Saturday, April 2, 2011


I'm hardly eating and sleeping, spending my days frozen in inactivity. It's a strange state of affairs.

And neither common, nor easily explained.  It isn't a savage, paralysing depression.  It is more like a fugue state, where both brain and body have shut down.

This will pass...but if there are gaps in the blog, now you know why!


  1. Oh my goodness Ben, poor you!

    Of course I am no doctor, but I do have some experience in certain pyschological states, and for this one; why not firstly see what the Doc recommends, but I would suggest a short term use of a benzo like clonazepam for perhaps two weeks but make sure you do come off them because they are highly addictive.

    Clonazepam helps both sleep and anxiety.

    Also, you could perhaps try listening to some classical music, there is so much to choose from there, Satie is one of my favourites.

    You are amazing because despite all of this, you are still carrying on with the blog, thinking of us and making us smile.

    May God bless and keep you always xxx

  2. I sympathise with you, I have just hauled myself out, with help, from such a state. Unlike you I could pick the phone up, get on the internet, use my options to try and get out and about. What sort of 'help' do you get in prison? From what I have heard you have trouble getting a simple effective pain killer.

    I think you are caught in that hamster on a wheel trap. The best treatment for you would be a successful move to open prison, but they wont move you till you are deemed 'medically fit'. You cannot allow your deserved move to open, at last, be delayed any further. Time to 'bite the bullet'. Look forward to life, if you can possibly find the strength from somewhere to do so. Believe me, I know how much that will take, but the end result will be worth it.......

  3. Lay off the drugs, and get back to regular karate practice. You'll need to be fit for the outside.

  4. Hi Ben. I'm soooo sorry that you are feeling this way. It's perfectly understandable of course. But please know that there are folks out here that care about you and have you in their hearts and thoughts constantly. You may sometimes feel alone but, you know what?? You NEVER will be. We are all here with you in spirit stay strong, stay safe and above all......stay SANE!!! With love always.....PAGAN DANCE.......xxxx

  5. The most important thing is that you can say to yourself 'this will pass' - not always an easy thing to do when in such a condition. Take care of yourself as best you can Ben, hoping you feel better soon. All best wishes, Jules

  6. Hang in there Ben. Just keep reminding yourself that there IS light at the end of the tunnel this time - not just an oncoming train!

    The karate sounds like a good plan too, if it's possible ;).

  7. lackinginempathy.comApril 3, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Contradictions: I have spent many years working with people who reside in Prescoed. I have helped lads in the final parts of their sentences try to prepare for life once they are released. Housing, employment, getting used to things that are slightly different, or massively different in the world 'outside' depending on how long they have been inside. I agree passionately that reform of the criminal justice system is overdue and needs urgent attention. No point preaching to the converted! But I question myself now. I also happen to understand the frustration felt by the victims family. There are a lot of people who follow John/Ben in his quest for prisoners rights/freedom and feel that he made a mistake and should be forgiven. After all, he feels remorse, even though he can't say sorry without the question mark. Sorry?. If somebody wrote an apology and finished it with sorry?, would you not question the sincerity of the apology. And why should John/Ben still feel guilty after all this time? The victims family are bitter if they still hurt about this event. Why do they still hurt? They must be bad people if they can't forgive after all this time! I'm sure you all know somebody who is 12. Now imagine them on a life support machine, unrecognisable, black and blue and swollen. The doctor tells you that the last thing to go is their hearing. What would you say? 'Sorry, he made a mistake, and he won't ever be violent towards anybody again. So it's all ok' 'It sounds to me like it was a fight that got out of hand'. If your 12 year old sister / brother / son / daughter / neice / nephew was killed like this, would you accept a 'sorry?'? I doubt it....

  8. @ - I know it's late, and I have read your post a few times - but I'm afraid to me, it makes no sense!

  9. Victims and perpetrators have been discussed many times here on this blog. Most people have been either a victim of crime or a perpetrator or both in their lifetimes as I am sure you have too, lackinginempathy, and the fact is that we do forgive the perpetrators of crime.

    No matter how graphic and disturbing you describe Ben's or anyone elses crime and the results of it, he is forgiven although he struggles with it himself.

    There is a role for teaching someone how to behave or how to bahave where they don't harm another, and this is something that many perpetrators of crime take on board, but there really should be no room for gleeful and continuous punishment, it serves no purpose not for either party, and also not for our society.

    There is so much hypocracy regarding the criminal justice system as you know, the worst one for me is the fact that war mongers and people who are responsible for killing millions of innocent civilians, men, women and children are not brought to justice, something particularly striking is the recent illegal invasion of Iraq.

    Did you see the footage of the aftermath of the white phosphoros attack on Falluja? Those responsible for that crime are not only freely walking and jet setting even, they are also making a mint out of it.

    Ben is sorry for killing the boy, but struggles with how adequate an apology can ever be, hence the question mark after.

    Tell me what is the solution? To continuously hate and vilify the man, or allow for peace all round?

  10. I presume you know from reading this blog that Ben has lost a family member to violent crime, so is in a position to know what it feels like from both sides? What you have written is quite unnecessarily cruel. You need to go back and read through Ben's posts. There you will find some that suggest he feels deep remorse and that to him, 'sorry' is just a word which can never make up for what he did. I'm afraid the name you give yourself fits you very well.


    I'm always very wary of speaking for Ben, but he can't speak for himself here. You should read this with the understanding that it is my interpretation of events and not Ben's.

    I think you are misreading the tone of Ben's "sorry?". It was meant to emphasise how neither the word nor anything he does can ever atone for the pain he has caused. It wasn't insincere, it was an acknowledgement that however sincere he is (and Ben is VERY sincere), it won't change anything. He lives with that every day and suffers because of it.

    That doesn't mean he is asking for sympathy for his suffering - I don't believe Ben feels he deserves sympathy, although it is freely given by many all the same. It shows that, regardless of whether we forgive him or not, Ben won't ever forgive himself.

    As for your wider question, I don't follow and support Ben because I believe he deserves redemption, I support him because the best way to prevent it happening again is with rehabilitation and help for those in the system.

    Ben has valuable incites that could save lives in the future. I suspect his fight to reform the system is, in some way, and attempt to atone, although I don't think he could ever save enough lives to make up for the one he took, and I think he knows that too.

    @everyone else

    We never know what a person has suffered to cause them to have the beliefs they do and this person hasn't said anything cruel about Ben.

    They may have interpreted things we have said and think wrongly, but that interpretation will be coloured by what they have experienced and is quite likely to be with good reason.

    I don't believe the family of a victim is a bad person for still being bitter at their loss after 30, 50 or 100 years and I'm sure very few people here do either, but if we lash out at comments like the one above because it attacks Ben, who we support, we risk giving that impression and causing pain to people who have already been through far too much. doesn't sound like a troll to me, so be nice eh?

  12. *insights

    Freudian clit? Uh, I mean slit.... uh SLIP! I mean slip!

  13. @ Wigarse, yeah sure be nice, civility works both ways, lackinginempathy sounds a bit like a screw, and it is their job to lack empathy for prisoners, sometimes a lot and sometimes a little, its good to talk and I am all in favour of screws speaking up and joining in with the debates, but I don't expect much I'm afraid

  14. How can Ben save lives with insight? He might have more chance at being a life saver by being an ambulance driver. Not knocking insight, just saying.

  15. You really can't think of one way Ben's insight could save lives?!

    Ben's understanding of the system from the inside and his hard won self-education enable him to suggest rehabilitation solutions that may actually work, as opposed to the well-meaning but largely useless ones suggested by you and I who can't have any real appreciation for what it is like inside. It's not hard to imagine him contributing to the rehabilitation of someone who would otherwise have gone out and killed again, and, therefor, Ben's insights will have saved a life.

    Personally, I suspect he may already have done that simply by being who he is and talking to the people he does.

  16. @Wigarse - it is quite clear from their post that is a prison worker, not someone from the victim's family and not a troll, and my reply was made accordingly. This person didn't say anything cruel ABOUT Ben, but how do you think the description of the 12 year old will make him feel when the comments are sent on for him to see? I maintain it was unnecessary of lackinginempathy to write this in support of his argument, and not how I would like to think a prison worker would conduct themselves in an ideal world.

    I respect you probably know Ben better than most of us, but we are equally entitled to reply to each other's comments and express our own views, so long as this is a public forum/discussion.

  17. Wigarse I think you are stretching it a bit, we all have the capacity to save and heal others, its not just Ben. You put him on a pedestal. Its really not necessary.

  18. Jules,

    I agree, it is quite clear to me that is/was a prison worker. Personally, I thought they were probably both a prison worker AND a victim of crime.

    Of course I'm all for free speech here, I just think we (myself included) tend a little too far towards the strident on occasion. The comments have a tendency to be hypocritical, with a liberal view towards commentors unless they say something against the consensus view, at which point they get shrilly abused.

    Some of them deserve it (I'm looking at you JimmyGiro, you rogue), but all sorts of people come here from all sorts of backgrounds and we don't do Ben, ourselves or prison reform in general any favours when we behave in exactly the way those who favour the status quo expect.

    I'm not restricting anyone's right to say whatever they like, I'm just appealing for a little empathy towards those with different views and, to quote the great Jon Stewart, for everyone to take it down a notch. Once the debate gets polarised, everyone loses.


    What on earth did I say to suggest I thought Ben was the only person with the capacity to save and heal? In fact, when did I mention "saving" or "healing" at all? Two very emotive words that most definitely do not describe what I think Ben can do.

    I said Ben has insights which can make a real difference to the prison system if he's listened to. A difference with the potential to reduce recidivism and therefor save lives. That's hardly a controversial statement and if you think it constitutes "putting someone on a pedestal" then you're very wide of the mark.

  19. Wigarse, you mention variants of 'saving' 3 times, and then deny that is what you are saying, strange.

  20. Wigarse - I actually make a particular point of not 'shrilly abusing' anyone on this blog (not even JimmyGiro!), even though I have at times been on the rough end of comments myself. I hope you agree there is a big difference between disagreeing with someone and abusing them.

    I thought both my own comment and that of Infamous that you referred to on 4 April were reasonable and made valid points, and can't see that we 'lashed out' at all. I have replied very sympathetically to a previous post on this blog from a loved-one of Ben's victim. Please just let people have their say, and perhaps Ed can decide if and when things need 'taking down a notch'.

    If someone is the relative of a victim of a serious crime I'm sure they shouldn't be employed by the prison service as it is bound to affect their work. Prisoners who are being rehabilitated need empathy, support and acceptance from people, not continued condemnation, if they are ever going to move on and start a new life.


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