The Brown and The Gray

Tony Abdo aabdo at
Fri Aug 11 02:16:38 MDT 2000

'Put to Death' is the pretty euphemism that the local paper used for the
word...... murder.       It's also the description most people use
for killing animals.     'Airman's Killer is Put to Death' was the
headline for yesterday in the local paper.

One can hardly begin to imagine the hysteria of our local First World
society, if a headline were to read..... 'Man Who Put to Death Killer
Pilot Killed'.     Apparently, even the headline......'State of
Texas Executes Retarded Man'.... was not deemed proper, either.

The first thing that struck me as I got off the bus in Huntsville at the
state prison, was how neatly manicured they keep the lawns cropped
outside the administrative offices.     It's a very orderly look,
and one I've seen many a time before, at State mental institutions.
Somehow it impresses people that what goes on inside must be itself well

Huntsville has now rightfully gained an image as a center of evil in the
industrialized countries, because it is here where the State of Texas
murders about one prisoner a week.     This was the day, for the
first 2 of 6 men to be murdered in this month.

There were about a hundred protesters.     And now that the murder
factory-line is rolling well along, there were no cheering supporters of
the death penalty to heckle the mainly religious opponents. Boredom has
set in.

The only bus that came in protest was from San Antonio.     And
almost all were nuns, priests, and those very closely influenced by them
in the church.     At our one rest stop, I almost couldn't get off
from the back of the bus due to a sister leading a non-stop chanted
prayer that seemed more important to the other passengers, than a leg
stretch seemed to me.

So once we had arrived, we all walked over the short distance to the
designated protest and prayer area.     A set of 6-7 guards stared
facing us from behind the yellow taped restraining lines.   On their
faces, and during their conversations, a stop and go barrage of derisive
smirks would blink on and off.     Us protestors seemed so
incongruous, and well... funny... to them.     When you draw this
guard duty once a week, week after week, one probably begins to drop the
somber face that might once have been maintained.     Oh, here we go

Under the hot 95 degree sun, most of us drew off into the shade. Some
had brought umbrellas and chairs.     Two male protesters sat
dressed in Eastern Orthodox clerical garb as they prayed.
The 6 or 7 guards, contrasted sharply with the protesters as we stared
at each other.
  What was it exactly that made us so different from them, I thought?
    And then it hit me.   The colors of the others facing us.  
  Or RATHER, the lack of color in their dress.

The state of Texas dresses it's prisoners up in white.       Since
so many of the prisoners are Black, the black and white effect actually
seems to brightly shine almost with color.

But what was the color of the mostly White guards?     I looked and
looked, and began to see.     They all were dressed in brown and
gray. If they had been about 12 to 17 years old, they would have clearly
been marked as scouts.     But since they were older, they looked
just exactly like Nazi Brownshirts.     And they were behaving as
such, too.

In the background, the building they were guarding was an older, large
innocuous looking, red bricked warehouse.     There was a guard
tower and some barbed wire, but it actually looked much less menacing
than many another barbed-wire rolled concentration camp, like the so
many that dot the Texas countryside.

I contemplated with the others, on both sides of the line, the wierdness
and surrealness of it all, for about 2 hours.     Inside, an even
greater wierdness and surrealness was in march.     But outside,
there were no bells or announcements to announce the inside work of the
brown and gray.     And finally, we began to roll things up, and
move back to our respective vehicles.

Horrible emotions had popped throughout our minds during those 2 hours,
and some few had broken down in explosive waves of despair.     One
of the relatives of one of the condemned, Oliver Cruz, had dressed in
black, with a white skull-like facial mask.

Just like the prisoners inside, he too seemed to have more color than
the brown and gray as they worked.     And as they got payed.  
    It was all in a day's work, as the State of Texas murdered
Oliver Cruz and Brian Roberson.

I wished I had taken a snapshot of the brown and gray.     It would
make an accurate post card of the Huntsvile, Texas area.

Tony Abdo

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