It`s been a long time since I've written a journal. Well over a couple of
years now and I've been thinking about how to begin what feels like a completely new endeavor to me. Ironically having it all coincide with a new month, new birth year and even Rosh Hoshana. It's all entirely new and entirely old.
The bigger question I've been asking myself is how do distill two years into one entry? It's obvious that I'm not the same person I was when I began my very first journal entries way back in 2005, but I don't even think I'm the same person I was two years ago because my circumstances really reshaped my thought process and the lense I viewed the world through. Certain elements remain the same: I believe in compassion, love and forgiveness...these are essential in my day to day life. But admittedly I've grown to be a bit more cynical and less naive of my sorroundings. It's not that I don't trust people I will always give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm just a little more cautious of motive.
So, lets rewind to the fall of 2010. .Actually, lets begin this story at the tale end of the summer, August specifically, and a surprising ride to Dallas County Jail.
I wasn't really expecting to return to Dallas for hearings, as my attorneys had told me they had no plans for me to go back. My wife at I wasn't really expecting to return to Dallas for hearings, as my attorneys had told me they had no plans for me to go back. My wife at the time ( notice the use of 'at the time' I'll expound on that in a few moments) was told the same and so we had scheduled visits for a thursday. I was madly in love-
cells searched randomly three times a day. No recreation-
My second thought was, " Shit! My wife is going to be here on thursday! I have to get word to her!" Would I be allowed to make a phone call? I could only hope so.
The following morning I was picked up by Deputies from Dallas County. They were very kind and respectful towards me. My only warning was-
Deputy :" Randy, you still got rabbit in you?"
" No, sir. My running days are over. "
" That's good to hear because don't think for one second I won't shoot you dead if you try to run."
"I'm cool. "
"Good. Then it's going to be an easy ride."
I was placed in the back of an unmarked police car and off we went.
The drive to Dallas still remains one of my most memorable experiences since being on death row. I drank everything in; the sky with it's huge white/grey cumulus clouds, new and old cars alike that we passed by. The sounds, the smells of fried chicken or hamburgers when we drove past fastfood restaraunts. Seeing people walk on side walks, a guy shoot past our car on motor cycle and the smell of gasoline. If my window had been open I would've hung my head out like an excited dog. The best part of it all was arriving in downtown Dallas and taking in the sky scrapers, buses, taxi cabs and people walking hurriedly to their workplaces. I felt like I had been abducted by space aliens and deposited on a strange world that was eeriely familiar with a past I once knew.
We pulled into the garage of the county jail and I fully expected my nightmate to begin. Round two of the bullshit I went through before but was surprised when I exited the car and the deputies began to remove my shackles. They walked me into intake where I was sorrounded by a hodge podge of gangsters, crackheads,prostitutes and petty criminals. To be around so many people was a bit disorienting for me because I came from an enviroment where I practically had zero contact
with anyone. The deputy handed my file over to a jailor and was told to follow him to have my photo and finger prints taken. I'm pretty sure that my jail photo taken at that time had me looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
The jailor told me to sit and someone would come and take me through in take. On a whim I asked if I could get my phone call and he pointed to a bank of phones. I walked over there, dialed my wifes number and hoped she would answer.
The phone rang and rang. After a minute or so it clicked over to hear voice mail which triggered the jails phone sytem autovoice " You are recieving a collect call from an inmate in the Dallas County Correctional Facility."
I hung up the phone and thought, maybe I can try again when I get to my cell. My biggest concern' was her driving to Polunsky Unit thursday morning and me not being there.
I sat back down and waited for someone to run me through intake when a familiar face-
He told me to stay put and he was going to get my file. Once he did that he told me to follow him and what woul've been an hours long intake process was less than an hour. At a medical station I was asked a series of health questions by a very lovely older jamaican nurse. When she learned of me being on death row she stopped what she was doing and prayed for me. I didn't think anything of the series of questions she asked and when suicide was brought up and she asked, " Have you ever had suicidal thoughts. " I answered honestly and said, " Yeah, I don't know, maybe 9 years ago?" i finished with her
and a few minutes later Sgt. Porter was asked to go have a talk with the nurse. I was having my vitals checked when he came back over to me and said,
" What did you tell her?"
Confused I just said, " Huh?"
"I Need to get your shoe laces. She's got you tagged as suicidal."
"What!?! I'm not!"
" Look...I understand that but she's tagged you so we have to go by protocol. Just give me your shoe laces and I'll try to get this off you-
I was livid. Not only was there the fear of being harassed every day now I had to contend with the possibility of being stark naked in a freezing ass cell because a sweet little Jamaican nurse was worried about my mental health.If anything, that would make me suicidal!
I followed Sgt. Porter as he got my cell assignment and I was soon back in familiar territory. I entered my cell-
A sergeant stepped up the cell door. " Halprin? Check it out...We just got -
" I'm not suicidal!"
" Yeah, I know that. I talked with Porter. We don't want to waste out time fucking with you. We just need to go by protocol here. What I need you to do is strip naked and throw all of your personal items in the middle of the mattress, then place your hands on the wall. My guys are gonna come in and get your shit and then we're going to exit. Listen-
I ain't promising it's gonna be today. More than likely it'll be first thing in the morning. Just tough it out and we'll get it worked out. Okay?"
I let out a deep breath. " Can I atleast make a phone call. My wife is going to my unit tomorrow. She doesn't even know I'm here!"
" I can't let you-
They came in, took my things and exited quickly. Atleast they weren't assholes about the whole process. I went straight to the in cell shower just to keep myself warm. Later that evening, still fuming about it all an attractive and sweet female guard came by my cell. I was nothing she hadn't probably seen before a thousand and ahlf times but she asked, " You okay in there?" I thought does this question even diserve response, but unable to supress my sarcasm
I said, " Oh yeah, I just love the feeling of my nuts on cold bare concrete."
Zing! She laughed, shook her head and walked off.
I got whatever sleep I could in and early the next morning an Indian doctor witha heavy accent was standing in front of my cell.
" Mr. Halprin? Good morning"
" Nomaste" I said.
His eyes widened and I muttered something like " Huge LOST fan."
He began to ask me a series of questions and I said,
" Look.. .What sense does it make for me to be suicidal when I'm back in Dallas for hearings on an appeal that could save my life?"
He agreed with me and lifted the suicide watch immediately.
My items and clothing were -
I asked for was a telephone.
Now, in Dallas county jail the phones are on small platforms with wheels. They roll the phone up to your door, open the food slot and then plug the phone into an out let. You dial the number you're calling and your jail I.D.# and then state your name. I called my wife and hoped upon hopes that she wasn't on her way to Livingston. She answered the phone and I was relieved.
Why didn't you call back last night?" She yelled.
" I tried calling you when I first got to the jail and then you're not going to believe this...I was on suicide watch!"
I told her the whole story and she was in fits of laughter.
" Only something like that would happen to you! You're an idiot...just be lucky that when I checked my voice mail it recorded part of the Dallas County intro thingy.
I called the prison and they told me you were in Dallas. I'm going to see you tonight if I can."
Most of my stay in Dallas County Jail was the complete opposite of my time waiting on my trial. I was treated with respect. I could leave my cell and
go to recreation-
to wear handcuffs everywhere. I wasn't free by any means but I was treated with dignity and I couldn't imagine the firestorm that would develop just because I would express my appreciation. I knew the phone calls were more than likely being monitored but there was nothing that I was doing that was either illegal or against the rules.
I spent every waking hour on the phone with my wife. It was as close to normalcy as things could get. I wanted to hear the sound of the world and so she would take her phone out to the lake, or a grocery store. We'd goof around, listen
to music and yeah, I'm not ashamed of it-
I was calling, up a bunch of different chicks and doing it with them. It was my wife for Christ sakes.
We'd been married for about a year at this time and she wanted to get me a ring. I was worried that if she did and Chen I returned that the ruthless property officer at the time would not allow me to keep it and she would have wasted her money.
She was on good terms with the warden. Professional. Nothing personal and I suggested that if he gave us permission then there was little the property officer could say in trying to keep me from having it and so I asked her to call and get permission. He didn't give it and I never got the ring.
Little did I know that our phone calls were being leaked by someone in the D.A's office to a writer for D-
The last three days in Dallas County Jail were hell. I was jostled around the jail and placed on a psychiatric ward ( that's a whole story in itself) I was not allowed to use the phone and was once again searched three times a day.
I was quickly:: taken out of the jail by a SWAT team ( I shit you not) and dropped of in Huntsville, Texas-
Back to reality.
My life on death row pretty much remained the same. The shit storm that Dallas turned into had a little effect on me on death row. Emotionally, it all took a heavy toll on my relationship. Things broke apart. We were never the same. By the summer of 2011 my marriage fell completely apart and once again I was left holding a broken heart. I'm not happy about how it all ended but I think it opened my eyes to a lot of things and just how unbelievably cruel life can be. You can let it destroy you or let it give you more resolve. It's one of my favorite sayings but I do believe that life isn't a lesson in futility. It's not pointless.
Admittedly, I'm less patient with things I might have been. I'm also less tolerant of BS that comes my way. I've learned a lot about love and loyalty over the past couple of years. I've realised more than ever that in some lives pain is just going to always be a part of the narrative-
It´s an integral part of my story and who I am. Even when I'm well intentioned and just want to have and share in some commom love and happiness there is always going to be some outside force that tries to take it from me. I get it. I accept. But I refuse to let it destroy me or take from me the basic goodness that I know my heart carries.
The other thing I know is that storms come and go. Even the really bad ones. You pick up the pieces and move on. You learn from them and hopefully grow. You embrace in the love and friendship that, if you're fortunate enough to redeye is given. You tell yourself, I'm not un loved. I'm grateful and I want to make these people proud. You say " I love you " and "thank you".
You don't let negative bullshit dictate how you express your love. Being a little cynical now just means I'm a little more aware. It's not some old misanthropic cynacism. I'm just not as naive as I used to be.
Other things that have happened in my life over the past two years or so:
My State appeal was denied and I'm now in the Federal Courts. I have about
a year or so to file my brief ( I have a new attorney as well) and then there's the state response. So I should be good for a couple years or so. I hope!
I'm still an optimist-
My brother, and this has been one of the hardest things for me, suffers from mental illness and is now in jail. I can only hope he gets the help he truly needs I have developed a very bad addiction to comic books
especially The Walking Dead and a very absurd one called
" Chew ".
About two years ago I finished my paralegal courses and so I guess I'm a paralegal. Even though I'm not.
And so forth...
I'm not sure if I'll write a journal entry EVERY SINGLE DAY but I do plan
on keeping up with it all regulary as well as post new stories etc. This project was always good therapy for me and if I can maybe help someone else out in
the process then it serves a purpose.
So, here´s to a new beginning...I hope you´ll stay with me to see wherever the hell this rollercoaster ends.
I´m still trying to back into the groove of this journals thing again.
A slow start but I´m getting there. As I write this on an early tuesday morning we are currently on lock down. It began last wednesday and to be honest this has been one I´ve kind of appreciated. It´s been quiet and peaceful and relatively hassle free. They were supposed to be done with the shaedowns last night but for whatever reason second shift did´t do the job that was left for them /Two sections on c-
In the time that´s passed since my last entry there´s been some interesting developments in my life. One a very private on that I´ll not really go into out of respect of the other party even though they have shown me anything but respect...achem!
But whatever...life goes on and I´m not going to let it hash my mellow, man.
I´ve also giving a lot of thought to my previous entry and me talking about becoming a bit cynical. I worry that´s going to be misinterpreted as something it´s not because I just can´t really think of another definition to how I feel.
Cynical implies...or interpreted as sometimes being a curmudgeon, which I´m not.
I´ve lost a degree of trust in certain things but my overall world view is much the same.
I very much belive in the basic ordinary goodness and well intention of people.
I think what irritates me the most in my life right now is not having control of the narration of who I am and my life.
A version of me is perpetuated by the media and those who typically hate prisoners on general principal that happened when I was 18-
Who on gods green earth thinks they´re remotely close to the person they were at those years?
Think of all of the bad choices/mistakes etc. that you made at those years?
Shit, the brain isn´t even fully developed until you´re almost 30
(Not that I blame my brain...I takefull responsibility ofr bad choices...)
That lack of control over who I am is just frustrating. If you´re going to hate me for who I am.
Then make those assessments on who I am NOW:
Why is it that we are quick to forgive celebrity for all of the fucked up shit they do, calling it a comeback or road to recovery/redemption but when an ordinary individual does something they are truly remorseful for is treated like a freaking pariah?
As I get closer to 36 years of age I just think back to how different I am as person.
I´m still agoofy dumb sonofabitch, but I´m less impulsive, more aware and mindfull of the people and world around me and much more mature-
...Google the comic book "Chew" and "poyo" you´ll get ist...:)
in the case, I´m pretty freaking immature. Just saying!
So, yeah my birthday is on friday and I´ll be honest: I really didn´t think I´d be around this long. Infact, I was convinced for a long time that I was going to be dead around 32.
But I´m still here. Curse or blessing-
I really theankful, though.
I´ll be writing much more. Stay tune...
I'm sitting here, waiting to go to recreation and lunch with
so much on my heart and mind and absolutely no way to express what I'm feeling right now. I kind of feel foolish for even feeling this way at all but I would pretty much give up everything I have to recieve what I want-
I think I would give up my life to have. Just something to fill the emptiness inside...
Life goes on, though. ..Right?
So, since my last entry I haven't really been doing much. I do have a rant/tangent to go on about in a second but I wanted to back up to the lock down/shakedown we were just recently on for about a week and thankfully was over before my birthday because while my b-
I think I had well over a hundred issues and I thought it would be nice to donate them to a childrens hospital or something like that. For christmas I had ordered/sent some children books to Salvatin Army. It makes me feel good to do things like that. Gives me a purpose and a way to make amends with my past. Well, when I was returned to my cell they were all gone. Confiscated and disappeared. I tried talking to ranking officers to no avail. Finally, a month or so later after my friend was due to be here I was able to get them back and
out to Ms. Cox, a salvation army minister that has been coming to see guys on death row for over thirty something years. In the end, all was taken care of but it was still a pain in the butt and really pissed me off to have to go through with it.
I was kind of surprised that they did everything so fast this time around but there is a small rumor going around saying we're going to be on lock down in the next few weeks.. .again!
Tangent time! Now, admittedly it's a bit trivial but jesus is
it ever a pain in the ass to have things denied by the mail room because of their definition of 'sexually explicit'. A few years ago they changed the rules saying that an inmate was not allowed to recieve pornographic material and or pictures of boobs,vaginas, penises ( okay grow up Randy and stop giggling). Now, the way
that the rule was written was pretty specific and was not supposed to be applied to art/science/educational material etc. However, there was a loop hole written into the rule stating that it was up to the units i descretion' to interpret what was art/science/ educational material. They further ammended the rule last year syaing that 'digitally altered' images would be denied as well, so if say someone put a star or a pixelated image over a naked body then they could deny the magazine or picture for being 'altered' because you know,inmates have this special power of erasing pixels with their mind or reorganizing them into a boob
("I think that's avery lovely boob.. .or is it a jelly fish?")
Now, when you think of porn it's pretty straight forward. There's not a lot of subjectivity to the term. When you think of art, while subjective in it's manner of what people like or don't like you really don't think " Porn!
" When you see paintings in the Sistine chapel with like angel with their wieners exposed or the Statue of David and his like little accorns hanging down you think "
WOw...that's breath taking!
Amazing that a person could carve or paint that!"
not according to the Polunsky Unit. It's on par with Penthouse or Hustler...What do you think of when you read a comic book and it has a tiny scene with maybe a chicks nipple exposed
or there is an implied sexualness without actually being shown? Well, according to the Polunsky Unit it's PORN! What about
a science magazine that has an article on breast-
"Hmmmmm...I am SO turned on by that x-
I think I´ll diddle my diddler!"
I guess the bigger question is WHY does the state of Texas care what a person -
iron clad control and censorship has increased inmate on inmate rape and the ammount of masturbation cases on female officers
( guys who imagine crazy ass stuff they're doing to the officers instead of an image in a magazine) Check the stats. I'll put money on it. So, by banning all of these things are you really doing anyone a service? Has it stopped sexual violence or masturbation? I think not!
Well, I'm heading out to recreation now.
As I write this it's 2:55 P.M., it's hot and I'm pretty tired as I've been
up since 5:20 A.M. because I had ordered some documents and a denied publication list from the Law Library. You only get to hold the item(s) for 24 hours and why on earth they deliver it THAT early in the morning boggles my mind. They will be back at my cell tomorrow at five in the morning to pick it all back
up. If I hadn't finished the work I needed to get done I would then have to resubmit a request for the same paper work over and over and over until I finish so I've been on the ball ever since I returned from recreation. Fun stuff!
So, yesterday I wrote my little tangent about things being denied by the
mail room and it spawned an idea to start posting the publications ( novels-
them all down) that way those that do have loved ones or friends locked up in -
Don't be surprised if they deny a book called " An illustrated guide to Cunninglingus" I mean, come ompeople! You know, it reminded me of a time someone once close to me a few years ago as a practical joke sent me a book called " How To Tickle His Pickle "! When the mail room lady brought it to me and read the title I turned about five shades of red. I instantly knew who sent to me but it was freaking embarassing! I was none to happy at first but later had a good laugh over it all. I think it was just as embarassing for the mail room lady to tell me WHAT was beings denied and I got that
" 00000KAAAAY" look when I explained that I was a very straight person!
Ahyways, I have included the following list with this entry. I hope you can read my hand writing. I know it sucks...
Yesterday, admittedly I was quite emotionally out of it. Or as it was said in the hillarious movie Talledega Nights " My head is all twisted up like
a pretzel." I don't know...it's just I know what I want so badly and yet as of now I know I can't have it and it just sucks! It really does...I'm not one of these doom and gloom kind of people and really I'm a glass half full kind of guy. I'm generally optimistic about life, but it just seems that
at times the world conspires against me-
you want to have just a little bit extra; You want to share in things and live. I'm not necessarily refering to romantic relationships either. Just friends and love. All thOae, things we take for granted. And yeah, I freaking did this to myself. Believe me, I know, but it still blows turtle nuts.
In unrelated trivial absolute meaningless news...
I'm ready for a new season of " Survivor" and the finale of " Big Brother".
Both guilty pleasures for me and just good 01' escapism. Something to distract the head and the heart.
Oh and I recieved the latest issue of
" CHEW " and my kickass rooster " Poyo"
took on Mutant Corn and Superfish...
Genetically modified mayhem! Food fighting furiously! The grocery grotesquery! Seriously, there is no hope for me...
On that note I shall bid thee adeu...
Sadly, today is another execution.. .One hopes that it doesn't go through.. .you just can't hold out hope because the whole process has been very unstable
of late with recent decisions coming out of the Supreme Court in regards to defendents not having proper legal representation and how that decision alone is going to save a lot of lives-
I did know the guy who is set to be executed today. Robert Garza...he could be a no nonsense dude and a little edgy but beyond his hard exterior was a pretty good guy. He had a really dedicated and loving mom who would fight her ass for him as well and attended many rallies with my ex-
loved her. Thought she was a great woman. It's always nice to see when family gets behind their sons.
So, earlier today, because I like to torture myself by listening to other people's blatant stupidity I was channel surfing and stopped on AFR-
Brian Fisher is going on about muslims and he says " YOu know, the government should stop allowing muslims from coming to the U.S. and make it illegal
for any mosques to be built...sure, you might have a bunch of 'good' or moderate muslims who do believe in peace but you just never know whom might become radicalized. Their is always wolves amongst the sheep who want to hurt us." Now, that pretty freaking dumb and I have heard him go on and on about gun control and it's against the constitution blah blah blah so
I thought to myself, now there's an idea! I'll go along with his idea to ban muslims IF they make it illegal to own a gun...sure, you have the
majority of gun owners who mean good, don't want to harm anyone Etc. BUT!!!
how can you tell WHICH gun ownere isn't going to walk into a school or mall or NAVY building and start slaughtering people? It's the same logic!
You can't have it both way, dude!
I do know how we could get some act right in this world, though...POYO!!!
Well, today other than being upset about the execution my head isn't as twisted up as it has been over the past couple of days. Still a little on the sad side but I feel whatever happens in whatever way that it does I'll just accept it at all.. .You know, I'm not one to put a lot of weight into signs and omens and all of that stuff, but sometimes things happen all at once that it appears to be more than coincidence and I had a letter from my brother ( sadly he's in jail...long story )the other night and he asks me the strangest question and I'm thinking where on earth did that come from and why now do you bring it up? It all tied in to my problems with my head being a pretzel and I just found it weird...
Another weird thing, lately all of these birds I've never seen before since being here are popping up all over the place. Really pretty birds.. .Also a crap load of Heron. We always see them fly over and occassionally land on the prison grass but for about the past week they've been everywhere.
I heard a new Pearl Jam song a second away that just blew my mind called " Sirens "...wow. it was good.
Kind of sad/deep but really good.
I think I'll stop here for now.
Fall is finally here and it actually feels like fall here in good ol' Livingston, Texas. Actually, today is a beautiful day. The last 3 days we were inundated with rain rain and more rain.I think it rained more in three days than it did all summer. Texas has been in a draught for some time now and the rain was needed. The nights have cooled off tremendously, as well so I hope they pass out blankets soon because it got a little chilly last night wiht just a sheet to cover up with.
This week should actually be a pretty decent one because one of my good friends will be here on thursday and friday and I'm excited about it. It turned out to be a surprise because I wasn't expected to see them until the end of November and they told me they had some unused vacation time they needed to burn. It means a lot that they chose to burn it on me. I definitely need a break from this enviroment. Being locked up in a cell for 22 hours a day has it's way of magnifying one's own internal problems...or heart ache or even pain.
They did execute Robert Garza on thursday. It looked like he might get a stay for awhile,as the execution had been delayed for a bit but in the end they did kill him. According to the radio I guess he filed some late motion on his own for something that the prosecuters withheld from the defense. It wasn't enough to ge the Supreme Court to intervene.. .1 guess in time one becomes numb back here to it all. But definitely not apathetic like the majority of the american public...That's a rant for another day.
I haven't really been doing much the past few days. Just trying to keep my mind off of certain things and keeping busy by doing laundry, cleaning my cell and other mindless activities.
A few days ago I was saying that the new Pearl Jam song " Sirens " blew
my mind and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that in the few times I've heard it since I feel like it's one of their best songs.. .ever. For me, when a song can give me goose bumps
( hahaha...just thought of someone I used to knot-
Sigh...good times...)or bring tears it's an excellent song and that's exactly what Sirens " does.. .the lyrics alone get me.. .very deep. I've been sitting here with my headphones on all day just to catch it again because the station I listen to tends to drop the best of songs after a little rotation.
And now.. .Ladies and Gentlemen without further ado, I present to you...