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Breaking Down Homophobia
October 24 2020
While we’ve made miles of headway on the road to tolerance in this country, we still have got a long way to go. Despite being no longer socially acceptable, homophobia persists in private. Although public personalities may suffer backlash for openly brandishing such bigotry, the disease continues to course through the undercurrents of our culture, and the world remains a hostile place for those who walk a path that differs from the ‘straight’ and narrow-minded.
Breaking down homophobia, begins at the roots. What causes someone to have such an irrational reaction to something that shouldn’t concern them at all? If indifference is the natural response to that which doesn’t affect us, why do certain straight people have such a strong aversion towards someone who is gay? Clearly, these conflicted individuals have some underlying issues with their own sexuality to be so apprehensive about someone else’s. If gay people can be accepting of the straight community’s lifestyle, why can’t the road to tolerance run both ways?
Although various factors could contribute to the homophobic condition, there may be a common symptom that is shared by those afflicted. In 2018, researchers announced the results of a study, which found that people are generally bisexual in nature. Their findings were based on the fact that virtually all of the test subjects were aroused on some level by erotic images of both sexes. Even those leaning heavily toward the gay and straight ends of the sexuality spectrum, demonstrated some degree of bisexuality. This falls in line with long held progressive thinking that has considered human sexuality to be more of a fluid state than a fixed one, and shines an interesting light on the subject of homophobia.
The study’s conclusions indicate that individuals suffering from homophobia, likely have a physical attraction to members of their own sex. With the thought of society’s scorn weighing on their minds, this could be problematic for some people, resulting in feelings of guilt or shame. Their self-loathing could then be projected onto the gay community for inadvertently representing a side of themselves, which they have trouble facing.
Not all homophobes are created equal. Some will merely emulate those that suffer from the illness, in a vain attempt to conceal their own sexual ambiguity. Having no actual animosity toward gay people, they jump on the homophobic bandwagon with the misguided belief that projecting an anti purity, when it actually provides a blaring indication of their undisclosed attractions.
While blatant displays of homophobia may draw some criticism, there is a subtle side of the sickness that often goes unchecked. The gay community is constantly confronted with casual cringes, suggestive looks, and raised eyebrows from all sides, including their allies. These mild offenses may seem harmless compared to the hateful language of the hardcore homophobes however; they play an important part in the spread of the syndrome, which could never flourish without planting such seeds.
Even where there is tolerance for the gay community, the acceptance tends to vary. Gay women may be viewed differently than gay men, and those who adhere to traditional gender stereotypes will find it easier to blend in with the straight community than those who don’t conform. Ironically, one of the groups that have the most trouble being accepted is those who openly identify as bisexual. Despite the science showing us that bisexuality is a basic part of human nature, there are few who feel comfortable freely admitting to this truth in light of the stigma surrounding it. Since many bisexuals choose to suppress their gay feelings, they expect others to do the same. However, why should anyone deny a part of themselves because someone else has a problem with it?
It appears that homophobia finds its roots in people’s insecurities over their sexuality, and is amplified by the intolerance that the condition causes in others. In order to eradicate this illness and build an immunity to intolerance, the cure must come from within. Before they can accept others homophobes must learn to accept themselves.
October 24 2020
I'm coming up for parole in November!
Wish me luck.
October 24 2020
Ask me how I’m feeling. “I’m well” would be the answer of course. I’m healthy. Psychologically, I’m feeling lonely, stressed and hindered. Lonely because I’m missing physical interaction. No amount of pushups and pulls ups can ever replace the touch of a woman. Hindered due to being forced out of my default independence and stressed because reliable people are so hard to find.
As me how I’m feeling. Blessed. Although I’m doing 6 ½ years in prison for something I didn’t do. I get out soon. Even though the court date that would’ve had me home months ago was canceled due to Covid. Commissary is not a worry of mine. I have very good lawyers and my fees are paid. I’m able to provide financially for my mother and my children. Whenever they let me go I’m able to buy a new car and get my own place and I have a job as soon as I get out, paying close to $60,000 a year. I already have my schedule. I’m blessed because things could always be worse. I could be doing a lot things I did do. I could be broke.
Ask me how I’m doing. My answer is “I’m doing damn good.” Why? Because I truly believe I just traded death for a few years in prison and a chance to get it right this time.
October 23 2020
Hello everybody (smile). Greetings!
Which of these do you like most about yourself: Appearance, personality, or intellect?
My appearance is kind of the wild boy/pretty boy look and I get judged wrongfully a lot.
My personality is one of a kind. I’m very funny and amazingly creative.
Now, my intellect is my most valuable possession! To be able to reason, connect, conspire, and spark growth and development is a gift, and not only a gift, but a way of life. I take pride in knowledge, whether it’s from real life experiences or something I learned from reading and observing the materials that provide that enlightening jewel, so then I’m capable of being intellectual.
Now that I’ve given my point of view, I’d love to hear others’ point of view and why they value certain qualities about themselves. Don’t be afraid to share. I’m an open person and like to understand everybody’s personal values likes and dislikes…
Just a few questions.
What can you guarantee about yourself?
What are 3 things you’re optimistic about?
How do you react when a friend criticizes you?
What are 3 reasons why someone should have you as a friend or as a mate?
Feel free to answer these with the truth and pure honesty.
Thank you for your time and stay safe. I hope to hear a response soon! I like to build on real aspects! Nothing artificial.
Tevan Williams #336510
October 18 2020
ATTENTION: “SOMEONE SPECIAL”
At the moment I’m unable to access my JPAY emailing services so if my ad/pen-pal introduction sparked your attention in the right way, please do both add me on JPAY and write me at the address currently listed. As soon as I’m able to access the emailing option I’ll gladly email but until then I’ll be waiting for your letter.
As for my photo, this is a portrait, it’s not the best but it is something – I do have pics but I’m looking for a connection based on qualities. If you write I’ll send you a photo, this portrait is of me. I’ve been told I’m handsome but looks aren’t everything.
Again, please add me on JPAY and also write me and I’ll write back. If you send me a # my calls are pre-paid.
October 13 2020
I woke up this morning and took a few moments to reflect on my freedom, and my incarceration and came to a vividly clear picture, that the two are one and the same.. "Nothing but a mental construct".
I spent time free in this world, and was incarcerated mentally.. I was a Beast, I destroyed everything around me. I hated life and was chained to unhealthy life choices, unhealthy relationships, unhealthy people, all going no where.. I put evil off into the world, and in a short amount of time lost everything... Literally everything, including my children and my physical freedom, and in that loss found freedom and clarity.
I made the choice that no matter where I'm at I can make a change and make anything happen.. I can touch everything on the outsides of these fences, and in the same way I used my thoughts to destroy everything around me, I use them now to build!! I put positivity into everyone that is around me, I hold up, and build up the people in my life, and show them through my actions that if I can be free even in here surrounded by the worst of the worst there is nothing you can't do.. If you believe it you can achieve it there is nothing you can't do!! Everything that is in your life at this moment is what you attract in the universe, and it is up to you to free your mind, you are the key to unlocking the infinite potential, and possibilities, that are inside of you.. I thank the universe for this physical incarceration, because it has brought me a mental freedom that I never would have discovered, and this freedom is true freedom!!!
October 13 2020
It's been a long ride. The world has changed tremendously since I've been away. I'm creating a new Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Follow me as I pursue prison reform social justice reform and a new way of life.... Thank you in advance! Don't forget to protect our community by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and teaching people to be safe. in a covid-19...Be safe!
October 13 2020
“The quality of our lives is determined by the quality of the questions we ask ourselves”.
Every day I wake up and it's a wrestling match between my tongue and mind, to form the words, questions, ideas, and plans I have for my future as well as people. So, I know how challenging it can be to write or email someone you may be interested in building a friendship with. So, I decided to put together a bit of inspiration, questions, motivation, and help for you. I strive to find ways to bring out the best of a person with every encounter we may have.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself and answer if you wish to build with me.
- What do you want to improve most in your life this week and how can you?
- What do you want to improve most in your life this month and how could you do it?
- What do you want to improve most in your life this year and how will you?
- What most excites you in someone else?
- What is your worst habit and how can you break it?
- Which good habit would you most like to acquire and how will you do it?
- Are people in your life interested in your plans, dreams, visions for success?
- What are you willing to wait patiently for?
- Are your objectives realistic or just pipe dreams?
I honestly would love to hear your answers. Feel free to reply and answer…..include your return address in your email or letters.
“Make use of time, let not advantage slip”.
Mark Razo #67912-097
October 11 2020
A Day in a Federal Prison
The prison myth has been around since before our time, but contrary to popular belief, Federal prison isn’t the scary place it has been painted to be; it’s just a boring place. It’s a place where Kardashian reruns and any other show that promotes half-naked women rule the television. Federal Prison is a place where the population looks forward to holiday meals and a yearly Christmas bag filled with sweets. It’s a place filled with selfish inmates instead of altruistic convicts. The population segregates itself by race and then demographics which results in “cars”. In theory cars are supposed to stick together and when necessary, handle their own. But, instead certain cars prefer to hide things from the rest of the population and look the other way, in fear that they’d actually have to enforce convict law.
Violence isn’t relished, it isn’t the norm; it’s forced upon most. Federal Prison is a place where many unbelievable things will take place before your very eyes. It’s a place where snitches are plenty and gangsters are scarce. It’s a place that will make you question your beliefs and drive you to use. It’s not a social club for gangsters, nor the breeding ground of hardened men. You don’t graduate with a badge of honor; there is no glory. All one can do is take pride in the fact that he aint like them and pray that he don’t ever come back again.
The Innocent's Loss
October 11 2020
In the age of mass incarceration, the efforts of overzealous police and underhanded prosecutors have led to countless cases of wrongful convictions. Advances in DNA science and other forensics have exposed too many instances of innocent people serving sentences for crimes they didn’t commit. For the fortunate few who are vindicated, there is little redemption wherein the fact that nothing can recover the lost time of replace all of the pieces of their inevitably shattered lives. The public image of elation and euphoria, captured at the moment when an innocent person tastes freedom for the first time in years, overshadows the sorrow of what has been stolen. While those with the means to prove their innocence, may eventually overturn their convictions, unknown numbers of other innocent prisoners will undoubtedly pay a merciless price for their inability to undo the injustice that has taken their liberty and encased them in concrete.
Too often, these miscarriages of justice are dismissed as unavoidable imperfections in an otherwise effective system, but for even one person to be convicted of a crime they didn’t commit is too many, and an unforgivable flaw in a failed process that needs fixing, To ensure that the wrongfully convicted have the ability to prove their innocence, and prevent these mistakes from ever occurring again, some basic changes need to be made.
The problem begins when unscrupulous authorities face public pressure to make arrests and press charges whenever a crime has been committed. Often armed with only speculation, they focus on the most likely candidate for a conviction, and concentrate solely on evidence which incriminates them. Once a target is selected, there is little chance of their changing course and this is the recipe for a wrongful conviction.
When a defendant appears in court, they soon discover that the deck is stacked against them. They are typically presumed guilty by potential jurors who place too much faith in the clairvoyance of prosecutors to know and speak the truth. This same public sentiment has led to jury shaming in the rare cases of acquittal. Those on trial will find that the judges they face tend to be former prosecutors themselves, as judgeships have become a rite of passage for public service. During the trial, most defendants are convinced by counsel not to testify, which is automatically seen by juries as a sign of guilt, despite judges’ instructions admonishing such inferences.
Throughout a criminal trial, the basic format allows the prosecution to present their case and the defense to be given a chance to respond. In courts where the scales of justice tip toward the prosecution, the script is suddenly flipped on the defendant as the trial concluded, and the prosecutor is given the final closing argument. This is perhaps the single greatest advantage of the trial, and arguably one of the biggest contributors to the prosecution’s extraordinarily high conviction rates. The provides an opportunity for the prosecutor to negate the points of the defense counsel’s closing arguments, while ensuring that their version of the facts is the last one the jury hears before entering deliberations.
Once a guilty verdict is rendered, the doors close quickly around the condemned, and the conviction is nearly impossible to overturn. The wrongfully convicted are now viewed as just another prisoner who says they didn’t do it. There is a common misconception that everyone in prison claims to be innocent. While this may the case for those awaiting trial, once convicted, many of the actual guilty have no further reason to deny their crime and will freely admit to it, giving more weight to those who maintain their innocence.
One of the keys to keeping innocent people out of prison is transparency. Requiring all police officers, including detectives to wear active body cameras whenever responding to or investigating a crime would greatly reduce the amount of falsified reports and perjured testimony that are common themes in wrongful convictions. Making all evidence gathered, including witness interviews inadmissible in court without an audiovisual record of retrieval would help ensure its authenticity. Detectives may argue that the use of body cameras could make some witnesses reluctant to cooperate however; the integrity of the process is protected by doing everything in the open and keeping everyone honest. Well-intended officers will welcome this useful tool in their pursuit of the truth.
Another way to provide transparency is through free and open access to all records held by authorities in criminal cases. Defendants on trial are theoretically granted access to all of the prosecution’s evidence against them. Unfortunately, prosecutors routinely withhold exculpatory evidence in their efforts to convict at any cost. In the past, many prisoners overturned their convictions by obtaining undisclosed documents and files through public records requests to police departments, which were unwittingly undermining the prosecutor’s attempts to conceal those items. In many cases, this has led to prosecutors in conjunction with the courts and other state agencies, to limit public access to records in criminal cases, and prevent such backdoor exposures. For example, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts all public records requests to law enforcement agencies are now referred to the District Attorney’s Office, which only releases heavily redacted documents and ensures that undisclosed documents remain hidden. These tactics are supported by the Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees and enforces public records laws. If a prosecutor is interested in truth and justice, they should have nothing to hide and there is no reason for them to deny full and open access to all records in criminal cases. However, the only thing worse than an unsolved crime, is the blemish of a wrongful conviction, so they will stop at nothing to keep those mistakes from coming to light.
With many defense attorneys failing to turn over their clients’ files following a conviction, for fear of being found ineffective in a new trial motion, the innocent’s fight for freedom becomes increasingly futile. Any attempts to obtain records from prosecutors through the post conviction discovery process are met with more roadblocks in the courts. Judges will require that a post conviction discovery motion for documents or other items to be specific, denying the defendant full and open access to the prosecutor’s evidence in the case against them. This provides additional protection for prosecutors to conceal evidence that may be beneficial to the defendant. Something can’t be requested if it isn’t known to exist.
To level the playing field and give the innocent a fighting chance, the courts need to be balanced by eliminating the culture of primarily appointing career prosecutors to be bench. It is human nature to be biased, even if only on a subconscious level, and judges are no exception. In order to be appointed as a criminal trial judge, it should be required that all candidates must have a substantial amount of prosecutorial and defense experience, which would demonstrate a willingness by those attorneys selected to see the criminal justice system from both sides of the courtroom. There also needs to be accountability for police and prosecutors who knowingly conceal exculpatory evidence or misrepresent facts at criminal trials in order to obtain convictions. Without fear of consequences, these practices have become commonplace in the criminal justice system. Authorities should be stripped of any immunity and subject to oversight by independent agencies. Additionally, to screen for bias and corruption in the criminal justice system, it should be required that all public servants regularly submit to polygraph exams. Although inadmissible in court, these devices are crucial factors in determining the integrity of carious government employees such as members of the Secret Service. If this can serve as a prerequisite for appointment to those positions, it could be equally effective in vetting out judges, police, and prosecutors.
Although the average person may have trouble imaging a circumstance in which they could be falsely accused of a crime, everyone is susceptible to the scenario. A simple case of mistaken identity or being in the wrong place at the wrong time can put an innocent person in the crosshairs of an investigation. Under the current system, it only takes a small number of inadvertent coincidences for a prosecutor to create a circumstantial case around an innocent person and obtain a conviction against them. Juries are only required to find a person quilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, when someone’s freedom is at stake, there should never be any doubt. The justice system is supposed to protect the innocent, not condemn them.