By Robert Pruett 999411, aka Simple Man
Week 21 2006
May 28, 2006
A Diatribe
In the early years of my captivity, I often dreamt of floating and flying away. Most of the dreams began with me sitting or laying on my bunk, overwhelmed with despair by the thought of eternal isolation. But then I would float up towards the ceiling and fly right through it, a sense of relief and joy washing over me as I glided through the air, free at last! Unfortunately, these dreams usually metamorphosed from flight into a cold courtroom with a corrupt judge and prosecutor, 12 gullible jurors, and an indifferent defense attorney. "Mr. Pruett, a jury of your peers sentences you to 99 years in prison, may you burn in hell for your sins, young man!"


My cellie shook me back to consciousness. "Wake up, dude, you're dreaming!" And after I awoke he wondered, "Bro, what happened when you were fifteen? You were hollering - 'I'm only fifteen' - like someone was trying to rape you." I told him the story and the contents of the dream and he shook his head in disbelief. "Them motherfuckers did you like that when you was fifteen?! That's fucking bullshit, bro!"

In 1995 Harris County had an 11pm curfew for people under 17, you had to be 16 to get a driver's permit, 18 to buy cigarettes, and 21 to buy alcohol. How old did you have to be to get life in prison? Back then it was 14 and it still is, I think. Where's the sense in that? If you aren't mature enough by ages 14 -16 to smoke a cigarette, drink a beer, drive a car alone, or even stay outside past 11pm, how can you be old enough to make a decision that will effect the rest of your life? When I first arrived in the TDCJ-ID, I was 16 and in a dayroom where they were voting to watch a movie rated R. The guard with the remote looked at me and said, "No can do, we got a minor in the dayroom, decide on something he can watch." I wasn't old enough to see violence, hear curse words, or see a breast, but I was old enough to get 99 years!

What really pisses me off is I didn't kill the guy in my case. I'm not entirely inculpable; I admit that it was all behind my dumbass bullshit that he'd still be alive today had it not been for me, but I didn't kill him, my father did that and he confessed to it. I was convicted as a "party" to the offense. Problem is, the murder occurred in Harris County in 1995, the year that county was cracking down on juvenile crime. I think they certified like 156 juveniles as adults that year, three times as many as they ever had previously or after. Furthermore, no county in the USA has ever come close to that number before or since. So I'm a fucking example. Was it worth it? Did the juvenile crime rate decrease after they went on a certifying binge in 1995? Because if it made kids think about their actions and the juvenile crime rate decreased as a result, then I will shut the fuck up and be thankful that I contributed in some way to the advancement of society. But it did not result in decreased juvenile crime, at least not from the last report I read. So it was an experiment that didn't work, eh? Motherfuckers.

The increased juvenile crime rate in 1995 doesn't completely explain why I got such a stiff sentence though. When I was certified to stand trial as an adult on Halloween day in 1995 my judge certified three other 15 year olds. I can't recall all the details, but one guy blew the faces off of two rival gang members, another had a gang related murder, and the other guy had a murder case as well. The one with the double murder got 40 years aggravated, another guy got 20 aggravated, and I think the other received 10 years probation. All of those guys actually killed their victims, while I was charged with inciting my father to murder our neighbor, yet I get more time than all three put together. Where's the justice in that? I've never been able to wrap my mind around my sentence. And I've repeatedly heard from minorities in prison about how hard they got it, how a white man wouldn't have gotten the time that they did. Hmmm..... I was the only white person certified out of the above mentioned four. Happy Halloween, huh?! Trick or motherfucking treat! It's rarely about race these days, it's all about socioeconomic status. I've been inside these walls for 11 years and I have yet to meet a person who was even close to rich when he was free. All of us certified that day came from ghettos.

I know of four men here on death row who were certified as adults and in the general prison population before coming here. One of those guys is a friend of mine named Lee Taylor, who was certified a couple of months after I was, from my neighborhood, and also given life (TDCJ treats anything over 60 years as life). We were all thrown into the adult system, where we had to fight for our manhood and lives regularly. Want to know what fear feels like? Try fighting a hardened criminal (no pun intended) who has expressed interest in making sweet love to you!! Talk about fighting harder than a motherfucker! That's the world of the certified juvenile, the kid not old enough to drive a car alone or stay out until midnight. And my situation was amplified because I didn't even kill the man.

How did that make me feel? Well, at first I was naive, thinking that there was no way they would leave me with that sentence. I thought that they would eventually see their error and let me go or reduce my sentence considerably. Wrong. After they denied my first two appeals, they sent me a letter, "Mr. Pruett, we regret to inform you that we can no longer represent you free of charge. If you forward us a check for $20,000.00 we will file your 2254 (federal writ) and any subsequent appeals. Good luck!" Good luck? Son of a bitch, I owed indigent supply like 25 dollars at the time, where the hell was I supposed to get twenty grand? I talked to a couple of guys who were writ writers and they wanted between 400-1,000 to file my writ, I didn't have any money period. In other words, I was stuck with that sentence. That realization hit me hard. I felt aggressive, confrontational, and violent. I detested working for these motherfuckers, I was bitter, self-destructive, and I hated the world. I wanted it all to just disintegrate; I dreamed of tidal waves, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and plague. Like "Tool's" song "Aenima," I wanted MOM to flush it all away, right down the toilet. How could a just and all-loving god keep letting horrendous shit happen to me? God was dead to me, and if he was alive he was a heartless asshole! Fuck god, I thought, I'll never bow to that dick-sucking punk. I felt cheated of my youth, I felt extreme forms of anger and hate, I was the poster child for misanthropy. Everyone pissed me off, nobody could tell me shit.

That was then, this is now. My perspective has changed dramatically, evolved if you will. Somehow, I think that everything happens for a reason. Not predestination, per se, but life situations are presented to us so we can live, experience, and grow from them. There's some hidden meaning for the life I've lived, a lesson(s) to be learned, a contribution to the evolution of the world. Ditto for everyone and everything. That's what I tend to think. I believe that I shouldn't be overly concerned with the past, which I have no control over, or the future, which I have very little influence on. It diminishes what's unfolding before me, I might miss something of significance if I don't focus and remain aware. I don't have to like what transpires in my life, but I think it's best to accept it and move on, learn from it. And the result has been peace of mind, I'm no longer angry at the world.

So what's up with the tangent today?! :-) I've been trying to live equanimously for about a year or so, avoiding attachment. I mean, why get attached to something that's only temporary? I tried to live my life as an unbiased observer, without really taking a position on anything. In reality everything is relative, I reasoned, nothing's absolute. So no matter which position I defend, there's always someone on the other side of the fence. I KNOW that everything eventually changes and returns to the VOID, or quantum field to you physicists, and I was content to just experience it all in a detached sort of way. But not too long ago something dawned on me. I'm here, thrust into the field of opposites, where everything is relative (even time, space and mass according to Einstein's E=MC2) and I AM engaged in the game. I'm supposed to involve myself, perform my duties (haha, I said duty! ;-)), vigorously defend my position(s). And I realize that I can do so completely, yet still know the essence of it all, that all is "good in the eyes of god." Huh? Am I saying that god approves of evil? I'll briefly entertain that occidental concept. "The origin of the opposites good and bad is to be found in the pathos of the nobility and distance, representing the dominant temper of a higher, ruling class in relation to a lower, dependant one." (Friedrich Nietzsche) In other words, back in the game the rulers of the world said that their actions were "good," while the peasant's were "evil," thus the genealogy of morals can be traced to such reasoning. What's good for one person might not be good for the next, likewise with evil. So you see, even morals are relative. Anyhow, I can experience a definitive position and passionately defend it because that's the nature of the game we are all involved in. And, of course, I'm still growing with a lot to learn. Am I making sense? Probably not, but ultimately this is a personal journal and it's about me releasing energy and thoughts for reflection; I'm not trying to satisfy the world, just give you an inside peek at myself. With everything being relative, it would be impossible to satisfy everyone anyhow! :-)

I do want to apologize to ALL for being "repetitive and boring!" :-) Seriously, I don't have access to the internet, and everyone here doesn't make me privy to what they write, so I don't know what all has been written about this place. If I'm repeating something someone else has written, please forgive me...... As far as me being boring, well, that's just my character I guess. Can't help you there! Not a whole lot to report from E-pod this last week. I did have visits Thursday and Friday, both of which were AWESOME!!! The mail has picked back up some. If that's due to your complaints, thank you all very much. Thank you anyhow. Other than that not much going on, I'll catch up with you all next week.

One day at a time,
Simple Man