Writing from Prison
by Todd Newmiller
Originally published in Newspeak, July 2007
Flag day today. Also a new moon. My existence is entirely superfluous, a maddeningly pointless affair in which I cannot contribute to my own well-being in any way that’s meaningful. As I sit in prison for a crime I didn’t commit, your tax dollars pay to warehouse me in austere conditions, while more and more days of my life go by, stolen by police and prosecutors who lied, who sold me into bondage in exchange for a maintenance dose of power.
Friday, June 25, 2007
One of the strange aspects of my existence here is the phenomenon of people referring to me as "Mr. Newmiller" – guards and inmates alike. I’m unsure precisely why this is the case, although I suspect it’s in part due to the slightly formal and archaic communication style I prefer. It’s my preference to live in an environment of mutual politeness and respect, and I’m foolish enough to believe such a thing can be established through unilateral action. Frankly, it’s easier to find civilized behavior amongst a population of convicts and prison guards than among the occupation force of police and prosecutors and politicians who believe respect accrues to titles rather than to humans, who see civil liberties and the truth alike to be inconvenient barriers to the ascendancy of the state to unchecked, supreme, and unremitting power.
I grew up in a military family, attended DOD schools during our stint in Okinawa, Japan. Throughout my elementary school education, I was taught (in those Cold War times) about the things that separated the U.S. from our ideological foe, the Soviet Union. I learned that corrupt tyrants disinterested in the well-being of the people ran the Soviet system, that the Soviets placed no value in individual liberties. I learned that due process rights under the Soviet system were a sham, that anyone who ran afoul of the bureaucrats could be railroaded into prison. I learned that the Russian people were kept under control by a system of social repression and fear, that the economic wealth of the Soviet Union was squandered by her officials, that the economic benefits failed to reach most of her citizens. I learned that Soviet citizens had to show identification to travel anywhere, even within the borders of their own country.
I was always happy and proud to live in a country strong and brave enough to put principles before fear, a nation built on the ideals of inalienable rights, and honesty, and basic fairness.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Justice isn’t blind, she just feigns impaired sight to avoid admitting the corruption and villainy wrought in her name. In this respect she’s just like the vast masses of humanity, indifferent to the evils of corrupt government, so long as they can convince themselves that the beneficent state works to their personal benefit, in some intangible way – like a warm and treasured baby blanket, that only commits atrocities out of the best of intentions. The best system there is, isn’t good enough, and it gets worse every day that otherwise intelligent people are complacent enough to accept bad governance as a matter of course.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Summer Solstice, approaching the first quarter moon.
Gotta get something out this week. Gotta get something out this week. No stories. Very disappointing. Still, all is not lost. There is still tomorrow. Hope.
I’ve experienced a 20 year regression in my learning, studying algebra in the drafting class. The correct perspective on this is that the drafting class is one of the more "challenging" courses of study available here. Perspective is the realization that a surprising number of my fellow inmates struggle through GED classes, that a shocking number of people are really functionally illiterate.
In El Paso County, the budgetary shortfall has forced extensive cuts. But not to the El Paso County Sheriff’s office budget. And not to the 4th Judicial District D.A.’s office. Why do the cuts always come from social programs? So that the disadvantaged kids not getting the support they need today can go on to get their GEDs in prison?
I’m quite certain the El Paso County Sheriff’s office and the D.A.’s office in the 4th spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on my wrongful conviction. And why not? The county commissioners will just keep giving them more of your money to spend seeking wrongful convictions.