Feb. 1, 2019

Dear Outside World

by Christopher Trotter (author's profile)


Dear Outside World, 1/16/19

Right this moment as I sit inside the belly of the beast (prison cell)
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I've been incarcerated now
for 35 years, and 20 of those years were spent in solitary confinement,
in a windowless cell 23 hours a day.
This time in prison has taken everything from me and turned it into
nothing. I see nothing good and feel everything that is bad. This time has
drained the life out of me and has stolen my love, compassion, humanity,
forgiveness; and replaced it with idleness and nothing to grasp.
Empty now as a shell, I move soulless amoungst myself. What did I do
to deserve all this?
I came to prison in 1983 to serve a four (4) year sentence for petty theft,
and with just three (3) months left before my release to freedom; I was
forced to put my freedom on hold all because some bad prison guards decided
to beat a prisoner while handcuff and shackled with a club. Why did I just
stay out of it and go home?
Well, as a child, I grew up in a household were my father was very abusive
towards my siblings and mother. I became the protector of the family and
everytime my father would go on one of his violent rages, I would intervene
on behalf of my siblings and mother, and I would take the blunt of the beating.
So on the cold morning of February 1, 1985, all I did was what I grew up doing,
and that was helping someone who couldn't help themselves. How does the story end?
To be totally honest, I truly don't know how things will end. Right now, I'm doing
my best to stay in a positive mental state and take it one day at a time. But
each day and each step I take gets harder and harder. I haven't given up but at
times it's hard to find the strength that is needed to keep on fighting; especially
inside this belly of the beast that is very dark and negative. What do I need to
make it?
Right now, I could use letters of support and encouragement. Just knowing that
someone out there in the free world cares, could be the difference between life
and death.

Strong But Human
Christopher Trotter
WVE N-323 #862556
P.O. Box 1111

All letter must be written on white line paper only,
and mailed in plain white envelope only!


Replies (14) Replies feed

Julia Posted 5 years, 4 months ago. ✓ Mailed 5 years, 4 months ago   Favorite
Dear Christopher Trotter,
I just transcribed your post, followed the earlier ones too, my heart goes out to you, I wish you strength and courage in this difficult time.
Warm greetings,

ilryes Posted 4 years, 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
Mr. Trotter
I am so glad we have this forum here, to enable communication. I have not forgotten about you. We are connected(so to speak). I've read your description and explanation of the events that happened on Fri. morning Feb 1st 1985. Why you are choosing to leave out another part of the events that happened that morning is very obvious. It takes away the value of presenting yourself as a victim of a system that treated you unfair.
Let's start with L. Love. That morning from what I understand he did not want to leave his cell. There were suspicions that Love might have possessed one or all of the following; drugs, contraband, or weapons. The guards then decided to investigate by way of "shake down". Apparently Love decided to "flex his muscles" in a fit of rage by nearly destroying everything in his cell(toilet from wall..etc, etc. You and I both agree that the beating of Love that morning was a complete wrong judgement call. However, we don't agree on the reasons why it was wrong. You thought you were saving a life. I thought it was stupid and unprofessional of the guards that were involved to do a display beating of an inmate in front of other inmates. Lincoln Loves criminal record was lengthy. I firmly believe that a free Lincoln Love would have not thought twice about committing crimes on your family. I also don't believe he was worth spending the rest of your entire life locked up. I'm aware you only had a few years left to serve. AMAZING HOW SOME SPLIT SECOND DECISIONS AFFECT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

But let's move on here. I will tell the rest of the story here. You had a need to see how badly injured Love was. The only way to find out is to get to the infirmary. To get to the infirmary you had to enter into an area of which you were not authorized to be. The guard in the tower saw you and inmate Cole proceeding to the infirmary. The guard disregarded direct orders to fire upon you and Cole. You made it to the infirmary. Little did you know that Love had already been transferred to Wishard. Upon entering the infirmary you asked the guard at the door(his job was to take passes that morning) where Love was at. The guard explained that Love was already taken to Indianapolis. RAGE TROTTER IS NOW FEELING!! The result of the
rage, the unarmed guard was maliciously stabbed on the right side of his abdomen. Another result of the RAGE, you and Cole decided to destroy cabinetry and medical equipment in the infirmary. You decided to go back to "J" cell-block, but your thoughts were still full of rage. On your way out, you stopped and looked down at the wounded guard. He pleaded with you that you had already stabbed him. Your reply before you stabbed him again was, "DIE MOTHER-FUCKER".
I know the story. I have heard and seen you say that you don't regret what you did that day.

Tenzin Posted 4 years, 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
You began your letter, 'Dear Outside World'
I begin my letter, 'Dear Inside World'
Impulsive, angry, enraged, furious,most human beings at one time or another run the gamut of those emotions. But normally we internalize them and are rational mind warns of the consequences of those actions and we calm down, or walk away. Men are far more impulsive than women, women at more emotional, we tend to shout scream throw things.
You got good and mad that day you attacked the guard. You felt you had to put a perceived wrong to rights.
It wasn't your job.
There is a rule among prisoners that the guards are the enemy.
You bought into that. The whole love hate and the jail and the jailers hate you.
They don't hate you. At their very worst they are 'indifferent' to you. They have a job to do and if they didn't do it your family and the people you love would be in danger.
You need to open your eyes and your ears and start paying attention to who is trying to reprogram you and why.
You aren’t reviled. You are loved. You are a child of the cosmos, and a person in the world.
I hadn’t noticed the post was dated January of this year. It popped up as new on my notification.
Reply back here to me if you can. I am on the move and not at home for a while.
Thank you.

1985 was a lifetime ago. The parole board needs to be convinced that person of violence is no more.
Maya Angelou said, When I knew better I did better.
Do better. Be better. Think better. Act better.
Isn't it ironic that the name of the person you tried to avenge, and who made all this trouble for you was named 'Love'

ilryes Posted 4 years, 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
You had your day in court. The officer at the infirmary took the stand. The prosecutor pointed at you and asked the officer, "is this the man that stabbed you the morning of Feb 1st". The officers reply was "no". The prosecutor somewhat puzzled responded, "that's not the man the stabbed you"? Officers reply, "no...that's the man that tried to kill me". RESULT: Trotter is convicted of attempted murder on top of other charges.
On the afternoon of Feb 1st 1985, I reported to work. Almost upon arriving I was told that an emergency phone call was received. I was told MY FATHER WAS IN THE HOSPITAL. I immediately set out on the 130 mile drive to St. Johns in Anderson, IN. Whatever reason it was, I tuned into a local AM radio station in Marion, IN. Coincidentally they were reporting the news at that very moment. Then I heard this, "here's an update on the situation at the Pendleton reformatory". They stated that there was a riot, a cell block had been overtaken, officers have been injured, one officer (Jack Melling) was critical. Now I can't get there fast enough. Now I'm feeling rage, and helplessness.
I'll never forget that day! Nor have I ever forgotten your name. The only justice that I believe was not handed down in this incident was that the tower guard was never charged as an accessory to attempted murder.

Tenzin Posted 4 years, 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
Patrick Melling. You may as well be standing in a prison cell beside Trotter. You are locked up too.
Until the narrative in prisons is changed that the guard is a 'target' the enemy, nothing will change.
I've known violence in my life. A man cut my father's throat open in front of me.He did it with a beer bottle that he smashed against a counter top. I still remember the brown glass of the bottle, the remaining green label hanging off it and the red of the blood pumping from his neck, his hand clenched around it and his fingers with rivers pouring through them.
He didn't die, lived to tell the tale. No one went to jail for it.But I became very unBuddhist for several years plotting and dreaming of revenge.
The prison system has ravaged Christopher Trotter. You got your 'pound of flesh
I suggest you do one of two things, forget him or forgive him.
I'm not the person I was in 1985, neither are you and Christopher Trotter maybe isn't
With hope.

MrMisery13 Posted 4 years, 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
All I can say is WOW! vI never expected this. THere are so many things wrong with this scenario. First, that a guy who is literally nothing, a ghost, has triggered so many people lashing out at him. He is dead. In a way more dead than even his victims. He knows it. Thats why he left stuff out. He hopes he will be able to evoke compassion, from someone. And He isnt likely going to get it if he tell all of the grisly details. But he is still not 100% at fault. When you have guards who are more suitable to be in there than the guy s they are guarding...well shit like this happens. Indiana still hasn't learned there lesson. Newcastle 2007. I was there. I saw the news and I experiernced the guard who laid hands on an inmate. It was because he didnt have the proper uniform. But so what if it had been for drugs? THat one foolish ingnorant person says Love was justified in being cuffed and beaten because he had drugs? you are sick. Please seek help. Seriously. I bet youo are a prison official. Drugs are NO reason to hand cuff and beat a man to the point he was infirm.
The day of the 2007 riot, I saw the news after. They claimed it was because we were moved acrosss the country. They left out the part about physical abuse from guards. Cruel and Unusual punishment is what the founders called it. They also left out the parts where inmates from my state escorted females out of the prison to save them from getting raped from the pitiful and disgusting sex offenders that none of us knew were among the ranks of the Indiana guys. Otherwise it would have been a much different day. By time we found out there was massive smoke heaps and live ammo being fired. It was a mess. NO one got raped though.
The guard at the infirmary stabbed himeself the day he turned a blind eye to his abusing collegues.
The war is not between the convicts and the guards. It is between good and evil. And no one ever thinks they are on the side of evil. But the devils finest trick is convincing people he does not exist. But he does. You all know it. Anyone who hasnt found any sort pf peace since 1985? Well I would reevaluate the way you see this situation. I had to. 10 and a half years with No victim. Try doing that. Then you will know what true injustice looks and feels like. Everything else has a reason. It might not be a good one. But with no victim there can be no reason. I wish you all peace love and empathy

Christopher Trotter Posted 4 years, 6 months ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

tenzintenzin Posted 4 years, 6 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 5 months ago   Favorite
Hello Christopher.
Unfortunately there was a big portion of your letter that was blanked out,a third of the way down on the first letter. probably a copying error, or printing.
Anyway. I'm glad you got the Iyanla Vanzant quote. I love that woman and everything she says, I have every one of her books. So much wisdom given and she has had such a hard challenging life.
Bishop T D Jakes is another one. He says ‘ I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It's a gift you give yourself.” Atonement is very much a part of that.
Congratulations on passing the PLUS course. Nice one. Keeping your mind pointing forward and working to get out of prison eventually, a you should do.
Trouble with forgiveness is that some people just cant. Others look at it as a form of weakness. And perhaps letting their loved one down in some way.Unfortunately in my experience it always seemed to be those who profess a Christian belief, yet are unable to adhere to the basic of the precepts, to forgive and love. I would ask you to reach out to this family, if only to let them know that they are in your thoughts and prayers. So in light of that create your own atonement. Live your life better. Few of us are the same people we were ten, twenty, thirty years old, it is inane to assume we were. We all change, true, some people get worse, but most improve with time, like good wine. Perhaps try and reach out again to that particular C.O.s family. He who dares, as they say. Are there any reparation courses run from jail where a second party, maybe a chaplain or preacher could act as a go between to start up a dialogue between you all? We Buddhists say that holding into hate is like holding a hot coal in your hand and expecting someone else to get burned. It may be helpful to them.
But it comes down to the fact that we here on the outside have absolutely no comprehension about what living inside a correctional facility is like, and it’s effects on a person who finds themselves within this ‘microcosm’ with completely new rules and customs and violence. Coupled with the onus of living with remorse.
In another photo of you I saw some dreadlocks, what happened to them?
Well keep on keeping on. I hope you have a great Christmas and hear from you in the New Year. Have a great one.

Christopher Trotter Posted 4 years, 5 months ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

tenzintenzin Posted 4 years, 5 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 4 months ago   Favorite
Hello Christopher
Hope you are in good form mentally and spiritually. Well Christmas came and went and now it’s 2020 a new decade!
You did well being in solitary that length of time and re re-emerging into the world unscathed, but I doubt I would have been the same. If people are held in solitary for that much time in other parts of the world, like for example in the Arabian states the USA is quick to condemn them, yet still meters out this punishment itself.
I got quite scared when Trump assassinated the Iranian general. If the guy was such a big terrorist then why was that the first time I ever heard his name? Trumps kids and their offspring will never join the military so why is he making decisions that we will pay for? I despise this orange buffoon he is dangerous. But he will get another term so we have to brace ourselves for that. I hope this is his last outing in the missiles room, or wherever they decide these these things. I can’t remember who said it, but it was written somewhere that the last war we fight will not be because of oil or land, it will be about culture and religion. People who are super rich, don’t understand how to run countries or create problems in the world. The minute a 5 minute warning goes off Trump will be ten stories underground surrounded by people who will take a bullet for him.
There was a terrible article this week about inmates in a jail in Mississippi. The water coming out the tap was brown, and the food in trays was unrecognisable as something you would actually eat. It was like something from the days of medieval times that peasants would eat. Jay Z has threatened legal action over it, hopefully they might get shamed into making some much needed changes.
Do you have to share a cell?
Cutting your hair like that reminds me of the story of Samson from the Bible. I’m a Buddhist but I have read it. Although the film with Victor Mature immediately comes to mind. When he had his hair cut because they believed that’s where his strength was, but he regrew it and toppled the temple. Keeping dreads clean in jail probably difficult.
So you work outside. What’s the weather like where you are? I live just outside London inUK it’s cold now but no snow yet.
Thanks for replying. Look after yourself.

Christopher Trotter Posted 4 years, 2 months ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

tenzintenzin Posted 4 years, 2 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 2 months ago   Favorite
Hello Christopher
Hope you are fit and well and corona free.Its a solid spring day today. I should get the mower and and attack the garden but I have zero energy. The lockdown is a terrible thing. Supermarkets limit shopping, people are panic buying. Stuff is rationed, for some reason toilet paper is in short supply.
Work wise I’m retired. Medical retirement my back and hips are messed up. I used to work in central London in a travel shop. Had my heart set on writing but never pushed hard at it. Wrote a few screenplay and had short stories published. My daughter is very artistic hopefully she makes something of her life doing what she loves.
I’m glad you get out and about with the ground work. Some people shut in 24 7. Thing with this virus and the prison is you are in one of two positions. Either it will protect you because you are isolated, or it will run rampant through the facility.Hopefully it will be the first one. It seems to be the elderly that are affected here. Although our prime minister has it. The regular flu can drop you on your arse pretty rapidly, that’s a killer too.
Weather wise the UK got a couple of heatwaves last year, 35c which is very hot. I’m not a fan of heat. When I lived in India you couldn’t go out at midday because the heat would kill you. Couldn’t breathe, air quality was horrible. The UK gets a lot of rain. We had only one day of snow here in the south east, so that was good.
Hope you are good, look after yourself.
All the best T

Christopher Trotter Posted 4 years, 2 months ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

ilryes Posted 4 years, 2 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 2 months ago   Favorite
Mr. Trotter
First, thank for your reply and let me commend you on your continued efforts of self improvement, and your desire for more education. That helps me believe that you are truly contrite, remorseful, and a different person today than you were then. To be completely honest with you, about 8 yrs. ago, by chance, I happened to be browsing through the channel guide on television, and it just happened that a documentary of Indiana prisons was being aired. I thought to myself, "I'll watch that". The unexpected shock was that you were a big part of that show. One of the topics was, was that you were being brought back into population from solitary. I was enraged when you went before the board and said "I don't regret what I did that morning, I was trying to save a life". No mention of what crimes you committed that morning. I was also angered that the producers of this documentary had no regard for, or any attempt to try to contact, my father( I sent emails to the production team...no reply).
I also have to say a Lucinda Boyd enrages the hell out of me as well. My feeling is if you are going to be supportive of a persons plight, at least give the whole story.
I am happy to read that, in your reply, you seem to be assuming responsibility.
What's done is done. I don't think I need to continue to tell you that L. Love was not worth the long term punishment that you've endured. As I've said, I have no doubt a free L. Love would have committed crimes on your family if he was a free L. Love.
I really had a need for you to read what that day was like for myself.
I was made aware of your appeal for clemency. My father could not be present for reasons you've mentioned.
As for my father, as you know, he did survive that morning, there are permanent psychological scars. He's 91yrs old. His health is fragile. The letter you sent probably was returned because he and my mother don't live in the house I grew up in anymore.
Your efforts in prison I'm only guessing have elevated you into a leadership role and possibly a mentor to many. You don't have your freedom but it sounds like you have a lot of self-respect and self-esteem. You can't buy those qualities.
I am a forgiving person. I accept your desire for forgiveness, and I do forgive you. I respect that you assume responsibility for your actions. My desire for you is that you continue with your self-improvement, and your mentoring. There is a great deal of positive things you can accomplish.
Mr. Trotter
I wish you a very sincere
Patrick Melling

We will print and mail your reply by . Guidelines

Other posts by this author


Get notifications when new letters or replies are posted!

Posts by Christopher Trotter: RSS email me
Comments on “Dear Outside World”: RSS email me
Featured posts: RSS email me
All Between the Bars posts: RSS