Our Dear Friend Mike Lambrix left us on October 5, 2017
He went from the Darkness to the Light..

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shoe-acid Thrower Takes Shot at Bush

It was the damnest thing that I ever did see. There I was, sitting on the edge of my bunk minding my own business, waiting for a football game to some on, when suddenly my TV flashed “Special Report” across the screen. That caught my attention as this had to be something big that they would dare interrupt a football game.

With increased curiosity I patiently waited. Then there it was – President Bush had apparently made a surprise visit to Iraq and after taking a stroll along the formation of American troops with Iraqi politicians at his side, soon to be dethroned GW Bush then retires to a small room to give a news conference. I’m sure that each member of the media allowed into that room was thoroughly searched for any form of weapons, not at all unlike what most go through at airports these days, thanks to the 9/11 terrorist attack and subsequent threats by shoe-bombers.

Realizing that I was in for yet another final gasp of President Bush’s grandstanding, I reached towards the TV to change the channel when suddenly a man’s figure leapt up right in front of the camera and to my (delighted!) surprise, he threw first one shoe and then another straight at the obviously surprised President Bush., who actually did a good job ducking each shoe as if this happened all the time and was just a part of the daily routine.

Now, I know that in the Arab cultures, throwing a shoe at someone is the ultimate symbol of disrespect. Already reports are coming in from around the Arab world calling for the Iraqi journalist to be called a “hero”. I’m sure that to many he already is - even if the guy is a lousy shot!

After I finally got through laughing about it as hard as I have in more years than I can remember, I got to thinking about what I had seen. The one thing that struck me first was just how well GW Bush ducked both shoes without even breaking a sweat – obviously the guy had a lot of experience ducking incoming shoes, which begs the question….just who is throwing shoes at GW that we don’t know about? Maybe Laura Bush??

If it is Laura Bush, then I wonder if she will accept requests?? Being that I’m on death row I’m only allowed to have one pair of shoes – and we are prohibited from having any type of hard shoes or boots that that might be used as a “weapon”. But I would be willing to mail my only pair of well-worn shoes to Laura Bush if she would agree to throw them at ole GW for me. I’ll even tell her to keep them if she promises to throw them at him repeatedly.

Then it wasn’t long before I got to talking to another guy here on my floor and we came up with a way to make a million dollars of this thing. See, I’m white and he is black. So I figure that we can get one of these “dunking tanks” that they have at county fairs all the time, where people pay money to throw a ball, trying to let a small target that triggers a release to dunk the clown into a water tank. But instead I figure I can get a GW Bush Halloween mask and we can take turns working the dunking tank – only instead of throwing balls we can charge extra so people can throw shoes. Why, I’ll bet people would line up around the block just for the chance to throw a shoe at GW Bush, or even Barack Obama for that matter. So we can make a million bucks and if these people are as bad at throwing shoes as that Iraqi journalist then there’s a real good chance we won’t even get wet!

Of course, since ole GW Bush will be looking for a new job next month, he may just steal my idea and do this himself. When it comes down to it, there’s not a lot of difference between a politician and a carnival sideshow and even someone as intellectually challenged as GW must realize that there is a lot of potential for some serious money by working a dunking tank at the local county fairs. Being that he’s the ex-president and all, I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who would gladly pay a premium to throw a shoe or two to knock him into a tank of water. In fact, I’d gladly pay a few dollars more if instead of just water they fill the tank up with oil – and as he rises from being dunked into the tank of oil, for an extra dollar we can blow feathers on him!

You see, even after 25 years on death row, my imagination can reach beyond these walls that entomb me to inspire a nation into a new pastime…paying a few bucks to throw a shoe or two at a soon to be former president. So folks, just line on up and have your turn.

Please read my main website www.southerninjustice.com and my blog http://doinglifeondeathrow.blogspot.com/and if you would like to donate a pair of old shoes to the cause, please send to: Laura Bush, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Keeping the Hope Alive

Years ago I read a book by Victor Frankl called “Man’s search for meaning”. A friend had sent it to me and I remain grateful to this day as the book gave me a lot of insight to my own experience – as a man condemned to death. Frankl was himself uniquely qualified to provide his insight as he himself had spent years in a Nazi concentration camp at Auswitz and his insights were based upon his own observations and experiences.

The truth that I gained from reading that book so long ago is that surviving any adversity is all about maintaining the will to want to survive. It’s about keeping the hope alive and focusing more on the rainbow then you do the storm. In fact I have written about this in my website and in previous essays I have written about my experiences as a condemned man.

Through the many years that I have now been condemned to death I have personally witnessed too many around me simply give up and lose the will to want to live. I know only too well the transformation a man goes through, the way the “light” within his eyes slowly fades away until only a dark emptiness remains. Those of us who have seen this know that haunting look only too well and know the truth – that a man can die within by losing the hope and the will to live long before his body becomes “dead”.

I write of this now as recent events in my own life have brought me to that point where I felt that will to live erode and was so helpless to even stop that decent into that cold darkness of hopelessness. Although I was aware of this happening I was powerless to stop this very slow slip into that place where I have been before, but hoped that I would never be again.

Maybe I tend to think more about it then others do. I don’t really know. But at times I do wonder just what the point of the struggle to live really is. At times I even envy those I’ve known here who have put an end to their own nightmare in the most permanent of ways, such as my friend Bill Coday who recently committed suicide (see “Bill is dead” http://deathrowjournals.blogspot.com/2008/05/bill-is-dead.html ).

I am somewhat reluctant to admit my own weakness – that not only have I entertained (and even fantasized) thought about taking myself out but many, many moons ago I even tried, but failed. Does that make me weak when I admit such a thing? Maybe so. Or maybe not.

Most recently I went through an ordeal that is only all too common among those of us here. After being condemned to death, our only hope is depending upon the lawyer appointed to represent us and the quality of the appeals that they file. If, for any reason, they fail to properly present our appeal to the Courts then any hope of winning our freedom from this nightmare becomes non-existent. In the past I have had my critical appeals “procedurally barred” because of the incompetence of the lawyer the state had appointed to represent me.

What makes my own case unique is that I’m not just another condemned man trying to claim he is innocent – the evidence actually supports my long pled claim. In recent years an overwhelming wealth of evidence has been brought forth that substantiate my consistently pled claims that the entire, wholly circumstantial case upon which I have been wrongfully convicted, was deliberately fabricated. (Please see “http://www.southerninjustice.com/ ). But all the evidence substantiating my claim of innocence amounts to nothing if my lawyers do not adequately and “effectively” present it to the Courts. Recently the Court gave us until October 27, 2008 to do that. Actually the lawyer had almost a full year to prepare the appeal, but it had to be filed no later than that date.

As that court ordered deadline approached, I felt the lawyers were deliberately jerking me around. No matter how much I pushed for a working draft of what they intended to file, they simply would not give me one. It was as if I was their enemy and they would not divulge their “secret” of what they actually intended to file.

As the deadline approached, my own anxiety and stress built. In fact, I think it is fair to say that my anxiety was not at all unlike that I felt when I was facing imminent execution in 1988. When it comes down to it, I knew only too well that if the lawyers did not file an adequate appeal by that date, then I would be dead. It really was very much like again being on “death watch” and yet as that clock ticket closer and closer to that court deadline, my anxiety and stress only built.

With a week left to go, my confidence in my lawyer’s willingness to get this appeal filed reached a new low when I was finally provided with what they called a draft, but was actually garbage. When I read it, I already knew that if they filed an appeal that even resembled that garbage, I was dead.

I began to confront my own mortality – to accept my own death as a possible means of circumventing the fate that seemed only too imminent. If they filed this garbage they were showing me, then any appellate review would amount to nothing more than a pretense. I knew that if that was the case, my further hope I so desperately tried to cling on to would be lost.

As I struggled through these dark days, I shared my growing feeling of desperation with a few friends. For the most part, they were generously supportive and quickly rallied in their own campaign to compel my lawyers to do the best job possible on the appeal. And I know I am truly blessed with genuine friends, who in my own time of weakness and despair, they so generously give of their own selves to give me strength. I cannot even begin to thank them.

In the end, the appeal was filed at the last possible minute of the court deadline. Although it was not perfect, it was and is surprisingly good. What was filed actually did not even resemble the “draft” I was provided with previously. And now my hope has been renewed.

But a few friends actually were critical of the way I expressed my then overwhelming sense of anxiety and even hopelessness. It was even suggested that I was simply engaging in an “emotional powerplay”, perhaps to manipulate my lawyers. These are genuine friends who I know truly do care about me. But that got me wondering if maybe I was wrong to so openly and honestly share what I felt with my friends.

I do know that nothing I can ever say will ever allow those who do their best to stand by me to actually “feel” what I feel. So I certainly do not hold it against anyone when they just cannot appreciate the depth of my anxiety and that overwhelming sense of hopelessness that had compelled me to accept that even my own death would be a preferable course of action than endure what would become years of pursuing an appeal that I knew was already lost.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I do owe it to my true friends to simply keep how I feel to myself. A big part of being condemned to death is the never-ending rollercoaster ride through the extreme ends of my emotions. But no matter how much they might care, they cannot understand what I feel. Nor do they understand that there will be times that I need my friends the most.

My experience is not unique to me, but common to all of us who are condemned. So whether I was right or wrong, I thank my true friends for carrying me through that darkness when my own strength failed me. It is through my friends that my own hope remained alive. Now the journey will continue.