Cyrus was most emotional on the day his mother passed away. She had been ill and not feeling well enough to travel and come see him for his monthly visit thus his father, hesitating to leave her alone and travel the road by himself, had told Cyrus he would not be visiting as much as before. Eighteen months had passed and not a word from anyone on the murder trial he was supposed to testify in and the reason for being in the “hole” to start with. His lawyer, Mr. Thompson was getting old and not as aggressive as before thus he stopped writing the prison officials for explanations or suggestions for alternative housing placement for his client, Cyrus Grossman now prison number 47007.
Time had taken a toll on this man, his strength was withering and his anger was rising above the levels he felt he could control. Being isolated, deprived of essential freedoms without just cause and treated like an animal, he felt contempt for the system and how it was treating him as well as many others he was surrounded by day in and day out. He had about enough of this abuse and felt that they were deliberately torturing him into submission and die. He would not give them the satisfaction of doing so thus decided to fight back his own way. He knew how to fight but he would have to choose his battles. He vowed to discipline himself to deal with the radical rules of prison life and began to believe in himself as a power to be reckoned with by increasing his efforts to return back to a general population setting and forget this nightmare in the “hole.” Thinking of a plan, he believed he could convince them of change.
Trapped inside a system that was degrading to any man, Cyrus was an angry man among many other men. His punishment for his mistake or accident had far exceeded any justice in the process and believed a point in time had come to make things better for himself as well as his family as they were suffering as well since his incarceration inside these prison walls. Entombed and surrounded by heartless and cruel individuals had hardened Cyrus’ heart. In fact, he felt he had indeed become heartless in his dealings with people and felt the only way to change this feeling was to attack the problem. There must be a way to find a manner that would expose his personal dilemma to somebody who still cared about human beings and tried to find a person of charity among those with stone hearts.
Certainly there would be one soul out there that could help him; one person who could open the door to civility and dignity and restore his spirit as a man lost among a sea of other men who committed hideous crimes and participated in gang like activities out on the street or inside prisons. His apprehension of his living conditions made him realize that he was nothing less than an animal as long as they kept him here in the darkness and alone. This kind of living is absurd, unreasonable and preposterous as these principles go directly against the laws of men and God. And yet, nothing was further from the truth that Cyrus could feel a part of his spirit die as he clings onto the feelings of hope and change and perhaps dignity. Inside his soul, he knew he had to abolish this feeling of self-destruction and maintain a positive strength while he dealt with this matter of personal injustice and deliberate indifference to his needs.
Cyrus’s first thought or proposed plan of action was to fight the fight physically and with fury. His determination to do something would not escape his mind as he focused on his imprisonment and decided that this madness must cease, even if it ended with force. His apprehension of his situation has become distorted and his mind, once sharp and witty has become clouded and filled with emotions that were contemptuous in nature and substituting his once peaceful feelings with something more brutal. His thought process was beginning to slip into a rim of anarchy as he felt more useless as a human and often though of the way things used to be in his life before this nightmare began.
Convicted of manslaughter a little over three years ago, he still maintained to himself it was an accident. He didn’t mean to take any chances that night in the rain. The truck did well and he even slowed down in the rainstorm to ensure Julie’s safety was considered as well. Since the day of the accident, he has been progressively feeling worse and worse about his so called crime and contemplated ending it all by giving into the system that was tugging on him to be brave and to die to get it all over with and close this struggle once for all.
His suffering made no sense. Cyrus had finished serving a little more than three years in a six year sentence. He was sent to prison as a deterrent to crime but in all honesty knows he was sent to prison to be made an example of by an aggressive prosecutor who wanted to build cases of enforcing the laws to benefit from the tasks and seek higher bureau status somewhere in a distinguished political position. This didn’t seem fair to Cyrus as his family and he have been paying a high price for this man’s glory seeking and abundantly clear political motivation to be a successful politician. Cyrus admitted he has been acting positively with all good intentions. He was not a monster nor was he the enemy of a system that attacked every fiber of his mind, his body and his heart. He felt his good conduct was nullified for no reasons and that the system was the monster and anything but just. It must surely be attacked and changed to create the real justice men intended when they wrote these laws for incarceration and prison life. Living inside this prison and especially the “hole” was a constant threat to his personal security. These conditions imposed, medieval in nature and concept resembled anachronistic relics of the past and not the present or the future.
It seemed their power is perpetuated and multiplies as men and women who wear a badge profess it to offer reform opportunities and more self-control to prevent or deter crimes from happening in the future. It appears that this gorilla of a system was directly responsible for much of the damage that society incurs at the hand of those who created these laws of order. Perhaps it would have been better that there were no laws at all and allow persons to take responsibility and face consequences naturally as they did in the past. Cyrus was convinced that prisons must be abolished if men were to survive.
One thing was for sure as Cyrus thought out loud “I can no longer cope with the conditions as they are and I must change the social factors in my life if I am to remain to be a man and retain my self-esteem and self-existence.” Again, thinking radical steps to eliminate this feeling of despair and hopelessness, he sought to find a solution to his madness and come up with something that would free him forever of the pain and sadness he was suffering here inside the darkened “hole.”
The elimination of these thoughts seemed to lead to radical steps Cyrus was willing to take. His mind was already a mindset of contempt and infuriation uncontrolled and ready to explode. Deliberating the alternatives to violent actions, it appeared the consequences resembled those tactics already imposed on him for just merely being housed there in the “hole” as he was treated or rather mistreated the same as everyone else inside his surroundings thus having any additional sanctions imposed would be a moot point for him. He was already suffering widespread fines and punishment. His freedom had already been taken from him as he was stripped daily and often left naked for long periods of time making him vulnerable to every danger and emotionally charged element in existence. It seemed that doing nothing was not an option for this former Army Ranger and that if he were to be treated as a criminal he was identified to be, it was preferable that such treatment be justified and preferable to meet the rightful conditions of confinement. His advocacy to do right had disappeared from his mind and his advocacy to do wrong dominated his thought pattern that would imply that if he was going to be treated as an animal, he should simply act like an animal. The justification was given by the very same system that took it away.
Looking around Cyrus saw what the mass incarceration efforts of the system had done. The prisons were underdeveloped to house or hold as many as there were and double bunking them and making them sleep on the floor appeared to be a rational and justified method allowed by the system. Men and women were being treated as slaves and the reason was unwarranted. Under existing social laws and order, Cyrus would have never experienced this horrific concept of mass incarceration if he had not stepped inside Aspen correctional center that fateful day. He would have never witness with his own eyes how a respectable, law abiding person can find himself in an abyss or dark hole just because the system was designed to inflict this predesigned structure. His only hope was to protest and support his individual cause for change or better living conditions. This oppression was killing him and nobody would speak up or speak out on his behalf yet they lied to him dozens of times with promises to change his status from segregation to general population within time.
Bringing tears to his eyes, Cyrus knew this was wrong of justice, it was wrong for struggling to stay alive and it was wrong to be treated so inhumanely when he had fought so hard to protect these freedoms as a soldier overseas where the governments engage in such injustice and our troops are fighting those elements of oppression and anarchy to establish a democracy similar to ours and establish a government by the people and for the people. Somewhere between him fighting as a soldier and suffering as a prisoner, the system was determined to break his back and take away his inner peace and justice as a member of the human race on the face of this place we call earth.
Determined to no longer remain mute or still, he was determined to fight the 1000 pound gorilla in the room and fight with every ounce of strength he had for his injustice should not be muffled or muzzled by these prison walls. He was determined to dismantle the system on his own if he had to and destroy the inhumane elements of it to restore dignity and respect for himself. Cyrus had to first examine the system’s culture, the hierarchy and their mission. He had to draw rational conclusions that would offset the primitive, coercive and dehumanizing tools used to manage prisoners throughout the system. His appraisal of point of attack should be efficient and given with his best efforts for if he failed, he would be doomed as his efforts would be measured in contempt and anarchist standards and whether reasonable or not in this system of rogue gorillas and violent gladiators. He was sure his conclusion was correct and measured with all the intent of being successful in delivering the right message to the right people.
Once his plan was in place, he would persuade the institutional regime to end his suffering and roller coaster ride. He would tell them of his brutalization and toxic treatment for doing nothing wrong. He stood among a brotherhood of people with dignity and respect and had given it all to be compliant with orders and sometimes subversive motives of staff but even more costly, he had given into the very principle he believed in for many years.