Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Freedom's just another word...

Good day to all who take the time to visit my little island, Xanadu. It's a beautiful day outside today. I woke up around 4:30 am to a commotion outside my window. it was a pair of sparrows flirting and chasing each other around. Oblivious to the sleeping humans on the other side of the window screen. They playfully filled the early morning air with their little voices, while we shamelessly invade so much of their world & space... Why should they care about us?

That's what I want to talk a little bit about today. The freedom to exist, and censorship. They are kind of like yin and yang. here in America, the word freedom is interpreted in so many different ways, with so many conditions attached. Do you really ever enjoy the unconditional right of freedom? What about freedom of expression, or speech? How often are you criticized openly or behind your back for being different in how you express yourself? Freedom is a real tricky word. It has so many different sizes and shapes to it... and in most instances, it fits into everyone's everyday life. But there are also many walks of life where freedom is interpreted in a negative way. I could write a book (or two!) on this subject. Instead, I just want to share a little something I wrote from my own personal experiences.

Between Times

Sitting here in the dark, just before the dawn, the stillness of the night soothes my weary soul.
It is here in these moments between dusk and dawn where my anxieties and fears are asleep with the rest of the chaos that engulfs the brutal little space I am forced to exist in every day.

I sit here in the darkness of my tomb, alone with my thoughts. Free to allow them to run rampant and undetected. My cell front is open and I am constantly on display, much like a mannequin in a storefront window--- exposed to anyone who may walk past. And they do, every 15 minutes.

Each soul that passes by, has it's own unique opinion or assumption about who/what I am and yet they haven't a single clue of where I came from or what really brought me to this display case.

Each cell is like it's own little piece of art. They all tell a different story. And each exhibit is judged and criticized and on display for anyone who passes by each day.

The true depth of each soul and their unique characters are never revealed. They are constantly smothered beneath a blanket of hatred and accusation and cold assumption.

It is only in these between times, the hours between dusk and dawn where most of the lights are out, that I am able to meditate and relax my mind. I can allow my spirit to soar and my imagination to contemplate what might have been and what still could be. My mantras run wild and free, soaring across the deep blue skies in the early morning breeze where there is still a blanket of dew covering most of mother earth and the smell of freedom fills you up inside.

I can see, feel and sense all that I long for surrounding me as I meditate and allow my soul to slip through these bars and flex my imagination before the clock strikes 6 and the noise of the keys in the doors jar me back to reality and a place where I can no longer be myself.

It is time to put on my dull mask and act the part I am forced to play in this unrelenting game of cat and mouse. The lights are on now, let the judging begin. Just fake a smile and maybe they will move on to the next exhibit. For they do not know any better.

Until we cross paths again, I bid you peace and hope that you enjoyed my ramblings and whatever you define as freedom. I have to go now, and play my part.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Capital punishment--- A black hole

Good day to everyone,

I know that those of you who visited "Inside Xanadu" in February have been patiently waiting for my next post, and i greatly appreciate your patience. I mentioned in the last post, circumstances are such that I can not always respond as promptly as I may wish to, but I promise I will try to do so in a reasonably short time.

I have enjoyed the responses that I got from my first post. Some of them I can mention now.

--Cali in Columbia,
I appreciate your feed back. This is new to me, but I have a great deal to say. I would like to hear more from you and see what your blog is all about.
Thanks also to PF for your feeback, and yes it does make each person a bit colder to participate in a state sanctioned execution. I know that I may very well offend and even anger some people by that statement, but it's not my intention to do so.

Most people in general have no idea what it really entails to execute another human being. It's easy to sit back and say I'm for capital punishment, but what if performing an execution were like jury duty? ---What if your state government sends you a notice to appear and to participate in an execution? ---It's not really that different than admitting you are in support for capital punishment. What if the condemned was a relative or close friend? ---I know that most supporters of capital punishment believe in the "Eye for an eye" thing, but what does that really mean? ---Do we really believe that God or Jesus meant that we should kill each other for renvenge or justice? When a human being is executed, is there really closure? Or satisfaction? ---I do not mean any disrespect to anyone who may read this who may be a victim or relative of a victim. I can never begin to understand your pain or loss, but like you and everyone else, these questions are constantly part of my everyday life. I am only seeking answers.

Here are a few legitimate facts about the cost of capital punishment. For each man or woman who is sentenced to death in America, from the time they are arrested till their execution date, it is costing, on average, 3.5 million dollars per individual. If you factor in that there are close to 3500 people on death row in America, we're talking close to 11 billion dollars! And, ironically, only a very small percentage of that 3500 will actually be executed by the state. Many will have reduced sentences or die in prison before their execution date. (Many die of cancer) And the tax payers will have paid at least 10x more to house each person on death row than if they were sentenced to life without parole.

New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson signed into law on March 19th (or there abouts) a bill to abolish capital punishment in NM because it costs his tax pyers too much money to keep capital punishment on the books. As we speak, 10 other states are considering the same action, and Texas, of ALL STATES is among the 10 in question! New Jersey also abolished the death penalty in 2008 for some of the same reasons. (Cost and lack of quantifiable evidence that captial punishment is a deterrant). States like Maryland and Kansas both have bills in their state legislature to also abolish the death penalty. I believe Maryland is in the final stages, only waiting for the governor's signature.

All this information leads to one clear and obvious conclusion--- Capital punishment costs too much money and energy to continue. Money and energy that an be used in other more positive ways for our communities, like education and recreational programs for children and youths. To keep capital punishment alive for the states that have it, functions more as a political trophy than a meaningful crime deterrant. It's a beast that just sits idle and eats up huge chunks of money and energy and adds to the quotient of suffering in the world.

As always, I pray that my questions and opinions are not offensive or hurtful to anyone who may read them. I'm just another human being trying to find my way through a very confusing and divided world. I appreciate any of your feed back or questions.

Much peace,
BD Winslow