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Prison Diaries: Dec 24 through Jan 7, 2011
Was able to get "new" call cleared, call Pili and shower last night during late rec time 2000-2200 hours. My group of three did not get much rec yesterday and the schedule had been altered several times. Thought we were not going to get rec time. Actually think if I had not asked a few times on cell checks that they would have not given it to us.
Getting a little dusting of snow this morning.
Call to Pili was another collect call – heard Andrew answer first – recording collect operator seemed to scare Andrew and he hung up. Called back in a few minutes and Pili answered.
So sweet to hear her voice. Relieved that kids are doing okay. Neighbors and friends so generous to Pili and offering any help that she needs. She says that the army is being nice to her, but it sounds to me like they are having her jump through hoops to get items that I don't think I need. Pili said I still have many supporters from what she hears. I received about ten letters and cards today. Very sweet and encouraging letters, even nearby Leavenworth resident offering to help family if they visit – pick up at airport. Loan them car etc. Pili said people are still writing congressmen and convening authority public affairs was getting e-mail storm.
Yesterday, as the SHR leader brought me about ten letters, he made comment that I have a fan club and was famous. I stated I never wished to be famous. He replied, "well, if I didn't work here, I would write you." not sure if he meant much by that, but in here, any kind or encouraging words are valuable.
This morning I submitted eight pages of suggested improvements and typo corrections to the "manual guidelines of inmates". It was a good exercise to find all typos and there were three to four significant errors, wrong references or similar mistakes. I submitted them with notations of this being respectful and humble submission to help them improve their manual.
Given an opportunity to excel this afternoon – three of us were released from cell this afternoon to clean the common areas for our thirty cell wing. Then we did same for north wing and included about twelve empty cells. Only mop, dust and followed by mopping. Worked about an hour and back to cells following that. Maybe that was our rec time.
12/25 Merry Christmas.
Uneventful day. Breakfast was unusually poor today along with dinner. Breakfast was cold processed waffles, two cold sausage links, thanks be to the two hard boiled eggs and yogurt. Dinner was cold hot dog salad without dressing, but good carrots. Getting a good workout in cell once or twice a day – although next cell over got yelled at for working out in his cell, told that is what rec time is for. But we cannot use outside gym because it has been declared too cold. The treadmill does not work that we moved in a few days ago, oo, I'm still working out in cell – or maybe I am really cleaning the floor with my shirt – while wearing it – not push-ups. Reading Bible and Wayne Dyers Inspirational that Greg gave me.
Again, doubt this will be a very eventful day. On holiday weekend schedule. I'll see if I can attend 8-9pm church service, but I am sure the answer will be "no" not reception status. Last night at rec time we (four of us) learned a lot from the MP's on duty. We learned about forms to fill out to request razor blades, and toilet paper. The inmate that came in just after me had written a calendar on his manual before reading that we are not to write on it. Advised to fill out request for new MPI or he would get disciplinary response later. Similar issue to me for trimming my belt – but I was given a reprimand. We did clean the whole common area again and mopped and cleaned additional empty cells. The two about 20'x20' court yards were swept up by fellow inmates. MP's trying to get pressure washer for us to do better job in courtyards. Too cold for us to use the multi gym outside though.
New set of MP guards – last night they were pretty noisy – letting doors slam, talking loud, dropping things and strumming on the table – I was close to getting up and complaining, but they quieted down. Today is holiday/training day so we are supposed to be able to sleep all we want. After breakfast the guards went around and told many guys to wake up – I was reading. But eventually several inmates asked about the holiday schedule – it took about thirty minutes for the guards to confirm with higher ups that we could sleep.
Worked out – yesterday decided to rest and not work out. Re-read my many letters from very kind people. Considering and jotting down ideas for a wellness book. Played cards – as always with our "group of four" – Gin Rummy is pretty hard game. Just finished dinner – fish was small but good. Lettuce/no pressing drain, fruit salad with big apple slices, raisins and mini marshmallows, dry rice, corn, chocolate cake and an orange. The one meal I wanted pepper, for the fish, and no pepper in the condiments – darn! Juice was unusually poor – pinkish colored yet only had flavor of when you leave water in a thermos that had kool-aid in it before. Yum!
Wow – 38 letters today from well wishing people. Many Christmas cards. Mother of three marines that is worried. Nice article from and e-mail about me with my address for letters.
The correctional to guys met with me today. Told them I would be astonished if I was put in max as the guy last week made me perceive I could. They were reluctant to commit. I think because they do not have my file I think they will go back and check and laugh if I am not min. several NCO did walk by and stated moving Thursday to gen pop most likely.
Called Pili. Pili said there was some media stuff about Obama's B.C. she said Gov. Abercrombie said he was going to release it. Chris Matthews was calling for its release. Have not seen any news since my court martial.
Did not have any word in – processing class until late morning – then we got one briefing in – a repeat. The commander came in and realized he was repeat also – for most of our group. There were two newer guys. He started to get things rolling and we had additional briefings that he made happen. But more word from senior NCO that several of us will be out to general population by Thursday evening. Tried to call Pili in early afternoon – but likely she is on her way – could not get through to any cell phones – including Pili, Greg's numbers.
Received 105 letters and cards today. Wow. Many make me cry, many inspirational, many inspired by my actions. Pretty profound – chapter in Dyer's book inspiration I read tonight – chapter 13 "inspiration in action". It is so on target: prayer of St. Francis: it is in giving that we receive, in order to receive inspiration we must be willing to give it away, and vice versa. Fits with so many letters I receive, inspired by them, yet the writers were inspired by me. Dyer also talks of taking action to inspire or receive inspiration. I think I have truly tried to always help others. I always stop to help people on the side of the road, pick up walkers or hitchhikers, try and repair flats, jumpstart, stop at accidents and render aid when others don't. all part of being "in spirit" with God.
Received new Bible from mail: NIV study Bible, from Prison Fellowship – helps me visualize time and maps much better.
May get to see Jackson for his third birthday Friday!!!
Got Christmas card pictures of family today – on desk, beautiful wife and kids.
We had a few classes, mostly repeat briefings. Seems like we will be moving. 1700 – We got to move out of the cell where there were six of us leaving for new cells.
All moved into a second level cell – I was alone but within two hours – actually I was at library and the senior NCO called me out early. Made me move to top bunk of lower room – big guy – huge arms is my cell mate. Real nice guy. But a bad unjust outcome and has three years.
Met librarian. Wanted to get my autograph for his mom. Words spreads quickly to most of inmates. Funny – when the three of us came in, we were getting briefed by NCO leader – he asked _________ and _____ what they did and how long, if they did not mind saying. He looked at me and said "I'm not going to lie – we all know about you, you're all over the news and newspapers." Toth was amazed – "what did you do man?"
Pili and kids came today. I was getting a little worried. Kids are so cute. Only had one hour and guard watching. Could not touch much. I got strip searched after – maybe they will come back tonight. Sounds like Greg and family will come up tomorrow.
Looks like we have no activities for this 4 day – people a little ticked off – only activity is to stay in common area. No library or indoor/outdoor rec. Pili and kids came in this morning. So wonderful to see them – sad that I cannot even hold Jack in my lap or hug anyone very long. jack wanted and tried to climb in my lap and I had to keep giving him to Pili :-( After my post-visitation strip search went back to the pod. Another inmate came and seemed a little nervous asking about my case – he had been one of several that made a nice effort to get to all the new guys and let us knowhow things work in the new area. We talked about Obama's birth issue for about thirty minutes.
Nice talk with my roommate too. Before dinner he showed me his family album – wonderful 16 year old son – star football, basket ball and baseball, honor student, two young girls – a tragedy in bad charges, such a good loving man – maybe our paths crossed – he would be a great teammate in fixing the UCMJ system.
Pili and kids visited again before dinner – Greg came too for last hour, so nice to see him. I told him I'm reading the Bible. As much as I told myself not to buck the army system I kept getting signs to do it.
Saw the sun shining through the windows in dinner line. First time since being shackled here I have seen the sun – so wonderful – I held up line for a while absorbing it.
January 7, 2011 AM
Already getting hard to keep track of days and day of week. Little to reference points – days seem similar. Very few clocks around. No watches, just awaken to follow directions of announcements from the overhead voice, check the desk a few times per day for appointments on to sign up for activities. If not for six month calendar I made for bookmark, I'd be struggling with the days.
Did not have much time to write yesterday. Had afternoon work and it was my first evening shift in library. We had four boxes of new books so the four of us library clerks were busy tagging the books in the afternoon. I think my evening shift was pretty busy since word got out about the new books.
Two nights ago I was able to get in a pretty good run on the track during afternoon rec. legs pretty sore today – need a few more runs before the legs will be good for better running, only doing three to four miles, but think in a few weeks I could do five to seven. Miles a few days a week with the limited time allowed. During outdoor rec the guards decided to stage a drill – one guard blowing his whistle while standing with another guard near the weight machines. All inmates go to a knee – or lie/fall down. Guards telling inmates to "carry on", then another screaming at us to "get down", "carry on" – this went back and forth about five or six times. Finally the guards had their response team in the area. They then had a little after-action about their response time and methods.
Received more mail this morning – had to go to mail room because someone sent me stamps and they take those away. Very nice gesture by people. But options are to "send home" or destroy. Gave me a good opportunity to ask why I have not received any stamps of my own yet – despite ordering the past two times. Our cell block SGT was there and said he would look into it. I should also ask why no toothbrush, no soap, no razors, no soap dish – but I'm doing ok with the temporary issue stuff still – so don't wish to cause problems.
Not to delve into too many problems – but amusing issue – cell block has a good number of showers but one section about 1/3 are cold, another section about 1/3 are scalding hot. So hot you need to just use washcloth and let water on washcloth cool before using as sponge bath. It got hotter last time I was there – so I dropped a communication form and called it a safety hazard for burn and scalding injuries. The cell block SGT came later and told me the command is tracking the issue and they have been waiting on a part for weeks. Later there were faculty maintenance guys working on it and fixed it. My roommate is very amused – he thinks they fixed it because I'm the LTC that reported it – all the other inmates have expressed the concern – but it was not addressed as urgently until I submitted concern.
Received 15 letters yesterday and 25 letters today. Such nice thoughts. Many copies of letters people are sending for Clemency consideration. Some with stamps and blank cards (all are taken and I send home to address. One letter had a pressed pansy flower in it (not taken – perhaps they did not see it) very beautiful and although not a great flowery fragrant – really nice to smell outdoor greenery. Roommate liked it too.
Please say "hi" and send my love to _________. I still have very little idea what is going on in the world now, even though I have a radio. I see and read the only paper we get at the library – USA Today – always two to three days old. TV channels are limited – but at least with radio I can have sound with it – they only broadcast TV sound to our little FM radio's with earbuds. I've seen a little local Kansas City news, Good Morning America and ESPN. No CNN, Fox, MSNBC or the like. Spanish Univision looks like good news – but I don't comprehend Spanish very well. The evenings I get out to run on the track – I have tried to tune in any kind of talk radio – but have not found any good stations that I can pick up. All news is from Pili or what some people send me of internet stories.
Still have not had any stamps given to me – so I am limited by the government envelopes to send you letters.
I may be able to start typing letters. If I get some paper – I'm starting to complain about not getting stamps, paper, toothbrush etc. I can make do – since I am in prison – but now I am tired of the treatment and excuses. Perhaps getting too involved in jailhouse issues – but little things mean a lot to inmates. I'm told maybe I'll get more phone numbers (besides Pili's) added January 17th. many guys say the DB (detention barracks) next door for the 5yr+ to lifers has a lot more organization and freedoms that we do in this new faculty. Certainly does not compensate for the horrible stories I hear about though.
I truly appreciate all the kind letters and cards I receive – I have a stack of letters to write back to people – but I cant use up my limited envelopes. Sigh.... Sometimes I feel I a, repeating myself to you (writing journal entries, writing Pili and now writing you) so if this is repeating info I've already said – sorry.
My roommate is an incredible example of injustice and maybe racism leading to conviction. (I have little reason to not believe him). He is a pretty squared away gentleman, professional NCO. Great Christian, great singing voice and learner of the church service, plus 57" suit size with arms to go with it. he is a great roomie to assist me in my religious studies. He has the greatest positive attitude and influence on a lot of inmates that need guidance. You (and everyone) would like this gentleman.
It is likely that I will get out before him. But I would like to do anything to help him get a new trial on paper. Then I think he would be a great force to demand change in the UCMJ too.