Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 18, 2010

Dear Sis~

Last night Utah executed Ronnie Lee Gardner by firing squad (his choice over the lethal injection alternative).  Five volunteer executioners using Winchester .30-30 rifles stood behind a cinder block wall some 20 feet away from the prisoner, strapped to an oversized chair, surrounded by sandbags (this is done indoors), and fired through slits in the wall, aiming at a picture of a heart pinned to the guy's chest.  Only four executioners fired live rounds;  the fifth executioner, selected at random, fires a blank shell, which is supposed to assuage any latent guilt over killing someone since, theoretically, nobody really "knows" if they fird a blank or a live round.  In reality, it's easy to distinguish the recoil from a live round compared to a blank.  More relevant, all of these executioners volunteered, so they obviously wanted to kill the guy, thus no guilt to free them from. The old blank-cartridge days came from the day when firing squads were drafted from the ranks and a soldier had no opt-out provision.  Anyway, you can imagine what four .30-30 rounds (designed to kill deer, hogs and black bears) does to a man's chest; they probably blew a gaping hole right out through his back.  All this is done before a room of witnesses; it's ll a macabre, riutalistic spectacle, appropriate for a country which claims to be the most advanced and civilized nation on earth, with the moral authority to preach to other countries about "human rights".  Most of our citizens are too indoctrinated (and unreflective) to see the irony in this position.  And, oh, by the way, the State of Utah bestows upon each executioner a "commemorative coin" to celebrate each shooter's actions.  Isn't that a neat token to pass down to your children?  To demonstrate what a faithful piece of the mcahine their Daddy was?  I'm sure it will make them proud of their pops!
Love, Bill

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

June 1, 2010

Dear Sis~

Summer is only 3 weeks away, although I can't tell from these sweltering cells.  By July it will feel like a sauna in this massive cellblock, which absorbs the fierce heat all day, then radiates it all night.  Our only saving grace is these little electric fans we can buy from the canteen.  We had to file a fderal lawsuit some years ago to win the right to purchase fans.  Prior to that it was not uncommon, on many a hot day, for prisoners here (including me) to throw about an inch of water on the cell floor, then lay naked in the puddle, staring up at the ceiling, making "snow angels", panting like a dog.  Now, it's only marginally better, providing you have a fan (not everyone can afford one)...

I'm finally beginning to read War and Peace, one of those classics I've been intending to read for decades, but somehow never got around to.  Actually, I'm working on my own case, my Rule 3.850 motion, but during my breaks I'm relaxing by reading.  I've got a stack of classics I'm slowly working my way throuigh, enjoying the beauty of great literature.  Maybe I'll get motivated agan to resume my own writing journey...

For the last few weeks, each time I've gone out to the rec yard, I've engaged an animated mockingbird.  I'll whistle for him and he'll soon fly over and perch on a fence post where we trade whistles and chirps and various calls.  As I pace around the rectangular yard, he follows me, flitting from pole to pole, exchanging calls and whistles.  That's my only encounter with nature in this otherwise sterile and desolate dump...

I was going to write about the big oil spill but, damn, it's just too depressing.  There's nothing I can do to add to that sad, tragic tale which is a commentary on our own foolishness...

Keep your chin up and keep smiling!

Light & Love,