Archive for June, 2011
The Lone Star State of Texas!
June 3rd, 2011 3:45am
Welcome to my nightmare… tales from a dead man!
“Do your best, prepare for the worst then trust God to bring Victory.”
We started our day yesterday without one of the death watch members… Texas Carried out the execution of my neighbor and you could feel the emptiness during the morning hours in which I would of normally offered my morning greetings and possibly a joke or wise crack to get one laughing, but yesterday morning there was only silence and heavy hearts on this section of death.
The day was then started with my normal rituals of prayers marking off another day of the calendar; looking at all the photos of friends and loved ones I have on display and trying to embrace a few cherished memories of the past. Once all that is complete and a few cups of coffee are poured down me, the reality of things start to slowly creep back into the picture and the mind starts to get worked up and the inner questions start to flow…
So as the day rolls into progress I’m set up for recreation which would be outside time, and not a cloud in the sky, so I am expecting a real good sunburn which I welcome with open arms at any given moment. Then I was summoned to a legal visit in which I was able to speak with an awesome soul who has been working so hard to save my life and has been traveling all about Texas in order to do this… and Ms. Annie, if you are reading this… Thank you for all you have done!
I was also informed by this wonderful person that my grandmother, who raised me, and has been in frail health has possibly passed away in 2009 and this is the first I’ve learned of the news. The tears started to fall last night as I sat here and looked at her photos. Grandma, I love you. I hope you are at peace.
So as I’m brought back to this section of death after having had the legal visit and a burger and salad and soda and pie (thank you!) it’s now time for my recreation and today I’m slotted to venture out with my other neighbor, Mr. Lee Taylor otherwise known as “Tiny”… and there’s nothing Tiny about him. So I’m out there soaking up the sun when the officers doing escorts bring him out and place him in the other outside cage and then our time begins.
Tiny arrives and has just come from his two week death pack review with the Major of this Unit… and what this is, two weeks prior to ones execution date you must complete the proper papers, what to do with your belongings, who’s to be your 5 witness’s at execution, spiritual advisor, final mean, etc. etc. etc. Yes the finalized papers that must be perfect and sent to Huntsville Texas. You are also able to make your commissary run again and it’s a ritual for everyone to get a pint of ice cream for death watch… as a final gesture of kindness.
So as we are out in the 100 degree hot sun, laughing, sharing memories of the past and just talking about absolutely nothing and everything they bring the ice creams out to us and here we are… two Texas condemned monsters as the media portrays us, eating ice cream in the hot sun. Loving Life and acting as kids. It was an awesome moment. The sunshine was blazing down on us and what makes it all the better is we have a pint of Blue Bell… and in Texas that’s a little piece of heaven in a cup.
Now as I’m walking around in the cage my friend Tiny says, “Hey I bet you won’t eat this grasshopper”… what did you say was my reply? He looked at me with this smile on his face and said “I bet you’re scared to eat this grasshopper”. Well out on the recreation yard there are a lot a small grasshoppers and he has one in h is hand, and this smile a mile wide on his face… and me being the person I am, replied I bet I will… and he handed it to me through the bars and down it went… Tiny was laughing so hard I thought he’d passed from lack of air… but then it was my turn and I quickly caught another unsuspecting grasshopper and said I know you’re afraid to eat one… and to my surprise, not only did he eat one, but he ate two so he could contain the championship grasshopper eating award… which he proudly earned.
So not only did I have food from the legal visit, I had ice cream and a grasshopper. What a day it was! HA HA HA! And 3 hours later we are brought back in, sunburned and fat full! Now we are showered and our day is complete and reality comes flooding back because two more men are brought to our section of death. My neighbor who was executed less than 24 hours, his cell has just been given to another… and to my surprise, another friend! Texas kills one, and adds two more. The killing never ends…
True American Till Death
Texas The Lone Star State
May 31st, 2011 6:22am
Welcome to my nightmare… tales from a dead man
“The only good is knowledge, the only evil is ignorance”.
The day is new, and let me start this out with a quote from Nietzsche to get the mind working… “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering and dying. But no man can tell another what this purpose is. Each must find out for himself, and must accept the responsibility that his answer prescribes. If he succeeds he will continue to grow in spite of all indignities”. End of quote.
Life… death… hate…. love… understanding…ignorance… human nature. How many of us really understand the meaning of life? How many of us wander through life in search for the answer of existence? The last few days I’ve been doing some deep soul searching … trying to get all my thoughts in order, to contain the many emotions that are soaring through my veins like an eagle in the sky. As most of you are aware my past has not been the story book existence, some would even call it a horror story come to life… and to some extent, I’d have to agree. There is a man out there that has every right to hate me for what I did after the 9/11/01 events that rocked our world. This man, Rais, has come to the forefront in an effort to show the world how forgiveness and compassion overrule the human nature of hate. I’m envious of his actions and his kindness speaks volumes. He is an example that the human race should follow. Rais, I’m deeply touched by all you have said and that’s from my heart and soul.
We have an execution date tomorrow, my neighbor received the bad news Saturday night at his visit that the Supreme Court refused to hear his case… so Sunday morning as I sat here writing and thinking and doing my Sunday morning the way I usually do, I notice lots of old letters… legal work and tons of other personal items being tossed out of h is cell onto the floor. That’s when I came to my cell door and asked, “Hey bud, what’s going on?” and he replied, “It’s over Mark” “I’m out of here”…
Tomorrow will be the first of four executions for the month of June, two of these, the men are my actual neighbors that I speak with on a daily basis and it’s amazing how we are able to laugh and joke at the execution that is only days ahead. This has been a life altering experience to say the least. If I do somehow live through this, this nightmare would have molded a new Mark.
The last few days a very strange thing has been happening here at death watch, the next three that are slotted to die this month in Huntsville death chamber have been called out to the infirmary. There events are a bit confusing for us all… what happened was that a set of escort guards cam to these guys cells and asked, “are you going to medical?” Hmmmm? So these guys told the escorts that they have not requested or filed a sick call slip… the escorts then replied that it’s for an “EKG”… something to do with checking their heart, weight and vital signs such as blood pressure, etc. etc. etc.
I guess they are starting something new because they have never been doing this before this new drug was introduced as their killing agent. The three men refused to be taken to medical, and I don’t blame ‘em one bit.
True American Till Death
Mark Stroman, 2011
Texas the Lone Star State!
May 24th, 2011 4:17am
Welcome to my nightmare… tales from a dead man!
“Give yourselves to disciplines instruction; open your ears to tested Knowledge”
Good morning from another day on Texas death watch… I’ve only 58 days left to live if the powers that are have their ways… whichever it is, however it may be I must thank each and every one of you out there that’s fighting to save my life as well as my soul. Never in all my years of living have I seen so many soft hearted and compassionate people… so many wonderful people, so again let me thank you all for doing all you do!
We are on lockdown once again, and the crazy part is we had just been raided by the shakedown team here on death watch Sunday the 22nd of May. And after the team went through their procedures and we were able to get our world back in order and situated, Monday morning rolls around and they say lockdown for shakedown. Lo & behold death watch is the first section hit and this time by a whole new crowd of unknown faces bent on confiscating something, just anything. I’m serious, where do they find all these overzealous people at I often wonder? SO we were searched and had all of our belongings gone through again and even had our then little mattresses ran thru the x-ray machine… what a wonderful way to start out a day.
4:32am breakfast is served. Two small ¾ oz dry cereal boxes… no milk or anything… just dry cereal. What?? No peanut butter goo sandwiches?? Thank GOD for that! I guess with the budget cut they don’t want to use too much bread to feed us… and why should they? Ain’t we all slotted for death anyway?? Yep that’s the attitude of many shallow minded people who work here. But the ones who work back here with us on a day to day basis know the human side of us that we do possess human qualities and even contain compassion and human emotions. Sure there’s the monsters but there’s monsters even walking amongst all of you out there in the land of the free… undetected, covered in regular clothing.
My neighbor has 9 days left to live… and is going thru his final countdown on lockdown. Man what a damn evil place this is. We all are going thru the final countdown with him and with a little hope my friend who is also a Muslim will receive a stay of execution. Yes my neighbor is Muslim and isn’t it funny that the State says I’m such a continued threat to society yet I’m able to live next to this man of Islamic Faith… we laugh… we live… and we care!
Well before I close this out let me say this again, for all of you out there who have stood by my side or someone’s side who is in this type of situation as I am, your efforts do not go unnoticed… your compassion and support is what makes these dark days we face seem sunny and peaceful. Never forget that. Ya know at the start of this year I was so torn as what to do… should I just drop the appeal and stop causing emotion turmoil in my friends and loved ones, and that’s a serious thought that had engulfed a lot of my time but then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I will quote a piece I’ve read from a book written by a remarkable man who survived the horrors of Nazi concentration camps during WWII, the man’s name is “Viktor E. Frankl” and it is saying it easy to just lay it down and die. To ease one’s own problems and sufferings as he said. “A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how’”.
Still unbroken and still Red, White & Blue
True American… loud & proud!
Mark Anthony Stroman 2011