Loud & Clear, November 20 2006
Greetings to all!
I have been wanting to write this type of article that I am about to for a long time. A pen-pal from Israel gave me a boost with her telling me about a personal experience that she went through at 17 years old. She is originally from France. Here is her story:
I was in Paris and my grandmother was ill and she had to be taken to the central hospital. This is also where they take people before they go to jail, to check their health. When I entered I saw policemen with two people in handcuffs. The two people where hurt with blood all over their clothes like they had a fight. They started to curse each other and threatened each other with death and all kinds of scary and violent things. I had never heard something that violent before so I looked at them in amazement and shock! I could not move. Then one of them asked the policemen for some water as he was thirsty. The policemen told him very coldly NO! It was summer and I had a bottle of water in my hand. Is I swallowed back my fear and approached him very slowly (I was so scared) and I had to bring the bottle close to his mouth for he could not handle it himself due to the handcuffs. He got the bottle in his mouth and drunk it all. Then stared at me and thanked me in the softest voice and the gentlest manner. Exactly as if he was a perfect gentleman. I got a second shock that I could not translate into words. I ran to the metro and went back home.
When I got home, I went to sleep for a few hours. Later, I was able to translate the situation into words. It was the contrast between violence one minute and then the soft voice the next minute of the very same man that shocked me so much. It was as if suddenly I had a flash opening my eyes and my spirit on what had happened to this man and what he had been through in life to be this violent, bloody man in handcuffs.
How much violence, humiliation and degrading a human being can suffer before he becomes a monster? I felt horrified that humanity could be assassinated by the difficulties and tragedies of life. I felt even more mortified that all that was needed for this man to become the soft man I heard was a little bit of humanity and kindness, that was all!
That is her story. I did shorten it some, just a few words shorter. Now here is a piece from Shakespeare, The quality if mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven upon the place beneath: It is twice blessed; it blesseth him for that gives and him that takes
To have the mercy and compassion to fight for an injustice benefits all involved. I am going to re-do another old article that was on another site. A lot was edited on it. Well, this will be another version of it with parts tied in. This article is basically about violence, dangerous people, and mercy and how some people can change.
One would expect death row to be a highly violent environment. I read a statement by a guy from Huntsville, TX that was in the newspaper last year. He said that if they opened up death row and let everyone walk around then everyone would see how dangerous they are! Poor guy. I have to forgive him for his ignorance. He doesnt know any better. As death row used to be able to walk around freely when death row was housed in the Ellis Unit. These inmates had box cutters and large scissors! That is right, very sharp objects! Nine times out of ten the supervising officer was a female! No female officers were raped and no officers were killed. Though female officers have been raped by inmates in general population, just as all the officers that have been killed was killed by general population inmates. A guy housed in general population has freedom to look forward to. A guy on the row is waiting to die. He has nothing to lose. So one would expect the death row inmate to be more violent, this isnt the case. Now true enough. A few death row inmates has seriously injured and made attempts on officers lives since we have been housed on the Polunsky Unit. Where we are all locked in single man cells and have to shower and have recreation alone. Every time we leave our cells we are escorted by two guards and handcuffed behind our back. All the doors have little slots that we get handcuffed through. So how can an inmate still assault an officer! Human error and determination. Anyways, point is that when death row inmates were treated in a more humane manner they were more passive. But as they have spent years in these cells and oppressive environment with the little we get slowly stripped away they have become more aggressive which is actually a product of this environment that is well known and well documented by psychologists. They give us nothing to look forward to and nothing to gain. If you have nothing then what is there to loose?
As much as people try to candy coat death row the reality is that there are some very dangerous people down here that have done some very disgusting and evil things to get here. I am not writing articles to make us all look bad. I am not writing articles to make us all look good. I am writing articles to show the world who I am and that not all of us fit into these stereotypes that are placed on us. Most on death row rank far from being dangerous! Most are extremely passive. I heard about one of the guys that got off death row that are going to go home. He is supposed to be all violent and dangerous, but yet he pays inmates to protect him from other inmates so he wont get raped or whatever! A lot of guys here are rational people that just made an irrational choice. They got on drugs and got a gun. Then ran out of money and needed a fix. So they rob and kill a store clerk! Never before done anything violent in their life. Well, a tough on crime prosecutor sends the guy to death row! Yet he is supposed to be the worst of the worst? Now another guy rapes 10 women and shoots 3 of them but none die. So he gets like 60 years or a life sentence (parole can be made on a life sentence, as long as it is not a capital life sentence. Capital life is for Capital Murder.)
Now who would you say is the worst of the worst of those two? Those 10 women will have to live with their pain for the rest of their lives with the emotional and mental suffering! The distrust and fear and anger of being violated. The guy that caused all that can go to general population and be around other weaker inmates and female guards. So he can attack again! Let me give you another example. A guy can walk up to someone in a store and chop that person up with an axe into little pieces. Just a violent, brutal, and bloody murder. He can plea out to 30 years and be home in 15-20. Now a guy can walk up and shoot a person one time and take his watch. Then get the death penalty. See how it doesnt make sense? That is what is wrong with the system. A person that commits one act that can be considered violent is not necessarily a dangerous person! A fist fight can he considered a violent act!
Now there are people here that have committed several violent acts in their life that does classify them as being a dangerous person. Though after being here on the row, they become extremely passive and become new people. Why? Because they get shown mercy and compassion from others such as pen-pals. They get shown a different side of humanity. Growing up they might have been surrounded by hate, violence, and crime. Yet through correspondence with people they learn love and peace. They educate themselves and strive to be better people. Even though they know they will be executed. The thought is, I have lived the last 20 years in violence, I am tired of it. I want to live the remaining five in peace. If they would have been shown mercy years ago they might not be here in the first place. The most common theme in the back ground of death row inmates is divorced parents, abused as a child and low income. All of these cause an unbalance in the psychological development of a child. Often leading to a low self image which is gasoline for hate!
Murder is not murder. There are different degrees. You got the old man that sneaks into the hospital and pulls the plug on his wife of 55 years, to end her suffering, or might even shoot her at her request! That is still murder. In Texas the punishment for murder ranges from five years to 99 years or a life sentence. On life, parole can be made in 30 years! Probation can be obtained but no more than 10 years! So the old man could face life but would most likely get probation for 5 years which is the minimal amount. He will still be charged with murder though. Then you got the 17 year old kid that is out with his friends drinking and having a good time. He gets into a fight with a bigger guy so he pulls a knife and stabs him. Doesnt want to kill the guy just slow him down and hurt him. Hits a vital area or artery and guy bleeds to death. He now is charged with murder and will get around 30 years. Then you got the guy that rapes and kills this woman, robs and kills that man, and just kills a couple other people. Well since there is a felony in the course of the murder. He gets the death penalty. Now on that spectrum of these three examples that would seem like a fair system huh? It doesnt always work that way.
You can not place all killers in the same basket. A guy that does the most unfathomable crime of all, he rapes and then kills a small child can not be compared with a guy that kills two rival gang members! The child is innocent. To hurt a child to that level goes against the full nature of humanity. Most of us humans when we see a child we want to pick it up and make him or her laugh. Give him or her a toy or something. Well, I know I do! So to hurt a child on that level goes beyond just a desire for power which is the case with child abuse. One would have to go against all levels of social constraint and morality to violate a child and then take its life.
The gang member is living a way of life. He could have been raised in a neighborhood that makes life in that manner a reality. He joins a gang that his brother and friends are in. Starts to sell drugs. Well, one day he is going to a girlfriends house across town. As he goes through a rivals neighborhood he sees two rivals, they recognize him and start throwing gang signs at him. That is considered an act of aggression so he thinks they might pull a gun next. The mentality of I got to get you before you get me sets in and he shoots both of them! In his mind it was self preservation. He knows that win or loses; life or death is determined by who draws the gun first.
Now if he would be taken out of the neighborhood go through gang prevention programs taught additional education and job training and he relocated to a stable low crime environment and given a job that has decent benefits and offers growth, that gang banger would be more likely then not live a productive life and never hurt anyone again. Then you got the guy that breaks into a home, rapes a woman and then kills her. Now that takes lot of time and effort! It is a cold hearted and cruel murder. These are people that cant be fixed. True enough most of your wrongful convictions in prison are guys that got charged with rape and 15 years later they find out that he didnt do it. Which is very bad jacket to have in prison!! I have been charged with a sex crime before. When I was 14 I got charged with indecency with a child by exposure. I thought my life was over with! My lawyer told me I could get 10 years. At 14, ten year looks like a life sentence. Not only that but the social embarrassment of being labeled a sex offender was totally unnerving to me. Now in that case the child was 5’9″,260 pounds almost 15 years old, was a member of the MS13 gang (he was Hispanic). MS13 has been talked about on 20/20 and other major new stations. It has even been focused on by Congress and Homeland Security, due to its growing size and violent history in the drug trade from South America to the U.S.A Where the gang is spread from. I was 14 years old, 5.6, and 145 pounds. We were both in an anger management placement. We were friends and got into a fight. I made some comments to degrade and embarrass him. He wanted to get me kicked out so he said I exposed myself and told him to perform oral sex (he used other words but I am trying to keep the foul language out.) Because he was under 17 he was considered a child. Fighting would not get me kicked out of the placement. Sexual behavior and extreme violence would. They could not risk it, so they kicked me out, and I got sent to Texas Youth Commission for the charges. He testified at my trial and on the stand he said, We was friends and got into a fight that got carried away. Wasnt nothing sexual, he was just trying to embarrass me!
Now when I was 14, probation officer came to see me about the charge (I had other charges which is why I went to the placement.) She read me the charge of indecency with a child. Part of the charge states sexual gratification. I jumped up and screamed I aint no homosexual. How am I gonna get gratification by exposing myself to another guy? So needless to say it was a traumatizing experience for me. But thankfully we was able to work a deal with the prosecutors office so that I was not convicted of it. I know I got side tracked there, but I have been wanting to write about that because a newspaper article makes mention of me being charged with it. When people see the word child they think of a baby and so forth. I had people stop writing me behind that. They said they cared about me, then just stopped writing, didnt even ask me about it. On top of that she told another person I wrote about it in a manner to make me look bad! Back to the matter at hand, Today with DNA evidence convicting the wrong person is not as likely as it was 20 years ago. But what if a case really doesnt have DNA evidence such as mine? Then co-defendants testimony becomes even more important. DNA has no reason to lie. Ballistics has no reason to lie. A guy facing the rest of his life in prison has a reason to lie! So when you look at people in Death row do not automatically recoil with fear. Do a little research. You can actually see why every single person is on Death Row. Just go to www.tdcj.com/deathrowoffenders. At the TDCJ web site you can also see all that we can get in the mail and so forth. There are people here that didnt even kill anyone! They was just with a person that did. They wait for death, while a serial rapist or axe murderer waits to go home! I am sure everyone can agree that doesnt sound like a fair and just system. The fact is that people can change. What gets me is mass majority if the pro-death supporters are Christians! A religion centered on redemption and forgiveness. Paul was a serial killer he wrote part of the bible (he killed more than one person so he is a serial killer.)This article is getting way to long, so I am going to start wrapping it up, if you do not understand something take a little time to learn about it. Being ignorant is understandable, to ignore takes effort and there is no excuse. I have been meaning to write about how I changed from when I was 15 years old when I got this case.
In the next article I will write about victimization and how crimes affect the direct victim, indirect victims and society and how I have changed. China has taken even greater stops to improve its death penalty to make sure innocent people arent killed. They have improved the appeal system. With that I am gone.
Veni, Vidi, Vici
Clinton young #999447
3872 F.M. 350 South
Livingston TX 77351
Copyright © 2009 by Clinton Lee Young. All rights reserved