Jan. 21, 2018

Some Thoughts

From Prometheus Writes! by Nathaniel Lindell (author's profile)

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Some Thought - created 15 Jan. 2017
by Nate A. Lindell

I just finished watching The Brave, and - despite the certain adverse reactions that many will have to my audacious associations (y'all know how much I care about that...) - it made me think of the plight of people in prison. Dig these similarities:
- Most prisoners, guards and soldiers come from modest means.
- Prisoners, guards and soldiers are all engaged in a conflict created by "higher authorities" (i.e. gangs, supervisors, the wealthy/connected, politicians, bureaucrats) that these actors see as "just the way it is";
- prisoners, guards and soldiers destroy each other;
- prisoners, guards and soldiers do not receive appropriate care for the injuries (both physical and psychological) they sustain from being faithful pawns - this is getting better for soldiers, who lethally enforce their masters' will, but has never been considered for prisoners (prisoners experience, in many cases, more murder, violence and torture than most soldiers will experience, excepting soldiers who are P.O.W.s);
- most prisoners, guards and soldiers are ignorant of or indifferent to their lots as puppets - they accept it.

Several years ago, a "good" Christian lady, a prison psychologist, told me and a group of other prisoners that "prison doesn't cause P.T.S.D." - one prisoner cussed her out for that lie. Being "cared for" by guards who are breaking the bones of those around you, fingering buttholes as punishment and inciting prisoners to try and kill those who "snitch" on such guards are sufficient "traumas" that can trigger P.T.S.D, per the D.S.M.I - but the "good guys" in power don't have to acknowledge their badness, so they don't. Having the guy next to you butchered or raped or being put in a position where you must butcher or be butchered are also all adequate traumas for causing P.T.S.D., common in prisons.

However, the public is well aware of all of these common scenarios in prison, and the violence soldiers face. And, for the most part, the public doesn't care, not even when the monster made in prison are released and kill, rape, molest, rob them or their neighbours. For the most part, the public relishes the inter-generational degradation and violence that their political idols permit, cause and amplify, like the spectators of events in Roman coliseums of old. Desperate housewives, for example, are titillated at the tales we tell them about foot-long knives getting stuck on bone and their owners putting all their weight on them to grind them on through, piercing bodies and knocking out chunks of concrete in the floor: been there, told the tales.

So, yeah, I give no fuck about offending such voyeur, cowardly sadists. I shed no tears for them when karma occasionally pinches their asses, nor do I gain satisfaction. Once a week a Christian lady comes in and speaks with me - not about her cult; she'd only end up crying... like she did when we first met - and I discuss such things, and cheerier subjects. Yet her hands remain bloody, as she declines to retract her support for the system responsible and guards and soldiers. (Hell, Christianity is behind a lot of it!) She observes laments, maybe prays, then keeps walking, like the bad priest in Luke's tale of a good Samaritan (Samaritans were basically deemed Atheists by "good" Jews, at that time.)

Much of what I'm saying is surely seen as "mean" and heartless. It's not that I wish to be mean or heartless, but that those perceiving my words as such have embraced a view of social reality that is carcinogenic to others, including myself and when I expose this it's like I'm pouring antiseptic on their wound, like I'm "judging" them vs. their belief. Lies can be comforting, such as the Santa Claus myth many kids are taught. Lies can hurt people too, and their happy believers can stifle the development of hearts - such true believers have no moral high ground to call others heartless, just because they are blind to their own heartlessness.
There will be no spoonful of sugar with this medicine. Yes, I know those who need it have already stopped reading, or never will read this. C'est la vie.
Don't confuse my sad observations about humanity with me being a misanthrope. If I thought humanity was hopelessly lost, I wouldn't waste my time writing this. Humanity has some serious problem, which can be fixed, but only after they've been diagnosed: and my prison cell distances me enough that I can analyse such things more objectively than all the wage - and smartphone - slaves, who are too busy living to consider the nature of their society.

Another scoff-worthy characteristic of our society. Right after insecure mostly white people voted the Great Pumpkin in as President (#ThemToo, because Trump sure has been and will be fucking over working-class white people, their natural environment, their healthcare, their education), the justifiably insecure petite bourgeoisie seek their own idol/savior/"furor" - Oprah, another billionaire. Clearly such people, on both the Right and Left, are blind to the patheticness of their craving to be slaves, wish to worship a person (who's gonna fuck someones over), a very un-American quality (this country wasn't founded by fanboys/fangirls and those trusted in leadership positions got there due to proving their public service, not by entertaining chuckleheads).

Again, if your feelings feel hurt, ask yourself "why?" One of the supernerds I deem a friend recently asked me hat it'll take to get a critical mass of people to understand such things as those discussed herein, specifically what will it take to get people to realize that the proper treatment for mentally/emotionally ill/disturbed people, which prison is full of (the guy next to me is diagnosed with schizophrenia, bi-polar, P.T.S.D., and Multiple-Personality Disorder, takes over 30 meds), is not torment but humane treatment.

Obviously documentaries and exposes haven't worked, because 60 minutes, 20/20, HBO, USA Today, ad nauseum have all revealed the common phenomenon of incarcerating and abusing the mentally ill. WI media has beat the public over the head with stories about Milwaukee police shooting a mentally ill prisoners here, yet.... So, exposes haven't helped, haven't distracted voters from the greed or stripped them of the ignorance that are largely responsible for the cruel, ineffective system that unabatedly persists.
Who's really the misanthropist?
The system can't force habilitation on prisoners (most weren't habilitated in the first place, so "re" doesn't apply), and enlightened humans can't force enlightenment on those in power. (I'll be pondering this inverse dilemma....)

Appreciate it if you help me by sharing this post and by ordering me postage-embossed envelopes: JLMarcusWisconsin.com item #8039, up to six 5-packs allowed.

Nate A. Lindell #303724
WI Sec. Prog. Facility
1101 Morrison Drive, Boscobel, 53805

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Camille Posted 2 months ago. ✓ Mailed 1 month, 4 weeks ago   Favorite
Hi Nate,
My name is Camille, I am writing to you from France. So congratulations, your writings have made it to the other side of the Atlantic!
I hesitated to write to you for a long time because I didn’t know what to say, and everything I wrote felt stupid and boring, but I wanted you to know that I really enjoy reading your thoughts on so many different topics and that I think it is very generous and brave of you to share all of this with us who read your blog.
I have always been interested in prisons in general, and especially in the daily lives of the people who live inside them. Until a few months ago, I didn’t know much about the American prison system but I am spending a lot of time reading and learning about it. I actually decided to devote a school project to this topic for my American history class (I am a fourth year student). I believe that to learn about something, there is no better way to do it than by listening to the people who experience it every day, so here I am!
My point is that it is important to have voices like yours coming from these places which most people ignore, so I sincerely hope you will keep writing.


Take care,
A bientôt j’espère
Camille

Nathaniel Lindell Posted 1 month, 1 week ago.   Favorite
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Nathaniel Lindell Posted 3 weeks, 4 days ago.   Favorite
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Camille Posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago. ✓ Mailed 2 weeks ago   Favorite
Hi Nate,
I hope you are well. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer, I had a great time reading your letter!
Sorry for the slow reply, I’ve been really busy with exams and papers. Don’t worry, I’m not writing to you hoping that you will write my essays for me, I actually just finished this year of university. :) Now that I am done with school, I will have time to read more of your essays, I will tell you what I think of them.
Writing to you both in French and English is not a problem, I’m an English major (in France it means studying American and British literature, history, linguistics) so I’ll get to practice my English and improve my translation skills. But since I am using the blog and writing on the computer, I will write in English then in French (or the other way around, tell me if you have a preference), I don’t want it to be sent to you all messed up. I would rather send handwritten letters to you as I think they are more personal but using the blog seems more reliable than the mail since I’m in France. I spent a year in Canada and a lot of my letters were not delivered so I don’t want to take risks. I’ll try and send you one through the mail in a few days to see if you get it.
I think it’s great that you’re helping other inmates with legal stuff, it’s really generous of you. It’s really interesting to read about your daily life, even though it seems really difficult. I find it crazy that our main concerns are so different. A few years ago (I think I was 18 or 19), I had the chance to visit someone in prison (we didn’t know each other before) and talk to him for a while. When I walked into the prison, I did not think I had any prejudices about incarcerated people but when we started talking I realized I was still surprised that he was just a normal person that I could have run into on the street, that we were just two regular people having a regular, nice conversation. I’m telling you this because this experience really made me think (about prisons, detention conditions, who we put in prison, why, if they actually work and why they don’t, alternative sentencing…) and might be part of what encouraged me to write to you.
Take care,
Camille

Camille Posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago. ✓ Mailed 2 weeks ago   Favorite
Salut Nate,
J’espère que tu vas bien. Merci beaucoup d’avoir pris le temps de me répondre, j’ai beaucoup apprécié lire ta lettre !
Désolée de te répondre si tard, j’étais très occupée par les examens et les dossiers à rendre. Ne t’inquiète pas, je ne t’écris pas en espérant que tu écrives mes essais à ma place, je viens juste de terminer cette année d’université.  Maintenant que j’ai terminé l’école, j’aurai le temps de lire tes essais, je te dirai ce que j’en pense.
T’écrire en français et en anglais n’est pas un problème, j’étudie l’anglais (en France, ça veut dire étudier la littérature, l’histoire américaine et britannique et la linguistique) donc ça me permettra de pratiquer l’anglais et d’améliorer mes compétences en traduction. Mais étant donné que je t’écris sur le blog et donc l’ordinateur, je t’écrirai en anglais puis en anglais (ou l’inverse, dis-moi si tu as une préférence), je ne veux pas que la mise en page pose problème. Je préférerais t’envoyer des lettres écrites à la main, je les trouve plus personnelles mais utiliser le blog me semble plus fiable que par courrier postal étant donné que je suis en France. J’ai passé un an au Canada et beaucoup de mes lettres n’ont pas été livrées donc je ne veux pas prendre de risques. J’essaierai de t’en envoyer une par courrier dans quelques jours pour voir si tu la reçois.
Je trouve ça super que tu aides d’autres détenus avec leurs problèmes juridiques, c’est très généreux de ta part. C’est très intéressant de lire ce que tu écris au sujet de ta vie quotidienne, même si celle-ci a l’air très difficile. Je trouve ça fou que nos préoccupations soient si différentes. Il y a quelques années (je crois que j’avais 18 ou 19 ans), j’ai eu la chance de rendre visite à une personne en prison (on ne se connaissait pas avant) et de lui parler pendant un moment. Quand je suis rentrée dans la prison, je ne pensais pas avoir de préjugés sur les personnes incarcérées mais quand nous avons commencé à parler, j’ai réalisé que j’étais quand même surprise qu’il soit une personne normale que j’aurais pu croiser dans la rue, que nous n’étions que deux personnes normales, en train de parler normalement. Je te dis ça parce que cette expérience m’a vraiment fait réfléchir (sur les prisons, les conditions de détention, qui on envoie en prison, pourquoi, si elles marchent et pourquoi elles ne marchent pas, les peines alternatives…) et qu’elle fait probablement partie des raisons pour lesquelles j’ai décidé de t’écrire.
Bonne continuation,
Camille

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