Journal entries – Feb. 7 – March 18th

Friday 7th February 2020 @ 3 pm

Song: “Feeling all right” by Joe Cocker

“One man cannot change the world, but one man can communicate the message that can change the  world”. Anon

Yesterday, Abel Ochoa was executed. Most of the guys around me were listening to the Execution Watch Show when it was announced that Abel had received a stay of execution. When that went over the air, there was a strong reaction by the guys here, shouts of joy and making noise in general. Then came the letdown: the announcement that it was a mistake and the execution would take place. Not easy to deal with. I have no idea why things like this happen but they do, all I can do is focus on keeping calm and focused. ZEN is the word. So far so good, I seem to be keeping my focus and I am grateful for that. Sometimes life seems like it pushes you to the brink, then tries to shove you over the edge. I feel like that right now just with everything and past experience has taught me to sit still.  When it gets overwhelming, sit still and listen and watch and try to learn.  Even if you find it impossible to learn, you do not make things worse by sitting still. Me and a friend here often talk and we remind each other that one day we will wake up and not be in this cell on death row. We’ll be free. Grateful I have such a good thought to get me through these stressful periods in my life. Because it’s just a period, a day, and tomorrow will bring change. I look forward to that.

Saturday 14th March 2020 @ 3 pm

Song: “Something to believe in” by POISON

“Keep love in your heart. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.” Oscar Wilde.

For a week now, I’ve been listening to what is happening around the world on my AM/FM radio set and it’s at times impossible to believe that a virus could cause so much death and fear in the world. Covid-19, also known as corona-virus has forever changed the world in which we live. I am intentionally staying up until 11 pm Texas time, so I can listen to the BBC 6 am (GMT) broadcast from the UK. This is where I learn in detail what’s occurring in Europe. First Italy, now Spain and France. I can feel like I’m observing/listening to a slow motion car crash. Sometimes I stay up until 2 or 3 am listening to the BBC reports. Then I wake up and listen to the NPR News broadcast.

Yesterday, a state disaster was declared and all visitation has been suspended in TDCJ, including Texas death row. The officials are “screening” the guards before they are allowed in to the prison. They’re asked if they have any corona-virus symptoms? Have they been to any place where a corona-virus outbreak has occurred? Have they traveled out of the country? They are not taking their temperature yet. Maybe one of these geniuses will have the bright idea to use a proper scanner-thermometer (temporal scan thermometer) and check them for a fever on the spot. If corona-virus gets inside the prison, we’re in trouble. I do not want to experience that. These devils will let us all die.

Monday 16th March 2020 @ 9 am

Song: “The bones” by Maren Morris

“I think the most productive thing to do during times of change is to be your best self, not the best version of someone else”. Seth Godin

I wrote an essay yesterday and it felt good doing what I needed to do. I have not been able to do that but once again I’m coming strong because the situation requires it of me and like I mentioned to someone in a letter, I’m built for this kind of situation like the ending of the world. These officials suddenly have general population prisoners cleaning our living area, the floors, stairs, handrails, and using a bleach/water mixture, and I am glad. I want them jokers to make a non-stop circle from one end of the pod back around and do it all over again! Not just in corona-virus times but every day! Now most of Europe is on lockdown and they say (if you listen closely to the BBC) that the USA is about 3 weeks away from experiencing what Italy is going through right now. There were 400 deaths today in Italy. That is a sobering thought. We are also going towards the way of lockdown. Shelter in place in the Houston-Southeast Texas area. Bars and restaurants and non-essential stores have been closed down in this part of the state. So it’s getting more real by the day. I ask the guards who work here what do they think about the corona-virus situation? Most say they think it’s media hype! I hope it is… But I have a bad feeling it’s not.

Wednesday 18th March 2020@ 8:30 pm

Song: “If I die young” by The Band Perry

“Hope is a function of struggle” Bre’ne Brown

I finally went outside for recreation for the first time this month and got 5 hours outside with a friend of mine here. In the midst of the corona-virus insanity, I forgot to mention we went through another lockdown and I was locked in my own personal TDCJ assigned cage on death row for 12 days. The corona-virus has caused the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend oral arguments. So I am sure this will also affect the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). Not sure how but I think it will. All jury trials in Dallas and Houston have been suspended or postponed according to local news so there is some effect, but not sure to what extent. Let’s be positive, they will rule in my favor and give me a new trial! I’m beyond ready for that. We’re supposed to go to commissary on March 24th and I hope we make it. I need to stock up on lockdown supplies again, all hell is going to break loose, I do believe, so I have to be ready. Rice, beans, coffee, writing material, what I need to survive. And soap, soap, and soap, toothpaste and toilet paper! So people laugh at others buying all the toilet paper. Those people have never run out! Ha ha!

So the pandemic affects everyone, including Texas death row prisoners. We’re all thinking about it all and wandering what happens next.