Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Courage"

It is severely lacking among captives in this prison. I don't mean the kind of slap-happy courage it takes for one captive to suddenly attack a fellow captive because of mere verbal disrespect. Any fool can do that. I speak of real courage: the kind that has some thought behind it, e.g. it takes real courage to oppose a particularly offensive guard-lobbying effort, such as the current one in which they attempt to purchase legislation that will allow them to take 20% of the money our loved ones send. Greedy prisoncrats in Florida and Nevada have already pulled this stunt on their sleep, ignorant prisoners. Sleazy politicians here in Okra-coma attempted to do the same last year to us. A few of us awoke. We fought off their attempts to pick our pockets. By writing our families and legislators about how bad an idea this is. Our crafty pals, though, slinked back to their bunkers to regroup. Their new plan is to wait a year, then try a new assault for only a 10% legislative theft on our family's money.

They expect many more of us to remain asleep next time. And they are right. Many of those who had the courage to sign my petition against this are now only paying lip service to the fight. They are no longer writing their families about continuing to fight this new, improved asset-theft legislation. They are not writing attack letters to the legislators or the media. They are not sponsoring or financing or encouraging their own petitions and letter-writing campaigns. Instead, they are wasting their money on tobacco, coffee, sugar/salt snacks and dope. While the never-ending political onslaught against us proceed, most of us just sit there watching balls bounce, racecars careen around in circles and pucks ricochet off sticks.

Persons who are not politically aware are only marginally alive. The prisoncrats were charging us $4.53 for 50 envelopes. A powerful team of unregulated dirt bags had brainstormed a way to further choke off our right to get our rights. They had previously prevented us from having even 19th century writing technology of typewriters and carbon paper. They deliberately make accessing our rights as tedious and as expensive as possible. This way they can pound us harder and get less backlash from us.

But this time it didn't work. Even though they'd "outlawed" this constitutional right by trumping it with a prison rule prohibiting petitions, I wrote a petition anyway, and I shamed 33 captives into signing it with me. It took a week of effort, hours of pumping up people's intellectual and political courage, and less than $10 in copies, postage and envelopes. But after 2 months, 50 envelopes came down to $1.37. Also, they'd been trying to get rich off selling us aspirin at 6 for 80 cents. Eight months later, the prisoncrats implemented ACA standards, selling us 24 aspirin for about a dollar.

It takes political courage and patience, money, time, effort and savvy, but we won.

So can you.