J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles - January
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The Shocking Epistle Of
[A]ll government officials need to and must be put
on a leash (in a J.A.I.L.-like manner), from the top all the way to the
bottom. It is why law exists. Ideally, law is designed as
a leash on every individual, to keep free folks free.
It is a paradox that a free individual must be leashed.
Nonetheless, this can and may be reasonably accomplished. Most
individuals are leashed by their own sense of right and wrong. But others
require the rule of law. Why is it against the law to drive 200 miles per
hour on the freeways, for example? Why is it against the law to kill one's
enemy? Don't people know any better? There are all manner of
restraints on free individuals that are justified.
If the people are restrained by law, and they
are, why should individuals in government who work for the people be
suffered to exist above the law, with no restraint except what they
may generate themselves, if any? How may a wolf censure another wolf for
eating too many hens that neither are supposed to be eating in the first
place? The hen must be put in the driver's seat here, not the
Who or what restrains government
excesses? In 1947, on the day before I
was incarcerated for the first time in my life
by the government, I was playing in the yard and otherwise being an
ordinary seven-year-old, as I had done all my previous life. I was as happy
as I could be (though dirt-poor), as docile as a lamb, timid and shy
to a fault, even more so than most of the other kids, and I had not the
slightest comprehension about legality or principles of right or wrong. I made
straight A's in school. It would have crushed me to lose a spelling
quiz or other such contest at school. I was proud of my straight "A"
report cards. I competed with the best at school and came out on top most
of the time. This was in days gone by, when one did the work or failed.
There was no such thing as fuzzy math. Math questions had only two kinds
of answer: right or wrong. Except for being excessively bright (I taught
myself to read before I was four) I was a typical seven-year-old, with the
same hopes and dreams. I wanted to be a scout when I grew up, in
Suddenly, without preliminary, for
reasons I knew anything about, I was in the back of a flatbed truck with a dozen
or so other boys headed for where, I knew not. Whomever's job it had
been, if such a thing existed, to tell me the why's and wherefore's, failed in
the mission. I had no idea where I was going or why. I was
simply uprooted, like an onion in a garden, and harvested. To
my mind, I was kidnapped by the State of Texas and
incarcerated. I still have this mind. I still don't know the
why's of it, if any there were.
My memory of events during that
time is as vivid as this morning's breakfast because the trauma
of that kidnap was so consuming that it burned its way
into my cortical framework like a firebrand on a calf, never to be
forgotten, never to be outgrown. I was physically branded later with a
heavy leather strap. I don't tell any of this to solicit sympathy for
myself, but to alert people to the truth of government without restraints and
the reasons why rigidly enforced constitutional directives are necessary in a
free society. The United States Constitution was not designed to
constrain any citizen. It was designed as a bulwark between the citizen
and the government, to constrain the government and protect the citizen from
government excesses and abuse of the very brand that I know so well, said excess
and abuse that always follow unchecked government power and authority, always,
In this little story, my problems at the
time are not the subject, however. I write about the pain of others
this time, a situation that confronts us when government
is absolute and totalitarian with no checks and balances, as the case has been
every day of my life. Except to hear government-regulated news agencies
such as CNN, ABC, CBS or NBC telling it, Americans have not yet attained a
modicum of the freedoms that the founders intended. That day is still in
the distant future. I am the living witness, along with many others who
After I had been imprisoned for a while in 1947, I
was wandering around near the gym one day. A door was ajar and I
walked over to push it open. I heard terrible sobbing and
thrashing noises inside. Curious, I peeked in. What
I saw frightened me half to death, made me want to flee screaming in
terror. I wanted to turn and run more than I had wanted to do anything
before, but I was pulled in as though I was in the grip of a powerful
tractor force, urging me forward with unbreakable bonds. At seven, I
had never witnessed this manner of torture before.
A boy lay on the floor just in front of the
door. He was gagging and puking, crying and begging for help. He
looked up at me with eyes that are emblazoned into my consciousness
forevermore. He was scared to death and in serious physical pain. His
agony permeated me like a cloudburst on a cold day, or a dash of
ice water in the face after rising from a hot bath. I was bathed in terror
and soaked to the marrow of my bones.
The boy embraced my legs and tried to rise,
begging me to help him. I attempted to back away. I couldn't
move. I could only stare at the rest of the tableau, wishing that I was
anywhere but here. There were about ten or fifteen officials in the
gym with about five or six boys ranging in age from nine to twelve or
so. A five gallon bucket of milk sat at one end of the gym, with
a ladle inside. Several cartons of cigarettes were stacked beside the
A couple of officials were unpacking the
cigarettes and crumbling them into the warm milk. Another was stirring the
bucket with the ladle. Still others were situated at intervals around the
gym, each holding several packets of cigarettes.
Some officials were holding leather straps, huge, ugly things--saddle cinches of
the nature that I was beaten with from time to time. They knocked
big blood blisters on me when they hit and tore the flesh in
pieces. I knew at least this much of what the boys were
Each boy was stripped to his shorts and ran in
circles around the gym. When the boy arrived at the end of the gauntlet,
where the bucket of warm milk was (with cigarettes ground up and stirred in),
the ladle was held to his face and he was made to drink. Then he ran the
gauntlet again. I don't know how long this had been going on before I
arrived. But it continued for what , to my mind, seemed hours.
When the boy left the milk bucket to trek around
the gauntlet again he was struck with the saddle cinches as he passed, two in
the gauntlet, one on either side of the gym. When they were struck it
knocked some of the boys down, others slipped and fell in the puke. None
made it without falling down hundreds of times. It was a real nightmare.
The saddle cinch struck anywhere it would. Then the boy stopped at
the next interval to take several cigarettes, which he was forced to ingest
on the spot. Then he ran to the next interval, where he was striped again
with the belt. Then he ingested cigarettes again, then he was back at the
bucket, drinking of the warm milk and cigarettes. It was a real
horror show. It was my government, unrestrained, in action.
The boys ran around and around the gym, stumbling,
falling, crying in pain and fear, begging for surcease, gagging on the ingested
cigarettes, slobbering, puking, howling in pain and fright.
But a couple of them suffered in silence, as
though this was a ritual of manhood. The only thing that betrayed their
distress was when they slipped and fell in the puke that was all over the
gym floor, couldn't get back up, and lay retching and gagging. It was a
ritual of manhood, for sure, which not a single official present could have
endured any differently. Some boys grew up fast in this place. I was
one of them.
For me it was a waking nightmare. I don't
know why I was allowed in the gym at that moment, as nobody else was allowed in
except those directly involved. Evidently the boys had been caught
stealing cigarettes and smoking them. I had been told that this would
happen to me if I was ever caught smoking cigarettes. I had not believed
it. I thought it was too horrible to believe. I thought it was
a lie the boys made up. One could say that the reality of it caved in
on me and made me believe. I was a true believer when I left the gym that
day. In fact, I didn't have to believe. I knew for certain it was
Many years later a four year old boy, who was
sitting in my lap, looked up at me very seriously and asked, "Is thew
mongstews?" He was afraid of monsters and he was asking me if they
really existed. I was hard-put not to say, "Yes, precious, monsters
do exist. However, these are men in the world with too much arbitrary
police power, not the kind of monsters you would like to believe in.
The monsters you would like to believe in do not exist at all. They are
only phantoms in your own little boy's fertile imagination." How could I
answer the boy? How could I tell him the truth, and also assure him that
monsters do not exist? When I was three years older than he was I was
living and witnessing the spectacle of monsters full blown.
One of the officials saw me and came over to
me. I was too numb to run away or care what he might do to me.
I was transfixed with fear, loathing and revulsion. I had already
learned how to hate and this moment sealed that knowledge with a special
signet. For all I could know, I may be next. I was there, wasn't
I? And so I stood, looking down at the boy still embracing my lower legs,
begging me to help. How could I help? I was a victim too.
What could I do but watch? The boy was covered in puke, cigarette
debris, sweat, blood and tears, cowering like a dog at my knees.
His entire body, semi-nude, was red and welted from the saddle cinch
straps, with an oozing cut or scrape here and there.
I knew the boy well. We were close
friends. We had played together. We all called him
"One-eye." for the fact that one eye was glass. The glass
eye drooled with a snotty, pusy opacity, glaring at me with a weird,
painless objectivity contrasted against the good eye through which I beheld
fear-emaciated soul of my
friend, One-eye. The glass eye possessed a coldness that I had
never noticed before. In the boy's mind he must have thought he was being
murdered. I thought he was too.
The official pulled One-eye away from me and threw
him up against the wall, demanding that he run. Then he turned to me and
put an arm around me, as though caressing me with kindness.
"This is what happens to boys who steal cigarettes
and then smoke them," he confided. "You don't ever want to steal
cigarettes. Do you now?"
I shook my head from side to side, "No sir."
I wanted to kill him. At the age of seven I wanted to kill a
man. This is what government run amok can do to a boy. It can ignite
fires of revolution in the spirit, fires as hot as the sun, a consuming flame
that will never die. Over fifty years have passed and those
fires have not abated. Indeed, they are hotter today. They
have gone from red-hot to white-hot. I am older and wiser. I have lived
several lifetimes since then and I know things that I did not know in
My first encounter with absolute government
authority ignited fires of belligerence in my head as hot as the sun.
They won't die as long as I have a
brain. I intend to see government reigned in and leashed,
whatever the cost. I conceive it to be the very reason for my
"What can you do about it?" might come the
To this I say, "Watch."
Absolute individual sovereignty realized is an awesome thing
to behold, even in a single man. When that great day comes (the final stud
in the leash on government), I'll take a bow and say, "Here it is." And my
life will be fulfilled.
It's coming. Watch for it.