the van for the first time. He said that up until that point hed not really given his possible fate much thought until he saw that, then it sunk in. Because hes been on death row for so long and he was un-der the old appeals laws, he figured if they hadnt killed him yet, they probably wouldnt. I asked him if I could do an on the spot interview about it and heres his account:
Q: What do I call you in the interview?
A: Artie is fine.
Q: What pod are you on and can you explain the view that you have from your cell?
A: I
m on B-pod. My cell faces the side walk that goes out to visitation. On the other end is a kind of sally port where buses and vans pull in. The walk way is fenced and theres a building right across from our building. I guess they have general population inmates there, cause I always see them go into this little entrance area.
Q: So, from your cell you can actually see the visitation building and also the sally port?
A: Yeah.
Q: Artie, do you mind explaining to me what you witnessed last week and also do you remember the day or date?
A: Yeah, it was Wednesday the 26th.
Q: Of April, right?
A: Yep.
Q: Okay, explain to me what you saw.
A: Yeah, it was that white guy they call sleep
s date and I was looking out my window-
Q: Hold on, Sleepy is Ryan Dickson, right?
A: I think. Big kind of fat youngster?
Q: Yeah, okay continue.
A: So, I see him coming out of visitation. There are two guards beside him and a group of people behind him. He was chained up. I noticed there was about five or six guards up by where the van was waiting and they were shaking hands, laughing and giving high fives to each other. When they saw Sleepy coming down the side walk they sort of straightened up. Then, I noticed in the entrance area where the other building is, there were five or six guards dressed up in riot gear kind of hiding. My first thought was, crap, they
re going to jump him, but they waited until he passed that area and then came out marching behind. I also noticed a lady with the camera. I think they thought maybe he would try to lash out or fight, but Jesus, he was chained up.
Q: So, he walked to the van. He didn
t refuse or fight? You didnt see him in a wheel chair?
A: No, no, he was walking. He was very dignified.
Q: Okay, so they walk him down the side walk, there
s all these people-
A: Yeah, even people in street clothes.
Q: So, they load him into the van that will drive him to Huntsville to be killed. What hap-pened after he drove away?
A: Man, Randy it really upset me. I
ve never been this close to the face of death, but what made me feel so sick is seeing then hug and high five and laugh and celebrate. I even saw two guards bump chests.
Q: C
mon Artie, youre embellishing things now.
A: No! I swear on the Lady Guadalupe, it
s true.
Q: How did this make you feel, Artie? How did you feel after this about the death penal-ty?
A: Randy, up until now I was comfortable. I felt safe. I didn
t think I would ever face this, but Ive seen it now. Its very real to me. I prayed to the Lord and asked him for forgive-ness. This has changed me.
After we finished talking I went on to tell him of the very first time I witnessed the same thing in the August of 2005. It truly is life changing stuff. I still can
t wrap my head around the thought of seeing people celebrate a mans death. Its very disturbing.
Well, I
m probably going to be moved in a short while, so I need to go ahead and get ready. Ive been doing this interview and time got away from me. Peace.

May 03, 2007
I had the first of a two day set of visits with my friend, David. It
s always great seeing him. Ive known him for so long now; he really has become a mentor a friend and family . Were from two different generations but hes great. Without him Id have never really pursued writing. Thankfully, it was quite quiet down in visitation. We had a few pictures taken and Ill post them as soon as I have the copies.
When I returned I took a nap and then went to recreation. I had already done my exer-cising at 6:20 A.M. I
m determined to get back in shape „cause as youll see in the new
pictures I
m kind of getting chunky. Damn dirty chips. They sprinkle crack on them Im sure of it!
My baby sent a nice surprise that I got today (thanks hun! =) ) She does too much. I
m so happy just with the love and friendship, but her passion for the anti d.p. movement and compassion is so heart warming and heart inspiring. No wonder I fell for her. Haha. I cant wait to see her again.
Geeze. Thursday night I can
t believe the day has come to an end. I cant believe were a week into May. This life feels like a space vacuum in a worm hold in a time warp. It defi-nitely is slow and fast at the same time.
Well, I
ve gotta wash some clothes before I crash out. I only plan on staying up until about 11:00 P.M. And then Im going to get some much needed sleep. I am so pooped.

May 04, 2007
Got up at 5:55 A.M. this morning. I had to shave before I went to recreation and my visit with my friend. I got dressed and went outside. It was very humid and wet from the storm we had last night.
The mail room showed up and I signed for a few books I
d been sent which was a com-plete surprise, but really cool. I couldnt have them outside so the mail lady put them in my cell. I wasnt sure what books I had received.
About an hour and forty five minutes later two guards showed up to take me to my visit. My visit went well and is always nice to see him. We talked about all sorts of stuff.
When I got back after the visit I got my shower and took a nap getting back up at 4:00 P.M. Dinner came- nothing spectacular; a hot dog bun 2 slices of cheese and black eyed peas. How delicious.
s a big growing rumor we may be getting T.V.s on death row. The Texas state leg-islators are supposed to have voted on a bill. I have mixed feelings about this. Its a good control device and would most definitely make the guards work much easier, but then Ive gone almost 6 years without oneId hate to turn into a zombie and get side tracked from things such as legal work, writing, etc. I think it would be easy to waste away life on the boob tube. Then again, I do like movies soGuess well find out eventually how true the rumor is.
As I
m writing this its 7:26 P.M. and Im listening to some electronic music on KTRU Rice University. The sun is setting and my cell light is off. I feel like Im writing like they did in the old days, racing the sun. Im a dork, I know. Ill turn my light on if I get some mail.
Not much else to do but enjoy this music, relax and think.

May 07, 2007
A bright and beautiful day. I just talked to a guard to see if I could get outside and he said he
d keep me on the waiting list. I hope to get out and get some sun! It looks won-derful out there.
I slept so-so. I woke up in the middle of the night, because my neighbor had a seizure and banged his head on the toilet. Everyone was yelling for a guard, because we all heard this loud crack sound. Then, we heard no response. I knocked on the wall and hol-lered to see if he was okay and nothing. Everyone freaked out. So, fortunately a guard
came pretty quick. Usually it takes forever to get their attention and then once you do you spend fifteen minutes arguing how important the matter is before they actually come to the section. They called a sergeant and some nurses and helped him out. When he came back from the infirmary he had a huge knot on his head. That
s when we found out it was just a seizure. All of the guys on this section asked if he was okay and a few guys kept checking on him the rest of the night. Moments like this are what cement to me my belief that there are some really good guys back here. Humans.
I was just writing my girl and I had made mention in the letter to her about this time when I was in general population and watched a fight break out over cartoons. It was the wackiest thing I
d ever seen up to that point.
I had just been coming off of work. At the time I was working on what was called 8 build-ing where they housed Closed Custody inmates. Mostly youngsters who were rowdy and fought a lot. They were too rough to be out in general population so they were confined to a building where they were allowed to move around and have some privileges, but everything was restricted. I hated the job.
When I went back to my pod after a long day of crap I expected to walk into the pod, sit down and watch some cartoons and then take a shower and nap. Instead a few young black guys were arguing with a few older black guys. IN prison, generally the black guys controlled what was on the T.V. for majority purposes. If you were white you pretty much watched whatever was on, though every now and then if a sport or a program that they watched was on, you could catch something you wanted to watch. I like cartoons so it wasn
t a problem for me.
I sat down on a bench expecting to see some cartoons and instead watched a heated argument over whether Oprah should be on or Pokemon- it might
ve been Digimon. It was one of them. The voices grew louder and the debate hotter when someone took a swing at another and the next thing I saw was a huge fight amongst a bunch of guys arguing over cartoons or Oprah! I couldnt believe what I was seeing. All I could think about was how odd it was to see a bunch of so called Hardened Criminals fighting over a show geared towards females and a show for kids. I think thats when I realized that Id stepped into another dimension. Prison was stranger than fiction.
Some guards ran into the day room and the fight stopped instantly. I got up went to my cell and took a shower. When I came back from the shower I saw that instead of Poke-man or Oprah, the show Bay Watch was on. Seems peace was made over scantily clad woman running down a beach. Who would
ve thought Pamela Anderson (or her boobs) would prevent a major riot from breaking out?
So, yesterday KDOL said that they were going to do a special show on Monday nights now. I thought that was very cool. I
m going to have to sacrifice my show Heroes to see if my girls calls in. Hey, its well worth it just to hear a few minutes of a voice that melts my heart! She is my Hero. (everybody now..Awwww) Im a geek, I know.

May 08, 2007
m sitting here waiting to be moved. Im already packed up and the guards told me I was going back to B-pod. I was just there last week. I dont really mind. Its not the best of pods, but you do with where they take you.
Today has been long and boring. I went outside at six in the morning and exercised, came in goofed around and read and not much else. I didn
t feel like doing anything.
Yesterday afternoon I was fortunate enough to get out in the sun and be out by myself. It was nice getting to a place where I could just think and enjoy the sunshine without worrying
about my thoughts being in a shouting match with all the noise around me. It was peaceful. Plus, I got a little burn which I needed „cause right now Im deathly pale. I cant really tan, but I can get enough color so I dont look like the living dead (oh, wait I AM the living dead. My bad.) I hope to get my mail tonight before I leave. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of my mail is getting tossed when I get moved. I cant prove it, but too much stuff has come up missing.

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