I Love Death Row!!

By Robert Pruett, on death row in Texas
September 21, 2014

Word on the street is I haven’t been the most accurate representative of life on the row in Texas. Does anyone really read my posts and think, “Wow, those dudes have it going on!! It’s not so bad at all there, according to Robert Pruett?!” Or perhaps some have gotten the impression that it’s easy sailing for me personally here? Oh yeah, I can’t tell you how fucking awesome it is to be here!!! Where to begin? I’m really digging these new buttons in our showers. They have heat sensors and you can turn the water on and off easily, as opposed to getting stuck in a hot, running shower for the 45 minutes to an hour it takes the guards to do a round of showers... Every now and then when I’m at recreation the guard working the pod is called off to suit up on an extraction team to gas and beat up another prisoner. Sucks for him, but at least I’m guaranteed some extra recreation time while they do the use of force!!! I love it when that happens...! Some say it’s painful that we can’t have contact visits and at least hold a parent’s hand or hug a son or daughter. It’s inhumane, they protest. Me? It’d be WAY worse if they gave us contact visits and I had to hug my crying mother and calm her down before they murder me!! I’d be too busy trying to calm myself down and gear up for that amazing, windowless van ride to the death house than to have to soothe family and friends, so I’m good with the no contact, like, ever... A couple of years ago they welded more metal on our doors to prevent us from passing things between each other such as books, food, drinks, etc... I was fucking ecstatic when they did that!! I got so tired of helping people in need. Now they can’t disturb me with their begging! Haha...! Best of all, it’s great that they aren’t executing at the rate that they were when I arrived here ten years ago. Back then it was like 25-30 a year, now it’s barely 10! These dudes now days think 10 a year is tough! At least now we know there’s a change that only a few we’ve grown to know and love will be murdered in a calendar year. We’ve really got it made these days, so I have no idea what all the crying is about...

Sorry for the sarcastic rant, but it trips me out that anyone could possibly think any of us think life is any kind of great here. Not only are we all in danger of losing our lives, we live in a concrete box half the size of your bathroom. I’ve lived in a cell just like this for 15 year in December. I’ve watched many lose their minds in these cages. But here’s my deal: As Viktor Frankl wrote about his time in a Nazi concentration camp in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” they can take everything from you except your choice in how you deal with it. He wrote, “I can see beyond the misery of the situation to the potential for discovering a meaning behind it and thus to turn a seemingly meaning less suffering into genuine human achievement. I am convinced in the final analysis that there is no situation that does not contain within it the seed of a meaning.” See, I used to wallow in misery and despair. Life in here nearly destroyed me internally. But like Frankl, I altered my perspective. Instead of viewing these harsh circumstances as the universe shitting on me or crying, “Woe me!!” I try to approach it as a challenge, a test, and an opportunity for growth. I’ve discovered my own meaning and purpose, and being in this situation no longer has that old crippling effect. I hope that people who read my writings don’t think I’m saying it’s awesome here, but that I try to make the most of any situation and, from my perspective, I’m no longer suffering.

I still experience and feel a full range of human emotions. The 18th was my birthday. I could’ve spent the day being sad and thinking how terrible it is that I’ve spent 20 straight birthdays in prison. Years ago, I had such birthdays. Instead, I tried to make it as special a day as possible.  We got commissary on this pod that day so I treated myself to a pint of ice cream and cranked up some classical music. Then, I had a really cool visit with a friend from my old neighborhood and shared some laughs with her. After visit, I made BBQ tacos because I was determined to gorge on my birthday! There was a football game later that evening that I clapped and screamed like an idiot to as well!!! Overall, it was a great day...Then, after I got to sleep the sergeant woke me up with a disciplinary case. I was caught on camera fishing smashed up honey buns to a dude without anything. My first reaction was, oh no, I might have just messed up visits!! It costs our loved ones lots of money to come see us and I was worried I’d ruined visits for the next couple months... It took me a moment to calm down and recognize the worry and fear that had overcome me. With that awareness I was able to relax, put things into perspective, and regain balance. We can’t alter what is. We can only deal with it. I choose to see meaning in every experience. What exactly am I experiencing this for? What’s to learn here? I believe there are inherent lessons in all experiences and that the universe wouldn’t give them to us otherwise. From there I am able to move forward in peace as I accept what is and then go about dealing with it with awareness and balance... Now, I learned a day later that classification had been ran on me and the visits are okay.  I got some recreation restriction for feeding a hungry man. Truth is, I can’t turn down anyone who’s hungry. I’ll live with the consequences. Still, perhaps this was another lesson in controlling my fears and emotions? Who knows. I’m just trying to explain that, yeah, I still experience fear and every other emotion, but I am learning to be more and more aware in each moment and regain perspective and balance when I stumble.

Love and Light,
Robert