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Shit in a Sack

? From the front page of the Pueblo Star-Journal and Sunday Chieftain?, Dated Sunday November 6, 1977. The banner headline on the front page cried out in large bold lettering: NEWSMEN TOUR PRISON AND VIEW "LIVING HELL" By Bill Gagnon. Canon City- A three-man reporter-photographer team from The Pueblo Chieftain and Pueblo Star-Journal stepped out of the bright and warm summerlike weather here last week and into a medieval chamber of horror- Cellhouse 3 at the Colorado State Penitentiary. ?Once inside the grim building, they were stunned by the sight of humans caged in filthy cells and living under the most wretched conditions imaginable, denied even the most simple and basic necessities of life - soap, towels, soaks, clean clothing, blankets and sheets. Yes , they even are denied the necessary materials to scrub and clean their steel hovels. ?For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, these unfortunate creatures are kept locked in their filth-covered cages with nothing to do except learn to hate an indifferent and unthinking society that keeps them there. ?Treated and looked upon as subhuman beings, even medical and dental services available to them are mediocre and to the point they are almost nil. And letters sent to them by loved ones outside the high, gray walls sometimes is delayed for weeks at the prison before being delivered to them. ?While these conditions observed first hand by the Pueblo news team in the prison's so called "punitive segregation" section made a grown man ill, they were compounded by those seen in the narrow and darkened steel barred isolation cells in the solitary confinement wing. There, faceless and silent occupants huddle and cringe in the darkness amid the pungent stench of filth within the close confines of these cesspools like cubicles, almost concealed from those outside. ?Those confined to this living hell in the infamous Cellhouse 3 are stripped of all human dignity and respect. An aura of frustration and despair hands heavy throughout this living example of man's inhumanity to man. ?Yet, despite such barbaric treatment, some find an inner strength which turns to outrage and they cry out to the world; "You can't do this to me; I am a man!" But few outside the walls hear, or want to hear them. ?But the voice of one of these tortured men, David Anderson, in the form of a letter sent to the editors of these newspapers describing the deplorable conditions in maximum security, was heard. And it resulted in the assignment of this news team to investigate the shocking allegations. ?Note: the article also contained several photos of the conditions, and covered two full pages of the newspaper. While I was confined there, Gerald Hayes, one of the prisoners, sat down in his cell, with an old razor blade, cut off his index finger. With blood dripping from his hand, he scrawled a message on the wall of his cell "God! Help us, Convicts are people too." Gather round children, I'm about to tell you a true story. ?It happened nearly 40 years

A hero does not shoot an unarmed man in the back, then pose for trophy photo.

SORRY, NO. And I've seen this composition before. Abu Ghraib. Or any of the trophy shots found on the digital cameras of US soldiers in free fire zones. These officers are holding up for display a critically injured man struggling to breathe. Shortly he'll be interrogated while still in intensive care, while America pretends this is justice. Sergeant Jay Cook saw escapee David Sweat running for the dense woods. No, shooting an unarmed man in the back does not fall within rules of engagement, neither for border patrol nor fugitive manhunt. Sergeant Cook was among a posse of thousands, including all variety of aircraft and vehicles. Though Sweat had evaded capture for 21 days, this was the first direct sighting. Cook was too porcine to make chase, but did he think the prisoner could outrun everything else? Shooting Sweat twice in the back was an act of cowardice, like that of snipers or drone pilots. Jay Cook is an American Hero for the Police State.

The Death Penalty

In May of 1960, I was place in the "Hole" for ten days, at that time they would feed you a bowl of spinach once a day. The "Hole" was in cell house three, which also housed death row. When the guard came to my cell, I refused the spinach. He told me that he bet I'd be eating it by the end of ten days. Directly on the tier above me was death row. One of the prisoners on death row (David F. Early) over-heard my conversation with the guard. At meal time, David would share his meals with me; he had a string made from his mattress and would lower part of his meal down to me. On Aug. 12th 1961, David was gassed in the gas chamber. For those who would cry out, that the death penalty is a deterrent, I would say: we've had a few hundred years of this "deterrent" and it doesn't seem to be working. My opposition to the death penalty does not come from the kindness or compassion that David showed to me, but rather from the fact that I believed we as a society were more cruel to put a person in a small concrete room and then day after day tell them we were going to kill them. It seemed to me then as it does now that our crime is far greater than theirs. It was also a lesson for me about kindness and compassion; it's possible to find even on death row.

Police take poetic license with wanted posters of New York prison fugitives

LOOKIT! New York authorities have issued fresh images of escapees David Sweat and Richard Matt. You might wonder where they got photos more recent than the last mug shots, which was the last time the prison break fugitives were in custody. Plus the news coverage has been unequivocal that authorities haven't seen the wayward prisoners since. It turns out the latest images are called "PROGRESSIVE PHOTOS" depicting how the convicted murderers are supposed to look at ten days into their freedom quest. Authorities are assuming they haven't reached razors, so each has a ten-day shadow; and police artists have Photoshopped t-shirts over the original penitentiary vestments. But the photo manipulation didn't stop there. The original mugshots were taken in identical environments, but these renditions feature distinct atmosphere changes, both darker. The younger David Sweat is now lit with harsh florescent lights as one might encounter him in a convenience store or in YOUR GARAGE. Sweat's pores are exposed like one might observe from inappropriate intimacy. Sweat's receding hairline now looks more like hair plugs, as if his first stop after Dannemora was to a hair club for men. Sweat's original friendly demeanor has been replaced with a calculated desperation. I'm guessing police artists have a PS morph tool labeled "John Wayne Gacy". Sweat's brother-art-thou, alleged lothario Richard Matt, is now bathed in the incandescent light of YOUR BEDROOM. I'm sure wanted posters have always afforded sheriffs the discretion to paint fugitives as menacing as needed. Photo manipulation is another animal altogether. It's not poetic license, it's character assassination. And it's extrajudicial. Sweat and Matt are guilty of a nonviolent jailbreak. Until we can offer them justice -- run boys run.

New York prison victims need your help

AT THE VERY LEAST people living near New York State's now infamous prison break could be getting fresh air in defiance of their governor's ludicrous warnings to hide from the dangerous felons. Neighbors can exercise their property rights to spectate as they please and take strolls where they can to muck it up for the K9s hounding fugitives David Sweat and Richard Matt. Fellow freedom-loving itinerants could also converge upstate to force multiply the sightings of vagabond pairs crisscrossing the woods around the Clinton Correctional Facility, known in the industry as "Little Siberia". But most certainly, lawyers of any conscience should assail the Clinton County DA's office in defense of poor Joyce Mitchell, the prison sweatshop supervisor who may have helped the escapees, whom authorities were waiting to charge until after she'd cooperated with interrogators. Lawyers should be livid that neither authorities nor reporters bat an eyelash at Ms. Mitchell's lack of proper counsel. Media coverage while constant is marred by omission. Are fugitives Matt and Sweat dangerous? The media doesn't want to detail their criminal histories other than to repeat they are murderers. David Sweat and an accomplice plead guilty to first degree murder of a sheriff's deputy when Sweat was 22. (Who pleads guilty to first degree murder?) The deputy had interrupted a burglary, other accomplices were not charged. When Sweat was 17 he served time for attempted burglary. While in his twenties Richard Matt killed his boss. Why and what was their line of work? The media won't say. Matt's previous record was as a juvenile. Both appear to be examples of the failure of the correctional industry in handling juveniles. This prison break was the only hope either men had for escaping its clutches. The escape was nonviolent and fears that either men mean harm to others are not grounded in anything but hyperbole about how "evil" they are.

Our collective lockdown mentality, lest a siren call lure us to freedom

LOCKDOWN. The term has become ubiquitous, though lifted easily out of context, being self-explanatory. Its predecessor "batten down the hatches" used to be too. Before the advent of recreational sailing it came from a work environment synonymous with incarceration, in the days of debtors prison for penury, before which were slave galleys. As an idiom, batten the hatches still means to fasten things down, brace for difficult weather. "Lockdown" was used this week to describe the city of Boston, as its neighborhood of Watertown was swarmed by militarized police, the residents commanded to "shelter in place", officers barking at them to stay in your houses, under penalty of being shot, by accident we like to suppose, for their own safety is the implication, or be arrested for obstructing justice. We've come to know what lock-down means. It's a prison term for everyone stuck in their cell, until further notice, sometimes indefinitely. Colorado's Supermax prison operates in a permanent state of lock-down. Of course in this age of school shootings --another self-defining expression, like "going postal"-- lock-downs have become an educational tradition, and isn't likening schools to prisons forcing an interesting slip into Freudian reality? Students have always inferred they were inmates. Without looking it up, I'm now certain the expression "matriculation" was abandoned for its unfortunate implication of being compulsory. Before the middle class, vocational training was worse than mandatory, it was an inevitability. If of course a luxury --how far we've come. But our labor saving inventions weren't meant to save our labor, that profit went to the hoarders of what we produced: produce, became grain, now money. With the means of production owned by the land owner, the rest of us are laborers once again. Underemployed, idled, in the lull of post industrialism, we're put into lockdown. And we accept it. Now we're speaking of building walls to control immigration which means a macro lockdown. We're prisoners of nation states and we're breeding children in captivity who can never live Born Free outside zoos. Boston accepted its lockdown. The media is reporting Bostonians are now catching their breath as if the restriction was some collective girdle. How long would the lockdown have seemed justified? I was rather hoping if the lockdown had extended, that Occupy Boston would have rallied to march on Watertown, to reject the premise that a manhunt for a solitary teen of dubious menace would justify unqualified home invasions without search warrants. I'm rather confident, had Watertown been a submunicipality of Denver, that the infamous cop-baiters of Occupy Denver would have flown their colors in the officers' faces. The police were hunting a fugitive teen accused of planting a crude bomb at the Boston Marathon. He'd fled a firefight with police after a car chase said to have involved pipe bombs and grenades, but whose? The suspect was armed and dangerous, but was he? The police also warned that he'd be booby-trapping the neighborhood. They searched houses not just to locate the fugitive, but to check that he

Why people shoot Cops, just in time for “Police Memorial Day”

You know, if the cops want to convict you of something quick and dirty, without having to prove anything, they have a few tools. Like “disorderly conduct” or “public intoxication”. If you object, they can and often do have three PIGS hold you down while a fourth stomps on your head. Then charge you with resisting arrest. Like the Euless Police Department did three weeks ago to Albert Nicolas, age 36. When his family came to arrange his bail, noticed how badly injured he was, (a Major Concussion, which is a bruise on the brain, and a couple of minor ones) and requested that the PIGS should take him to the Emergency Room, the PIGS not very politely sneered that they didn’t have to, their Jail Nurse had “determined his injuries weren’t life threatening” (they were). If Albert had not gotten bailed out and rushed to the E.R. by his bondsman, he would have DIED from the injuries. The PIGS, who get sexually aroused from any form of exercising power over Other People, probably would have tasered him as he was dying in convulsions, saying he was “acting out”. The Jail Nurse and the Coroner, both of them sworn deputized PIGS who do anything their fellow PIGS say to do, including Lie Under Oath, would have sworn that he had banged his head himself. The Moronic “Back The Badge” PIG-Loving political COWARDS (here’s looking at you, Patch!) would believe everything the PIGS said and that would be the end of it. Until somebody who actually cared cornered one of the PIG motherfuckers (and yeah, I’ll be called a “potty mouth” for that) and put a .45 slug between his piggy little eyes and out the back of his piggy little skull. Then the PIG’s Sow and Piglets would be interviewed on TV boo-hooing and promoting the fiction that the PIG was actually an honorable and courageous man, kind to everybody (except to bound or handcuffed prisoners he stomped to death) and How Could Somebody Do That To Daddy? Well, Piglets, your daddy was a Power Tripping PERVERT who masturbated to the pain and suffering of Real Men. Truth hurts, yes? Tough. Your daddy got exactly what he and his PIG organization dish out. Get over it. Call me a potty mouth for putting it like that, but hey, my nephew almost lost his life due to PIG arrogance. Happy Pig Memorial Day, punks.

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