The Prison Terrorist: "Wears the Badge"
With all this talk of "homegrown" terrorists and ISIS "sympathizers" you would think that the prison system would be a breeding ground for these cowardly predators. And yes, it is. The prison system does in fact breed terrorists, but not among the prisoners. The terrorists in prison wear badges.
You see, here in Massachusetts, guards must work 32 years before they can "max out" their retirement benefits plan. What this creates is a lot of jaded old guards who were hired back when these jobs were not the high paying "stealing gold" efforts they are today. These dolts who were hired two to three decades ago were the bottom feeders of the employment seeking world. Not smart enough to get jobs that required real thinking, and too physically weak to lug bundles of shingles or haul lobster traps, they took low paying turnkey jobs in the prison system. They joined the "dregs of humanity and the scum of the earth" as Mark Twain once called them. Now, all these years later, these "scum" are making big bucks off the misery of others, and even worse they are turning into crime-creating terrorists.
Men and women need to feel a sense of accomplishments in their work. A contractor builds a beautiful home for someone and is proud of it. A fisherman catches a lot of fish and feeds the community he is a part of. A guard does a "good job" of keeping fellow human beings in cages; this is what eats the guard from the inside out. He begins to hate himself and that self-hatred turns into shame. Shame hurts, cuts to the bone, so as a defense mechanism the guard imposes his anger, his self-hatred, onto the prisoners in his keep. Those prisoners become less than human and deserving of any level of abuse that can be visited upon them, in the guard's mind. The guard feels that if he can "put us down" it may "lift him up," but it never works. What happens is that this creates angry young men with lack of respect for authority and security's rules. It creates crime and is fully responsible for the 47% recidivism rate here in Massachusetts.
The other night, outside my window, the shift-supervising lieutenant yelled into a young prisoner's face: "I'll f*&!ing punch you in the face you piece of s*$t!" The prisoner's offense? He was running on the walkway trying to get in the showers ahead of the others. This same lieutenant, the quintessential "scum of the earth," pulls stunts like this every night. He terrorizes prisoners because he hates himself. He knows he is the "dregs of humanity." Now these young prisoners, they turn into time bombs with random timers; no one knows when they may go off.
Prisoners like me attempt to expose these prison "terrorists," but it is an uphill battle. Just today I was called to the warden's investigator office due to my complaint filed about the incident I just described. This young investigator, still wet behind the ears as far as I am concerned, asked the obligatory questions, but in the end they will "high five" each other, squash the investigation, and find my claim to be "unsubstantiated." My claims will be fully "substantiated" when the angry young prisoner returns to some community and kills some innocent victim in a senseless act. Someone will ask, "Where did it all go wrong?" And the answer will be: with the prison terrorist.
Timothy J. Muise
Timothy J. Muise is a prisoner at MCI Shirley and a frequent contributor to Mass Dissent.