I think you know where to fire the laser!
Went for a walk and saw this table with a lamp on it just sitting in someone's yard among the ferns, like something out of Narnia.
Coloring the coloring book inside my head.
I've been getting into this kind of dreamlike duo of online comics by Hope Larson called "The Secret Friend Society". Personally, of the two (Salamander Dream, done in green and Jellaby, done in purple) I prefer Jellaby, with it's darker mood and more intelligable story, but I like them both. He updates one of them nearly every day...but not much happens in a single strip, so I tend to wait awhile and then just read the whole story in one sitting.
"The treatment of prisoners is a good indicator of how civilized a society is."
I've been thinking so much about imprisonment lately. I've always had a certain morbid fascination with the death penalty, the US penal system, and torture. Even as a kid, I would have long tortured sessions of thought wondering what I would do if I were physically tortured to give up information that would harm someone I loved. I wondered if I could handle the pain...and guessed that I probably could not. The idea of the damage to my body sickened me.
I remember the day about 10 years ago that I picked up Loompanics Press' You Are Going to Prison, and it's sickening accounts of the inevitable brutal combat and vicious sexual assault situations in US state and federal lockup. I remember I gave a passage to a young girlfriend of mine at the time, and she was so shaken up by it that she brought it up as one of the reasons she broke up with me. I wish I would have kept it to myself, but I was so disturbed and just wanted to share the experience with someone somehow.
Just recently it entered my mind again vividly as I found out that a friend of mine is facing life in prison under the three strikes laws. Again I started reading about prison and obsessing about how I would handle myself in a situation where one can easily be forced to "fuck or fight" to minimize brutal assault and sexual slavery.
I don't do anything that would get me sent to prison, but so many people who go to prison are just regular guys like me who made one error in judgement. I do my best to make choices that don't put me in that universe, but one can never be sure. Once you make the mistake you can't take it back. They come get you physically and detain you, they make a decision which is beyond your power, and if you are convicted you lose your ability to be considered a human being in our society.
Looking for information I read the Human Rights Watch information about prisons, and with great pain, the report on male rape in US prisons, and a numbness crept over me. It just seems like there has to be a better way. I am not that naive...I know that to some extent it's this population of human beings creating their own problem. And there's so much money to be made from incarceration that it's difficult to expect meaningful change that would really be in society's best interests. I am not trying to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal and say, "Oh, if we just realized how much these people are hurting and treat them better and give them a nice pat on the head each day and tell them what a good person they are, then they will stop being such bad boys and they will exude sunshine from their pores."
At the same time...I just think there has to be a better way. To non-naively invest in these people's lives, and by proxy the lives of everyone. How can we think we can just cut off 2.8% of the US population from our caring or consideration and somehow it doesn't cheapen us as human beings?
Just recently I found a little comfort in the amazing weblog of Shaun Attwood, Jon's Jail Journal which he writes from prison using a ballpoint pen refill. His level of humor about his situation has somehow chilled me out a little, and it seems a little less painful to hear that there's some skinny white boy out there making it without getting too fucked up. The BBC has written a couple of articles about him, which are a good summary if you don't feel like reading his whole weblog. I'm working my way through it and enjoying every word.
if I start
I want to know
for entropy's sake
in a casket, a basket?
some ataxia that's on the attack?
it always ends! til 7:30 do us part
and then some delay, that's shifted into decay
some endings, for the beginnings I've piled up
a friendship set out in the bow of a viking funeral ship
laid with all its riches and flame slurping its dragon prow
or our very special birth certificate beginning, or the finest big bang
if I ask you very solemnly and with respect will you tell me how will it end?
how will it end, my friend?
how will it end?