Friday, October 10, 2008

A Chance Taken... An Opportunity Missed

I stayed home sick on tuesday, something I rarely ever do. Usually I have to be at deaths door before I will call in sick. But I went home early monday because I was running a fever and when I woke up the next morning I was still hot and feverish so I stayed home. Mostly out of respect for my fellow staff who informed me that deer season was coming up and if I got them sick I was going to be in real big trouble. What the heck. I have somewhere around three hundred hours of sick time saved up. At any rate, this left me with a long weekend and nothing pressing to do. Since I was still having internet problems, we decided to tackle them and get it all sorted out. Thought it might be the router or the modem. Bought new ones. Still a problem. Had the cable company out to fix things. They replaced everything from the pole all the way to my modem and we still had a problem! Decided it must be my wiring and replaced my wiring with a wireless system. Problem solved. Don't know why my cables all went out at the same time. COuldn't see a break in them anywhere and why did all four cables go bad at the same time? It's a mystery. And it only cost me two days and about two hundred dollars to fix. Nice.
So anyway, when I went into work this morning, I could tell it was going to be an interesting day. Everybody was all riled up. ANd we had heard a rumor that one of the cells in C-wing had managed to get some of the sand tubes into his cell and would we please check it out? A WORD OF EXPLANATION: We have fifteen or twenty of these six foot pieces of fire hose filled with sand and sewn shut on the ends. They weigh about thirty pounds each and are pretty good at stopping water coming in or out from under a cell door and they are good at blocking "illicit access" to the cell by someone sliding something underneath the door. We use them for those who are prone to flood their cells or those we want to keep isolated from any foreign objects. Also good for those who tend to throw stuff out from under their doors. And the tubes can be washed down with bleach water and the pressure washer and used again and again.
This knucklehead had managed to reach his arm around the grating under his door and pull two of the tubes into his cell. When we found out about it, we went to his cell and demanded that he send them back out. He, of course, refused. He said he would. He wouldn't send them out and he wouldn't let us come in without a fight. Then he piled his mattress against the door and put a wet t-shirt over his face (to keep out the pepper spray) and waited. Soon enough, five guys dressed in black coveralls with helmets and body armor showed up to take him out of the cell. The lieutenant stuck a MK-46 pepper spray device (with a long wand like a bug sprayer) through the side of the door and sprayed into the cell and let him bake in it for a few minutes. Then the team came in. They tackled him to the floor in his cell, put handcuffs and leg irons on him, stripped him down to his boxers and carried him to an empty cell downstairs. They put him face down on the floor of the cell, removed the restraints and backed out the door and shut it. We watched and waited while we looked at the cell monitor. It took him a full five minutes to get back up on his feet again and he was real quietfor awhile after that. He was still in an empty cell in nothing but boxers when I went home. ANyway, about thirty minutes after this knucklehead go his comuppance, some other knucklehead in another cell started getting stupid. he was buddies with knucklehead #1 and he decided that since he was a "soldier" that he would "ride it out" with his pal.
There's a point to this story, I swear. Just hang with me a moment.
So knuclehead #2 starts screaming that he's going to kill himself, knowing full well that we have to react to that threat. He thought he was going to get another team, like his pal did. But when he wrapped a towel around his neck and knotted it tight, the Sarge just waved for the door to be opened and Sarge and three other officers just rushed in and dogpiled him to the floor. I got there in time to hand Sarge my bandage scissors (which we carry for just such an emergency as that) so he could cut the towel off the guys neck. Once he was fully restrained they carried him to an empty cell and stripped him completely down and left him with nothing but a kevlar smock. (Look up +prison and +suicide smock for a good look) And while he was being stripped down and searched, I happened to look down at my feet. In these situations I always try to stop and scan the area for any possible useful weapons or contraband that might be laying loose in the cell. I was standing with my feet between the offenders knees (his feet being held up towards his lower back) and there just happened to be a (rather small) portion of his anatomy right there by the toe of my boot. Let me tell you, I thought about it. In the one or two seconds it took me to appraise the situation I must have flipped coins in my brain three dozen times. In the end, I stepped back and did nothing. It would have only made matters worse. But man! it would have felt good there for a second or two.

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