Friday, March 5, 2010

A Guttural Reaction

Earlier this evening, a friend of mine called and told me to turn on the local news. When I did, I saw the televised version of this...

The first thing I saw was a woman smiling and sharing, with such joy, how she was going to be able to see the cells where men once lived and the halls they once walked. She wanted to get a feel for the history of it. She showed enthusiasm for the 2010 touring season they'll be starting tomorrow. How? How does a person get so excited about the prospects of touring what was/is known as a house of horrors for so many?

When I saw her and heard her speak the way she did, I had a guttural reaction. My head and body tensed up. My nerves and adrenaline started to upset my stomach. I had to admit to myself that I was upset. I was hurt. I just couldn't understand her. I had spent 10 years within this woman's eagerly awaited tour grounds. I was in for a total of 16. I knew men who were stabbed and others who were raped within that nightmare. I knew men who lost their minds. I knew men who died in that hell. For a decade of my young life, I was housed by all that steal and concrete.

For all of her excitement, I'm left to wonder if she would visit such a place with men or women still housed and kept within the compound. I'm left to wonder if she would still consider it educational to visit a death house (the gas chamber on the grounds of the prison I lived in) if a man or woman were in the process of being asphyxiated by poisonous gases with straps keeping the executed's head from thrashing about while he or she choked, convulsed, suffered, foamed at the mouth and inwardly begged God for death. Did my graphics disturb you? Would they disturb her if she thought about them? I pray they would. We should all be disturbed.

I went back to The Walls the day of my release. I went back again months later with 48hrs Mystery. I may even walk the tour at some point, but... I'll never go through there without the memory of the men I was once housed with. I'll never find intrinsic value within the history of it or within it's structures. The only value that could ever be found within those 47 bloody acres, intrinsic or otherwise, had it's home within the souls of the men and women who lived and died there and the God who loved them.

I understand the history and the purpose of preserving the history of The Walls. I just think I understand it all too well. Praise our Lord that I came out the man I did. I know I praise Him for it. I praise Him for it everyday.


  1. Remarkable. I wish more people could know you and read this. I wish it wasn't true, but so many people just forget (or worse, don't care) that real people are inside prisons. The suffering and sorrow are unimaginable for those of us who haven't been through it. I'm sure the woman you saw on the news simply can't comprehend that.

    And you have an incredible gift for writing. You made me cry.

  2. You have become a wonderful man Josh. You should be so proud of your self! I am so proud of you!!