Thursday, December 31, 2009

Open Letter to Localboy76 (i)

By Coyote Sheff
Note: This is in part a response to a poster on the Ely Times Message Board who calls himself Localboy76.

It is important what Local Boy 76 said about how prison has tendencies turn officers into animals…

I find it hilarious how people try to discredit my stories and call them “fictional”, and then when confronted and asked why my stories are fictional, all they can say is that I’ve assaulted officers.

Yes, for the record, I have assaulted officers in the past. I have been taken to court, pled guilty, and picked up new charges and time for it too. But no, I’ve never tried to shank any female officers and no shank was ever wrenched from my hand. I had to laugh out loud when I read that because it’s funny the extremes people will go to to try to discredit me. Come on, Local Boy 76, instead of trying to make yourself look like a hero by creating fiction of your own, why don’t you tell the people what really goes on in here! Then, you’ll REALLY be a hero!
Try to imagine this. You take the tiger out of the wild and put him in a cage and you starve him and whip him and then you use food to train and tame him until the tiger complies and the next thing you know, you’ve got the tiger jumping through hoops. That tiger isn’t the tiger anymore, now he’s a circus animal.

Well, some of us in here, we don’t forget that we are tigers. We pace our cages and we keep resistance in our hearts, and we are not interested in becoming circus animals. So when the lion-tamer, or circus master comes around rattling our cages and insists on poking and prodding us with a psychological stick, the tiger in us is going to come out, and yes, we are going to try to lash out, I mean what do you expect us to do?

When locked down in a cell all day, for years on end, you undergo a process of sensory deprivation, and for some, the effects of sensory deprivation are different than they are for others. Some of us become depressed. Some of us become violent. Some of us become paranoid and some just completely lose their minds. These are extreme circumstances and even a lot of the guards who keep us contained in these cells have told me personally that they couldn’t last a day living in a cell like this.

In these drastic circumstances, many of us prisoners have learned to see ourselves as “combatants” as a means to survival. (Kind of like Sen. John McCain when he was a POW.) And this is more of a psychological battle than it is a physical one. And while we are affected by the effects of long-term isolation and sensory deprivation, and at the same time when we are provoked, this perspective, were treated unfairly, while we live on perpetual lockdown in this prison, with nothing to lose and with no real incentive to do good, then yes under these extreme and primitive conditions we sometimes explode and get violent.

There’s many factors involved, it’s not solely the guards fault. I mean one guard might be the one provoking the prisoner, and another guard who had nothing to do with it at all might be the one who gets assaulted. There are many sides to this story and there are deeper things going on. One example to take into consideration is the mentality of the convict, versus the mentality of the prison guard. You have two different mentalities thinking along two different lines. The guards want to teach the prisoner a lesson, the prisoner refuses to recognize the authority of the guard and feels that he can’t be taught a lesson because the prisoner feels he already knows right from wrong according to his own set of standards that he lives by as a convict. Or whatever. So then, we have a psychological power struggle, that can very easily get out of hand and directed violence.

Also, the way people like me and Funches see things, politically, are completely different than the mainstream political perspective of most of these guards. Like for example, Local Boy 76 says: “Don’t get me wrong, there are several decent convicts that know they have done something wrong and realize that they have a debt to pay to society”.

Well, well, I definitely realize that my lifestyle and my actions are what lead me to prison. But that doesn’t mean I recognize the legitimacy of this so-called American justice system. I know for a fact that this is a corrupt and evil justice system, where the police in our own communities are as criminal and gangster as the people they lock up. There is documented evidence that police have planted evidence, lied in their testimonies, beaten and even murdered so-called suspects. Racism and oppression and all these things are what keep this justice system going, so no, I don’t recognize the legitimacy of the American justice system, and there is no real treatment or rehabilitation inside these prisons, so no, I don’t feel I have a debt to pay to society that doesn’t care about me. I feel that I have a debt to pay to myself and a debt that I have to pay to my family, only.

So my political views are way different than those of most of these correctional officers, and because of this, there’s always going to be a clash, where they feel the need to punish me for some petty rule violation that I don’t recognize, because according to my own standards, I’m not doing anything wrong. And by following these petty rules, it’s not going to help me to get out of here and return to society as a productive member. All it does is belittle and dehumanize me.

Some of these guards here are cool. They are respectful and fair and understanding and they do their job and then go home at the end of their shift. I have respect for them and they have respect coming from everybody, because they respect themselves and because they’re respectful of others. But even then there are a lot of guards who have that gang bang mentality, believe it or not, and when those guards see these guards being fair, or cool with us, then the guards with the gang bang mentality will ride their co-workers and give them hell and call them “inmate-lovers”, or call them “friendly”, or “nice” and use peer pressure to try to discourage them of being fair and respectful towards the inmates. And so they see that it’s better to be an “inmate-hater” than to be shunned or ostracized for being a so-called “inmate-lover”.

And then there’s guards here who are even more spiteful, vengeful and hateful than they say we are, and who are always out to show the prisoners that they are the boss, and that they are in control and they’ll go out of their way to mess with us and do things just to show us that they are the ones running shit, not us. Not to mention the fact that there’s guards here who lie in their reports (write-ups), usually to cover their own asses because they weren’t doing their job correctly in the first place, and no matter if we are guilty or not, we are found guilty nine times out of 10 when we go to disciplinary, whether there’s evidence or not. And then there’s guards who want to enforce the rules that make things hard on the inmates, but don’t want to follow, or abide by certain policies that will make their own jobs more difficult. So, to me, that’s like saying: “Fuck you. You’re a prisoner. You have no rights. I’m an officer. I can do whatever I want!”
So, when you put us in a situation where we don’t have nothing coming, and where we can’t win and the guards don’t play fair, and where we have no incentive to even try to do good, in a maximum-security prison, where the tensions are always high and some of these guards are just as violent, or as criminal as they say we are, then yes, they’re going to be times where staff gets assaulted and there’s going to be times where staff assault the prisoners, and usually when that happens, they get away with it.

Abuses of authority and the violation of our civil rights happen on a daily basis here in Ely State Prison and it’s going to take a situation like that Patrick Cavanaugh case, and the Kevin Lisle case and the Marritte Funches case to expose what really goes on in this graveyard called Ely State Prison, because there is no oversight here in Nevada. So that’s why it’s absolutely necessary for our supporters to put up websites like MTWT. So keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged by people like Local Boy 76 because what you’re doing is real and very necessary.
So, “Local Boy 76″, if you don’t like me ‘cuz I’ve assaulted officers in the past, then say that. But don’t try to make up some bullshit story of me assaulting a female officer on the very first hour of her very first day and how you heroically disarmed me, and try to use that to make it seem like what I’m saying in my articles isn’t valid. Come on now.

I’ve even had guards come to my cell door and tell me that they read my articles on MTWT and that what I’m saying is “very accurate and true, unlike some of the other stories on there by other prisoners.”

“Local Boy 76″, if you want the public to know that I’ve assaulted officers in the past, then I’ll tell them myself. Yeah, I’ve assaulted officers, because I wanted them to understand I’m a tiger and not the circus animal and also they wouldn’t mess with me again, because that’s the mentality I had back then and because that’s what this place does to you. And this place has obviously had a tragic effect on you too, because you said it yourself that prison has a tendency to make even the officers into animals to a certain extent and that you are well on your way to losing your humanity by working here at E.S.P!

Yeah you’ve got out of this place, but this place hasn’t gotten out of you. Instead of trying to discredit me and Funches because you don’t like us ‘cuz we’ve assaulted officers, or whatever, why don’t you be a real hero and help us try to expose what really goes on here and expose the root causes to what makes us want to assault officers.

Most of the prisoners are in prison because they’ve committed crimes and because for some underlying reason or another, they are criminals. And they will tell you themselves that they are criminals, but when the officers behave and act like criminals, then what’s their excuse? Anyone who works for one certain state bureaucrat is working for one of the biggest criminals in Nevada. All of the other officers will then turn a blind eye to the criminal acts that take place against the staff and administration of E.S.P., but are quick to try to discredit me as some heartless predator who stabs and attacks female officers on their first hour of their first day, but don’t even have the paperwork to prove it. You can’t use my history to discredit me, Man, because I’ll be the first to say it: I’ve assaulted officers and you guys are pigs!

Now let’s see if you cowards have what it takes to get on this site and say what you really feel about us! Or we can stop all this hate, and really try to come together and fix the problems that exist in the system and these prisons!

And for the record, I don’t have any problems with any of these female officers. These gang banging male correctional officers are just mad because I’m always asking the female officers to marry me.

I’m opening the lines for discussion or if anybody wants to write me directly you can reach me here:

Coyote Sheff # 55671
PO Box 1989
Ely, Nevada 89301