Monthly Archives: May 2019

Today

Moving slowly back into society, one day at a time. Nine months ago today, I walked out of federal prison after having served thirty-years and ten-days.

Today was a hot one that I was happy to enjoy as a free man, physically able to walk around, alone, without assistance, and without chains dangling from my wrists and ankles.

Before leaving a Twelve Step meeting today, I shared with a man I sponsor that, when I find myself disgruntled about my circumstances, I try to meditate on my favorite saying: “I complained of having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.” Then I become grateful for what I have and stop complaining about what I don’t have but want. I have all I need to survive, so Life Is Great!

Sunny Day

Yesterday I roamed the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, on a hot and sunny day.  The sun, heavy backpack, and the day’s events wore me down. I was exhausted by the time I returned to my place of residence, emotionally and physically drained, parts of my body sore from toting a heavy load. My mind on overload from keeping rational thoughts in the driving seat of actions.

I did not have a wonderful day, per se, as I was denied financial aid by the Finance department at Grady Memorial Hospital, because I couldn’t honestly provide a Fulton County address. I could have lied and got what I wanted but I must live by certain principles if I am going to stay out of prison.

Irrational thought process: I snapped at one point when things weren’t working according to Wayne: “That’s why so many people go back to prison. They get tired of dealing with all the BS when having to deal with these kinds of places.”

The lady politely reminded me that I hadn’t been doing what I was told to do to obtain the approval. True. I’m guilty.

This is a short video clip from part of my day, and if you notice the expression on my face, it does not show being thrilled and happy to be here.

Damn the Torpedoes!

I lived to fight another day and will be okay. The medical conditions that I sought financial help for their treatments are not life threatening, today, so life is good. I am a survivor and will survive.

If I believe that everything happens for a reason and that things work the way they are supposed to, which I do, then I must accept that just because the world doesn’t work according to Wayne, does not mean that it is BAD. 

What is GOOD or BAD is a matter of perception. For Me To Still Be Alive and Kicking … is Great!

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

[Note: this blog post contains a sensitive and possible offensive issue to some people. Click to read other of the many blogs on this site or click to go elsewhere if expecting political correctness. Thanks for stopping by to visit this website.]

His Words Drove a Nation to Stand and Fight for a Right to Be Free

Patrick Henry, Second Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

“In March of 1775, the Second Virginia Convention met at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, to discuss the state’s strategy against the British. It was here that Patrick Henry delivered his most famous speech, ending with the quote, ‘Give me liberty, or give me death!’”

https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/patrick-henry#section_4

Patrick Henry referred to slavery in his famous speech to unite the movement of men, women, and children to stand and fight for independence from the British. When his peers debated whether to work out peaceful arrangements or to use force against the rule of Great Britian, Patrick Henry spoke words heard today:

“Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? … Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

https://www.biography.com/political-figure/patrick-henry

The slavery Patrick Henry mentioned concerned enslavement to the British, as he spoke decades before the enslavement of Negro men, women and children, rightfully become a hot topic in America.

Slavery existed in America during Patrick Henry’s speech:

Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping.

“By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry.” [footnote omitted]

Slavery in the United States, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_United_States

The photo of Patrick Henry’s statue came from the Town Square of McDonough, Georgia. Fifty yards from where it stands, a memorialized Confederate Soldier stands tall amongst the trees, the McDonough Soldier.

American Civil War Confederate Memorial

McDonough Soldier [Stood] Tall and Proud in Town Square Before Removal

The McDonough Soldier has a right to stand in the Town Square, as he is a part of History. Though he may represent an unpleasant part of history, it is history, and that statue represents the relative of someone who fought and died in America’s most gruesome war. He deserves to stand where others deemed appropriate many years ago.

Patrick Henry may have waved the Gadsden Flag during battle, another flag that some have claimed represented racism because the designer, Christopher Gadsden, was a slave trader and owner of slaves. 

Personally, I don’t see the relevance of what the designer of the flag did, as making the flag representative of slavery or racism, no more than I see the Confederate Flag representing racism because racists use it in their rallies.  (Read more on that topic in the excerpt to follow.)

If you want to know about racism, watch the news because race-related issues flood the news channels and flourishes in many cities today, all across the World; it’s not just an issue in America.

Gadsden Flag, designed by “Christopher Gadsden (February 16, 1724 – August 28, 1805) was the principal leader of the South Carolina Patriot movement during the American Revolution and a soldier and politician from South Carolina

An Excerpt from Southern Pride-Waving the Confederate Flag.

CIVIL WAR:  I raise the Confederate Flag in this blog to rebel against all of the politically correct BS in the news about issues surrounding Southern Heritage.  Some politicians want to stop the celebration of the Confederate Memorial holiday, and to remove from state buildings and grounds: Confederate flags, monuments, statues of Confederate heroes, and other remnants of the American Civil War (1861-1865) because some people find those things offensive.  I find it offensive when people lie about history to support their agenda, such lies as the main reason for the Civil War being slavery.

Was it slavery or was it the economic edge Southern plantation owners had over competitors in Cotton markets, due to the slave labor?   Economics.  Was slavery more of an ideology used by the Union to get the poor to fight their battles?  If the Civil War was fought over slavery, wouldn’t President Lincoln have signed the Emancipation of Proclamation to free all slaves before the war began on April 12, 1861, instead of on January 1, 1863?  Weren’t the slaves used by the president to fight off Confederate forces who had proved to be a more formidable force than expected by slaughtering his troops in numerous battles?  Yes, is the most logical answer based upon the facts and history of the rich using the poor to fight their battles.

I find it offensive for politicians to use the Charleston Church Massacres that I wrote about in “Love and Evil Are Color-Blind,” as justification to remove evidence of the bloodiest and most gruesome war fought on American soil.  The war where smaller bands of Southerners held their own against larger troops of Union Soldiers, until the advent of the repeating rifle, which tilted the war in favor of the Northern troops who had more food, guns, ammunition, and other supplies, because of the economic embargoes placed on the South.  The North won the war but never defeated Southern Pride.  The Confederate flag is a reminder of that, rather than slavery, as has been used to manipulate the masses to take down the flag.

Six-hundred thousand Confederate Soldiers fought against 2,213,363 Union Soldiers.*  The southeastern states were the last to fall.  When the war ended with the surrender of the last Confederate troop on May 26, 1865, there were 646,392 Union casualties, with 140,414 of those casualties being battle deaths, compared to the 133,821 Confederate casualties, 75,524 of which were battle deaths.  After their imprisonment for their part in the war, another 26,000-31,000 Confederate personnel died in Union prisons.  With my long history as a prisoner of such forces, I suspect that most of those died due to disease, lack of medical care, mistreatment, and overall poor living conditions.

REBELS WITH A CAUSE:  Rebels, those Confederate Southern Soldiers were called, the proud label worn by those who refused to conform to ways established by a government not of their choosing.  Rebels, a  part of Southern history and Southern Pride for those who died fighting for a cause; not because of slavery or why the politicians decided to fight the Civil War.  It was about fighting to keep what was theirs, fighting those damned Yankees who come down to take their land, who raped their women, murdered their children, and burned their homes in the name of Justice–the same as had been done to Native Americans by several Union troops.

Most Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War never owned a slave and most likely never knew why they had to go out and fight, other than to defend their land and heritage.  Firing a gun, running through the woods, and working hard to survive came more natural to the Southern man who grew up hunting and fishing to survive, than it did to the Union troops. You can believe that when Union forces heard the rebel yell and saw those southern soldiers waving the Confederate Flag and charging like bulls, that it made adrenaline and cortisol levels soar, instilling fear in everyone’s heart before the battle began with a brutality not known to the men and boys who stood fighting for their lives.  Early into battle, Union troops learned to retreat or die when overran by Confederates who fought with a passion to defend their land against the invaders.

Read the complete blog at https://straightfromthepen.com/2015/07/06/southern-pride-waving-a-confederate-flag/

Prisoners and Society by Wayne T. Dowdy

Each day I devote, or at least attempt to devote, part of my time to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Quora.com. Most often I fail in two or three of those areas.

Most of my posts and online activities relate to prisoners, prison reform, and or criminal justice reform, as well as posting excerpts from the life and times of the infamous Wayne T. Dowdy. Sometimes I address other social issues to let my voice be heard.

I’m a returning citizen, who had never used a cellphone until August 28, 2018, and yet, now I am working at having four websites live before June 2019 arrives. I’m determined to make a difference in the lives of others by doing what I do.

I always want to write my blog posts for straightfromthepen.com and waynedowdy.weebly.com. I just run out of time each day and come up short. 😦

Oh, I forgot, working on revising and writing my books to learn the formatting process to help those caged behind walls, bars and fences and others be published, and as part of one of many planned business adventures.

The point in all the above is that I am a man with a mission who wants to make a difference and to let his voice be heard.

I Write With Blazing Guns on Most Days

I often disagree with viewpoints expressed by others on penological and social issues. I want to believe that change is possible, and that society has became more humane since the Romans ruled the earth. The following debate is one such social issue I posted as an answer and then replied to on Quora.com:

Debate With Quora Follower on Prisoners and Society

People believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers. Is being in prison as good as people think it is or worse than people could imagine?

The people who believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers, need to sign up for a prison stint to learn about FAKE NEWS. Prison life sucks!

Prisoners learn to tolerate and accept the conditions of prison life, regardless of those conditions. Humans adapt to their environments.

Rehabilitation versus punishment has been on the table for decades. Better results come from providing programs to help people change their lives, as is evident by the passage of the First Step Act, which requires the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons to create and provide more evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism.

None of those programs will include having prisoners chained and tortured until they decide to repent and change their evil, wicked ways.

The punitive aspect of prison is removing the person from society; inhumane treatment leads to psychological damage (being in prison under decent living conditions may still lead to the development of psychiatric issues).

Most prisoners return to society. Which is best: to have men and women confined in an environment that breeds more illness than it treats or cures, or to provide an environment where those men and women learn to change behaviors so that they exit the system in better shape than when they arrived?

An experimental prison program in Connecticut (Prison Reform Progress), which is modeled after those in Germany known to provide more humane living conditions, are showing positive results; meaning that perhaps America will change its failed criminal justice system so that men and women who go to prison will leave and not return, but I guarantee that would not happen if society reverted to the days of torturing and mistreating its prisoners.

Follower Comment #1:

Most people on the outside believe that EVERY PERSON INCARCERATED should NEVER get out of prison and that is a fact that is 99% true.

Reply #1:

I’m sure a lot of that is true, which is of course, is based on ignorance of the law and crimes that lead to prison. Stereotyping others also applies.

If those who believe in such a way would attempt to investigate and were intelligent enough to comprehend the complexities of the United States criminal justice system, then they’d know how easy it is for someone to go to prison.

Everyone who goes to prison is not a serial killer, rapist, murderer, robber, or child molester.

I met many men in prison who said, “I never knew I could be put into prison for doing that.”

In Violent Crime Misconception (https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/02/24/violent-crime-misconception/), I refer to the deception of California voters and the absurd laws passed by the California legislatures, who I assure you have a vested interest in high incarceration rates (read “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” by Wayne T. Dowdy, https://straightfromthepen.com/2015/04/05/the-truth-about-incarceration-part-ii/).

How could any rational legislature vote for a bill that would result in some men and women going to prison for 25-years-to-life for crimes as simple as shoplifting or stealing pizza?

If those people who feel everyone who goes to prison should not be released knew of such laws, would they feel the same? Probably not.

Then again, the Romans and many Rome citizens thought it was okay to feed Christians to the Lions for entertainment, so … has society digressed from what was learned through history about the evil nature of some in power, to endorse such practices as keeping someone in a cage for eternity?

I hope not and know that most do not feel in such a way, or else the legislatures would not be voting different these days.

Follower Comment #2:

Even though you make some good points I stand by my post. Watch any YT video about trials and read the comments of the ignorant and ill-informed if you doubt my thoughts. People get charged with offences such as you mentioned and then get acquitted, but it doesn’t matter in the court of public opinion. You are charged – you MUST be guilty. Lock ’em up and throw away the key. Another “win” for the prosecution!!

Reply #2

YouTube and television programs only represent a small portion of the population. The editors of the program controls content to express their views on the issues, or to be what needs said or shown to get higher ratings.

Even politicians fall victim to the Editor’s Choice, when the politician says many things during an interview that the editor cuts to shape into the program’s viewpoint.

I knew several people in prison who felt the same way as what you state, but they were the same ones who, for a lighter sentence, helped the government put other people in prison.

As I wrote, a lot of the public opinion is based on ignorance. Most continue to sit in front of a television and watch programs designed to increase viewership through sensationalism, ignorant of what is the truth. Ignorance exists because of a lack of information. 🙂

Atlanta Hilton Speech

Google Knows A Star When It Sees One

Google Search Result Deemed Delay in Posting Blog and Justified Revision

Before I posted this blog, I checked to see where the photo image might show up, since I had used it a few years ago in a profile, and on the waynedowdy.weebly.com website, as well as on Facebook.

I never knew me and Bond, James Bond, looked similar, but Google Search apparently thinks we do. 🙂 You Go, Google!

Screenshot Proves It: Wayne T. Dowdy Is a Star!

Ironically, during the period of this photo, I thought of becoming a model and went to an interveiw with the PIZZAZZ Modelling Agency, who was advertising its search for models.

The agent gave me a contract to review, sign, and return with my portfolio. I chose to do cocaine instead of signing the contract to pursue a career in acting, modelling for catalogs, and commercials, by rationalizing that, “They just want to get in my pants, anyway.” Sick!

World of Work Graduation Ceremony, Class of 1985

Who’s that dude wearing my three-piece suit?  He looks like he thinks he’s on top of the world, standing up there at that podium with the pretty lady beside him, giving his speech before 500-plus at the Hilton Hotel in the Big City of Atlanta, Georgia.  A Big Shot!

The World of Work program trained him and the other participants to be entrepreneurs, how to succeed in the business world, and how to perform during job interviews. 

Though he was a convicted felon, he landed his first job at one of the Top 100 Atlanta companies; within two-years, he received seven promotions, and increased his salary by fifty-percent.

During that infamous speech at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, he was the last of the graduates to give a presentation.
 
He spoke a few moments to express gratitude for being allowed to take part in the World of Work program, then concluded by saying,

“Nine out of ten released prisoners go back to prison.”
 
The audience stilled. His words captured their attention.

He paused and then said, “I am the one who won’t!”

The audience erupted with cheers and a standing ovation.
 
Pride engulfed his demeanor and spirit, as he returned to his seat on the stage for the closing of the graduation ceremony.

Many Faces of Wayne T. Dowdy

He lied!  Not knowingly at the time he made the statement, but he did because he became one of the nine instead of the one to not become a recidivist.

Recidivism: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; repeated relapse into criminal or delinquent habits. Recidivism: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; repeated relapse into criminal or delinquent habits.  

https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/05/02/no-sympathy/

For more on the man wearing my three-piece suit, read Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794396829