Sunday, September 12, 2010

What can I say??

Your response to my plea for help with funding my studies was overwhelming, the target reached in just a few days! That I caught your attention, and received your generosity, in a world full of insanity and need is very touching. It also puts me on notice that there are a lot of people who have expectations of me and I'd better damn deliver!

As always happens when my name breaks free of the confines of this blog into the wild, deep passions are stirred. One blogger, while plugging my plea and making a donation, also made the point that I should perhaps just be grateful not to have been executed! Cheers, Old H.

I do seem to be a sporadic, minor, lightening rod for the debate between rehabilitation and punishment. Some think I should spend forever in a dank dungeon living off rats, whilst others take a view that change is to be encouraged and assisted. Divining the mindset beneath these views I discern a definite pattern. Those who want me to rot are those who dehumanize prisoners, we are animals, the perpetual Other. Those who support rehabilitation see us as flawed people and "there but for the grace of God..." Neither, I suspect, will ever change their views and so I will never attempt to do so. All I will ever do is present myself as I have, as a three dimensional human being, and if some wish to refuse to see that then it reflects more on them than I.

Another interesting strand is the naivety of some people! In an age when a police can brutalise, even kill, a civilian in the full gaze of the public how can anyone believe that what goes on in my enclosed world is always above board and proper? Such faith in Authority is quite worrying to witness.

This seemed to be most often raised in relation to questioning why I have served 30 years. Surely, some say, I must be a lot more wicked than I claim? These people demand a simple, straightforward explanation when the truth is, there isn't one. The progress of a Lifer results from a thousand decisions, large and small, and to demand An Answer is futile. It's complicated.

There are those suspicious minds who refuse to believe a word I say, they want independent proof. Well, everyone was quite happy to accept my confession and plea of guilty in court; so when did I become a monstrous liar? And parading myself in the public eye should be some guarantee. The Ministry of Justice and the screws are long practiced in spreading poison and if there was serious dirt to be dished, one of these malign forces would have done so by now, don't you think?

There were a dozen reasons why some people took offence at my existence, let alone felt willing to donate, and all held in good faith. Of course, some were barking mad but sincere nonetheless. Such was the visceral hatred from some quarters that they provoked larger donations in from other people, so thanks!

And in some comments I detected an interesting authoritarian strand of frustration - insisting that I should just comply, comply, comply. It is sad, and baffling, that there are those who believe that just because some person, or institution, has a lawful authority then all they do should be immune from criticism or challenge. These people are infuriated that I argue the toss. Ho hum!

But despite these confused, genuine and malevolent constituencies there were sufficient numbers of you interested enough to donate so that my studies can continue. Seems I bring out the worst in some people but the very best in others. Thank you.


  1. Well done. Don't let the bastards get you down.

    With respect to the 'authoritarian' strand, I would suggest that they are Daily Mail readers and nothing less than an Afghani-style execution would placate their fevered blood lust.

    Actually add the Daily Wail to The Sun and all the other red tops. The broadsheets tend to be less 'aggressive' however even they can bust a blood vessel occasionally.

    Good luck.

  2. Excellent achievement, my friend!

  3. You sound more upbeat today. I'm very glad about that :).

    I look forward to you sharing any and all thoughts sparked by your new studies :).

  4. We would love to help share your story Ben,
    Please have someone contact us.

    The Jungle USA

  5. "Those who want me to rot are those who dehumanize prisoners, we are animals, the perpetual Other."

    and the comment above "Don't let the bastards get you down."

    I find your outlook amazing, your really are a peice of work.

    You have a real issue (you have many but lets touch on one):

    "Dehumanizing prisoners" - isnt that fanciful - I like it how you as a convicted murderer put yourself into the same boat as other prisoners. You really think its that black and white? Its the crime you commit that causes peoples perception of you - do think people want to see a bank robber rot in jail? No - how about lets say a convicted murderer who actually ran the victim over by mistake? Nope. But a cold bloooded murderer - (the worst individual crime possible) YES!

    Have you lost that distinction? You think you are percieved the same way as the others? thats just your deluded perspective - You want to feel like your in the right - your not. You took someones life.

    I wouldnt see your rot in Jail if it was my choice - only because you were 14 - but only you know if you deserve to be - and remorseful you do not seem to be.

    Its a shame.

    Also the man above 'fevered blood lust' nice chooice of words. You pitiful bastards.

  6. Oh come on Anonymous! Show a little sense and actually check out the archive before you start running your mouth off. "remorseful you do not seem to be"? Seriously?

    Why don't you start here with the post titled, of all things, "Remorse" and then work your way forward.

    Ahhh, pity, a worthy emotion and yet, at times, one of the offensive things you can do. Don't pity us, pity yourself: at least we have thought about things before taking a stand.


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