Another person’s death, murder by the state, brought someone peace? Wow. I’ve heard it before, so it shouldn’t surprise me, but every time I hear that it does.

It makes me step back and wonder how anyone can get satisfaction from the suffering and death of any living creature, much less your fellow man. But Friday morning, it was once again on the news. A woman saying that she found peace in watching Bobby be put down by the state. How does another person dying in front of you, fulfill your life and bring peace? And the woman wanted him to look her in the eyes as he’s dying?! Her words, not mine. I don’t think I could, or would ever want to do that. Look a helpless individual in their eyes and watch the fear, misery, and confusion as their life is being taken from them. Even in anger and total rage, if that person looked me in the eye, helpless, my goal would be to stop, and stop anyone from harming them. Not watch or participate in their misery and death.

So when I hear that, it boggles my mind, how ‘any civilized person’ can find peace, through the death of another. I understand anger and hurt, and when Connie was murdered on March 24, 1997, I was devastated! I know and understand the desire for vengeance. And it took a few years for it to pass. Connie’s murder still hurts me to this day. But the desire for vengeance faded long ago.

Seeing and being on both sides of the vengeful heart still doesn’t help me see how anyone can find peace through the cold and calculated murder of another individual. And for a helpless individual to look me in the eyes as their life is being extinguished. No I can’t in any way, shape, or form, comprehend why or how someone can get pleasure, relief or find peace through such an evil act. And those who do, need lots of prayer and psychological counseling. True peace can never be found in such an inhumane and brutal act.

God bless you
In peace, love and friendship, Ronnie

An End To “Us Against Them”

An End To “Us Against Them”

Convicts against the guards. When I first began my life within the prison industrial complex over 28 years ago, this maxim was a hard and fast reality. Since then, I have witnessed it fade into an often intangible concept – and I am grateful to see its decline.

The root of this antagonism is easy to identify. Prisoners feel anger towards a system gone awry, and resentment for their captors grow, as guards attempt to rule by force rather than be reason, imagining that having the ability to do something gives them the authority to do it.

The passion of resistance burns fiercely within me, and I can feel the heartbeat of this problem. But there comes a time when we have to put our resentments aside if we are to ever have any real hope of peace and happiness. My hope is that by sharing one simple concept I can broaden the perspective of those that still subscribe to the “us against them” philosophy.

We all want to go home on time. Prisoners and guards alike.

Prisoners all want to be released at the earliest date, and in turn, prison staff all wish to go home at the end of their shift. Fortunately, the modern prison experience provides many opportunities for staff and prisoners to have positive interaction, which allows us to see the humanity in ach other.

Going home on time is an ideal that we can extend far beyond the walls of prison. This common goal is present in every class of our society, and through its acknowledgement, we can develop an often missing sense of connection between both sides of this paradigm.

I know all too well that prison is an inherently negative environment, and as such, this message will fall on many deaf ears – for prisoners and guards alike. But for most of us, this concept will resonate, and I hope grow.

It is no longer us against them. Today, it is us and them – together. Striving for stronger and healthier communities. Through embracing this common goal, we can all move beyond the anger and pain, and find a place where we can heal.

I want to thank the staff and supporters of Adopt an Inmate for taking the time to care. I want all of you to know that the kindness and consideration that you offer is deeply appreciated.

In Boldness,

Jacob Ivan Schmitt