Bird Song and Razor Wire (by Polish Avenger)

Polish Avenger – A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were committing. In Arizona, if a burglar gets killed, the accomplices get 25-year sentences.

One of the most insistent reminders of being in prison is the ubiquitous razor wire. The stuff is everywhere, multiple strings of maliciously designed metal hell. It really is a sinister invention. Not only is it the sharpest thing I’ve ever encountered, but according to prison legend, it’s coated with a powerful anticoagulant. So if you get sliced while trying to escape, you won’t clot – you’ll just continue to leak and leave a nice trail for the guards to follow.

So you can imagine my surprise at an observation a few days back. Our unit here happens to be in a particularly diverse and well-populated riparian corridor (i.e. lots of birds). I am in the slim minority here who appreciates them. I love watching them, especially the swallows. Superb little diving acrobats they are! Pure fun to watch. But the most singular trait of these cheeky little buggers is that they fearlessly land atop those death-sharp fangs of wire, perch nonchalantly, and sing. Full-chested arpeggios of swallowsong. Scant millimetres away from fatal hemorrhage and all they do is serenade.

That, my friends, is exactly how I feel. My inner self is right up there alongside my feathered comrades, bursting out a triumphant song of joy that no oppressor can put down. Not by religion or dogma, but by the choice to have a good day. We don’t have to riot, or fight, or seethe with impotent rage against the system. When we decide to have a good day no matter what they throw at us, we win! We spite the unjust, snub the negative, laughingly tweak the nose of the diabolical inventors of razor wire, and proclaim that despite a quarter-century prison sentence, despite atrocity and human rights violations, and a broad spectrum of raw inhumanity, things are actually still OK. Yes, even in here. And yes, even out there.

What kind of day do you choose to have?

“…there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”
– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Click here for Polish Avenger's previous blog.

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Shaun P. Attwood


Cindy said...

interesting coincidence only because for my new year's resolution (which I haven't made since high school when I vowed to water my plants for my resolution) I decided that I would enjoy at least SOME part of my day (even if I felt like shit, or was stressed, or whatever).

Tim said...

I bet the chap you were trying to burgle enjoyed a part of his day when he blew your thieving mate away.

Anonymous said...

ouchhhhh, Tim

was that really called for?


Tim said...

You're right ghost not called for. I wouldnt want his jail time. Hey but if you dont want the time, dont do the crime.
I just got a bit miffed by his waffle about life being great and enjoying his day behind the razor wire. His stupid actions cost the life of his friend and the householder could have been murdered if the burglary had gone wrong.
This prison thing IS very interesting, but I dont like all the hero worship of these fellas. They are put away for a reason, not many by accident. Look at John, he was a serious criminal but now every one loves him. He has reformed yes. But he is unusual. And I hate all the criticism of Joe. Nobody wants to go back to his hotel. I liked his comments to inmates whinging about the heat.
"Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic.
He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates: "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes . . . so shut your ___________ mouths."

Anonymous said...

Shaun, are you aware that a U.S. (federal) grand jury is investigating Sheriff Joe and his MCSO? I think most of the investigation is about potential civil rights violations against illegal aliens, not prison conditions.

I hope you can get their attention and give them info.


Jon said...

I wasn't aware. Thanks for that!

syncopated eyeball said...

Thankyou, Polish Avenger, this was refreshing.

six string sam said...

My name is Tim( i'll go by Tim H.)and I am embarassed to share the name with the dirtbag who defends the local sheriff down there. I am an ex-con and I am also a high honor student at college. Prisons are big business in this country, and if you think that prison is a deterent to crime or a place to "get rehabilitated" you are very sadly misinformed.Hence the ever increasing rate of crime and recidivism. I tried to see you point of view, but I couldn.t get my head that far up my ass.