Editor's note - Ryan's father passed along some important information. "'For those sending books, bear in mind it can take another two weeks to get from prison office to Ryan's cell. And thanks for sending them, of course'. ~Kemo's Pappy" Thanks for the update. Information regarding books sent to Ryan can be found here.
I am hoping to have more entries on the story of my past soon (if there is interest) but I have to steel myself for becoming totally honest, and to be honest, I'm not there yet. So to add some weight to this blog, I want to discuss the human condition. That also isn't true. First I want to talk about my good friend and the creator of this blog, John. Most of you reading this are familiar with John. He's one of those people who always, not sometimes, do what they say they are going to do. This isn't an affront to anyone, only a truth which sadly, I am not guilty of. John is also annoyingly smart; annoying because he's smarter than me. Mostly I just want to thank him for the great books he sends me and for getting this set up so fast. He's also the reason this is so readable as my spelling is as bad as my penmanship. So, with all dick-sucking aside, back to THE HUMAN CONDITION.
It is true that a person can get used to anything. Prison being the least horrible in the grand scheme of horrible things. I think where prison fails in it's attempt to rehabilitate is it's misunderstanding of this most basic condition.
It has to do with the ease of living the longer you're here. A man who has his arm cut off is in agony and pain, then he will most likely become severely depressed, especially if this happens to be his primary arm used for jerking off, or had the sweetest tattoo, or simply because it's HIS fucking ARM. Then comes an acceptance and, the most important thing here, adaptation in his lifestyle to fit this change. This is a permanent change. This guy has to buy all left-handed cups, re-learn how to drive his manual-transmission car, or *gasp* stop riding his motorcycle, learn to have a gentle, loving hook touch, etc. Christ, wiping his ass will now be an action that has to be considered before just jumping in.
All of this is after he has screamed and cursed God, pounded his chest and claimed everyone within shouting distance to be at fault. It's after he hides in his house and contemplates killing himself quietly because his pride doesn't allow open talk of such a taboo subject, not to mention the logistics of one-armed suicide.
Only after that comes acceptance, if he's lucky.
This is where prison fails. It takes you through the pain and anger, the shame and depression. It then gently guides you through the five to twenty more years of acceptance. the problem here is that you begin to accept an unacceptable lifestyle. You are surrounded (mostly, anyway) by deviants and degenerates for those years, and the acceptance is an acceptance of deviancy.
Nobody reading this could ever contemplate knowing or talk to a child rapist and murderer. this is almost unfathomable to most people. Here, you could be living in the same 10 foot by 16 foot room with him.
Now, some people hear stories about how these people are the lowest scum even in prison and are not tolerated. I'm here to tell you that is bullshit. While they are unpopular and easily spotted, (usually with wet, predatory eyes and a bible clenched to his chest like God has a soft spot in his heart for child molesters. Well, evidently he does if you think about it.) they are fucked with less than most. Half from the stigma of the crime and half because they're fucking weirdos and nobody wants to have a conversation with a mouth breather discussing the merits of Jolly Rancher bait piles. For the most part they are treated like your common purse snatcher. After months you're discussing what the menu is at chow and how much of a bitch your wife is. My point is that the most degenerate become the norm. Man can get used to anything.
Once life in prison becomes acceptable it becomes all one knows or will accept, because while it's true that all humans can become used to anything, strangely, it's also true that humans cannot bear change. Everything that you learn to accept here is done for a basic reason - your inability to change. What are you unwilling to change? The fact that you rather enjoy breathing. While this is an oversimplification it is 100% right. You accept your surroundings 1.) because it becomes the norm over time, but also 2.) to buck this could be potentially harmful to your well-being. So we get along. You learn to accept the presence of rapists and murderers.
You also become a product of the prison itself. While I understand this isn't true in every case, I think exceptions are only there to prove the rule. While in prison you learn to get along, to survive. You will become something you are not, at some point. I will go more into depth on the individual aspects in future entries. For now, I'll stay more general. Think of this as prison theory if you want.
This is a system of predators, plain and simple. The old saying is 99% true, "If your're not a predator, you're the prey." and you'll adjust to this over time or you wont. Whichever happens, you'll be put into one of these groups because there wouldn't be prey if there weren't so many predators, the ones who eat those who fail to adjust.
Neither of these groups are good for a society outside of prison. Fuck, neither are good inside prison, but most WILL be released one day and like I said, man does not like to change. Once life in prison becomes the norm, how is one expected to adjust quickly to a life infinitely harder than the one in prison. I say harder because it's true. It is harder to maintain when your options are uncountable. While life is inherently dangerous in prison, your choices are so few it becomes almost comfortable. The ethics, if you want to call them that, are absolutely black and white. It is or it isn't. You live by a convict code that drives the decisions you make, and one of the "number ones" is never talk to or cooperate with the guards. A total disrespect for authority. TOTAL. Black and white, not sometimes cooperate with a guard, or in certain circumstances cooperate with a guard. NEVER cooperate with a guard. Not following this rule will result in you being ostracized. This is unacceptable as it immediately puts you in the "prey" category. So what does this do? It drives further acceptance. If you were out at a bar and you walked in to the bathroom and found the bouncer ass raping your friend you would (depending on your willingness to die in an honorable stance) try to help him stop being ass raped and then call the cops to make sure others don't get ass raped. That is a perfectly agreeable thing to do. You help out a friend and do your part to help strangers. Here you walk by someone getting ass raped (and you will) and you avert your eyes, tell yourself it's none of you business. that what you get for being prey. You certainly don't tell the guards. A snitch is worse than a child rapist (IN WHAT FUCKING WORLD?!). You walk by, and after the first couple of times you don't even have nightmares anymore. The cogs continue to mesh. Most of us will be out again, and most wont be able to adapt. This is a sad truth and the reason there are so many repeat offenders. Us deviants and rape watchers can't be entirely to blame, not entirely.