Daniel L. VandeBogart
T-81483 MCI Norfolk
P.O. Box 43
Norfolk, MA 02056
Dear Blog, 4-17-12
Hello people and peopletttes, I am sorry I let a month lapse since my last entry. I wish I had a colorful excuse but the truth is the days just blend together in here and I need to make these entries more a part of my daily routine.
I would like to thank Spryte for all of your creative ideas for bathing in a dry county. :) They are definitely better than my idea of laying on my back and spitting straight up, a technique my cellie objects to (quite vociferously).
A little creativity goes a long way in here. Consider the numerous ways inmates can get into trouble. Making home brew (wine) using everything from jelly to jolly ranchers. Making tattoo guns using typewriter motors or computer modem motors and ink from gel pens or soot and toothpaste. Or the hundred and one tools that can be duplicated with a pair of fingernail clippers (or it's industrial sized cousin, the toenail clipper). :)
Hmm... that seems like a good topic for future entries - "how to survive prison with creativity." :)
We all share our many ideas at our version of the water-cooler, "the yard." Everyone walks the compound in their small groups, exchanging the days' gossip, bragging about the great "scores" they had in the past, or trading ideas for future endeavors. Some of the conversations are about as lame as you might expect and a hen house has nothing on the gossip some of these guys can involve themselves in.
But, occasionally, intelligence does win out and an intellectual conversation can spring up and develop into a refreshing round table workout for the grey matter.
I make a conscious effort to avoid what I call the Jerry Springer rants, there is just way too much of that in here, and in the world as a whole. Why are so many negative television shows so popular? For instance "Survivor," the premise of which seems to be who can be the most underhanded, conniving, deceitful, and manipulative person, and that person is awarded a large cash prize at the end of the game. This show and many just like it have become so popular that you can't go by any water cooler where it's no being discussed.
This promotes the very worst behaviors in human nature, and people flock to it on the edge of their seats waiting to see who will be manipulated off the island. I live this in here, why has this become entertaining?
The Jerry Springer show makes no allusions to anything but the pain and suffering it sensationalizes. The sole draw of that show is to see someone have a horrible secret dumped on them for everyone to see while a frothing audience eggs them into violence. Is this what we are? Is this the modern day version of gladiators being torn apart for the amusement of a mob, and make no mistake, those audiences are just that, a barely restrained mob. Is it any wonder that anytime a home team is successful at some sporting event the kids cause so much destruction. That is what we are being taught is acceptable behavior, we are in fact encouraging this behavior by sensationalizing it with television.
Am I way off? Ask yourself how many of the most popular reality shows get their ratings from the most negative aspects and who is watching?
A while ago the local press made a lot of noise about prisons allowing inmates video games and cable T.V. On the one hand the idea is this place should be punishment and inmates comfort is low on the list of society's worries. Yet the future is important and most inmates will return to the general population, in fact, next door to a lot of you. So the question is what kind of person should be reintroduced into society --- someone who has just spent the past few years watching Jerry Springer and Survivor, or someone who has been watching A&E, Discovery, ESPN, and Bravo? There are those who would argue against television altogether, but the reality is T.V. is a necessary part of prison, without it, the "good behavior" incentive is gone and this place would be dark and dangerous, when who are you releasing into your neighborhoods?
That seems to be one of the major flaws in the argument for tougher prisons - is anyone really taking into account the future, the release date and the consequences of the years of abusive treatment? Consider a dog in a small cage, would you feel comfortable maltreating him for years then opening his cage with your family around you - or consider taking a dog who has been mistreated all its life, and over a period of time show it love, kindness, patience and work with positive reinforcement, then open the gate in the presence of your family.
Prisoners can be reeducated and can become productive members of society but only if society wills it - otherwise the answer is to release no one lest a monster be loosed in your neighborhood.
Wow - quite a rant, but I invite any and all feedback. If you think I'm off base I'd like to hear your ideas. For now I'll send this and hope you all live each day to the fullest, enjoy your life and find ways to smile each and every day because a smile trumps gloomy any day. :)
LAR, I was then and have always been. Time goes by but that is true for us all. In yer window ;)
Daniel L. Van de Bogart
T-81483 MCI Norfolk
P.O. Box 43
Norfolk, MA 02056
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2012 nov 24