Loud & Clear, October 19 2006
Greetings to all!
I just wanted to republish an old article I wrote in February of 2005. I will do this with a few that had errors in them and where certain parts were missing. No need to get into Why? But I figured my old articles can help clear up some people’s thoughts about this place. Richard Cobb and Steven Woods and Stephen Moody are still going strong in the hunger strike! Mr. Woods was gassed with two of the new grenades and LE 10 crowd control pepper spray! WAY TOO MUCH! Anyway, here is the republished article. Enjoy!
I have been here at the Texas Death Row now for about 22 months. After my first week here I began to wonder how or why someone would or could stay for years in these boxes we call home.
I know men who have spent years in these cages of oppression that we are housed in. Some are never the same after they were released. You see, the single man cell that we are housed in on the row, along with the program we live under, was designed solely for the purpose of dehumanization and psychological oppression of the prisoner in order to break down resistance, so that the offender can become dependent on the officer. (AKA turn us from a man into an obedient dog.) It was developed to be used for an average of six months, which is what the officials believed would take to modify the negative behavior of violent prisoners housed in general population.
Now because of politics, money, and fake stereotypes, death row inmates are forced to live in these cells. The sensory deprivation, inadequate food, and thought of dying become too much for some, as it did for Deon Tumblin (AKA Spotlight) and Christopher Britton (AKA Psycho Bob). Both of these human beings killed themselves by hanging. I knew both of them. They killed themselves within three months of each other. Three months before Spotlight killed himself; another guy tried his damnedest to kill himself.
I want to discuss Spotlight for a short period. He had certain traits that I didn’t like about him, though we had a mutual respect for each other. Two of the good traits about Spotlight that stand out in my mind are his humor and overall willingness to help others. He lived two cells down from me when he died. I have lived on the same section and Pod on six different occasions with him, which is not a common thing. Anytime I needed anything, he would give it to me. On November 2, 2004, he hung himself. We had been laughing and joking among ourselves and with Tiny and another neighbor the night before. We were mostly picking on Spotlight because he got a fake case. A sorry ass, piece of trash, loud mouth female officer wrote him up. It really wasn’t a funny matter, because the case was going to prevent him from getting a long awaited special visit from his mother.
Now several ranks told him that they would throw the case away and let him go from level 2 to level 1 so he could get his visit. Well, on November 2, 2004, I was in the day room and two officers brought Spotlight back on the pod from court on the case that was supposed to be thrown away! I asked him, “Spotlight, what the hell’s up with that case?” He just shook his head and said, “Everything will be alright.”
After about 30 minutes or so I went back to my cell and started to talk to my neighbor. I called Spotlight a few times. When he didn’t answer, I yelled, “Oh hell, Spotlight done killed himself!” I was 100% playing. I had no idea that at around that same time he actually was killing himself! I assumed that he was just asleep or mad. I went back to talking to my neighbor. Well, they came by with the food and when they got to Spotlight’s cell, I heard the guards calling his name, “Tumblin, look out Tumblin, you’re gonna eat?” He had a towel over his door screen so that the officers couldn’t see in his cell. They then said, “Tumblin!” And began beating on his door. “Tumblin, take the towel down if you’re gonna eat. Alright Tumblin, I am about to knock the towel down!” She then instructed the Control Picket to turn on all cell lights. As soon as the light came on, both officers screamed and one dropped the pitcher of juice she was holding, (it was two female officers.)
Now from the point until they finally cut him down was almost ten minutes. About 15 or 20 officers came running to the section. Instead of opening his door and cutting him down, they violated procedure and sprayed him with pepper spray. HE WAS HANGING! I then lost control and began yelling, “You fucking cowards, cut him down!” They, being the guards, started choking, so I took a deep breath and yelled, “That gas ain’t shit, get the fuck in there and cut him down, the dude is hanging, you stupid ass pigs!” They looked at me like “I” was crazy.
They had to wait until another officer brought gas masks for five of the officers to go into his cell. No shield, no armor, just gas masks. They didn’t have the common sense to get the masks before they violated procedure and gassed Spotlight! They finally cut him down. Then the nurse decided to show up. I heard her tell them, “There is nothing I can do for him.” I saw them pick him up and put him on a gurney. I looked right at his face and saw his tongue sticking out and nose bleeding. Every night I go to sleep this sight creeps into my mind. When they were wheeling him out I yelled, “Y’all some cowards and, ‘long live Spotlight!'” I went to my bunk and crawled up into a ball in the corner and didn’t talk for awhile. I just seemed so unreal that a man I had just talked to killed himself because of this place and the program became too much for him. I did not sleep for two days nor have I been the same since.
The very next day a female officer came by my cell and said, “Hey young, you okay?” I said, “Yeah.” She then said, “Hang in there.” And after a pause said, “I know Tumblin did.” And she gave a stupid little grin. I could only reply, “You stupid swine get the fuck away from my cell.” I heard several guards make jokes about it throughout the week. Some may wonder how they could do such a thing. It is this program. It causes them to believe that we are less than human. This is a fact! A man will resist. A dog will submit.
Now I learned that psycho Bob killed himself. I can only wonder when or better yet how many have killed themselves before the prison official and government stops the torture. They know that these cells drive people crazy. That is why they send a psychologist around every 90 days.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, James Porter, who was a close associate of mine killed himself on January 4, 2005 by cancelling his appeals and getting a lethal injection. He did so because he couldn’t take this place. I can’t believe I forgot about his suicide. That is three in the last three and a half months! I think that is a record!
Now it isn’t normal for me to know all these people. There are like 450 guys in here, I don’t even know half of them. I know or have met like only a quarter of the death row population. So for all three of the suicides to be people I know have a major impact on me.
Another guy I know tried to kill himself with pills and then a month later stabbed himself through the neck with a slender piece of metal. He did this a month before Spotlight killed himself. I actually just remembered about him as well. It is a damn shame that the more I write, the more I remember people who killed themselves or tried to. There are a few others, but I do not know them and I believe their effort was more for attention as they were the ones who informed the guards of this attempt. The sad part is that it seems that no one on the outside cares. The newspapers aren’t printing these facts and there hasn’t been public outcry. But not many care about low life death row inmates! Hell, most believe we need to die anyway. Some scream ‘an eye for an eye’; others yell out ‘It’s murder.’ I believe that Mahatma Ghandi said it best, ‘an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.’
There is a quote by Shakespeare that I would like to share with you. It goes, ‘the quality of mercy is not strained, it dropeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: it blesseth him that give and him that takes.’
I would like to add that by having the mercy to join a struggle to make right a wrong, benefits all involved. You can make a difference. Together we can create a change. All it takes is a little mercy and compassion. Long live the Spotlight.
RIP Pyscho Bob Spotlight James Porter
And all the rest!
Clinton Young #999447
Polunsky Unit 3872
F.M. 350 South
Livingston, Texas 77351
Copyright © 2009 by Clinton Lee Young. All rights reserved