Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 18, 2011

Dear Sis~
     Yesterday the warden and a posse of big wigs from Tallahassee, including representatives of the Attorney General's office, and possibly including Secretary Buss (I'm getting conflicting reports on whether he attended), spent the morning on Q-Wing conducting a mock execution, employing the new, refined execution protocol.  I caught a glimpse of them all as I left the wing on my way to the clinic for a medical call out (my "annual physical" which consited of a nurse weighing me, taking my blood pressure (118/72) and asking me 3 or 4 questions e.g., "do you have trouble sleeping at night or have night sweats?")  Not exactly the Mayo Clinic...
     Then last night there was a killing on K-Wing (not death row).  Two guys, Tazz and Crawfish (yes, that's their true nicknames; I don't know their real names) allegedly murdered another prisoner named Xavier Rodriquez (just 21 years old).  All 3 guys were runarounds; Tazz and Crawfish tied the guy up, stabbed him to death, then approached the Wing Officer and said "put the handcuffs on us; we just killed one."  I didn't know the victim, but I know both Tazz and Crawfish 'cuz they were runarounds here on the row a few months ago (they rotate runners every 6-8 weeks).  Both of these guys are morons; they give stupid a bad name.  Crawfish killed 5 people in Jacksonville (and no, he did not get any death sentences. So much for death row being reserved for the "worst of the worst") and has stabbed other prisoners in other joints (that's why he is here as FSP)  I don't know what the beef was, but knowing these two clowns, I'm sure it was something really foolish.  Both guys told me more than once that they "want to go to death row."  They'll probably get their wish now (here's a guy who has killed 6 people and is trying to get to death row - unsuccessfully so far - while I have not killed anyone and I'm fighting tooth and nail to get out from under this death sentence, yet I cannot get any relief whatsoever.  You see why I tell you that the imposition of capital punishment in America is as arbitrary and capricious as you can imagine?)  Murders here at FSP have become rare.  Back in the day, in the 70's and 80's, when I was in open population, this joint was red in tooth and claw, known as one of the most violent in America, where beatings, stabbings, rapes and shootings (the joint was awash in zip guns) were daily occurrences and murders were common.  But, since they locked the entire joint down (and actually began reducing the amount of weapons in circulation) the violence has significantly diminished.  Mostly it's real hard for someone to get a hold of someone else; everyone is bedind the doors.  The execption are the runarounds (4 per wing) and you how that just worked out...
     I'm reading a really good book, The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Fowlett ( well-known writer of action thrillers).  He switched genres to pen this historical novel (1076 pages in paperback) set in Medieval times.  It revolves around the building of a cathedral, which sounds boringly mundane, but it's a real page-turner.  Great book!  It's my recommendation of the month.
     Ok, Sis...give the doggies a tummy rub for me!
Love, Bill

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Bill's books are now e-books!

Dear Readers:

Bill's books (Quietus, The Third Pillar of Widsom and A Checkered Past) are now e-books on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and Smashwords.  If you don't have an e-book reader like Kindle or Nook, you can still download the e-books to your computer or laptop and read them there, like I have.

Bill and I thank all his readers and followers for their support and help in so many ways over the years.

Thank you all  :}

Friday, May 06, 2011

April 30, 2011

Dear Sis,

   Connecticut may be on the verge of abolishing the death penalty.  The bill has been forwarded to the whole senate by a major committee; if the senate approves it, it will become law as the new governor has stated that he will sign it.  The Connecticut legislature approved a similar bill two years ago but the then-Republican governor vetoed it.  As you know, Illinois abolished capital punishment some months ago, and a number of other states have abolition bills working through their respective legislatures.  Ever so slowly there is a shift against the death penalty manifesting across the country.  It will take many more years for it to come to fruition, especially in the south where killing people is deeply ingrained in the psyche of the citizens, but one day it will come about and a new generation will abandon this barbaric custom...
  Well, Florida has just joined several other states (Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio) in changing its drug of choice for executions from sodium thiopental (the first of the  3 drugs administered in the "three-drug-cocktail") which is no longer manufactured in America, to pentobarbital, the pink "Pepto-Bismol"-like drug that is commonly used in anumal shelters to euthanize unlucky dogs and cats.  So, killing us "like dogs" has gone from the metaphorical to literal.  Both Oklahoma and Ohio have already executed prisoners with the new drug which has never been vetted for human use.  There will be court challenges around the country over this change, some successful (at least in the short term) and others unsuccessful (like in Ohio and Oklahoma).  Whenever someone changes some significant aspect of death penalty procedures, it opens up a whole new round of legal challenges to the methods of execution (i.e., to the drugs & execution protocols) since they are temporary solutions and besides the fact.  All they do is delay the inevitable; they don't attack the underlying conviction or sentence which is the only way to get off the row.  So, I never got into that trip, leaving it to others to pursue those legal remedies.  And, it almost came to a halt 3 years ago when the US  Supreme Court handed down the Baze decision where a bare majority ruled that the 3-drug protocol did not violate the 8th Amendment...
   Here it seems to have gone directly from winter to summer.  It was 92 degrees when I went to rec the other day, a blazing sun in a clear blue sky.  It was hot!  But I love the sunshine and I bear the heat.  I spent my 3 hours, as usual, working out and walking the yard, enjoying a handful of singing birds (mostly Mocking Birds), and a few chirping babies in nests up in the razor wire atop our yard fences, which kept me company.  And I admired the (incongruous) beautiful yellow flowers lining the road to the execution chamber.  I always whistle to the birds and they whistle and sing back, seeming to enjoy the banter.  But, I miss my clever crows that I had in Virginia; they were like old friends.  I knew them for years, and they knew me...
   Farewell, Sis, I'll see you soon!

Love and Peace