Greetings from Average Joe
here I sit - not on death row for the time being, rather at the Orange Country Jail. Back for a court hearing. One to hopefully get my sentence thrown out and maybe win freedom.
I say maybe, because you never know with the courts or the political climate. But, still I have the chance. Which is surprising after 29 years, or amazing. To be seen though !
The jail is a fish bowl type of jail. Round, plexi glass across the front and back of each cell. You can see all the way across the floor. Every cell. So suffice to say - there is no privacy. Add to that cameras everywhere. Yet, now that I´ve been here for a month, I ignore them - go with my life each day. Unlike at UCI.
I have an incredible view. I´m on the 5th floor - overlooking the parking lot and roads - where visitors come and go ! Busy every day. And when it rains or storms I can watch the rain comming from a mile away. Clouds nearby. Lightening - right in front of my eyes. Birds gliding and landing on the roof in front of me. Life going on. Makes me want to be a part of it ! I´m smiling as I say that. Its so close ! Freedom just outside my window. Grrrrrowllll !
I´m in an 8 man pod. Locked in my cell all day - except for the use of phone or shower. And no one to talk to ! Rest of the pod is inhabited by mental patients. Oh I´ve tried a couple of times while out for the phone. One guy asks, don´t I know you ? I ask where from ? He says, last week at the Miami Dolphins football game. Row 10 ! I looked - felt odd for a second. Cause it was so rediculous. But the guy had this hopeful look on his face. Almost as if - if I remember these things I am ok. Right. I thought for a second and smiled. Said yeah. Hell of a game wasn´t it. He smiled so big. Seemed relieved or grateful. Saying yeah - yeah - sure was.
The second one called me a queer for 2 weeks each time I was out of my cell. He called everyone that. Finally I talked to him and he changed. Even apologized for calling me a queer ect. He was just angry ! He was arrested for a crap charge. Trespassing at a train or bus station. He had a ticket ect. So as of today he´s been locked up for 26 days. Turned out to a pretty cool guy. They have him taking Lithium and Haldol. Psychotrophics.
He´ll be free soon. I gave him my website address.
So, Brian, if you`re reading this...Hey, hope you`re eating pizza and enjoying life again !
But I see others in pods across the way. One naked 24-7- dances and plays with himself. Others just sleep. A couple are angry, beat and bang. It´s sad really. But, what can be done ? They actually treat them fairly decent - for a jail. Most will cycle over to the mental hospital. Some back on the street. No where to go. They will recycle through jails and shelters - maybe end up at the mental ward - or worse. It´s so much different than death row. Yet still prison. Court, cat and mouse. We present one side. The state tries to make it seem harmless. Even though they know it´s not. But, my case - jail - is not why I choose to write at this time. That´s just an update on my life at present.
No, the real reason is I heard on my walkman radio this morning that North Carolina would or maybe executing the 1,000th person on Dec. 2nd. since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. It wasn´t significant as a man would be executed. The only significance was that he would be No. 1,000.
I thought - a thousand - really ? I keep up pretty well with death penalty related issues. But if someone had asked me how many had been executed since 1976, I would not have known. Nor would I have guessed so many. You just do not hear about executions anymore - unless its some serial killer or someone that had really good issues and still was put to death.
And it takes me back to when I was 22 years old. When I did my only newspaper interview. The debate then was which would be better: the electric chair or lethal injection.
The reporter asked me that question. I said it doesn´t matter how you are killed - the method - dead is dead. You will not wake up later and say - wow that electric chair hurt, wish it had been lethal injection. I added lethal injection would only make it easier to accept the death penalty as more humane. And make it easier on those who hand out and administer it. And that it would become acceptable - that executions would become mundane. Not news worthy. And look where we are now. 1,000 deaths - and you do not even hear about them on the news. So many - its just not news worthy.
Oh, when the article came out all it said for what I said was - Hitchcock said it didn´t matter or he didn´t care which. The rest was just tossed out. And no, I was not that smart at 22 - nor prophetic. I had just discussed it with many others before hand. And what I said was what I spoke with thoughtout and had been agreed on.
But, it was true ! And the fact that the 1,000th death was a surprise to me. Reminded me I must be more aware also. Not allow things to become so mundane that I forget to notice too !
Did that number surprise any of you also ? You have done a lot of good, guys ! You have made a difference. It could have been the 5,000th if not for your voices raised in opposition. Oh believe me, if it were not for you guys out there who oppose and fight for a better system, it would be. They would be executing 2 or 3 every day ! So take heart in the fact that a thousand in 30 years is alot but, it could be so many more ! And those who have been freed would not have been !
So what now ? Well simple. We fight till that number - or the number that are executed - becomes smaller and smaller. Till there are none !! Till one morning those who are for executions and make them happen hear on the radio or T.V. that the number of executions is down to zero ! And it catches them by surprise. Or there´s just not enough people who are for the death penalty for there to be one !
Anyway, just an update for now. And to share an eye opener ! Speaking of which, for those who do not receive it yet, email for the newsletter "Legal in USA". They update a list of all the upcoming executions and - show the recent court rulings - and news bits from each state!
You guys take care of yourselves and each other ! I´ll tell you how this court thing goes - when I know !
Till later as ever