Saturday, July 11, 2009

On The Edge

I've never been one of those "high adventure" type people. I've never gone bungee jumping or rock climbing or skydiving. I'm scared to death of flying in airplanes, ventriloquist dummies and the dentist. I drive the speed limit, I get a checkup and my shots every year and I quit drinking.

I go to places like The Sally Port and I watch their videos or I go watch Lock Up on MSNBC and I think to myself "Man, I'm glad I don't work in one of those places." After all, this isn't Pelican Bay I'm working at here. Not a level five camp, even though we have lots of level five offenders. Most of our level fives are young punks who would snot their britches if they were put in a real level five supermax prison.

But this place could easily become one of those places if we aren't careful. If we weren't watching and listening and prying into the things happening on the yard and in the houses this place could very easily end up on the evening news.

Like this new "gang" that I wrote about in the last post. Young white punks trying to make a name for themselves in the prison system. And there's only two ways to make your bones in a racist group like that. You either "press" or extort or assault or bully the weaker white inmates or you go up against the blacks. So far, I've been told, they have restricted themselves to the former. But eventually one of those bright boys is going to think the second option is a good idea and things might very well get very ugly in a hurry.

The Crips and the Bloods and the Gangster Disciples generally don't get along inside or outside the fence. They occasionally make temporary alliances, but they don't tend to last very long. On the streets they are enemies and will kill each other with or without the slightest provocation. But if you add a racist white gang trying to move in on their "turf" or assaulting one of their members, then they will band together so quick it will make you wonder what happened.

And we will have blood shed on the yard and not much we can do about it. We don't have the towers in the corners filled with hard eyed men with automatic rifles. If something big was to kick off we would be able to field maybe a hundred officers armed with pepper spray and little else to break it up. I'm guessing it would take an hour to field our response squad with riot gear. And alot of people could be seriously dead inside of an hour.

I'm not finding fault with our administration here. It's just they way the place is set up. We can't have a squad suited and booted and ready to go 24/7. We don't have towers and couldn't afford to build them if we needed them.

I know I've made fun of the guys on the yard who play detective and chase down rumor and clues all day. But these are the guys keeping us out of harms way. If they weren't on the job, people would get hurt. And I think if we weren't nosy SOB's in the first place, we wouldn't be doing this job.

Hopefully, by keeping our eyes and ears open we can avert any sort of disaster that might be looming. But we are constantly balanced on that edge, ready to cut one way or the other. Let's hope that when all those around us are losing their heads, we can keep ours.

I got your back. You watch mine, huh?


  1. thanks for the clarification...but still have care.


    polyamorous. good word.

  2. Irish- I plan on living long enough to retire. And that is one of my favorite words.