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Gene Hathorn Encapsulated
Monday, 12-21-98
by Gene Hathorn
Author of Self Land: A Death Odyssey,

Part I  ||   Part II
Area maps and photos in both sections

The fallout from the Gurule escape continues.


     The Texas Rangers, the investigative arm of the Aerial Photo of Ellis Department of Public Safety, were dispatched by Governor George W. Bush to find out how the escape occurred. They were also charged with finding out how to keep it from happening again.


For the beginning of the Gurule incident, see Gene's other article:
Departure

"Gurule had made it. He had, at least for now, bested the walls, fences, and the machinery of state-sanctioned death. "
Martin Gurule
continued


In Part II ... "The officer
left the
wing,
letting
the fire
burn. ..."


   Every inmate in the work program was scheduled to be interviewed.
Layout of Ellis Unit

    Most of us went voluntarily. We told the Rangers we didn't know anything, and were returned to our cells, an ordeal that took about five minutes.

    Some inmates refused to be interviewed, and wouldn't go to the interview location. Their lack of cooperation angered the Rangers.

    In defense of those who refused to be interviewed, most have never dealt with Rangers. They are unfamiliar with the Rangers' attitudes and methods of operation. Since I've encountered them many times, I know how much power they wield (Rangers are the stuff of legend dating back to the 1800s) and how imperious they are when it comes to getting their way.

Texas Rangers Insignia   This past Friday, to ensure full cooperation from all inmates, the Warden, at the behest of the Rangers, threw us into full lockdown again. This means no visits, showers, recreation, or commissary. We get sack lunches for every meal, and no TV.

    This is a devastating blow. Before this, things had returned to some degree of normalcy. Circumstances were not ideal, but they were tolerable.

    As the new lockdown took effect, a memo from the Warden was circulated, stating that our cooperation with the Rangers might "expedite" the end of the lockdown. We were provided with blank pages and encouraged to write anything we knew about the escape.

area around Ellis     The Warden's memo said we should seal the envelopes in which we placed the information, then turn them in this morning to a ranking officer who would come around to collect them. To protect everyone's anonymity, the envelopes were guaranteed to be delivered to the Rangers unopened.

    But the lockdown was not the greatest upheaval. It turns out that administrative segregation was full. That's where people who do not participate in the work program live. And there several people with execution dates whom the administration wished to lock down.

There's a rule for someone in the work program who has a date. When the date is 30 days or less away, he must be placed in seg (Ed.: segregation).

    So I was rousted from the cell I had occupied alone for the past three years, relocated to another cell block, and placed in a cell with someone.

    My cellie is an okay guy. But the shock of being moved in with him after spending so much time alone was profound. I was accustomed to arranging my property in a uniformly haphazard way where I always, despite the disarray, knew where to find things. Now I had to take care to store my stuff to avoid looking like a slob.

    Then there are the dances we do to avoid bumping into each other when we are up and about, and the mumbled, hurried apologies when we are unsuccessful, and the hanging of the blanket between the bunks to form a curtain when one or the other uses the toilet. Inconveniences I thought I'd never again have to endure.

    Perhaps it is a curse to become introverted and curmudgeonly in my old age. At age 38, after 14 years in this sorrowful abyss, I am technically "old," as my graying hair and debilitating physiognomy attest. I am ill-equipped to handle the antics of the "younger" crowd on this cell block.

bars    In my previous cell, I had been content to while away the time reading, writing, or reflecting on life. I had minded my business, and remained unaffected by the goings-on around me. But I had the luxury of sharing the old cellblock with people like me — other introverts whose graying hair and reflective ways testified to their resignation, hopelessness, and despair. We were, on that cellblock, simply tired of fighting.

    Now I've just spent a weekend with people who are full of hope, who want to fight, and who have not realized how complete is the control of our keepers. Or how twisted is their art of subjugation.

So the game of rebellion prevails.

(go to Part II ... "The officer left the wing, letting the fire burn. ...")



spacer writings
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Gene Hathorn # 800
Ellis Unit D/R
Huntsville, TX 77343
Gene and Son Brian
.
For the beginning of the Gurule incident, see Gene's other article:
Departure

"Gurule had made it. He had, at least for now, bested the walls, fences, and the machinery of state-sanctioned death. "
Martin Gurule
d.e.p.a.r.t.u.r.e .
c.o.n.t.i.n.u.e.d




 

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