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Advise from Murderers and Lifers imprisoned in the State of Maine!

True Believers:

A while ago we sent all of the prisoners we communicate with three requests for advice gathered from various advice columns.  We received advice back from Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune (M.S.P./serving two life sentences for home invasion,)Michael ‘Dirty’ McQuade (M.S.P./ serving 12 years for murder,) and Arline Lawless (M.C.C./serving 35 years for murder.)

As a counterpoint, we also requested and received advice from two of our law-abiding citizens, Maine writer and educator Kate Miller, and her cohort Peaceful, Maine mystic and holistic life coach (Peaceful also comments on the responses from our inmates.)

Ready?  Here we go:

Problem 1:

I work part-time in a small sales office of about 10 people. About a month ago, one of my coworkers approached me about doing a project for his graduate program at a local university. It was for some sort of anatomy textbook or similar: it would be a photo of my breasts with my face not in the photo for the textbook. I would be compensated for the photos.

There were some red flags in his proposition — the photos would be taken by him, in my home, and he never presented me with official paperwork about it. I called the university and they assured me that whatever “project” he was working on was not through their university, as there would have been extensive paperwork, screening, photos professionally taken, etc., which was what I had figured in the first place, particularly for such a large university and for a master’s program.  My question is this: Is this a matter that I should bring up to my boss? Is this something that she needs to know about?

Sincerely, A.


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear A,

First of all my deepest apologies that you had to deal with an incident like this. Especially at work. Yes, I believe that this is a matter you should bring to your boss’s attention. I say this for several reasons. First, from what you said, he approached you at work so it is a workplace issue. Now, sexual assault, abuse and harassment – the workplace should be an area of your life where you do not have to worry about any kind of sexual misconduct. You should be able to have a conversation with your boss concerning this individual. As he said it was for a “public” textbook, he should have no problem with it being discussed in public.

I would also like to commend you for trusting your intuition and doing due diligence; because of his scheme – saying it was for school when the school had no idea – he crossed lines and the fact that he wanted to do it at your home moved him into predator status. His behavior is not okay. I understand that you might not want to make waves at work but what he did is beyond inappropriate; it is borderline if not outright criminal. While you might not have fallen for it who knows how many others have or will. Tell your boss.

[Comment by Peaceful: “That’s more or less what I said.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear A,

It’s too bad you can’t set up a photo shoot that he shows up at to find an overweight, middle-aged gay man setting up to photograph his genitals for a “textbook.” You could later explain there was a big misunderstanding. As for going to the boss, I guess it depends on the degree of creepiness he’s emitting. Definitely keep an eye on this guy at the least. Chances are he’ll try it again with another attractive co-corker (or something just as weird.) If the situation arises again then go to the boss with both stories. If he’s obviously a degenerate that no one likes, go to the boss. Present dates, times, places, witnesses. Document everything. Get him on video and post it. Creepy people suck.

[Comment:by Peaceful: “Umm.. I don’t know. I’ll have to ponder on that one for a while.”]

Arline Lawless:

Dear A,

This could’ve been his way of telling you that he likes you but didn’t have the guts to come right out and say it. I know that this is a bit of an extreme way to say it but, you know how people can get sometimes. It also could’ve also been a tip that he is just a bit of an odd duck that might need to go to sex anonymous. If this is something that he kept on harping you about repeatedly then yes, you should definitely bring it up to your boss. But if he just lets it go after one time of asking, what is the sense of ruining someone’s career, just because he might no have known how to tell you that he liked you? But, if you hear from another co-worker that he did something similar to them then, yes, you should definitely inform your boss about this. You could be working with someone that is a sexual predator or who knows, maybe worse.

[Comment by Peaceful: “That was unique because she realizes that some men don’t know how to relate to women very well.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear A,

I am so glad you called the University and asked if this was legitimate. Smart move.

If you ever question that something seems off or you feel in your gut that something is wrong it is always a good policy to check it out with a reliable source. I am not sure of your relationship with this coworker.  I would first go to the coworker and confront him with the seriousness of what he has done. I would tell him that you checked with the University and found out that what he wanted you to do was not sanctioned by them. I would let him know that this is considered sexual harassment and if you hear of any more of this nonsense from him that you will immediately report him to his boss. I am not sure of your relationship with him. If you feel uncomfortable in any way with him I would tell your boss and not wait.

Trust your gut. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear A,

I would tell your boss because he is liable to do it to someone else in the future. – Peaceful


Problem 2. “Do I Have To Tell The Daughter I Abandoned At Birth That I Trash-Talked Her Late Mom For Years?

When I was about 20, I got my girlfriend pregnant. She was 23 and wanted the baby whereas I was not ready to be a father, so she broke up with me and had the baby pretty much on her own. Her family helped her and she didn’t ask me for child support until I graduated college and had a steady job. Still, it was a burden on my entry-level salary and I resented both her and my daughter, so I wasn’t an involved father. To explain myself to my family and others who knew I had a daughter I hardly saw, I made up stories about how horrible and crazy my ex was and how it was all her fault…

My ex contacted me last year to let me know she had a terminal illness. As a new father to a year-old son, I saw I couldn’t let my 18-year-old daughter, “Lynn,” go through that alone, so I reconnected with her, made peace with my ex and have been trying to make amends.  Lynn naturally resents and distrusts me, but she is slowly becoming a part of my life. The problem is that my wife, my parents and my friends think the worst of her late mother…

Must I confess, or can I just make it up to Lynn by being the best dad I can now? The truth could really ruin our fragile relationship.

Signed “Bad Dad.”


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear Bad Dad,

First off if you do not tell the truth there is no way you can be the best dad you can be. There is no way you can avoid telling your daughter. She is going to find out and you need it to be from you or your relationship will be over. You need to step up to the plate; you have run from responsibility for 18 years. Do not continue. Your actions have been completely about you and here is a chance to change that.

You ex has done nothing to you; she got you off the hook when you didn’t want the job of a father. Apparently you were grown enough to conceive a child, but not enough to raise one. She was kind enough to wait until you were done with college for child support. That says so much about her character. To which you showed your character by resenting that your child had to eat and wear clothes; you showed her how much she meant to you by being an absentee father and to top it off, instead of just staying out of her life, you lied to your family about her mother. There is no way that Lynn will not hear one or more of your “stories,” about how horrible and crazy your ex, her mother was. What do you think will happen when she hears how you lied to save face?

She doesn’t need a friend, she needs a father who shows her what it means to admit mistakes or bad choices, just like anybody. It is infinitely harder and thus infinitely more important to do so when your actions have caused pain. You have absolutely nothing to gain from not telling her the truth, and everything to lose. So Bad Dad, show her what it means to be human – to fail, make mistakes and bad choices, and to own them to become better than we were in the past, because those are the lessons she needs from her father.

[Comment by Peaceful: “I don’t see it that way. because some people they haven’t reached a play where they judge you where you are now.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear Bad Dad,

From one bad dad to another I think it’s best to cover it up for now. Tell all your family to not mention all the trash talk out of respect for the deceased. And for the sake of your daughter. Do everything within your power to be the best dad that you can be to this kid. You owe her mother and her at least that. If at some point in the future your daughter approaches you and wants to know, tell her the truth. You were young and you were and asshole and you’ve spent every moment since trying to make amends for your mistakes. From there it’s up to her. Good luck!

[Comment by Peaceful: “That was interesting. That means you’ve got to be careful. You don’t wanna mess up the relationship before your daughter has a chance to realize where you are right now.”]

Arline Lawless:

Dear Bad Dad,

Yes, you should clear your conscience. You don’t want any of your family thinking ill of someone that has passed on, especially when they did nothing. That guilt will eat you up, knowing that you were the one making up everything about your innocent ex-girlfriend. Just because you weren’t ready to accept the responsibilities of being a father doesn’t mean that you need to sully someone else’s name along with it. You needed to learn how to accept that you helped make that child and you weren’t ready to be a father. Also, your ex-girlfriend raised your child on her own and didn’t ask you for a dime until you graduated college and had a steady job. You shouldn’t have had resented either one – your ex or your daughter. You helped create the child. She didn’t ask to be created. Children don’t ask to be born.

You should tell your family the truth about you not being ready to be a father and that you panicked and didn’t want your family to think any less of you. Which in any case, blood is thicker than water. they would’ve understood and if they didn’t then they have issues of their own. If they really cared about you then they would’ve tried to help you with this crisis that was detrimental to you to begin with.

You also are making a good step towards making it up to your ex by trying to be there for “Lynn,” even though she is now 18. You should tell her the truth about the whole situation also. She is a part of you. The way I have always seen it is, “I would rather hurt your feelings with the truth, then lose you with a lie.” I am sure she will understand, and if she can’t forgive you than at least you will know that you have a clean conscience, and you will have repaired the damage that you had caused to your ex so she can rest easy now.

[Comment by Peaceful: “if you’re in too much of a hurry to clear your conscience, and your daughter can’t relate to you in the present, you’re screwed.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear Bad Dad,

Sorry for your loss. It is never easy to go through situations like the one you are in.

Your daughter deserves to know you and it will be so helpful for her to reconnect with her father in a time like this. She needs you to be a real caring dad and to be involved in her life.  I would explain to your daughter why you could not stay in the relationship with her mother. I would only tell her positive things about her and if something comes up that gives reference to the negative…Be honest and explain it to her. She is 18 and is hopefully able to understand. She does not need to know about all your past trash talk of her mother. That would not help her or your relationship with her. You are now a more mature man.

No guilt, move on and just be honest and love your daughter in the present. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear Bad Dad,

There are times in which we do not know what to do or say. Pray for guidance and follow it if we get an answer. It would help if you knew whether or not your daughter judged people as they are now or judged people from their past mistakes. – Peaceful

Problem 3. “Should I Tell My Friends I Think Their 5-Year-Old Son Is Going To Be A Rapist When He Grows Up?

My friends have a son, about 5 years old. They enforce little (if any) discipline on him, and he throws a hissy fit if they try to “make” him do anything. They tell him to pick up something he threw; he ignores them. Dad picks it up in a couple of minutes. They tell him to go to bed; he ignores them and keeps doing whatever he is into. My fear is that they are teaching him that he can get away with anything by ignoring the rules. Specifically, I am concerned that he will never learn that no means no, i.e., that they are raising a rapist. Should I say anything to them? If I do, it would only be once, and I wouldn’t harp on it. They are NOT people who would be okay with this outcome, and/but I don’t want to stomp on my relationship with them either.

Signed “Watching”


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear Watching,

I believe that you are painting the boy in the worst way possible. I do not believe that there is a sure-fire way to tell what a five-year-old child will grow up to be. Yes, they are definitely spoiling their child and it will most likely be to his detriment; being spoiled is not a condition that is easy to carry through life. Life is a great equalizer as well, though, and it looks like this little boy will have some hard lessons about listening to others and especially with those in authority. At face it seems likely that he does not have much experience in having to obey anyone but his parents. His attitude will not be conducive to his success, but to be honest, I think that you are beyond your place in this situation. You are talking about a little boy and worrying that he will be a rapist.

Do you have children? Do they listen to everything you say, and do they obey at the same time and follow your all your rules and guidelines? Are you seeing the worst in them? No, you should not tell your friends that you are worried their son will grow up to be a rapist. A am fairly confidant that would be the end of your relationship; it would certainly “stomp” your relationship with them. However you should mention that you have noticed that their son seems to not listen. Ask them if you can help in anyway, i.e. books, therapists, a shoulder to lean on.

Parenting is beyond hard and and having someone criticize or offer advice on your parenting is a very touchy subject. I would advise you to say nothing because it is not your child or your house. But, if you feel the need to interject yourself into another’s familiar matter, avoid any and all mention of what you think their son will be. Ask about his willfulness and how it effects them, and if you can help. They need it.

[Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I agree with that.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear Watching,

Stop watching! You’re reading way too far into this. The kid’s five for Christ’s sake. When I was eleven my mother had a friend and her daughter came to stay with us. I saw that child do shit that would make the Antichrist take notes. I thought for sure she would grow up to face charges of genocide or some other biblical atrocity. She’s married and she’s a doctor now. She’s doing great. Life is so unfair (Ha, Ha!) As for “Rapist?” that’s a stretch for a five year old. When’s the last time you say crying, screaming and tantrums used in rape? If he’s quiet, introverted, and torturing and killing small animals… then worry. I think that at worst they may be raising an asshole. But he’s their little asshole, not yours. It’s their prerogative. You probably have bigger things to worry about then your friends’ spoiled brat.

[Comment by Peaceful: I have experience with my grandson, who has a hard time dealing with adults, but I’m not concerned.]

Arline Lawless:

Dear Watching,

Your concerns are good ones. I can see why you might not want to stomp on your relationship with your friends. But, you also have to think about them and others first. Hard concept, isn’t it, putting others first? How would you feel if fifteen years down the road this exact fear you had about their five-year-old son becoming a rapist comes true? Would you want that guilt on your hands all because you didn’t want to stomp on your relationship with your friends? If they really are your friends and can see your point (that you are laying out to them in a logical and level headed way) then they shouldn’t have a reason to want to have to put a “stomp” in your friend-relationship. They should see that you are just a friend that is just concerned for their son’s future well-being.
[Comment by Peaceful: “That is really interesting.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear Watching,

It is frustrating to observe people we love doing things we do not understand or agree with. You have observed your friend’s son being disrespectful and non-compliant and you have seen your friends not responding to what you think to be a right response. Have you expressed to your friends how  the situation makes you feel ? I do not think that you should tell them that you worry about him being a rapist. Tell them that it makes you uncomfortable, worried or sad etc to see the disrespect. Parents ultimately have the responsibility for their child and unless they are abusive to the child, you really have no say.  If they ask for advise please give them suggestions that would be helpful.  Pray for them.  You could recommend books or articles on child rearing. Please do not tell them you worry the child will become a rapist. I have seen many a spoiled child in my life and they have turned out ok.

Abuse is more likely a cause of criminal behavior. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear Watching,

There are many books on appropriate child raising. Many are available at the library. You could check one out and let your friends borrow it for a few days.That might help. – Peaceful


We’re really interested in what everyone thinks – about the variety of solutions, disparity of the sentences, or anything else.  This is just our first installment of what we hope to be many, and we’re always looking for problems to pose to the convicts (as well as Kate and Peaceful.)  Send any questions you’d like to be considered to otis.porkmeyer@gmail.com.  Irregardless, we’ll get back to you.

Be well!

Otis

[Killer Advice logos by Alyssa Joy Bartlett, 2019]

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What’s poppin’?

I’m tired of wondering if everyone that I care about out there is okay, or strung out, or overdosed.

My man just got shot a couple of months ago.  Another is fighting a body (murder.)

I am tired of hearing bad news from people.

As I am,

Prince

danny2

Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune

Write to Price via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04564-4600

Hey, what’s popping?

I’ve been working on not focusing so much on the end result of things.  I bounce from one thing to another.  It’s like I don’t feel like I”m doing anything unless I’ striving for something, and then as soon as I get it or accomplish something, I’m on to the next.  I don’t even savor the accomplishment.  I really need to work on that.  Word.  Conditional reality.  That’s what I’m struggling with right now.  I need that happy core.

The falling down and getting back up is what life’s all about.  The day we stop getting back up  is when we really have problems.  I’ve learned that failure is when you give up.  It’s o.k. to make mistakes and fall down, but when we accept that and stop trying, that’s when we’ve failed.  So keep getting back up, everyone.

I can’t believe that this is the reason I self-sabotage so much.  I’m working on this, realizing this is the first step towards fixing it.  I don’t know why I hate myself; I think it’s some childhood shit.  I want you guys to know that I”m working hard to get better and be better so that when I come home I’m in the best possible space.

I’m trying to give all my problems to Allah, it’s hard though, because I’m such a control freak.  I know that He can handle everything better than I ever could so I need to start trusting in Him.  That is not stupid at all; everything is on loan to me from God, you know.  As for purpose, I am just starting to realize what my purpose isn’t.

Just know that I’m doing okay.

As I am,

Prince

danny2

Write to Prince via:

Maine State Prison = Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

I am doing well.

Finished two college courses. and started four more last January.  I’ve got a paying job with the youth center group.  Things are moving in the right direction.

Praise be to God!

I’d like to hear from any of you as soon as ever.

As I am,

Prince

danny2

Write to Prince via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

Yea, there have been some crazy things up here. Somebody just got killed the other Day.

They’re finally starting to give more programs, however, they are forcing us to take them, rather than offering them to us.

The last six months have been something else.

However, there has been a bright spot.

I would like to say a few words to C-Square Circle, of the Southern Tribe of RTW, Holistic Recovery Project: thank you for all the cards that you’ve sent to me. It means a lot to me to get them. It reminds me that I’m not forgotten. How are you guys? I hope that this letter finds yo healthy, wealthy and wise.. HaHaHa or at least as close to them as possible.

Is there anything I can do to help your Circle? I would like to send some love, support and good will back towards you all. Please don’t hesitate to ask. My help might be limited, but whatever I can do I will. Your work matters and you are making a difference. So please stay safe on the outside. There is nothing fun, smart or cool about being locked up. Recognize and appreciate the joys of physical freedom. Hug and kiss your loved ones and tell them how much they mean to you.

As I am,

Prince

danny.2014

Write to Prince via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

How’s Circle? It’s always good to hear from y’all.

These last couple of months have been hard. I lost everything that I had worked for in one hour. I’m starting over at the bottom It’s been a crazy couple months. The Warden came down to see me. He told me that if I didn’t behave I was getting in a lot of trouble. They (I.P.S.) had been fucking with me for 2+ years, with no write-ups or charges. I was removed from the L.T.R. Board, placed in a disciplinary pod. I can’t go to Rec. It’s crazy. They kept treating me like I was acting up, so I started acting up. The Warden noticed and we had a hard talk. Now I’m starting from the bottom, but I’m in a way better place mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I had lost my way but I’m better now.

I want y’all to be better, because I’m doing better.

As I am,

Love,

Your brother, Prince.

danny2

Write to Danny via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

So, as I’m sure you can tell by the paper and the pen, I’m in the Box again.

So, yeah, Friday the 13th.  So it was a regular day and I was supposed to take my college readiness final.  Actually, I was supposed to take it last Tuesday, but I wasn’t ready, so I pushed it back to Friday.

So, I’m up at the yard, and I see somebody who had done something he shouldn’t have the last time I’d seen him.  So I looked at him.  He saw me.  I walked over to him, and we started shaking.  (When you shake, it’s a really good fight.  If it’s just so-so, it’s just a fight.)  So,  mind you, this is right out in the middle of the gym.  He was standing 15-20 feet from a c/o, but he, the inmate, wasn’t gonna move away from the c/o, so we got it on right there.  It was bloody.  He gave me my first-ever bloody nose (those are a bitch.  It bleeds a lot.)  and I split his eye, nose and lips.  Plus, his tooth got in the way of my hand, and split my knuckle to the bone.  It took stitches to close it.  Should’ve been more, but the doctor just pulled until it closed.  His eye got ten stitches.

We got maced with the big riot-fog cans.  They are about the size of a can of tennis balls.  That was unpleasant, to say the least.  I felt like I was on fire.

So, as you can imagine, I got lugged.  Now, they’re saying I can go back to population sometime next week, but I have to be on a behavior plan.  I can’t go to the yard for 30 days, except for school or religious purposes.  I have to have a room by the c/o’s desk.

Just some juvenile bullshit.  It is  what it is, though.  I bought it, and I’ma pay for it.  It was something I felt I had to do, so I did it.  I’m not saying I’m right, but it’s over now, and time only moves in one direction.

To change the subject, I just had the MOST AMAZING conversation I’ve ever had since I’ve been up here.  The person I was talking to was X.  He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.  I could write pages on him, but I won’t.  I’ma just give you just one point of the convo.  He asks: What is a human, and what separates us from the animals.  Me, I don’t know.  Answer:  the ability to dream.  Then we talked about the difference between dreams and ambitions.  Ambitions are something you want to do, have, and see (and get this, b/c it’s mind-boggling.)  A dream is God talking to you.

A dream is God talking to you.

As I am,

Prince

Fortune, Daniel

Write to Prince via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

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danny2

Write to Danny via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

There are things I thought I knew, and it turns out that my ideas and knowledge are that of a sheltered little boy.  Yeah, I know, I wouldn’t have classified myself as sheltered either, but there is so much out there beyond me and the little I know.  Right now, my head is a mess.  I am battling the pain and horror of learning that childhood beliefs in the world and myself are false.  I am evolving, becoming so much smarter and stronger, but it is not easy.  I do not wish/want to return to the ignorance and naivety that defined me but I do recognize how ignorance is bliss.  I have had to learn some very painful truth about my abilities or lack of them in the last month or so.  It is all worth it though.  I am becoming the best I can be.  Which is doubly important so that when I come home I will be able to be successful and no, I am not trying to become a better criminal, even though knowledge is power.  Hahaha.

As I am,

Prince

danny.2014

Write Prince via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune  MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

 

What’s really good?

Things have been kinda hectic  here lately.  Long story short: people don’t realize that “real” muhfuckers live and die behind/over words.  Somebody said something and it had to be dealt with.  The person who said it was not prepared for the level of violence that the words caused.  So their friends stepped in so I stepped in for my man.  It was a bad situation for a while.  God forgive me but the adrenaline made me feel so alive.  Everything seems so much, well, “more: when you’re on that tightrope between life and peace on one side, and bloodshed and pain on the other.

Racial tensions here are sky-high.  I imagine it’s only a matter of time before there’s a race riot.  There is so much ignorance and prejudice here.  There’s prejudice on both sides, but in defense of the brothers, most of the whites they come in contact with are either outright racist or so ignorant of black culture that their comments and actions seem racist.  I have been blessed to have met so many amazing white people that I have been unpleasantly surprised about half the population up here.  Anyway, that’s neither here not there, just the events of the past week have brought it all back into the spotlight.

As I am,

Prince

prince

Write to Danny via:

Maine State Prison – Daniel Fortune – MDOC #86753

807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

Only your vigilance on the outside can guarrentee that justice goes on on the inside.

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