Saturday, May 09, 2009

April 30,2009

Dear Sis~
I see the pig fever is back after a 33-year hiatus. Today the news announced that swine flu is now here in Florida; in just one week, it's gone from a localized event in Mexico to damn near a pandemic. I've never seen a disease spread so rapidly ( I hear it only has a 2-day incubation period) and we can be very thankful that this is not a more deadly strain or disease...
Earlier this evening they came to a guy's cell and told him to "go see the chaplain." As any seasoned convict knows, when you get the dreaded "chaplain call out" it means someone in your immediate family has died. This kid (he's about 25 but looks about 17) was too green to understand the ramifications of a night time visit with the chaplain (in reality, at this time of night, it probably just consists of an incoming phone call from a family member and it's overseen by a shift lieutenant) and he was not alarmed or apprehensive. He came back 20 minutes later, crying. I remember well, going through the same thing, at age 18, at Sumter Correctional Institute in 1972, when I was unexpectedly called to the chaplain's office and informed of Dad's death. It happened so fast, and was so unexpected, that I was too stunned to react until I stepped outside where I broke down and cried like a baby. I've seen a lot of guys get that chaplain call out over the years, and it always makes my heart ache...
I can't recall if I already told you that Govenor Crist signed two more death warrants; one guy is scheduled to die in mid-May (the 14th I believe) and the other is set to be executed two weeks later, on the 28th I think. I don;t know either of them although I've been on the row since 1984. I consulted my master list of everyone on the row here and counted 18 guys who have been here for 30 or more years, with Gary Alvord the longest, at 35 years. Four others are at the 34-year mark. The Governor does not go in chronological order though, but follows his own drummer. In Florida, the process is totally arbitrary; the governor can sign (or not sign) anybodies death warrant that he wants to, and assuming they've exhausted all their legal avenues, they'll be executed. He can pick and choose - he can sign one warrant, or ten. It's totally up to his unfettered discretion. I'm not complaining though, not at all, because the process could be much worse, like in Virginia or Texas, where it's an automated system, like a conveyor belt. Here, assuming you don't have a blood-thirsty governor, having the executive office in the middle provides a break to the death machine. Most governors, once they actually assume office (notwithstanding any election rhetoric) don't relish making that actual, definitive decision to kill someone by signing an actual death warrant...
Ok, that's enough of a depressing subject. Give the doggies a tummy rub for me!
Love, Bill


Anonymous said...

Hi again Bill
Wow getting that sort of devistating family news whe you are where you are must be awful. I feel for the " kid " that got his news, knowing you cant be there to support and help and greive with your family must be just awful, and being where you are, you are not short of time to think and think and think some more about the loss, awful.

As far as the swine flu thing goes, i really think that once again our governments are trying to scare the crap out of everyone, like with bird flu and such like. Its funny, now if im ever on an over crouded bus or train, i may phone a friend tell them about my awesome holiday in mexico im just home from, then start coughing and sneezing, im sure my bit of the ride will become a whole lot LESS crouded. Awful i know, but im a bit of a joker.

I hope you are remianing strong in mind and heart.

Take care of yourself, smile, and remember even though your so isolated you have many peoples thoughts and prayers with you.

Stay clear of swines until the nest post

Love from scotland


Anonymous said...

Hey Bill, I think of you often. Kim