Memorial Day 2011–For My Father…

‎”…From the breezes behind me, blowing in the memory of a not so distant past, I can hear my father’s voice at times saying, “I am here with you”. And on this day, that is all that matters, for I remember him and his goodness, rather than for his mistakes–like I think many daughters before me have so done. Therein lies the unbreakable bond and true love with no condition for blood is always thicker than any substance–or the divide of time and space…”–Kadja 2011

Kenneth B. O’Neill  4-9-1929 to 2-5-1995        This is my father, who I still miss very much.

Just an observation over decades…

In the 60’s, I had maid service, people cooking for me, and teaching me right from wrong…

In the 70’s I had school, working from the time I was a kid and developing my sense of right and wrong.

In the 80’s, I had college, my own sense of justice and of what was right and wrong–plus the belief that I was invincible…Then I had a family of my own and got a reality check.   Needless to say, I didn’t join a punk rock band like I threatened to do. I realized that it is up to me to take care of me and my family. That sort of happens when fathers leave the moms in the lurch–holding the bag.  Hubby #1 left me and my oldest for a teenager when my oldest son was 3 mos. old.  I married again two years later…Big mistake…I really learned that there is no such thing as a “prince”.  I forgave his one indiscretion.  I didn’t forgive the deceit that followed.  I came out stronger for leaving that situation.

In the 90’s I finished my degree.  I taught.  I left that field and became a corrections officer.  I used more of my teaching skills in that environment than I was ever allowed to use in a classroom.  Why?  Had to teach “social skills” and teach to a yearly test…NOT the curriculum.  At the prison, I did the same job for more pay because the young offenders who ended up there fell through the cracks.  I developed a new sense of justice and of reality.  Education needs to get back to educating…Seniors that cannot fill out a job application are proof that the system is failing.  More of them end up where I used to work.  That tells me the problems cannot all be laid at the feet of bad parenting when these offenders (many of them) cannot even read on 8th grade level.

In the 2000’s…I came across some insight that encouraged me to seek out things about my own Native American heritage.  I found peace as a result.  Life may not always be the way we would like for it to be, but there is a design for things being as they are.  I have learned that I don’t need anyone to “validate” who I am or to “pat my ego”.  Those are not things I can leave behind when I die.  However, the tracks I leave for my children and grandchildren to follow are things I can leave behind.  I only hope that some of what I impart to them aids them in this life–and that the peace I have found comes full circle to them and to those who have touched my life.  I have learned that there are many kinds of love and happiness.   I found that on my mountain.    I can always find solace there.  It is my hope that someday, people I know can find their own “sanctuary” and find their happiness there.  It has to come from within.  I have not found it anywhere else or with any other person–but I find it in the hills where the birds sing and the crickets talk.   I see it where the foxes play.

And in seeing that, I realized that I am free also.  We can learn much from animals and from our surroundings if we simply listen quietly.

If you blow this up, you'll see a baby fox standing perfectly still--blending in with the grass and such...Try it! He's there! If you look toward the cedar bush next to the prickly pear cactus you can see his ears sticking up just to the right!

It’s been a dog day! And I love it!

Well, he might as well be since I spend more time with him at the moment…He is the smartest dog I’ve come across in a while, and he’s so loving.  He actually tries to “converse” with us.  If I make a certain sign, he will sit and raise his paw up for me to shake it.  He will also “speak”.  It’s getting harder for him to play fetch now…Even when he did, he thought he was supposed to grab the ball and make us come after it! 😀   He moves a little more slowly now, and pays attention a little more…Then I realized something that almost slipped away since he was so excited to see me today…This dog is almost 12 years old.

It seems like it was just yesterday that my son, Kevin brought him home.  He was a puppy–not more than eight weeks old at the time.  Kevin said he’d found him with the fishing hook through the bottom of his mouth.  We took him to the veterinarian, got his shots and were set up to let the Humane Society adopt him out.  Well, they had no room so we agreed to foster–only one month turned into another.  Finally, we decided to scrap that idea and keep him.  He’s part of the family.  He is so sweet and none of us could resist that face.

He doesn’t like people with uniforms of any kind because our FORMER postman sprayed tear gas on him when he was about 12 weeks old–even though Buddy couldn’t reach him.  Kevin being ever so brave went berserk and called the postmaster general!  That carrier was removed from the route because of the fact that Buddy was still just a puppy and the supervisor saw no need for such action since Buddy was in an enclosed area–just close to the yard.

Buddy also likes to come into the house and see everyone.  His favorite thing to do is to put his paw up on the arm of a chair and try to “converse” with us.  He also likes catching dog treats!

Now as for giving him a bath–we have to spell that.  He hates water.  He doesn’t like getting his coat brushed either, but will let us do it.   God help us all if I take him to get him groomed any time soon.  However, taking him on walks is fun…He takes the leash in his mouth and thinks he’s walking us! He likes going to the vet too. Weird huh? 😀

Anyway, it seems like just yesterday that Kevin brought Buddy home.  And it was just a few days ago that Kevin told the true story of what happened.  He said the kid he took Buddy away from threw a fishing rod and was “reeling” Buddy in, so Kevin went up to the kid in the street, decked him, broke the fishing rod  and took Buddy from him as the kid ran down the street crying.  He said Buddy’s yelping really got him upset and that boy didn’t deserve him so he took him.  I was wondering why no one ever claimed him because he is such a sweet-natured dog.

I always got onto Kevin for his temper because he always thought he had to jump in–but that was one time where I couldn’t say much.  When I was his age, I (most likely) would have done the same thing…I brought strays home ALL the time and drove my parents absolutely NUTS!

Buddy and some of his humans! Kevin is on the left and his brother Eric is turned away from the camera!

This is my youngest son, Kevin...Eric is the darker haired one. I guess Kevin is a hero, huh? LOL

Oh…That chihuahua is Kevin’s “daughter” 🙂  Princess!  Her leg was broken when she was accidentally dropped last year but she’s fine!

Buddy likes to sleep at the foot of our beds, so if he moves in with me, he’ll be an indoor dog for the most part.  He’s going to be on my fenced patio while I’m at work though.  He’s got a doghouse and such so he’ll be fine…I’ll just have to lock my gate.  I’m glad he likes watching TV and listening to music.  Then again, as I said earlier, he’s part of the family!

For all of you animal lovers out there, I want to refer you to   I think you’ll like the blog posts there!  I certainly do!

Okay…Where are you all at? There was NO Rapture so I KNOW you’re around! You’re all too Quiet!!!

Okay…The rapture did not happen Saturday so why are you all so bloody quiet? I KNOW unless you’re dead, you’re here! That also means if you’re here, then like me, you went to work today…How was YOUR Monday? Mine was straight out of the “Twilight Zone”!

IN fact, this says it ALL after my manager had to deal w/all kinds of “Close Encounters of the Weird Kind” all day long–and a few of them were close encounters of the TURD kind!!!

If NOTHING ELSE, this clip which also appears on Piper Bayard’s blog should cheer you up!

You really need to check out Bayard and Holmes blog…They totally rock!  You will learn some true History from a unique perspective, that’s for sure!

Why the “Rapture Didn’t Happen”! Straight from ebaum’s world!!!

And for those of you who gave up your worldly possessions and your jobs over this B.S.--All I can say is that it must really suck to be you tonight!

RIP–Randy Savage  November 15, 1952 – May 20, 2011

I watched this guy growing up–AND the Von Erichs before that!


1981…A banner year, I think…I escaped from pri– I mean–er–I graduated from High School and left  home. “Chariots of Fire” came out and I ended up skipping it, which is probably the worst mistake I made that year.  I also decided after entering college in the fall that Theater Arts is not my cup of tea.  I did well in Theater Appreciation and Film Criticism–but detested the latter class.   I would take a course called “American Women Playwrights” year later that was a total blast!  However, after reading Wendy Wasserstein‘s work, I’ll never look at the Washington Monument in the same way ever again!  Luckily, my employers always let me have all the time off I needed because I worked my ass off and showed up for work!  I rarely call in sick.  If I”m throwing up, that is the one thing I cannot deal with so THEN I will call in.

I was also working two jobs.  I was a housekeeper by day and a part-time waitress by night.  I also attended classes on certain evenings.  I slept when it was possible.  I decided that what traumatized me about Film Criticism was that our professor always honed in on the technical aspects, but had his own idea of how characters should be presented.  After getting roughly introduced to a seven shot six-shooter during a scene in an old western film, I went into a shock from which I never recovered.

When I took Music Appreciation–it was much better.  We were taught about the beauty of each genre and didn’t have to listen to the faulting of others or how they composed.   It was during this time that I marched in the Macy’s Parade in NYC.  I had never been outside of the  small town in which I was raised to go to such a place and it was an entirely different world…

I remember walking toward Madison Square Garden the night before the parade.  Earth, Wind and Fire were playing and we seemed to be walking, as a group through the “gauntlet”.  There was a line of gang members on one side of the street and the policemen on horseback where on the other.  One of my fellow drummers made the comment, “Hey, I’m gonna get some New York pot! I hear it’s better than what we have in TX.”  The band director heard him and told him to get quiet.  All the while I was thinking, “What a jack-ass!”  I was sure we were going to end up in the middle of a brawl and there were many more of them than there were of us.  On top of that, we were wearing our blue and white band uniforms with the white cowboy hats…We looked pretty damned stupid and the band director wouldn’t let us go change. That pissed me off.

We made it past the gauntlet and went to the Empire State Building.  It was here that I discovered that I suffer from claustrophobia.  I hate elevators–and it was made worse when the elevator got stuck on the 72nd floor and lurched.  I did something I had never done.  I hyperventilated.  Well hell! I’d never been out of TX, so after this I started wishing I was back on the ground.  Once we got to the top, the smog was rolling in. It burned my eyes, but that was okay because it’s part of the game when there.  I was looking at the setting sun.  It was almost like being on a mountain–only it was man-made.  I was enjoying the view when someone said–“Time to go!” and once again, I had to get on the elevator…”I will never get on one of these again if I can avoid it.”  I told the band director…He thought I was joking until we went to the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty the morning after Thanksgiving.  We did hit Macy’s first, though.  Loved that!

I also remember seeing steam coming up through manhole covers–like on television.  I remembered seeing so much hustle and bustle and wondered what it would be like to be in the square and see the news go across the marquis…I got to see that too.  I also got to go to the Radio City Music Hall and see the Rockettes during the Christmas pageant.  They used live animals in it.  I wonder if they still do…I wanted to catch a Broadway production but never got to see one–or the ballet…As I always say, “Maybe someday…”

The band director said upon arriving at the WTC, “Tina, it will be alright–it’s not the same elevator.  C’mon! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“I have only one lifetime to enjoy.  I’ll wait here, Mr. Jones.  I’ll be alright.” I told him as I pulled out a book and sat on a bench.  A police officer heard us talking and was asking where I was from and such.  When I told him I was from Texas he said, “You guys are sure friendly down there!  I know we can get kind of rude around here, but we don’t mean to sound that way.”

“I haven’t met anyone that has been rude to me yet.” I told him.  He laughed and said, “You must have great luck!”

I asked him if he’d ever been to Texas and he said, “I was stationed at Dyess A.F.B 15 years ago! I married my wife there!  Loved it!  We’re moving back when I retire next year!”

He hung around a few more minutes and ran off some guy that was trying to ask for money.  I read my book–and strangely enough I remember the title of it:  “Essays of Elia“–Charles Lamb.  I love that book…That man was very wise.

After they got through at the WTC, we headed for the Statue of Liberty.    Then I stumbled across phobia #2…Water…I am a weak swimmer and the boats were clear bottomed.  Then I saw something less frightening–Russian subs a few miles off since it was such a clear and beautiful day!  I took pictures but don’t know what happened to them.  To me that was somewhat historical–and hysterical.  It is funny to me that I don’t mind swimming in the ocean, but if I’m on a boat–I do not dig it, man! I do not  know why.

I always thought the paranoia Russians had of us then was ridiculous.  A few of them need to visit TX and steer clear of the public schools…If they hang out with adults, they will lighten up really quick and find out that we understand far more than “…the law of the gun and the bomb bay door…” as a writer for the Pravda stated years later.  I answered him by stating that if that were true, Russians would be speaking English because Harry Truman would have let General George S. Patton hand them their asses on a platter and that they should be grateful that some Americans are much more open and accepting of others than some people of other cultures are of us.   They actually allowed the comment and I was shocked at that.

Anyway, I survived the boat ride and sat on another bench and saw another phenomenon…A kid, that couldn’t have been more than five using vernacular that would make a sailor blush in the presence of her mother.  I moved to another bench because the parent didn’t even correct the child.  I know this much,  had I said something like that, I would have been a Lifebuoy connoisseur–after my mother and father both spanked my ass.  I grew up in an era where if we disrespected a teacher, we got it from our parents when we got home and if we were screwing up in the neighborhood–sometimes a neighbor known to us would wear our asses out–then our parents got their turn…Sorry but it’s true.  I learned really quickly that if I had to go cut a switch, it better not be a little, flimsy green one because those hurt worse!  Back in those days, the village did help raise the kid without sticking their noses in other people’s business.

I really didn’t have to spank my boys.  I gave them a look, and they lined right out.  I also discovered the taking away Ninja Turtles and gaming systems made them think they died and went to hell and their crying and such reminded me of when I got spanked! Seriously!  I didn’t let them have internet or anything like that until they were older teenagers. To me that is a luxury and not a necessity.  Kids need to play outside, play fetch with a dog or go to camp out in the back yard or something instead of vegetating in front of the TV 24/7.  I didn’t do it, and neither did my kids–until they got older and on their own for the most part.   My favorite thing was to take blankets at home or Grannie’s house and make hideouts–especially if I couldn’t go outside in bad weather.  It seems like every kid I know now has a freaking PS3 or a Wii…If I had another kid–NO WAY!  That would NOT happen.  Being sedentary like that is not good for kids and I knew that years ago.  We went to parks, beaches, and hiked in the mountains when my boys were little. I’ll do the same with my grandkids if I am ever-blessed with any–I can promise you that!

If I do become a grandparent, they will know the difference between a sparrow and a finch.  They’ll get to see the fireflies and make wishes after seeing shooting stars on a camp out.  In short, they will appreciate nature when I’m through with them. LOL!

Anyway I did take pictures of the Statue and went inside…I just didn’t go up it.  I wish now that I made myself do it, but maybe someday I’ll get another chance to conquer that fear too.   I did stand on the shore and look out over the water and realized that this is the first time I had been by the ocean that I can remember, and can remember the sound of the gravelly sand beneath my feet.  I also remember hearing horns from the boats that were going back and forth.    I actually touched my finger to the water and tasted it just to see if it was salty like people said all those years.  I wouldn’t dare do that now, but was only 19 then.  In fact, it was my 19th birthday.   That evening, I broke away from the crowd and went into St. Patrick’s Cathedral to enjoy some quiet.  I could actually feel at ease and do some reflecting.  I then sneaked back to my room at the Plaza Hotel and wasn’t even missed!  I remember the pretzel vendor on the corner across the street and made sure to buy one of those!  They were so good!  I’d love to visit there again!  I also visited an Italian Restaurant near the WTC that I loved–but refused to go up the WTC.

Another memory I have of New York City is when we went to a Chinese Restaurant.  There was a Thai couple there asking us questions about Texas because they had heard bad things about it and were concerned about going there.   They told us that there were Indians shooting at us and such and that they were told never to go there.  They were afraid of the Indians!  To preface what I am about to say, they have a great sense of humor because they learned that there is one fundamental art that Texans have mastered…We know how to bullshit and bullshit well!  At 19 I had mastered it.  I listened very intently to their concerns and assured them that they should take a camera and not worry because they would be witnessing such a phenomenon to write home about…They said, “That really happens there?” I said, “Sure, that’s why we have armored Greyhound buses down there!”   My God…I think they were getting discouraged until I said, “Look, seriously, it was a joke.  It’s nothing like that.”  They laughed at that point and were quite relieved that I was joking.

They then asked me about places to go, at which point I referred them to Austin…Austin does not roll up the sidewalks and turn out the lights at 5 p.m.  I love the theaters that show foreign films down there and I love going to museums–but haven’t been able to do that or go to plays much in years.  I’ll be able to do so again.  It’s a matter of time.  However I do have one regret, and that is missing this movie:

If I HAD seen it, I’d have known who this guy is:

LMAO…Biggest, most  inspirational film of that year and I skipped it to blow $100 at the Mall of Abilene!

HOWEVER, I almost forgot to mention the most important event to poetry lovers and writers  in 1981…It was the fact that Edna St. Vincent Millay got her own stamp!  Heh…Heh…Heh…  Have a great day!

I Really Believe that Black Elk’s Wisdom is Needed Now

The True Peace

The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people
when they realize their relationship,
their oneness, with the universe and all its powers,
and when they realize that at the center
of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit),
and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.
The second peace is that which is made between two individuals,
and the third is that which is made between two nations.
But above all you should understand that there can never
be peace between nations until there is known that true peace,
which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.

Black Elk, Oglala Sioux & Spiritual Leader (1863 – 1950)

This is probably one of the wisest men who ever lived.  I think it is time that people learned from the wisdom that he left behind. If they would, the world wouldn’t be destroying itself from within.  The origin of all the problems of this world lies within the heart of  each individual.  We must always look to “fix” ourselves before trying to right the rest of the world. Once done, there will be no need or desire to encroach into another’s realm.  Trying to “convert” the world will never work because the spirit of man will always be free and will never submit to the oppression of others–even if they have to talk to their creator in secret.  No individual or group will ever dominate the spirit of man because only the creator can decide the destiny of any individual.

Black Elk knew where freedom lies.  It lies within each of us.  I just thought I would share that.  The freedom to “be” can never be taken from anyone.  When we get into that quiet place to where we can each hear that small, still voice inside of ourselves and take direction from it, then will we be able to find what it is we need to do with our time–what is left of it.  Time is too short to squander, and very precious.  We must make the most of our existence while we are here.  Only what we impart to others determines the impact we have on the lives of those us.  That is why it is so important to work  on ourselves FIRST.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

A Day in Huntsville, TX…View on the Death Penalty…

Having grown up in Texas, I grew up knowing that the death penalty is part of the fabric here.  Most believe an “eye for an eye” down here.  I can understand why being that I am the survivor of a murder victim.  I used to be for the death penalty after that happened.  I am not for it anymore.  I hope this will help people to understand why as this has even put me at odds with friends and family, but they do not have to live with it–I do.  Now they can deal with it.

I began working for the Texas Department of Corrections in 2006.  I had been a school teacher prior to that and can do so again.  For the first 3 1/2 years it was a good job.  There were times when it was dangerous–sure.  I didn’t dwell on it when I walked out of the front gate, though.  When one first starts, he or she feels a sense of purpose.  They feel that they can make a difference in that environment.  I handled offenders the way I handled students.  I gave them only what they were entitled to–nothing more or nothing less.  I also gave them respect because it was not my job to punish them a second, third and fourth time–if you understand what I mean.

They were sent there to serve their time by a judge or a jury.   THAT alone is their punishment.  However, there are officers who commit practices that I find to be unethical and cruel when it comes to dealing with these offenders.  Many do what I call “tag-teaming”.  This is when an officer will write a disciplinary case, and then his (or her partner) will write another one timed 3-5 minutes later.  I could tell by the way many of the 2nd cases were written that there is no way that the later offense happened, and as a sergeant, I am not about to jeopardize the safety of other officers because someone else in uniform is on a power trip–and yes it DOES happen.  When I tried to discuss that,  that is when the upper administration became a bit unhappy with me.  I never had a Use of Force because I knew how to calm these offenders down and get to the bottom of the issues leading up to the disturbances.  This didn’t set will with the administration either because it has been my experience that they just simply aren’t content unless officers go in with the cavalry and waste a ton of time an energy putting gas in a wing.  Many times it is not necessary to do this either. I know from experience.

Now I want to talk about a day of training in Huntsville for the Sergeant‘s Academy.   All of us who were newly promoted went to the Walls Unit, which is where executions are held.

Here is another view of the prison.  You will definitely know how it  got its name, but there are not many prisons that have real “walls” around them anymore.  Most of them have tons of barbed wire fences…This unit is more famous for an event known as “The Carrasco Incident”.   Here is a link for the story on that:

What the article doesn’t tell you is that when the offenders were coming down the steps with the hostages,  the “Trojan Horse” shield they had made from some chalkboards and such was to be hit with water from a high pressure hose to (hopefully) knock the thing down and expose everyone so the officers would have a clear shot at the offenders involved if needed.   People ended up dead when this happened because the waterhose failed (technical issue), but it caused the offenders to start shooting at hostages.  When it was over, several were dead.  As a reminder, the bullet holes on the steps of the library and such were never fixed.  The area was left “as-is”.  However there is one more thing Huntsville is more famous for and it is the executions carried out there, most notably (in our time) that of Karla Faye Tucker Brown…I find it ironic that everyone threw such a fit about her execution–but not over any other female who has been executed since.  I wonder what will come about if they do execute Darlee Routier?  You know–that woman they say stabbed her two kids to death?

Anyway, on this particular day, I got to see the place where those people were killed during that Carrasco Incident in 1974.  I also got to see the building where “Chief Satanta” jumped out of the hospital window  to his death.  He was another famous prisoner there.    And this article covers the how and why of his being there and dying there.  And his story was rather interesting.  I am part Native American so I tend to read stuff like this a bit…

Anyway, we were escorted to the “Death Row“.  In the movies, they always make this place look bigger than it truly is.  I am surprised that they could get a gurney in and out of that side gate they always show because the opening is barely wide enough for a person to fit through.  We were first shown the cells they are housed in.  One has sheets, blanket, and such.  Offenders can have magazines.  They spend their last hours in these cells being prepared for the inevitable.  There are a few myths that I will dispel here though.  They do NOT get the last meal of their choice unless it is on the menu.  In other words, these offenders are not going to get treated to a Ribeye steak with all the trimmings.  That is not served in a Texas prison.  The way it is viewed is that if the taxpayers are funding it, they will get whatever the prison can make available on the unit–not go out or their way to give the offender what he/she wants.  They can receive calls.  If they behave, they can stay in the comfortable cell–but if not, they are moved to a cell that has absolutely nothing but a toilet and sink in it–and if they are acting really whacked out, they get stripped and can only have what is called a “suicide blanket”.

Contrary to the rules, they might be allowed 1 cigarette or a dip of snuff the day before, as they receive an explanation of what is going to happen the next day, unless the governor can issue a stay of execution.  Yes, its contraband, but it is allowed and Rick Perry does know about this–and so has every governor before him.  I mean, if they are going to die anyway, why raise hell over that one thing?  The state cannot take more away from them at this point anyway.

NOTE:  Contrary to the note the writer of  “Coyote on a Fence”, Bruce Graham,  put out–a Texas Governor only has the power to issue a ONE TIME 30 day stay per offender.  That’s it.  They cannot commute a sentence either.  That is up to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.   The governor doesn’t make or interpret the laws.  He does only what our state constitution allows–and that IS the one time 30 day stay.

In fact, the reason that the Governor’s Office no longer has that power goes all the way back to the period from the earliest days of corrections to the 1960’s.  People “bought” pardons (and what amounts to slave labor) right and left in many states–Texas included, so that power was taken from the governor and, as mentioned earlier, it rests with the board of Pardons and Paroles.  THEY are the ones that should be getting the hate mail and such if a writer wishes to engage in that type of activity.

Anyway, as we toured this building, we realized how SMALL it truly is.  Check out this picture of the execution chamber:

The angle of this shot leaves a lot to be desired as far as detail.  It does not show the microphone that his hanging directly above the gurney.  See that little square on the left and the window?  That window is what the executioner is standing behind.   There is a window on the other side where family members sit in two separate rooms–very small ones.  The rooms are limited to only a few observers.  To illustrate how small this room really is–here is a clue.  The arm piece is only extended to the right in this picture, but there is another arm on the left.  That is the one the IV goes into.  The IV is ran from behind that window through that little square and inserted into the offenders arm by another medical professional.  If they cannot find a vein in the arms, it goes in the neck or foot or something…They will find a vein, believe me.  The drugs are given manually through the IV tube one at a time to ensure the right effect in the right order.  You do not want to see an offender conscious while going through this–I promise you that.   The room is very tiny and green.  There is only standing room for about 5-6 people in it.  I’ll put it to you this way, if one is claustrophobic, this will set them off in a panic attack.

You have seen how in the movies that the drugs are automatically injected via a machine right?  Not so in Texas.  Why?  Because sometimes they malfunction.   The executioner is a medical professional who always remains unidentified.  Lawyers have tried to get court orders to make the identities of executioners public and get copies of where the drugs used are purchased and the court refuses both requests every time because many of the offenders executed have gang members on the outside that would kill the executioner or blow up the place where the drugs are acquired, so it is common sense (rightfully so) that the identities are NEVER revealed.  I fully agree with that.

They also wrap the hands of offenders in ACE bandages once strapped in so that they cannot shoot the finger at the victim’s family members or make signs of any kind.  However seeing the place changed my mind about supporting the death penalty because I started thinking about it closely and one thing came to mind.  Even if they caught the person who killed my aunt and I had to witness this, it would not bring me any closure because her space at the table would always be empty.   It would also wreck  another family.  Not all offenders’ families are into the crimes their loved ones are being sent to death for–but I’ve seen how they get blamed for the crimes also.  They are losing a loved one also–and as an officer, I can fully empathize with both sets of family members on an issue like this.  They are not to blame for the actions of the offender and it is time for society to back off of the blame game.

After being strapped in they are allowed to make a last statement if they wish.  Once the drugs are injected, it is over within a few  minutes–usually.  It sounds simple but it really isn’t.  There are other issues that would have affected me as an officer if I had to deal with that.  First off, there is no glory in taking a life.  Sometimes it may be necessary to do so, but when a person is killed in this circumstance,  there seems to be a mentality among other officers who do not work on a death row unit that does not resonate well with my inner being.  They will actually cheer in shift turnout when it is announced that specific offenders (usually child killers) are put to death.  Regardless of what they have done–the dead should always be respected.  Even the worst of people among us should not affect us in such a way that we become like some of them actually are–cheering over a life being taken..  Some of them rejoiced in the free-world when they committed their acts, so why would officers lower themselves to this mentality? I don’t know but it does happen.

It is this “gang mentality” among officers and supervisors that really troubles me.   I can watch “The Green Mile” and fully understand the intentions of all but the idiotic officer–the one that didn’t wet the sponge…Get my drift?  The others officers portrayed were definitely more “humane” than that character was.  I think it is tougher on these offenders if they have to live in a prison than to die in one.  They always have to look over their shoulders for “Bubba” or “Big Betty”. Besides that, eliminating the expense of so many appeals would cut a lot of costs in this country.  Think about it.  We might need “less lawyers”.

Either way, I know now I could never work in a unit and aid in taking a life like that.  It is one thing to shoot an escapee because they pose a direct threat.  It is another to have to work in that environment and see other people rejoicing at the taking of another life–regardless of whether or not one thinks it is justified.  To me to cheer when a life is taken and such is just another example of how working in that environment can really have an effect on one’s  mentality.  I chose to walk away from that. I chose a normal existence again.  For those working in that industry, I apologize if my views offend you, but what I  have witnessed entitles me to them.  The suicide and divorce rates are very high among correctional officers.  It is a line of work that affects one’s mentality in ways I never expected.  I got out of it so that I could get back to being “me” again.  Slowly I got there.

I can go to a restaurant and still have to sit to where I can see the exits and even police officers I know understand why that is.  At least I don’t look over my shoulder every time I turn around like I used to do.  It is definitely nice to be called by my name rather than  “Sarge” or “Boss Lady”.   It is also nice to know that I no longer let that line of work affect me as it did in the past.  As I said, I almost went right back into “recluse” mode.  I worked around (depending upon the unit) 500-2500 reasons not to trust anyone in the human race, not including some of the officers and administrators, that’s for sure.  There are many good officers, but I can assure you there are others who are evil to the core–and some of them make their way into administration.  I can never be a part of that negative environment again.  I saw much more than I have depicted here–and I don’t care to see it again.

Chew on this for a bit…

On September 10, 2011, I could not sleep.  Not too long before a young singer named Aaliyah died in a horrific plane crash.  As I was watching mourners line the streets on the day of her funeral, I looked at a co-worker and said, “I don’t know why but I feel as though this is a pre-cursor.  Something is about to change and I feel it.”  She thought I was going to win on another lottery ticket.  I had won $500 twice, a month and  a half apart.  That night, as I said, neither my son Brian nor myself could sleep at all.  We started feeling apprehensive and praying.  I don’t pray much but I felt that I had to that night.  When I felt a release in my spirit then was I able to lie down and sleep.

I was doing my student teaching at the time.  I was at a junior high school, on what I thought would be a typical morning.  I had my materials laid out and was excited to see how the students worked together well.  Just as I entered the room all was silent and the TV was on.  Mrs. Broadrick, my mentor teacher, had informed me that the World Trade Center had been attacked.  Since the administration deemed this a historical event, the TV’s would remain on inside the classrooms.

I was watching when the 2nd plane hit on a playback.  I sat down and whispered “We’re going to war.  This was no accident.”  At first some thought it was.  The children were all upset.  They couldn’t think about anything but what they realized was an enormous amount of destruction .  They thought of other children who had lost parents, grandparents, siblings and/or other relatives–as well as thinking that children their own age also parished.  In 16 minutes, those kids gained a sense of their own mortality that some adults have not even yet grasped.

Then there was one boy in particular that I will call “Rocky”.    His parents were on a trip and he begged us all to try to call Dulles airport  to see what flight his parents were on.  He  began to cry and throw a fit.  I got him to calm down and had them try to call his older brother. When his brother came to the school, he sat down with Rocky and told him, “Rocky they were not at Dulles airport, they left from Dallas! I talked to them and they said they are fine and to let you know not to  worry.”  That calmed him down and he went back to class, but then he began thinking…He drew a picture of what he’d seen in his classroom.   Eventually these would become part of his own scrapbook.  He quickly told us how he felt sad for the kids whose parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, etc…would never come home.

Kids were drawing pictures for two weeks.  Even when trying to get on task, it was difficult for them to stay there.  As the days passed, they began writing letters and making cards for children they had never met.  No one has ever forgotten that day that lived through it–and no one who remembers it will ever forget it.  It is as engrained in our memories just as the memories of the attack on Pearl Harbor are engrained in the minds of another generation.

As the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden has begun to sink in, people have expressed every emotion imaginable–from grief for those lost because of the acts of this evil man–to fear for what may come at the hands of his underlings.  I don’t feel that there is any real closure as long as there are people who will follow such doctrines as al-Qaeda.  There will never be peace as long as those of this mentality are allowed to exert power over populations who fear them–and as long as they continue to murder and mutilate those who do not agree with them.  A population that is subjugated by fear and intimidation is never free.  Our forefathers knew that freedom came with a price.  That is one thing we must never forget.

Just as the battle cry at the Battle of San Jacinto was “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” after the slaughters Santa Anna was responsible for,  we must adopt a new battle cry as a nation.  This is far from over.  We knew this from the beginning.  In order to remain free, we must keep fighting until the last Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives are subdued, and the dictatorial leaders who support them put in their places once and for all.  Above all, we must not allow our own anxiety over things that haven’t happened to cripple us as a nation.  We shouldn’t have to be looking over our shoulders.  In this country, we should keep our eyes facing forward, never letting ourselves lose grip on the wheel for a second. When we do, that is when the “what ifs” start to creep in.

I have accepted that in order to keep what we have as a nation, we must fight off those who seek to destroy us.  There are those who simply want fighting to stop, even if it means we end up losing more than a simple pissing contest between political parties.  They live in their own world, where anyone who takes up arms in the military is an enemy to whatever it is they believe in and (God Forbid!) they keep arms to protect their own families and homes.  I may not own a gun, but it is imperative that those who are law-abiding be able to do so.

Our policemen our terribly outnumbered by street gangs and (soon) terrorists.  Our nation must remain vigilant and we must stop teaching its children lies about being a “good world citizen” because in the event that the fantasy of a one world system becomes a reality, who will be running it?  Iran?  China?  Some dictator with penis envy?  Think about it.  Nobody will convince me that one day the whole world will live in peace with open borders, and a world religion (much to the atheist’s dismay) will be suited to all.  As long as civilization has a tendency toward greed and lust for power, there will never be any such damned thing as “one world united”.  It won’t happen!  Somebody that is high up in power will always want to be in charge of it all, and there will always be people scheming in the wings to overthrow it–which will happen.  Alexander the Great tried to set up such crap before and his empire still fell.

Chew on that for a while.  In such a system, one group would have to be subjugated for the benefit of others.  That is a disaster waiting to happen.  It breeds resentment and discontent.  Eventually, it leads to overthrow–and has repeated itself in history many, many times…