21 Dec 08

Fighting For No Good Reason (by Shane)

Shane - After being denied psychiatric medication by ValueOptions, Shane turned to illegal drugs financed by burglaries. The medication in prison caused him to suffer a period of spontaneous ejaculations. Shane is the author of the blog Persevering Prison Pages.

I could sense something was wrong as soon as I took my tray from the chow hall’s serving slot. It was an eerie feeling that heightened all of my senses. Knuckles white, I gripped my tray and headed to the second table from the back wall of the dining room, scanning the crowded room for anything out of the ordinary. Nothing.

Setting my tray down next to Saint’s, I sat. “Wassup?” I asked Saint, a self-proclaimed Christian warrior friend. Although saved by the crucifixion of Christ, Saint had no qualms about throwing down with anybody. He was in fact a fighter.
“Mexicans have beef with the blacks,” he whispered with a head gesture towards a table with two blacks seated at it.
Looking around inconspicuously, I spotted two guys talking, both from separate tables along the back wall. Shot-caller tables. A Mexican and white guy. This isn’t good, I thought.
White and Mexican shot-callers conversing in public meant something could jump off before a private meeting. That always made me nervous.

Picking at my lunch, I spied the two STG [Security Threat Group] heads turn back to their respective tables and converse with their tablemates.
A white boy left the table, leaned over and whispered something to a youngster at the table behind the one I was at. The leader abruptly turned and left the chow hall.

The youngster, a lanky tattooed longhair, stood with his empty tray in hand, looking pointedly at the guard standing sentry at the chow hall exit. The guard and longhair exchanged knowing looks, and subtly the guard left the chow hall locking the exit.

As the long hair walked towards the discard-tray slot, a path that passed by the table with the two black men at it, I whispered “Heads up,” to Saint.
Saint didn’t react.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one watching, because as soon as the longhair neared the black table, both black guys stood up and went after him. After the first volley of punches landed, the longhair went down.
In slow motion, I saw a fluid wave of whites and vatos move across the room, before the longhair hit the floor, to engage the two blacks.
Another table of blacks stood, causing Saint to stand and throw his empty tray at one of them.
As Saint made a beeline for the closest black guy standing, I stood and looked around the room. Locking eyes with a light-skinned young black a couple of tables away and still sitting, I thought, Don’t do it. Don’t get up. Stay sitting. I watched him, waiting for any indication he planned to get involved.
Suddenly, an explosion of sparks clouded my vision and I staggered to my right, catching my balance by grabbing the nearest table.
Quickly regaining my bearings, I saw who had blindsided me and attacked. The thin dark black guy tried to sidestep my charge, but I extended my elbow, catching him in the mouth with my solid forearm.

In the pandemonium, food trays had landed on the floor, leaving a slick mess everywhere.
Trading glancing punches, I decided to take him down. Grappling with him, I managed to get him in a partial chokehold from behind. If not for his right hand caught in the hold, he’d have been fast asleep.
Walking forward, I laid him on top of the table, released his neck and punched him hard in the right side. Drawing back to punch him again, I felt somebody grab my arm. Spinning around, I threw a hammer-fist punch, connecting with flesh and bone. Somebody fell.

It was the sound of keys and yells of “Break it up! I’ll gas you! Break it up!” that snapped me out of fight mode.
There were a dozen guards now moving throughout the chow hall breaking up fights.
Seeing the longhair on the floor next to me, I helped him up and we headed for the now open exit, which was packed with guys trying to get out before gas was used.
“Why’d you hit me for?” the longhair asked, his face bloody and bruised.
The guard who’d locked the chow hall earlier was standing sentry again. He ushered us through, but stopped a black behind us with a bloody nose.

The yard was locked down for two days but no disciplinary tickets were written and only two guys went to the hospital. A black and a Mexican.

I never learned what the beef was, and it never came up again. Probably best I didn’t know because it’s usually not a good enough reason to fight over. However that’s how life is inside: fighting for no good reason.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Email comments on Shane’s story to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

another great story, shane


Anonymous said...


Shannon asked me to send this to you and to additionally ask you to send it to Middleground, ACLU and any others you can think of. Thanks.

Today, a prisoner refused to house in a particular bed. Rather than security and administrative staff simply putting him in the hole, they decided to punish him in a ridiculous display of childishness.

Under Sgt. Bonorand, Lt. Robinson, Cpt. Rynyon and a half dozen CO III's and CO IV's watch, the prisoner was handcuffed, put in a fenced in courtyard, wearing only a thin orange jumpsuit, socks and flip-flops. This was so he would suffer in the elements until he decided to house in the bed he was told to.

This continued on through the next shift. Sgt. Pair carried on this unconstitutional punishment under the infantile guise of it's the prisoner's "choice." He can house or sit out in the cold.

Just prior to dinner, another orangeman tried to toss a sweatshirt over the fence to this guy which got caught in the razor-wire.

Sgt. Pair locked the entire yard down, slow fed the whole yard and we remain locked down.

Deputy Warden Bradley, apparently, has no control over his shift supervisors or has no concept of cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Either way, he's in need of a phone call, e-mail, etc.

It's breezy, 45-55 degrees F and wet.
Don't you think the shoddy health care being provided to prisoners is enough punishment without prolonged exposure to the elements?


Anonymous said...


plz sign my petition, and forward to your friends ..Thanks, Gina

Anonymous said...

hey jon.its me tarryn that e-mailed you.i really would like to know what t-bones reply was to my letter.thanx 4 finding the time to reply to me.my email address is tp234288@gmail.com this next message is for two tonys.i am a young girl and as i read jons journal i realised that you are a very wise person.i cant help but think what a loss it is that you dont have many grandchildren and children to share your wise and humouras thoughts with.i know you think that you learned alot in jail and you got a unique view on how good your life is compared to iraqian and so on,but mr two tonys i realy think that your wisdom and humour and who you are is being wasted in that place.bt thanx to jons blog you got to touch alot of peoples hearts and add a little laughter to such a horrid place.you are wonderful.i mean it!why i say that place is horrid? ill just say this- prison is the devils playground- my question to you is...if you could go back and know what you know now, would you choose to inspire people and share your gift of wisdom and humour or would you repeat the past? if you read this thanx for taking time out for me. tarryn.from south africa.

Anonymous said...

Happy new year, Shane!!!! Keep up the great posts!