In prison, the thing most constant on a prisoner’s mind is freedom. Remember that. I remember a guy that stayed in the same cellblock where I lived, and one night when it was time for Soul Train, I ran excitedly to his cell, giving him the good news. Soul Train was now airing. He looked me in the eyes and said that the last thing he wanted to see was sexy women. He said that he had a life sentence which meant that his career with women was officially over. That, in and of itself, was almost enough to make you want to escape. The next time I saw Biggs was about five years later at another prison. He was on the Mental Health Unit, the so-called ‘nut ward’. He was a zombie, so heavily medicated that he didn’t even know who I was. Looking at him, I thought that it would have much better for him to had tried to escape than to have let this happen to him. He was, for all practical purposes, dead. As a friend, I would have much rather to have seen him physically dead from an apparent escape attempt that to view him mentally and spiritually dead.
That was always the thing with brothas. We would rarely try to escape. We thought we were tough, so we would grit our teeth, and suffer. White convicts would jump the fence. Me, I didn’t think twice about trying to get missing if I had half a chance to pull it off.
Damn! If we could have pulled off that escape from Petersburg in 76′, that would have been one for the books. And we almost did it, and would have accomplished the mission, had it not been for someone telling on us. Snitching was almost unheard of back in the 70s, and virtually nonexistent in the prison system, but yeah, someone got us.
Man, I still get goosebumps from just reliving those moments. Like I said in another piece about the escape, I was scared although not scared in a cowardly fashion. No, this was the fear that men felt when they understood that death was right around the corner. Now, thanks to the new ‘get tough’ laws, convicts face another fear, one even greater than the fear I experienced at four in the morning, lying in damp gravel atop a two story prison building, desperately waiting for the flashing lights of our getaway car, informing us that it was a go. Can you imagine the fear that ensued when we realized that our getaway car was not coming? We were trapped outside the dorm, and could not get back in so there was nothing to do but continue the escape with the bad news that there would be no transportation and guns on the other side of the fence. We were, basically, abandoned, left to suffer whatever would come next.
What came next was the fear of getting shot at with automatic weapons. So what could possibly be worse than a four a.m. execution Well, it is the very real fear the convicts face of never, ever seeing their loved ones ever again!. It is that one gnawing fear that will give way to ‘the new hell’ that awaits this country. And couple this with another very, very real fear that every convict lives with.
Right this moment, convicts fear Donald Trump. Know why? The public may not be aware of this but convicts certainly are. There is a law that certifies the wholesale death of convicts in the event this country is ever invaded by a foreign enemy. In that eventuality, the prisoners would be locked in their cells and gas will be administered through the air vents. What a lovely way to die. This is no old wives’ tales, or a lost book from Mother Goose’s fairy tales. It is a thing that convicts believe with all their hearts.
What would be a greater strategy than for an invading army to free the prisoners, many of whom would gladly take up arms against the country who had spit in their faces, and locked them away, throwing away the key. But even if the convicts didn’t take up arms, it would be a logistics nightmare for America to attempt to round the prisoners up, and to fight a war at the same time. It was be anarchy!
With Trump in office, convicts are sweating, never sure if he will do something foolish, calling forth war. Things are already tense in the world of foreign affairs, and with the US and North Korea selling wolf tickets, who knows what the fuck might happen, and convicts might just decide not to stick around to find out. Busting out of jail is lot better than getting gassed while you are asleep in your cell.
Join the campaign to reform prison now. Your life depends on it.