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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Letter from Mike from Death Watch (Part II)

Mike thanks everybody who has sent him cards, letters of support, prayers and wishes! He much appreciates, and is deeply touched by,  any way you have reached out to him and feels blessed that so many people care about him. Any messages and comments you may want to leave here will be sent to Mike too.

Mike asks  you to read the page his son Cary Michael Lambrix has created, his son is trying to raise the money needed to visit his dad for the last time..

I’m now on my second week of my death watch experience with about two months yet to go until my scheduled execution. With the process they apply in determining whose death warrant to sign they had to know by signing my death warrant on November 30th and scheduling my execution for 6:00 pm on February 11, 2016 that it would mean that I will be down here on death watch through the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. Obviously, Governor Scott and his staff had to know that both State and Federal Courts will be out for the holidays. So, why would they sign a death warrant at this time?

You know it really doesn’t bother me personally as I wasn’t exactly expecting much of a Christmas anyways. If Governor Scott and his staff thought by putting me under an active death warrant over the holidays would somehow inflict that added measure of misery to a man they intend to kill, then they are wrong as it won’t really bother me. In some ways, I will actually have a better Christmas now.

But what does bother me is how this will affect my family and friends, all of whom did nothing to deserve this. Talk about a heart of stone and the Grinch that stole Christmas. I’ll bet Governor Scott gave absolutely no thought whatsoever to the pain he inflicted upon my parents and children and sisters and my dearest friends who give so much of themselves to support me. Nobody ever thinks about how all of this affects those closest to the condemned.

The last time I was on death watch in late 1988 it was so much easier as I had no one. ( Read about Mike's stay of execution in 1988) My family and I were estranged and I had no close friends. Even my three children were then too young to know what was going on. But in the years since then I’ve grown close to my mother and stepfather, who for many years now visit regularly. And my kids are now grown with kids of their own. And I’m truly blessed with my small group of close friends who so selflessly give so much of themselves to be there for me. Already this is causing them so much pain.

Now I find myself wishing that I were alone again as I don’t want them to have to go through all of this. Last week when my parents came to visit for the first time since my execution date was scheduled, I could see the pain in my mother’s eyes and how much this was taking out of her. My sisters came with them. I had not seen them in a few years and I could only watch helplessly as they struggled to fight back the tears and I just wanted to hug them through it. Once I went on death watch I was no longer allowed regular visits, but all visits are now non-contact (through glass). I tried to joke around and make them laugh, but I know they saw right through me… tears of a clown. I struggle with that conflict ~ I want so much to see them, but I don’t want them to be hurt by what is yet to come. Everybody keeps asking me how I’m doing but it’s how they’re doing that concerns me the most. 

When that visit ended I was escorted back to the death watch floor and before putting me back in my solitary cell they measured me for the execution suit. You gotta love the irony of that ~ for 32 years I had to wear whatever clothes they would provide, only too often baggy pants and bright orange shirts. But now that they intend to kill me they want to buy me a nice new suit that will be custom tailored to fit me. I guess it’s sort of like dressing a turkey up for the holiday feast… I got to look good when they lay me out on the gurney in front of the witnesses. It just wouldn’t be proper to kill a man while he is dressed in baggy pants and a bright orange shirt. When it comes down to it, it's all about the ritual, and perhaps that’s the most tragic commentary of all ~ they’ve carried out this ritual of death so many times that they’ve perfected every detail and nothing is left to chance.

I once read about how during the Holocaust, the Nazi's went to great pains to methodically record every detail of their process. The records were so meticulous that they even kept records of the records. And it’s the same on death watch here, as an officer is assigned to the cell front whose only job is to meticulously record in a green log book, marked with my own name, everything I do. Even as I write this he sits not more than ten feet away with that log book in his hands undoubtedly writing down that I am sitting at my small desk writing. It’s not personal ~ it’s merely his job. If he didn’t do it, someone else would have to.

The truth of the matter s that I’ve never been treated better by the prison staff than I am now. From the warden on down, there’s not even so much as a suggestion of malice in any of them. Given my previous experience on death watch years ago, I expected some to deliberately go out of their way to taunt us as they did back then, but this warden has no tolerance for such misconduct.

The cell I’m now in is huge and took sometime to get used to. I don’t know what the exact measurements are but I’d guess that it’s about eight foot by 12 foot, give or take a few inches. As long as I remain on “Phase II” my personal property stays in the cell with me, including my T.V. and MP3. My music continues to be my escape from all else around me and it’s a comfort to have.
A few night after I was moved down to death watch the light in my cell went out. Not long after that the toilet clogged up. I’m told that this particular cell had not been used in a while as the Governor usually only has one person under an active death warrant at a time. There’s only three cells down here and Oscar Bolin is in the first cell about 10 feet away. Both the light switch and the toilet were fixed the next morning.

When I read about how the Nazi’s killed the Jews at their own infamous death camps, I recall how they would place the condemned prisoners in long lines that led to long buildings and they would be told that it was a shower. Presumably they had no idea they were actually being led to their deaths in industrial sized gas chambers and spared that agony of imminent death until that final moment when once secured in the the large chambers instead of a shower they were gassed. I wonder how many moments passed between the realization of imminent death and death itself?

But here in America we are far too civilized and humane to keep a condemned man in a state of ignorant bliss until that final moment. Instead, when Governor Scott signed my warrant on the morning of Monday November 30, 2015 and the warden then read my warrant to me, instructing me to then initial the death warrant as an acknowledgement that I received it, I was told that in precisely 73 days on the evening of Thursday February 11, 2016 I would be led into the execution chamber and then strapped into a gurney facing a glass window. At least 20 witnesses will watch as they insert I.V. tubes in both of my arms and upon signal by the warden, they will then pump that lethal cocktail of drugs into my arms and stand around until they pronounce me dead. 

The Nazi’s went to great lengths to spare those condemned to death the knowledge that they would soon die. Their machine of death was as cold and calculating as any ever devised by the mind of man at his most evil. But here in America we don’t engage in any such pretense. Rather, we want those we condemn to death to know it’s coming and the process is meticulously structured in such as a way that not even for a moment  throughout the prolonged “death watch” process will the condemned escape the reality that the clock on the wall is counting down his last days, hours, and then minutes. The agony of imminent death will not be escaped . And we call that humane - Mike

Michael Lambrix #482053
Florida State Prison Q2301
7819 NW 228th street
Raiford  Florida 32026-1100

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Message from Mike Lambrix to his friends - from Death Watch

Dear friends,

As all of you know, on Monday November 30 - only hours after the US supreme Court declined review of my new evidence actual innocence appeal, Florida governor Rick Scott signed my death warrant, scheduling my execution for February 11, 2016 at 6:00 PM.

I was immediatelt transferred to the "death watch" housing area on the bottom floor of Florida State Prison, joining Oscar Bolin who is scheduled for execution on January 7, 2016. We are the only two on death watch. All of you, please keep Oscar in thoughs and prayer that something will come through to stop his scheduled execution.

Let me begin by saying I'm alright, you'all should not worry about me. I've known this was coming and I'm both mentally and intellectually ready. By far, my greatest worry right now is how this will affect those closest to me and I truly wish that I could give each of you a big hug right now and hug you all right through all this :-) (big smile). Since all of you closest to me know me only too well, you already know that I work best under pressure and true to form, since they moved me to death watch on Monday, November 30 I've been burning up my ink pen :-) (another smile)

First, let me say that death watch isn't all that bad, as it's like a whole other world down here. I've spent the last 32 years in a 6 foot by 9 foot cage and now I'm in a huge 8 foot by 12 foot cell that's actually super clean. As long as I remain on phase 2 death watch, I'm allowed to keep all my property in my cell as long as it all fits in the one footlocker, so I had to spend 2 days going through my property and sort out all that accumulated through the years - I threw away 2 full boxes of paperwork and old letters and I can't really complain. Like most of us on the row we are allowed so very little and what we do get is hard to let go and we become basically "pack rats". In time it accumulates, so finally being forced to reduce all that's piled up is somewhat liberating. But equally so I will miss being able to re-read old letters from those closest to me. When those moments come, often late at night when I can't sleep, being able to re-read special letters was a form of comfort. They were hard to let go, and that's why so many piled up through the years.

To summarize the death watch procedure; I will no longer be allowed regualr contact visits and will instead only be allowed non-contact (behind glass) visits on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM - but only those on my approved visiting list will be allowed and I can have up to 12 hours each week over those 3 days. All visits must be scheduledat least 24 hours ahead through warden Palmer's office.

Although for obvious reasons I cannot discuss what legal actions will be pursued before they are actually filed I can tell you this - I am confident that my legal challenges will be succesful and am impressed by the unexpected way so many lawyers dropped everything else they were doing to quickly join my legal team as soon as they signed my death warrant. Hopefully, as legal actions are filed, we will be able to quickly post them on my website www.southerninjustice.net

But make no mistake about it, I am taking this seriously and there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that they would kill me despite my innocence. If I've learned anything over the past 32 years it is that few people out there have any clue as to just how corrupt our legal system really is and they will kill the innocent.

We really do have a lot going on and good reason to believe that I will win - and so it really comes down to that age-old saying: "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst". I am allowed regular mail and will welcome all mail..and send me some good jokes so I can have a laugh too! With thoughts and love - Mike

Michael Lambrix #482053
Florida State Prison Q2301
7819 NW 228th street
Raiford  Florida 32026-1100

Mike, Christmas 2014


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 16th, 2015
Founder of the oldest penpal organisation in Europe, "astounded" that Florida considers executing his friend of 25 years Mike Lambrix, without granting a clemency review

Clemency counsel for Mike Lambrix objects to the denial of clemency and requests a stay of execution to allow time for the full Executive Clemency Board to conduct a hearing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Mosquito

It's that time of year and especially here in Northern Florida we know to expect the onslaught of those micro winged demons that seemingly only exist to eagerly feed off our flesh. More often than not, they will lay in wait until we drift off to sleep, and only then descend down from the dark shadows.

Although we are now allowed a simple small plastic fan to elevate the heat and humidity of the semitropical summers, it still remains too hot to sleep under a blanket or even a sheet. With few exception, we each fall into our fit full sleep wearing nothing more then a pair of boxer shorts - some even choose to wear nothing at all. It's the humidity that makes these long summer months unbearable, and that humidity begins to climb in May then reaches its climax by July and through
August, into September.

Even after 30 years I'm not used to it. Some say that humans are like cockroaches, as we possess the ability to adapt to our environment and survive. I've even said it myself more than once, and for the most past it's true. Looking back to the young man I once was when i first came to Florida death row in the early spring of 1984, I know that I've adapted to this environment and found a way to survive even as too many others around me were broken and died. I am a survivor, although I remain uncertain as to whether that is a blessing or a curse as I know only too well that my misery and suffering will relentlessly continue as long as I still draw any breath and my reprieve will only come after I've drawn my last breath.

Lately I have found myself thinking a lot about death - my death. I suppose that's understandable given the fact that late last year I went through what we call "pre-warrant clemency" which is when the governor assigns the condemned man a lawyer and then they go through that predictable pretense of contemplating whether the condemned man is worthy of mercy and compassion by grant of clemency from the governor, sparing his life.

But in 30 years not even one Florida prisoner has had his life spared by a grant of clemency. It's all a deliberate pretense. Once this morbid charade has been played out, then your name is added to that growing list of those the governor will sign a death warrant on, scheduling your imminent execution. My pre-warrant clemency was submitted in early December, 2014 (click here to read the clemency petition) and it has been undoubtedly denied just as all are without even so much as a meaningful opportunity to present the evidence to be properly considered.

Florida has significantly increased the number of executions carried out in recent years as the current pro-death governor (Rick Scott) is determined to kill more prisoners than any governor in Florida ever has. And once the next execution is carried out, he will have accomplished that goal. There is little doubt that he will then proceed to far surpass it, as governor Scott will be in office until January 2019.

But executions in Florida are on a temporary hold pending review by the Supreme Court on whether the initial lethal injection drug (Midazolam) is sufficient to render the intended victim unconscious before the following two drugs are administered. Legally, if the condemned prisoner is not unconscious before the following two drugs are administered, intended to inflict death, then the prisoner will undoubtedly experience pain and that form of execution would constitute "cruel and
unusual punishment", which is prohibited under long standing Federal law.

A decision on that pending case will be rendered no later than the end of June. The prevailing consensus among legal experts is that the Supreme Court will reject this claim by a marginal 5 to 4 vote, finding that, absent proof that prison officials consciously intended to inflict pain, the inadvertent infliction of physical pain through the alleged failure to render the intended victim unconscious is not sufficient to establish an Eight Amendment violation.

Quite simple, a "botched" execution, no matter how horrid and no matter how much pain the condemned prisoner may have suffered, is not enough - there must be a subjective intent to inflict pain before it arises to that level of becoming a constitutionally intolerable infliction of "cruel and unusual punishment".

Once that issue is decided, it is anticipated that Florida will then again to proceed to carry out its record number of state-sanctioned executions, and as early as July the governor will again proceed to sign a record number of death warrants and I have every reason to believe that my own name is towards the top of that list and that in the foreseeable future (before the end of the year) I will once again be transferred to the Florida State Prison (where executions are carried out) and placed on death watch with no more then 4-5 weeks to go before the state of Florida will proceed to put me to death despite substantial evidence of my innocence.

These are the thought I struggle to escape as I lay on my bunk trying to sleep. But arguably May is the worst month of all, as it takes some time to adjust to the change of seasons. Just a few weeks ago it was almost freezing and I had to hide under a heavy wool blanket to sleep. But now the nights are both warm and humid and for the first time in months I find myself lying there long into the night wearing nothing but my boxer short as that small electric fan sends a gentle breeze my way and still I could not compel myself to sleep.

Then I heard it, that unmistakable buzzing of a small mosquito as it flew close to my head. In the darkness I could not see it, but the minute it would deliberately dive-bomb down around my head, perhaps deriving some sense of pleasure from inflicting that knowledge upon me that it intended to feed off my flesh and resistance would be futile.

Again and again I tried to swat this malicious winged beast from the air, but missed each time. It certainly was a crafty little devil, obviously able to avoid my best efforts and even enjoying this game it played as if biting me and drawing my blood was merely only a reward for a game well played.

Forcing me to anticipate that inevitable infliction was the true intent and instinctively this mosquito knew that tormenting its intended victim would inflict far more then that final act as it is that awareness of imminent infliction that outweighs that final, even merciful, act itself.

As I continued to do my very best to put a stop to this act of insane depravity that only something as evil as a winged beast from the very bowels of hell could inflict, I couldn't help but realize that what this mosquito was doing to me was no different than what the state of Florida planned to do - it wasn't enough to merely put me to death, as part of their ritual was to first make me aware that they intended to kill me and that before I would die, they would demand that I first suffer immense pain.

And as I thought these thoughts, I heard that buzzing once again and in that instant, I killed that beast. At least that mosquito would torment me no more.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Will U.S. Supreme Court rule Florida’s death penalty unconstitutional?

For 13 years, Florida’s death penalty process has been on thin ice at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Legislature has pretended not to notice even though the state Supreme Court sent an early warning.
Now, the ice is cracking.

On Monday, the high court agreed to consider whether Florida’s law conflicts with its 2002 opinion in Ring v. Arizona that the jury, not the judge, must determine the existence of aggravating factors to support a death penalty.

Florida law leaves that to the judge, along with the power to condemn a defendant even without a unanimous jury recommendation for death. Only Alabama has a law like that.
Although juries are told they must find aggravating factors in order to recommend death, there’s no provision for specifying the factors or even how they voted. The judge is left to infer what they found.

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules Florida’s peculiarities to be unconstitutional, many if not most of Florida’s 393 death row inmates might have their sentences–though not their convictions–overturned. The case is scheduled for argument during the court’s term beginning in October 2015.
The court could decide the case on narrower grounds. Convicted murderer Timothy Hurst, who slashed and stabbed a restaurant co-worker at Pensacola, is also challenging Florida’s refusal to have the jury rather than the judge determine whether he is mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty.

Then, too, it takes the votes of only four justices to accept an appeal. There might not be a fifth to do anything but uphold Hurst’s conviction and sentence.
For now, however, Florida legislators who favor the death penalty have a decision to make. Do they enact legislation to require unanimous jury votes and specific findings? That would moot the Hurst case with respect to future convictions, but it might lend strength to his claim. Or do they sit on their hands, pretending that the situation in Washington isn’t serious?

The moral aspect is a separate and compelling question. Nearly every other state has addressed it either by having no death penalty, by repealing it, or by requiring the jury to be unanimous before a life is taken, which is also federal law.
In 27 of the 31 death penalty states, according to a Florida Senate staff report, “the jury’s decision to impose life imprisonment is final and may not be disturbed by the trial judge under any circumstances.

If jurors don’t have to be unanimous, do they spend enough time and moral capital on debating life versus death? A 2006 American Bar Association report cautioned Florida that they don’t.
In Tallahassee, both the House and Senate have identical bills to conform to Florida’s procedure by requiring specific jury findings and a unanimous vote. SB 664 by state Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, is on the Criminal Justice Committee agenda but was passed by Tuesday for testimony on the prison scandals. It remains on the agenda for next week. House Bill 139, by state Reps. Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, and Clovis Watson Jr., D-Gainesville, has yet to be scheduled by the first of three committees to which it is assigned. The legislators had filed the same bills last year to no effect.
“If you want the Supreme Court to invalidate the death penalty, just sit on your hands,” Rodriguez says.

Death row inmates have raised the Ring decision in scores of unsuccessful appeals to the Florida Supreme Court, which has never agreed that it applies here. Individual justices have repeatedly said that it does. When Hurst’s public defenders argued it last year, the court’s majority said in effect, “That’s our position and we’re sticking to it.”

But it was a rare split decision, 4-3, in which the minority agreed with Hurst.
“I continue to believe that, in light of Ring, Florida’s death penalty statute, as applied in circumstances like those presented in this case where there is no unanimous finding as to any of the aggravating circumstances, is unconstitutional,” wrote Justice Barbara Pariente in a dissent signed also by Justices James E. C. Perry and Jorge Labarga.

The Florida law spells out 16 aggravating circumstances, among them the defendant having a prior felony conviction or committing the murder in the course of a robbery. Some can be assumed automatically–for example, conviction of another crime is a matter of record–but most have to be supported by testimony for the judge to invoke them.
In Hurst’s sentencing order, as Pariente pointed out, there were only two aggravators: a murder that was “heinous, atrocious and cruel” and committed in the course of a robbery. But although testimony suggested that Hurst had robbed the restaurant, he wasn’t convicted on any such count, and there was no way to know whether the jurors believed the killing could also be characterized as “heinous, atrocious and cruel.”

Because the jury voted only 7-5 for death, “the slimmest margin permitted,” Pariente wrote, “it is actually possible that there was not even a majority of jurors who agreed that the same aggravator applied.”
The Florida law provides for automatic Supreme Court review of every capital conviction and death sentence. According to the clerk’s office, of 296 cases heard from 2000 through 2012, only 60–that’s a mere 20 percent–involved unanimous jury death recommendations. The court upheld 38 of them. In 32 cases, the jury votes were 7 to 5 and the court sustained only 17, barely half.
In refusing to apply Ring, the Florida Supreme Court noted in a 2005 case that the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the state’s law against challenges of a similar nature. But those cases came before Ring, and the high court hasn’t spoken on Florida’s situation since.
In the 2005 case, Justice Raul Cantero’s majority opinion suggested that “in light of developments in other states and at the federal level, the Legislature should revisit the statute to require some unanimity in the jury’s recommendations…

“We ask the Legislature to revisit it to decide whether it wants Florida to remain the outlier state.”
That’s apparently what the Legislature did want. If Hurst wins in Washington, chaos in Florida could be their reward.

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the St. Petersburg Times. He lives in western N.C.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chaingang Charlie: Consequences of Free Speech in America

Just as the dawn of the new year barely broke over that distant horizon that is our as yet undetermined path forward, the phrase “I am Charlie” has become a call of unity throughout the western world as those outraged over the senseless mass execution of journalists and staff of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, fanatically stood as one in zealous protest over this malicious attack upon the exercise of free speech.

In Paris alone, over a million men and women gathered on the Place de la Republique, with millions more around the world marching in solidarity, and with the notable exception of a representative of the United States, the leaders of 40 nations stood hand-in-hand leading this march for freedom. Only later would President Obama publicly apologize for not sending an envoy to represent America, as if it was nothing more than a trivial oversight.

But was it really an oversight, or did America’s absence in this united message that Freedom of Speech cannot be suppressed by acts of violence actually reflect a truth few wish to confront - that like so many other fundamental principles that the western world considers “basic human rights,” America’s commitment to the concept of free speech is nothing more than a smoke and mirrors show intended to project an image that is anything but the reality that exists behind this curtain of manufactured deception.

Not everything is always as it might appear to be - and this is especially true for the perpetuation of propaganda American feeds the rest of the world, too often condemning other countries for their own history of human rights violations while arrogantly exercising their own distorted views that allow America to stand alone amongst the western nations in putting its own citizens to death through the practice of capital punishment, depriving alleged terrorists of any pretense of a fair trial while indefinitely holding them under oppressive conditions of a military base known as Guantanamo Bay. And then there’s the truth that in America today millions of citizens are prohibited from exercising free speech, and those who do dare to speak out against this government sanctioned suppression are subjected to extreme consequences that the rest of the western world would condemn as barbaric and inhumane. And nobody seems to care.

What I’m referring to is the millions of prisoners currently incarcerated in state and federal prisons across America. It is a fact that the United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world. Florida alone currently incarcerates well over 100,000 men and women under objectively oppressive conditions with thousands held in long term solitary confinement designed to brutally break both body and spirit, for years at a time. Per capita, Florida has more condemned prisoners facing execution than any other state, including Texas and California, and Florida is now aggressively pushing for a record number of executions.

But Florida is indicative of most other states and the federal prison system, as it is common practice to severely restrict prisoners’ exercise of free speech, and uniformly, there are extreme consequences imposed on those few prisoners who might dare to speak out against the system.

My own experience is comparable to that of countless others who have also found themselves targeted for retaliation after they dared exercise this pretense of free speech. After over 30 years on Florida’s death row (please check out: www.southerninjustice.net) I have often been subjected to the consequences that result from speaking out against the abuse of prisoners, on numerous occasions even physically beaten and threatened with death for no other reason but that I refused to remain silent and I continue to refuse to be coerced into silence.

In this particular piece I will focus only on the most recent experiences, which will sufficiently show how “free speech” for millions of Americans is nothing more than a myth - that the very government that claims to be the model of promoting free speech actually systemically suppresses the speech they don’t want the rest of the world to know about. And because we are prisoners, nobody really cares.

Almost a year ago today, Warden Diane Andrews showed up at my solitary cell accompanied by her hand-picked entourage and ordered me to “cuff up” (standard protocol for when any death-sentenced prisoner is removed from their cell). I immediately complied and was then escorted to the other end of the death-row unit and placed in what we call the “Hannibal Lector” cell - a fully enclosed “high security” cell completely stripped of everything except a solid concrete slab comprising a “bunk” and a sink/toilet combo, and nothing else.

I then, and only then, learned that my transgression warranting this extreme punishment was that a few weeks earlier I wrote the Miami Herald newspaper protesting their coverage of the execution of Thomas Knight, aka Askari Muhammad, who was put to death on January, 2014 for killing a guard on Florida’s death row in 1981. Apparently, Warden Andrews subjectively interpreted my letter as somehow constituting a “threat to staff,” thereby justifying this ultra-high security status. I wasn’t that surprised as Warden Andrews had a history of responding in extreme fashion to matters she found inconsistent with her totalitarian agenda, and it wasn’t the first time I personally felt her wrath. (Please read “Holidays in the Hole”)

For the next six weeks I remained in that “Hannibal Lector” cell, and was only finally removed when I was abruptly transferred to Florida State Prison, which many of us call the “Alcatraz of the South.” (Please read “Alcatraz of the South Chap. 1-6) As is only too typical for governmental bureaucrats, it took months before Warden Andrews’ superiors finally got around to reviewing her actions taken against me, and ordered all action terminated upon finding that there was nothing to support any alleged infraction... they concluded that Warden Andrews’ actions were “unfounded.”

Finally removed from this heightened security status and transferred back to the main death row unit at Union Correctional, it came as no surprise to me that numerous Florida newspapers revealed that Warden Andrews was under both state and federal criminal investigation in relationship to staff working under her using excessive force, even killing one inmate by “gassing” him to death. (specifically referred to in “Holidays in the Hole”)

With Warden Andrews under criminal investigation, staff wanted to suppress any further exposure of the systemic abuse of prisoners in Florida. That especially meant silencing those few such as myself that refused to be silenced. Once again, staff unexpectedly showed up at my solitary cell, this time delivering a copy of a “disciplinary report” written against me by Warden Andrews’ Senior Classification officer, Mary Mahoney, alleging that I violated prison rules by allowing my previously published book, “To Live and Die on Death Row” to be sold on a website. There was no dispute that I was not responsible for another party offering my book for sale, but rather they disingenuously interpreted a rule that requires prisoners to inform the mailroom if a book is to be published. My failure to inform the mailroom was itself construed as a “major violation” that resulted in my being once again placed in the “hole” for 30 days, deprived of all but the most basic “privileges” of food and clothing.

These are just a few of the examples of the consequences of exercising “free speech” if you’re a prisoner in America. And my own experiences are only too common throughout the prison system. Although some would argue that the fact I can write about this experience as I am now doing shows that I am allowed to exercise “free speech,” they conveniently ignore that by writing this I will undoubtedly again be subjected to extreme punitive action - and there are very few like myself who will bear this cross - by predictably imposing punishment upon those few who do dare speak out, prison officials deliberately silence the majority and that is government sanctioned suppression of free speech.

It’s a simple truth... free speech does not exist if and when there are consequences imposed upon those who do dare to speak out. And across America today it is the government (i.e. prison officials) that is prohibiting the millions of prisoners in America today from speaking out.

Gathering in crowds even a million strong and proclaiming “I am Charlie” amounts to nothing more than hollow rhetoric devoid of any meaningful substance if at the end of the day the crowds go home an forget about the cause. To allow deliberate suppression of free speech to continue anywhere, especially when imposed upon millions of men and women in America today, should be as aggressively condemned by just as many who marched in the streets of Paris.

But it won’t happen, as even in the western world, while we claim to zealously guard against encroachments on these basic human rights, these same masses remain blissfully oblivious to the same deprivations of fundamental freedoms and basic human rights when they are imposed upon prisoners. This epidemic of apathy undermines that very foundation upon which this illusion of “free speech” stands, as no society can deliberately disenfranchise millions of its own citizens and still call itself a free society.

If you would like to have a free copy of my book, “To Live and Die on Death Row,” you can download it at www.southerninjustice.net
In that I am now facing probable imminent execution, I would ask that you sign a petition protesting my intended execution, as I am innocent of the crime for which I have been wrongfully convicted and condemned. To sign this petition, just click HERE

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why We Slaughter Turkeys, and Other People Too

Most of us blissfully assume that animals don't have a soul and so there's no real debate on whether animals, such as the over 240 million turkeys that were put to
death this past month just to satisfy our appetite for that quintessential American holiday ritual known as the Thanksgiving feast, all went to Heaven or hell - I doubt anyone gave it too much thought at all as it was just a turkey, so who really cares?

But what if it was the family dog? Or how about our beloved cat? Many would then argue that there must be a special place in the afterlife for our furry friends that were so much part of our life that we considered them to be part of our family. Many will pay incredible amounts of money to even have their beloved pet cremated or buried and will argue without reservation that their Fiddo or Fluffy certainly did have a soul. It's all about our own emotional connection to that particular animal, and that's the sort of connection we just don't make with an anonymous turkey conveniently purchased at the local supermarket, already plucked and gutted and ready to throw into the oven and cooked until the moist flesh is ready to melt in our mouths.

Amidst all this holiday pageantry there's that other now traditional ritual each Thanksgiving in which both state governors and the President of the United States publically pardons a turkey, sparing it the fate of the butcher and rather than be condemned to be devoured at Thanksgiving, this one lucky bird will instead be sent to live the rest of its life on a farm. I watch this ritual every year and always wondered how it was that they picked that one particular bird from the hundreds of millions of others that faced all but certain deaths.

Did a farmer go out to the barn and just snatch up the first turkey he got his hands on and ship it to the president and that was it? What stroke of faith spared this one otherwise undistinguishable bird from the millions of others and made it somehow worthy of this act of grace? Perhaps there was more to the story....maybe unknown to us there was a top secret commission tucked away in the basement of the White House, serving at the discretion of President Obama, and it was their solemn task to search across the vast North American continent from coast to coast for verifiable stories of remarkable acts of extraordinary valor by otherwise unknown turkeys such as that unheard story about the young child that fell into the farm pond and would have surely died if not for that one turkey that raised all sorts of ruckus until the farmer realized that something was horribly wrong and followed the turkey back to that pond, arriving just in time to save his only son. Certainly that turkey would deserve a pardon.

Or perhaps, unbeknownst to all but that top secret commission deep down in the bowels of the White House, all turkeys are inherently evil and it is our moral obligation to slaughter them and feast off their flesh just as other cultures did with their enemies, such as the Mayas who conquered their neighboring tribes and then sacrificed their prisoners to their gods, eating their flesh just as we do the turkeys. Maybe these millions of turkeys were planning to overthrow the human race and this plot would have succeeded, if not for that one heroic turkey that risked life and limb to rat out the rest of the flock. By turning snitch, he earned immunity and this whole presidential pardon ritual is nothing more than yet another governmental conspiracy to perpetuate an image for the masses of sheep (i.e., average Americans) to blindly believe, allowing them to feel morally justified when they gather around that table and feed off that turkey flesh. 

Maybe Tom the turkey is actually part of the Taliban and this American thanksgiving ritual is an extension of this never-ending "war on terror" coordinated behind the scenes by Homeland Security. No, that can't be - this turkey slaughter began long before our beloved CIA created what we now call the Taliban. Oh - I know, it's got to be a communist plot, as we all know turkeys do live in what could be described as quasi-Siberian gulags and this certainly wouldn't be the first time that a former prisoner organized his other brethren to rise above their shackles and chains and overthrow society.

Now that i think about it, I do recall watching a program about poultry farms and how these seemingly innocent turkeys would gather in little groups they call "flocks" and can be heard clucking and gobbling amongst themselves in a language unknown to us. If that isn't proof enough that they must be plotting  against us, then think about this for a moment...why are all these turkeys white?
Myself, I'm a white guy and I must admit that I've been white my whole life. And so I know what happens when you get that many white guys in a group as it's our inherent nature to inevitably plot to take over the world and if we can do it then why not these hundreds of millions of nothing but white turkeys, raised on farms throughout the land by white rednecks?

Which brings us to the "people" equation in all of this. Now, I guess when it comes down to it I can't really swear under oath that I actually seen what I thought I saw when that big white turkey stood on that table as our even bigger black president proudly granted it a pardon, as his daughters looked on, but I want to say that I'm pretty sure that as the camera momentarily focused on the turkey I might have seen it ruffle its feathers and sort of wink, as if looking straight into my soul and sending me that message, telepathically laughing at me as unlike that turkey, we all knew I have no chance at being granted a pardon. And even that turkey knew that if it was a person, it wouldn't have any hope for a pardon, either.

The truth of the matter is just this simple - millions of turkeys must die to feed our appetite each Thanksgiving and this whole ritual we go through to get there is necessary as it just wouldn't be the same without the ritual ....and we got to kill a few people too as that's the American way.

No, these hundreds of millions of turkeys were not plotting to take over the world and those few turkeys that were granted pardons didn't perform any heroic acts to deserve that act of grace. But I'd like to think that these turkeys, and all living creatures, do have a soul as if they do perhaps there's still hope for humanity too.

As these turkeys were led away to their mass slaughter and this machinery of death brought about their demise, delivering their frozen flesh to the local supermarket so that the average American family could feast from their flesh, then discard their picked bones into the trash  without so much as another thought, I'd like to think that the soul of each of those turkeys rose above the horror inflicted upon their bodies and they now look down upon us without malice or the need for vengeance, but rather they bow their beaks in a silent moment of unified prayer that one day humanity will evolve beyond its need to kill. And maybe if enough turkeys pray for humanity, maybe one day we too will evolve into a species that is no longer driven by that need to kill and this ritual of death we so desire will be a page of past history.

But I doubt I'll be around to see it, as like all those turkeys, my days are now numbered and the state of Florida is already in the process of carrying out its own ritual of death. With what might be my last appeals exhausted, I'm now going through the "clemency" process, knowing only too well that at least here in Florida nobody has been granted clemency in over 30 years. Once they go through the pretense of clemency review, then my death warrant will be signed and my execution scheduled, and I proceed forward knowing that nobody has survived a death warrant in Florida in many year.

And most likely before the next turkey is again granted a pardon, I will be led into Florida's own slaughter house and laid out before those that gather to watch this ritual, metaphorically gathered to feed off my flesh. While convincing themselves that my death is morally justified, and some will even celebrate the successful execution, others will be hurt deeply by my passing. But in the end, society will not pass any longer at that moment of my death as they did at any other state-sanctioned killing. It is a necessary ritual and at the end of the day for the same reason we slaughter hundreds of millions of turkeys to feed off their flesh and appease our appetite, so too do we kill people by only too similar rituals and yet no matter how many might die, our appetite is never satisfied.

Michael Lambrix  #482053
Union Correctional Institution
7819 NW 228th street
Raiford, Florida 32026

Please sign Michael's Petition HERE