"IT TOOK ME TWO SECONDS TO DECIDE…."
From a letter: 10/17/99
|(Ed.note….Ray is in prison because he acted as if people being slaughtered half a world away were his own family. He is an internationalist. But for Ray, the prisoner- the world gets exceedingly small- as small as the average suburban bathroom.|
And issues of survival shrink, in prison- things which may seem small out here- why NOT sleep on the floor, if so ordered?- become balance points upon which years of hope & work might hang. For those of us who have been close to Ray over the years- his action as described in his letter win our whole hearted support. He had no choice, & while many of us- your editor included, might well of caved, his actions once again show courage and commitment count for much in this world, even in a world as debased and corrupted as the Empire’s gulags. We fear for him, but would not ask him to back down.
We outside are working on a list of people Rays friends might write to about this…..
Ray opened with comments about some friends trip to the Amazon….he then continued…….)
…… "Things here remain about the same : chaotic, unpredictable, abusive, and nasty. I had a wake up call last Thursday (10/14) They did another cell change. Every 21 days in SHU- (in gen.pop. there’s no cell changes- which gives you an idea of the harassment nature of it. ) Great opportunity for them to get into your shit- fuck with what little you got, be it a food stash you got squirreled away, or that extra pair of socks you acquired. They vary in intensity- depending on whose on, whose in charge, their mood. Problem last Thursday was the X- Factor. At the same time they did cell changes (all SHU prisoners change cells on the same date) they bought in 20 more prisoners supposed to be held in Seg but who were backed up in one of the gen.pop. units. They had to be bought into Seg, and the only way to do that is triple up the two man cells with the third man on the floor. The overcrowding here is insane. Alright, I don’t like it but if me and cellie end up with someone on the floor, nothing to be done about it at that time.
We’re the last cell they deal with , and decide to split me and my cellie up- he goes to a different cell then they return for me and guard tells me- sorry, but because of the situation he’s going to have to put me on the floor of a cell that already has two dudes.
I’m trying, bro, to make this work. To survive this and get something better. To handle the daily indignities , pressures, and miseries. I know I gotta eat a certain amount of shit- and I’m eating it. But there’s got to be a point, a line, beyond which you’ve got to resist being pushed. This was such a moment. To be taken from a bunk and put on the floor in the present situation is to be put in a situation where they feel they can do anything with me. Plus- the SHU is so overcrowded I could’ve been on the floor for a month or more- not an uncommon fate, as I’ve learned from others.
Took me about two seconds to decide: I refused. Refused to cuff up and take my place on the floor. I tried to be reasonable. I spoke to the guard in charge and told him no way I’ll do it. That I’d been on the floor when I got here. That I’m being held in SHU indefinitely. That it wasn’t right to take me out of a bunk and put me on the floor. Told him he can go ahead and run the SORT goons in on me & cart me off to the strip cells. Destroy what little property I got. But I AINT going along with a cell change unless I get a bunk.
Returned about 5 minutes later.
Guard in charge say’s I’ll get a bunk. I have to read his eyes- is he telling the truth? I take a chance and they move me to an empty cell. Jeez- I got a bottom bunk!
Five seconds later I get a cellie from another cell. But no third prisoner splayed across the floor (and about 2/3 SHU cells are currently tripled up.) Fucked with my head for a couple days, though- I was wired- cuz when they first pressed me ALL of me goes into combat mode, knowing I put ALL of it on the line with my stand. (And the best I can hope for is I don’t become a fatality)
What’s the point? It’s that my situation remains very precarious. It took a lot of years to get this close to gen.pop, and in one moment on Thursday it came very close to shattering. That quickly. That arbitrarily. You know- any serious incident involving me and its an ass whipping and back to ADX. I’m not dramatizing this- it’s the reality at ground zero where I must get through each day. I’m scheduled for another review in two weeks. It’ll be my third. ………..
Ray Luc Levasseur, 10376-016, Box PMB, USP Atlanta, Atlanta, GA 30315
December 16th Committee, P.O. Box 323, Columbus, GA 31902-0323