Time to Pretend
You can’t play by the rules. Toss ethics out the window. You are dealing with murders here
Richard Krupp, PhD.
Last week the Sacramento Bee reported that California lawmakers pressed prison officials in a legislative hearing on October 9, 2013 for more information about the solitary confinement policies that prompted prisoners to refuse nourishment. “For nearly two months this summer, prisoners across California’s prison system refused state-issued meals in an effort to highlight what they called excessively cruel use of solitary cells commonly called the SHU, for Security Housing Unit.” The hunger strike got the attention of Hollywood stars, then some legislators. The inmates pretended to be suffering and the celebrities/politicians pretended to be outraged.
Senate Public Safety Committee chairs Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, her Assembly counterpart, Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley were most entertaining. Skinner stated that “to have as a policy being put in the SHU for (gang affiliation) alone is very, very difficult to justify.”
I found all of this very ironic. I guess “Public Safety” means “Inmate/Criminal Safety” in the minds of these individuals
obviously suffering from Misplaced Compassion Disorder (MCD). As we have seen with Darrel Steinberg, ignorance and arrogance have taken their toll. It would be a good idea for these pretenders to educate themselves. Rewind about ten years. I suggest reading the book, The Black Hand by Chris Blatchford. Here are some excerpts:
In 2003, following a hunger strike, Senator Gloria Romero, a former psychology professor and “dedicated social activist and aggressive prison reformer” planned senate hearings to explore inmate contentions that hundreds of prisoners were misidentified ad gang affiliates with flimsy and trivial information and held in SHU unjustly for indeterminate amounts of time.
During a trip to Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) in June 2003, Romero met with five prison gang members: three from the Mexican Mafia, one from the Black Guerrilla Family and one from the Aryan Brotherhood. One of the gang investigators called the meeting “peculiar” and described Romero’s attitude as “snooty and condescending.” At one point she challenged the officers qualifications to investigate the mafia.
Inmate Jesse Enriquez kept meeting with senator Romero and other politicians, convincing them that conditions at the Pelican Bay SHU were inhumane. “There was a lot of political cowardice to undermine the will of the CDC to have their day in court.”
It was believed that senator Romero or her aides must have been leaking sensitive information to inmate Enriquez, and he was passing it on to the Mafia. Inmate Castillo tried to get a warning to senator Romero to check under her car for a bomb….and that the Senator would be killed if she backed off her anti-SHU stance. The CHP determined that Romero was not in danger.
Senator Romero convened a Senate hearing on September 15, 2003 focusing on SHU and the gang validation process. She asked, “Are we, as community members, safer because of SHUs? Inmate Enriquez thought the Senator was “naive.” Former Senator Richard Polanco testified about the validation process being based on old information supplied by inmates.
Inmate Enriquez described Polanco as “an idiot, advocating the complete shutdown of SHU ….because it was the politically correct thing to do.” The Prison Focus lawyer testified that “increased visiting” and “phone calls with family members” would help rehabilitate SHU inmates. Inmate Enriquez described this notion as “ridiculous.”
According to inmate Enriquez, “There are worse places than Pelican Bay SHU. Besides, it should be worse….prison gangs will not stop. They are a constant threat to society. Some of them need a dirt nap, dead and buried–that’s the only solution for them.”
The best advice inmate Enriquez and two associates provided on dealing with the SHU inmates, “You can’t play by the rules. Toss ethics out the window. You are dealing with murders here.”
Hancock, Ammiano, and Skinner should read the entire Black Hand book before pretending to be outraged by the conditions the SHU inmates have placed themselves in. The Hollywood stars should also back off. Maybe they should focus their efforts on making a movie from this book. The inmates in SHU status have earned their way there. They are laughing at these “supporters” as they pretend to be suffering.
Here are some excerpts from a song they may be singing, Time to Pretend, by the band MGMT,
I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life.
Let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.
I’ll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars.
You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars.
This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun.
Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute?
Forget about our mothers and our friends
We’re fated to pretend.
But there’s really nothing, nothing we can do
We’ll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend