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Mama Love insisted that if we were home that the boys would eat together.  Most nights she would eat with us, the exceptions being if we had pissed her off severely or if my father was home.  If he was home, then they would eat together in the living room or the study.  As a family we spent a lot of time around each other.  I can remember wondering why, when I went to my friend’s houses, why they didn’t eat together, or spend as much time around each other.  A big reason behind learning to cook was just wanting to be around Mama Love.  My younger brothers had no desire to learn; their interest in food began and ended with the placement of food on the table.  I selfishly wanted to,and got to, spend time with her that was ours alone.

When I first moved in with the Fortunes, there were already two older boys there, Nate and Mark.  Nate was long-term foster care – he had lived with the Fortunes for around eight years.  After I’d been there for a year, Nate graduated from high school and moved back with his biological family.  Mark was adopted by the Fortunes exactly a year before I was and was the oldest until he graduated and moved out (well, he stayed for a year after graduation, “finding his way” and all that.)  For about four years after I was the oldest son and with my father spending more time out of the house than in it, I was the de facto head of the household, with most if not all of the responsibilities that came with it.

Mama Love had over fifty foster kids during her time working with DHS, so I have spent more time wiping butts, giving baths and telling bed-time stories than some parents I know.  We used to get looks when we went out because of how many of us there were and the fact that some of us were lack and some of us were white.  My father is 6’6″, 280 pounds and black and Mama Love was a red-headed, short, white woman.  Mark was around 5’9″, stocky, almost pudgy white, with short, spiked hair.  I was and still am a 5’9″ dark, full-blooded Haitian, Leo (another adopted-brother) a 6’6″ light skinned half-Jamaican.  James, a biological Fortune, was young, white with bright red hair (think of the kid from “Jerry McGuire,”) glasses and freckles, while Tony (adopted brother) was young, half-black / half-white with green eyes.  I never looked at my upbringing as different.  It was just the way my family was.

My mother was the keeper of my secrets, hopes and dreams.  She was the one person in my life that has ever loved me unconditionally.  As my father and I were too similar to talk, share, or even like each other much, she was by default, my mother and father (him not being around much helped as well.)  While, in fairness, my adopted father did teach me some aspects of how to be a man, some lessons I needed (like to always take responsibility,)  other lessons that shaped me at an early age have left me wondering the cost, i.e. the ones about how men never show emotions like pain and hurt, or how men never cry and rarely apologize.  It was Mama Love who really taught me why it is important to be a man.  How it is your actions and not your age that make you a man, and that the two best things that I can do for my loved ones are as follows: firstly, if you really love someone then you are there for them at all times, not just when you’re needed, and secondly that it is more important to make sure loved ones have what they need rather than what they really want.

I remember walking into the house after school or practice (I played three sports: football, basketball and baseball, so almost every day after school I had practice or games and wouldn’t get home until four or five at the earliest) and being greeted by the smells of cooking food and the sounds of my brothers.  It was as if when I opened the door to my house I entered another world.  The sounds would hit me as soon as I opened the fake wooden-paneled door, depending on the time my brothers would be in the room on my right, “the library” (which is where we had desks and computers for homework or personal use) doing their homework quietly.  Well, it was supposed to be done quietly, but, when have boys ever been in a group and ever done anything quietly?  In fact, it was when we were quiet that we were up to something.  As soon as we stopped making noise you could count on Mama Love coming to investigate.

When I would shut the door the smell of cooking food would permeate my nostrils.  It was as if my house was a cocoon that opened itself up and embraced me with sounds and smells of love, like they were just waiting for me to come home and now my night, my family’s night and our house’s night was complete.

(More to follow.)

As I am,

Prince

danny.2014

CCI08092017

Hey, ,readers.

This is all I got left to say about what one needs in order to be a philosopher.

E = Exploration.  So, what happens when we run into questions that we cannot answer, or if we are in a situation where it looks or feels hopeless?

For me, this is why Allah and hope are the most important things in my life.  Both my life and the history of the world are littered with mistakes and no-win situations, but this is only possible because we refuse to stay beaten and accept things the way they are.  Philosophy has taught me that I must continue to search for answers, yet understand that some questions cannot be answered, and a lot of situations are beyond my control.

That doesn’t mean that I must curl up and give up.  With hope and faith, I can and will not be broken by any circumstances that I face.  I have the tools to make any situation better, and to endure.  There is a reason why miracles are so special, it is because they are beyond human purview.  They are not meant to be understood or explained.  Yet are miracles possible without faith and hope?

In moments like this I think of the Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The study of philosophy has reinforced my faith and hope by making me realize how much I don’t know, and by extension how much humanity doesn’t know.

It is because of how small my world and life is; I have to be reminded just how strong and powerful hope and faith can be.

As I am,

Prince

danny.2014

Well,

No one’s been killed yet.  No, I have not padlocked or stabbed anyone.  I heard there’s a lot of people in here with hepatitis C and I don’t want any part of that at all.  If it comes down to it, I’ll either hit somebody with a chair or kick them in the manhood.

Anyway, during the lock-down they took our padlocks away and they found quite a few weapons in other pods.  Our pod was the last one they searched, so everybody got ample time to get rid of their weapons,.  Lots of flushing was going on during the lock-down.

Been looking at the town populations somebody sent me.  It’s hard to believe that “Hardshell” only has a population of twelve people.  Must be located in a remote place (really remote.)  Now you got me curious about the history of Hardshell.  I might end up changing the name to “Hardsell,” as in it’s a hard-sell to get people to live there and put it on the farthest frontier island, probably just make it an old hideout for certain people or a place of exile.  Plus “Nooseneck: and “Pelican Point” would be it’s nearest neighbors (30 miles away.)

So Monhegan Island has seventy -five people on it?  Thought it had more.  Guess they don’t get many tourists in the summer.  Sounds like a great place to get away from it all, being so far away from the mainland..

Well, goodnight, everyone.   Can’t believe it’s almost August.

Kenneth McDonald

kenny

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Incarceration in the United States is the main form of punishment for the commission of a crime. The United States has the largest prison population in the world, and the second-highest per-capita incarceration rate, behind Seychelles (a tiny island country off the coast of East Africa, which in 2014 had a total prison population of 735 out of a population of around 92,000). 

In 2013 in the US, there were 698 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population, with (According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics ) 2,220,300 adults incarcerated in US federal and state prisons, and county jails.  That’s one out of every 110 citizens of the United States, or  about 0.91% of our adult population.  That’s not counting the 4,751,400 adults in 2013 (1 in 51) on probation or on parole!  In total, 6,899,000 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2013 – about 2.8% of the adults (1 in 35) in the U.S. 

Oh, almost forgot: there were also 54,148 juveniles in jail (“juvenile detention”) in 2013.

According to a 2014 Human Rights Watch report, “tough-on-crime” laws adopted since the 1980s, most especially Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (the largest crime bill in the history of the United States and consisted of 356 pages that provided for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and $6.1 billion in funding for prevention programs, which were designed with significant input from experienced police officers) have filled U.S. prisons with mostly nonviolent offenders. This insane policy has completely failed to rehabilitate prisoners and many are worse on release than before incarceration.

Rehabilitation programs for offenders can be more cost effective than prison.  According to a 2016 analysis of federal data by the U.S. Education Department, state and local spending on incarceration has grown three times as much as spending on public education since 1980.

Why? Watch the Netflix documentary “13.”

aaa

The Maine Department of Corrections has intercepted more Suboxone sublingual film — thin strips of a prescription drug that are easy to hide and can be dissolved on the tongue — than any other contraband smuggled into Maine jails.

Research by Portland-based CBS affiliate WGME’s investigative reporter Marissa Bodnar found that inmates are regularly trying to sneak in and abuse the drug, which can be prescribed as a treatment for opioid addiction.

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce told WGME Suboxone strips have been found in between sheets of cardboard and in the folds of envelopes. Attempts to smuggle in drugs also have prompted the jail to limit contact between inmates and visitors, leaving inmates to see loved ones from behind a sheet of glass.

“We’ve banned cards from coming in,” Joyce said. “We take photocopies of greeting cards.”

Suboxone is a branded prescription drug that includes the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone.

Addiction treatment specialists have said Suboxone can be an effective medication to help those battling addiction to heroin and other opiates and opioids, if used correctly.

Dr. Mark Publicker, a longtime Maine addiction specialist, told WGME that inmates should have regular access to medication and therapy.

“Any of the [federally] approved medications should be used,” he said. “We need to develop systems [to create better access to addiction treatment for inmates] and understand, right now at any given time, the figure is over 80,000 prisoners in state and federal levels have opiate addiction and are not being treated.”

Bodnar found that, in addition to the Suboxone strips, heroin, marijuana, methadone, Oxycodone and tobacco, among other contraband items, have been confiscated by corrections officials in Maine jails.

Lethal Dose Haiku

Body camera video produced Wednesday appears to show a Baltimore police officer plant drugs in late January, an act that later resulted in a criminal arrest.

The 90-second Baltimore police body camera video, which was made public by the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, belongs to Officer Richard Pinheiro, who appears to hide and later “find” drugs among trash strewn on a plot next to a Baltimore residence. Two other officers appear to be with the Pinheiro as he hides the drugs.

Play

 Body Camera Shows Baltimore Police Officer Allegedly Planting Evidence 1:53

“I’m gonna go check here,” Pinheiro announces in the video from a morning in late January. He then picks up a can in which he placed a plastic bag of pills earlier in the video and retrieves them.

“This is a serious allegation of police misconduct,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. “There is nothing that deteriorates the trust of any community more than thinking for one second that police officers … would plant evidence of crimes on citizens.”

One of the officers has been suspended, and two others have been placed on “nonpublic contact” administrative duty, Davis told reporters.

Police said the Office of Professional Responsibility Ethics Section was investigating.

Pinheiro is a witness in about 53 active cases, and he was even called to testify in a case earlier this week, the Public Defender’s Office said.

The new video has led to that case’s dismissal after an assistant public defender forwarded it to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, according to the Public Defender’s Office.

Melba Saunders, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, said the prosecutor took “immediate and appropriate actions” and dropped the case against the man who was charged.

“Currently, this case is under investigation and has been referred to internal affairs of the Baltimore Police Department,” she added.

Debbie Katz Levi, head of the Baltimore Public Defender’s Special Litigation Section, said that Baltimore police have long had a problem with officer misconduct but that the city does not hold individuals accountable.

Play

 Public Defender Says Bodycam Shows Baltimore Cop Planting Drugs 2:31

“We have long supported the use of police body cameras to help identify police misconduct, but such footage is meaningless if prosecutors continue to rely on these officers, especially if they do so without disclosing their bad acts,” Levi said.

Police played four other videos for the media on Wednesday afternoon to provide additional context.

In the first two videos, officers procure two gel capsules of heroin. The third video has officers approaching the alleged seller of the heroin and shows them arresting the man on whom they found marijuana and a gel capsule of heroin, police said.

In the fourth video, officers undertake an extensive search of a yard identified by the dealer for more drugs. Police said they recovered a plastic bag with 25 gel capsules of heroin.

Davis and Deputy Police Commissioner Jason Johnson suggested that it implied that they were re-enacting the recovery of drugs for the body camera — which is also inappropriate, Davis said.

“The release of [this body camera video] tells me and hopefully [the public] that there was a little more to this,” Davis told reporters.

Johnson and Davis told reporters that there was a four- to five-minute gap in the video.

According to police policy, officers are required to record all activities that are “investigative or enforcement in nature.”

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, a component of the U.S. Justice Department, concluded in a 296-page report that there is not enough research to understand the impact of body cameras but that “the ultimate purpose of these cameras should be to help officers protect and serve the people in their communities.”

Davis said the department would get to the bottom of the matter because he fears the effect it would have on the community.

“Perception is reality,” Davis said. “If our community thinks that there are officers planting evidence in the course of their duty, that is something that will keep me up at night.”

T = Thinking.

After research and reflection, here are what my underlying thoughts on philosophy are: if philosophy is about how to live by learning how to die, then not having hope or faith is a serious problem.  For as Bertrand Russell says in the Value of Philosophy: “It is exclusively among the goods of the mind that the value of philosophy is to be found, and only those who are not indifferent to these goods can be persuaded that the study of philosophy is not a waste of time.”

Philosophy is valuable because it exposes us to questions that might not have answers.  I ascribe to the thought that a major part of the value of philosophy is in its very uncertainty.  The man who does no know philosophy will be imprisoned by prejudices formed by common sense.  To this man the world becomes definite, obvious, and finite.  Everyday objects which need no questions, and what is not familiar is not welcome.

When we begin to philosophize we find that even the simplest questions can lead to problems that may not be solved.  There cannot be a value on one asking questions in order to find one’s answers for oneself, not settling for what we are being told.

As I am,

Prince

danny-graduation.jpg

 

Dear Circle,

I am sending this letter the same time as this one bt by the time gyou guys get this letter I will be getting out.  I have been working on my anger.  You can believe that… it looks like I getting out on the 19th.  I will grab a stick and make aikos.

I know your not a cult.  I never said that.

Be well,

Running Deer

runningdeer1

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Political Prisoners

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