When bad things happen to good people
When bad things happen to good people
MY SHIPWRECK
MY SHIPWRECK 

My ongoing blog spot. I  will try to update this blog on a regular basis. It is here that you can find out whats going on and how I'm coping with life on the rocks

 

Religion in Prison
Late April, 2017

Easter was last Sunday, our prison meals - so called Tacos for dinner. Nothing special, only what was called for on the National Menu. first of all, I need to make a disclaimer about this posting. I am not  anti Christian, Islam or against Judaism. I do not participate in thactivities at the Chapel because I see too many inmates contradicting what I call religious values. I do have them, and I question why I allowed myself tdo what I did to get here, because my actions were against my own Christian values. So that is why I don't go to the Chapel, no t. yet anyway.

There is quite a bit of goodness that comes out of our Chapel officesServices for numerous religions such as Wicca’s, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Rastafarianism as well as Native American services. Christian services are

offered in Spanish. The Chapel also offers classes in various religious studies. Weekly AA meetings, both alcohol and narcotics AA, (not sex addictions) are offered through the chapel. So yes there are a lot of positive aspects of the Chapel and the two Chaplains.

But let me tell you what I see first hand. How I experience many of the so called "faithful" here in a prison system. There is a vast contradiction between what many men of religion preach and how they act towards their fellow
inmates. Many people are phonies when it comes to religion or faith and their actual behavior. Treat all people with respect, isn't that what religion, most religions ask of their followers? Forgive those that have erred? And help out
those who need help? For many, these characteristics are forgotten. What does  happen is that many people hide behind their religion.

Some just want to take advantage of special religious meals along with special commissary items only available as religious items. Like Dates (the fruit) and scented oils, for the Muslims. Gefilte fish and matzo for the
Jewish faith.

One man I know is one of the most racist men I have met. Yet he wants to be called "brother" so and so. I have been threatened by this man and have since completely ignored him for some time. Even though we happen to sit next
to
each other here in the typing room. I have seen others of one faiththreaten others of their own faith if they do not "fall in line". So much for the forgiving. Others, those who have hands-on sex offenses clutch their bibles, going around saying "God Bless You" yet continue to trade in prison porn.

But it is what it is. This is prison. A life that I never expected to be living. Yet here I am. Because I looked at naked pictures of the illegal nature. I kick myself everyday because of my weakness into falling into an addiction to pornography. That led me to foolish and dangerous behavior which I am ashamed of. So look, if you are reading this, and you think that looking at child pornography is a no nothing activity - think again. It is dangerous. Not only to unknown victims that are abused by others, but also to your own family and friends when the Federal Government comes knocking at your door.
Get help; seek counseling before it is too late.

By the way, the following bible verses are typed by "Brother So and So" and handed out by a few Latino inmates almost daily.

Captain Shipwreck.

 

 

-------------.-._-_. ------_.-

Jesus said to her / "I am the resurrection and
th
e life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live , "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die Do you
b
elieve this?" John 11: 25-26

--~·'-I

But now having been set free from sin, and
h
aving become slaves of God, you have your
fr
uit to holiness, and the end, everlasting
life
. For the wages of sin is death, but the
gif
t of God is eternal life in Christ ,Jesus
our Lord. Romans 6: 22-23 '

"Agai.n, the kingdom of heaven is like a
m
erchant seeking beaut1ful pearls; who when
he had fo
und one pearl of great price ,went
and sold all that he had and bought It.

                  1\,{ •....•. .&-.1-1- _                        -1 "") I C' 1:-

But now having been set free from sin/and
h
aving become slaves of God/you have your
fr
uit to holiness/and the end/everlasting
life. For the wages of sin is death/but the
g
ift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus
our Lord. Romans 6:22-23

"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word
o
f God. "Those by the wayside are the ones who
hear; then the devil comes and takes away the
word out of their hearts/lest they should
be
lieve and be saved. Luke8:11-12 l

Like a crane  or-a swallow so I chattered:
I m
ourned like a dove; My eyes fall from '
l
ooking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed;
Undertake for me! Isaiah 38:14

Indeed it was for my own peace That I had
gr
eat bitterness; But You have lovingly
de
livered my soul from the pit of
corruption/For You have cast all my sins
behind Your back. Isaiah 38:17

Let your conduct be without covetousness

be content with such things as you have
For He Himsel f has said "”I w1ll never leave
yo
u nor forsake you "so may boldly say
"The Lord is my helper: I  w1ll not fear

   What can man do to me?"                                                                  

. . Hebrews 13:5-6

 

 

Then he looks at men and says, 'I have
sinned, and perverted what was right, And it
did n
ot profit me. 'He will redeem his soul
f
rom going down to the Pit, And his life
shal
l see the light. Job 33:27-28

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit savs: "Today, if
you will hear His voice, Do not harden your
hearts as in the rebellion. In the day OT
trial in the wilderness, Hebrews 3:7-8

               "F'                                     .

For God so loved the world that He gave His

only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him
should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 . .:c>

I

     "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words

this adulterous and sinful generation, of him
the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He
comes 1n the glory of His Father with the
ho
ly angels." Mark 8: 38

Let those who fear the Lord now say, "His
mercy endures forever." I called on the Lord
in distress; The Lord answered me and set me
i
n a broad place. The Lord is on my side: I
will not fear. What can man do to me?

Psalms 118:4-6

 

Indeed it was for my own peace That I had great bitterness; But You have lovingldelivered my soul from the pit of

corruption/For You have cast all my sins
beh
ind Your back. Isaiah 38:17

o Lord, I know the way of man is not; in
him
self; It is not in man who walks to direct
his own steps. O Lord, correct me,but with
justice
; not in Your anger, lest You bring me
to nothing. Jeremiah 10: 23·-24

 

 But he said to Them, where is your faith? “ and they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another “ who cab this be ? for he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him   Luke 8:25

 

 

                                                     Enough Already 
March, 2017 


Time ticks by slowly. My daughter turns 17 early this month and I have not seen her since she was ten. I broke laws of society and now I am spending  time in a federal prison. Am I bitter? Damn right I am. The question becomes what am I bitter about? And the truth is several things. First of all, I am extremely bitter with myself. While I do not agree with what the government contends with, or the Judge that heard my case in a sentencing hearing, one statement that the Judge did make behind his gavel sticks out in my head as being true and to the point. I put myself here. No one else, only me. Now the question becomes, what am I doing about it and how 
do I learn to forgive myself? 


One of the topics that is common in prison counseling circles concerns learning how to forgive yourself. I find this hard for a middle age white man like myself. After all, I had a wife and children that relied on me not only for financial support, but for companionship and advice. My job allowed my family to travel and experience great places. As a private yacht captain, my family traveled from our home in Florida to places like Mexico, Bahamas, and Venezuela.  We went to places like San Juan, St. Thomas USVI, Annapolis MD, and Boston Massachusetts. My ten year old daughter got to see a lot of the Caribbean and the Eastern sea board of the United States. 
But I was foolish and allowed myself to become blind to what I was doing in my off time. Time I spent alone, behind close doors, with a computer. Who would ever have thought that my private time, secret from everyone, could be so damn costly? 


The truth was that I knew what I was doing was wrong, and not mentally healthy. Somehow, I seemed to be able to justify my private computer time. It became a “game" • When I told my hired attorney that I did not consider my actions as criminal, but merely playing a game. He didn't believe me. You may probably ask yourself if this guy is for real; A game? 


II am incarcerated for the 'sexual exploitation of children.   When I saw that label, my knees went weak. I wasn't like that at all. I had never harmed anyone, young, middle age or old in all my life. That's just was not in my DNA. But what I was viewing, were pictures of others that had been harmed but I just didn't allow myself to rationalize it that way. Government agencies think differently. And that is a good thing. Who can blame them for going after people like me who foolishly become involved in the collection of on-line pornography that includes quite a lot of child pornography? After all, we all should be looking after and protecting the innocent children that are abused in the production of child pornography. 


How did I rationalize what I was doing? I honestly felt that I was not doing anything to harm anyone. After all, everything I looked at had already happened sometime in the past. My merely finding it freely on-line had no bearing on what had happened to someone in the past. Whether or not I clicked on that file would not change the fact that a crime was committed long before I used my computer to view a file. However, now I am thinking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, if my rational was right. Accordingly to the 
Government, it is completely wrong. The government's theory is that by my viewing an image, that victim is once again being harmed so they demand harsh punishment. But can we look at a few things with an open mind? 


Accordingly to the United States Prosecutors the victims are harmed when I freely find a picture on-line, how can that victim be harmed by my viewing? After all, there is no contact between a picture and those appearing in a picture. And another thing that has to be really considered, can someone receive grief do to an action of another if there is no direct knowledge? Who becomes responsible for causing harm? Only after the government notifies someone portrayed in a photo is there knowledge of someone 'looking' or 'viewing' that articular photo. Is that not then the government aggravating the harm? 


USA TODAY, January 22, 2016 front page reported "FBI ran website sharing thousands of child porn images". The story, by Brad Heath,  reports that 23,000 sexually explicit images and videos of children were available on the website. During that time that the FBI ran the website, some 13 days, over 100,000 registered users visited the site while it was under FBI control. So, accordingly, the FBI harmed victims over 100,000 times! Now I sure as hell did not help the situation by my own activity, but then I never harmed 
anyone directly. And if the government says I did because the subjects were being re-victimized by my viewing, isn’t the government  more guilty by running a website where over 100,000 people were allowed cause the same damage to those victims. What is the proper amount of time of incarceration for a guy like me? 


What is my case? What exactly did I do? Well, I chatted on line and found free pornography, all kinds of porn. Yes, I had made up nasty characters or personas during my chats. Yet I never made any attempt to seek out underage computer users. Since I lied about who I was on line, I assumed that the majority of those who I communicated with on line were in fact also lying, acting in a polluted fantasy land. 

 

New York Times, July 2, 2014 page A20, "Ruling Revives Debate over When a Fantasy Crosses a Criminal Line" The Hannibal Cop, Gilberto Valle who visited chat sites declaring his intention of kidnapping and eating women. A case that was over turned because the Judge ruled that there was no evidence that Mr. Valle had made any steps to move forward in his foolish chat. Later in the New 
York Times, December 4, 2015 page A32 they followed up when the Prosecutors were turned down, "Court Declines to Reinstate Cannibal Case Conviction". Recently Mr. Valle has been subject to numerous NY Post stories as well as making appearances on TV. So he was found not guilty and allowed to continue disgusting chat. So how much time should I serve? "Sufficient but no greater 
than necessary" I never paid for anything I found online. No one ever made a dime. I never sold anything to any others; therefore I never received anything of value. No transaction for any profit was ever consummated so in reality, no interstate commerce occurred - yet the government says otherwise since digital files transferred from one machine to another. I never produced any child pornography. I never took any picture of any child that could ever be deemed to be called pornography. I also never uploaded to any website any pictures 
that I freely found online. I never created any websites or bulletin boards where I made pictures available to others. What I did have was a file sharing program (GIGATRIBE), where I captured pictures. And most importantly, I never created anymore victims. 
 
That statement of having no victims causes a lot of controversy. I saw victims yes. The government asserts that every time I looked at a picture of a child victimized in a photo, that I re-victimized that child. But the government allowed over 100,000 viewers to do that very same thing! Again, I now know that I sure as hell did not help that victim one way or the other. And I am sorry that I ever participated in viewing child pornography. Look, online pornography addictions are dangerous. I know. The fact is that viewing any child pornography is not good for anyone, and by all means, producers of such need to be stopped. And yes, I screwed up and am glad that I was made aware that I had a problem with an addiction to pornography. The court sentenced me and I have learned my lesson. My hopes are that I will make amends to by two children that I lost due to my incarceration. I hope to keep other from making the same mistake that I made. If you or a loved one spends too much time on line, you just might have a problem with on-line pornography. 
Seek help, get counseling, pornography addiction is real. 


Capt. Shipwreck 

 

 

 

 

                  Costly Behavior
                   Mid September 2016

There was an interesting article in the August 8th New York Times, pg 1(under the fold), written by Benjamin Weiser, "Jury Trials Vanish, and Justice Is Served behind Closed Doors". The article emphasizes how the Justice System
is no longer acting with the presumption "innocent until proven guilty". If
you are now arrested, it is often necessary to be proven innocent, and theonly way to prove yourself innocent is by going to a trial.

According to Mr. Weise, there were 81,000 defendants in the federal system during 2015. Out of those only 1,650 defendants' fate were decided by way of a jury conviction. Back in 1997, out of 63,000 defendants, 3,200 were convicted by jury trials. Notice the increase from 63,000 to 81,000, some 18,000 more defendants per year. Now let me tell you another important fact not published. Concerning the increase, there are many middle age, first time offenders increasing those numbers. So called successful men (and a few women) are being charged with illegal pornography, which turns out to be child pornography. I see it every two weeks as a new bus brings new inmates to this federal "Correctional Institution". It is no joke. When the federal government arrest you, you are guilty. You are treated as a guilty person while you are held in the local jails before you are ever tried or sign a plea agreement.
Now 90+ % of arrests end up with guilty pleas, hence the article by Benjamin Weiser.

Guilty pleas are supposed to "offer" the defendant something in return for saving the Prosecution the expense of time and money in preparing to go to trial. However, many times there are no negotiations, and little or nothing is truly gained by signing a plea for the first time offender. Our judicial system has many unpleasant surprises that first time offenders discover too late.

There is no behavior worth all this trouble dealing with the justice department. If only somehow I had a clue to what I was getting myself into, I would have sought help for a very dangerous addiction. Let me explain more about what I learned about government plea agreements. Please, share this information with anyone suspected of viewing child pornography. Make them

understand that “big brother”! is watching.

Few criminal cases go to trial according to all the statistics. Most end up with plea agreements. In order for the prosecution to offer a plea, once accepted, it is important to know that a plea agreement is the only contract in the world that is almost impossible to be broken. One of the principles of contract law is that each party is to receive something of value. So the government agrees not to charge you with an upward departure, and they the government calls that a thing of value. This happens many times for first time
offenders that do no
t know the process, especially for the viewer of child pornography in the 11th Circuit that serves Florida and Georgia. Fight hard for a real plea agreement and get some real value in negotiations. If your lawyer does not fight for lesser charges, ask the court for another lawyer, it is your right. I failed to understand this right!

According to the law, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Why? Because the law wants to assume that we all have read the United States Codes of Federal Regulations often referred to U.S.C. (United States Code). Several large volumes of statutes are divided into 'Civil Law' and 'Criminal Law'. Federal Rules Criminal Procedure list U.S.C. 28 §2252 in relation to child pornography charges. Now assuming that we read the U.S.C. of federal regulations, we see that our criminal charge carries a mandatory minimum time
of
'none~ listed up to a maximum of ten years, or a minimum of five years up to a maximum of twenty years, (as the case for many child pornography charges). Where do you stand? As a first time offender, you assume that less than five years is likely. After all, five years for only clicking on pictures found freely on the internet seems awful severe, especially to a first timer offender. "No way will I get that". Surely once they (the government) finds out that I never hurt anyone, or anything like that, I'11 get a slap on the wrist.

WRONG! THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES NOT HAND OUT SLAPS ON THE WRIST!

Let me say this. First of all, the theory that I never hurt anyone is completely wrong. You did harm someone. Directly, you harmed yourself. Your whole life's reputation is shot to hell. You hurt all the ones that love you,  if married you really hurt your wife and any children you may have. The disgrace and embarrassment you caused them is unbelievable. You hurt your mother, father, brothers and sisters. And yes, without realizing it, we hurt the ones we viewed in the illegal photographs. Face it, by downloading or

viewing illegal pornography, we sure do not help anyone in any way. Viewing  child pornography is a very destructive and costly addiction.

Child pornography defendants are some of the most prejudiced againstThere is an assumption that you are a pedophile. Thisassumption that you are much more guilty and harmful is all due to the nature of the pornography. can not stress this enough; people, the government prosecutors, all assume the worst case scenario in regards to your behavior. This is even worse if you chatted online. While you may assume that all chats are clearly not intended to be truthful (have you seen MTV's CAT FISH), the government believes all chats are taken as being the solid truth. It is so hard to prove what you never did!

Child Pornography defendants may think that the mandatory minimum to the maximum are the only thing to worry about, not so.  It’s like when buying a caryou can get the car stripped down, (sentences with no sentencing enhancements), or with all the options, loaded with sentencing enhancementsFor the Child Pornography defendant, with just a few clicks you receive such
severe sentencing enhancements that your crime ca
lls for sentences of incarceration longer than many men get for killing another man. It is truewatch the show 48 Hours. So these enhancements always come to playOnly after you sign a plea, will the Court order what is called a Pre Sentence Investigation report by the United States Probation Department. They explore your background, Family history, criminal history, business, banking, anything and everything. Then sentencing enhancements are listed.

The United States Sentencing Commission looks at crimes, and creates sentencing enhancements for 'elements of crimes'. The Sentencing Commission likes to use data based material, empirical data. But with child pornography sentencing nhancements, the commission1ls hands were tied and congress added severe enhancements not backed up by anything but political motive to look tough on crime. These sentencing enhancements are very controversial in mancourts throughout the United States.

 

A crime has a base level, a given number. Child Pornography has a base level of 18 or 22; already confusing as to why two different levels. Sentencing enhancements includes - the use of a computer, 2levels ........... .

ENOUGH!! !

I have a problem of rambling on. As I proof read this posting I realized once again, I need to stop going over the same old stuff. So I deleted 2 pages of stuff.

Back to the article in the New York Times. My intentions were to follow up about how the system does not operate the way you might expect. The Justice system is broken. What I really meant in this posting is that once your in the system you are pretty much out of luck. You are assumed to be guilty, and trials are rare.

What is my life like? Well, I got out of my upper bunk in Central One housing unit this morning at 5:45 am. At 6 am, I took my blankets and sheets to the institutional laundry to exchange for clean blankets. Last night, I was sleeping all alone (with another 130 inmates located in Central One). No privacy just Snoring, and fan noise.

A long time ago, once upon a time, I woke up around 6 am, getting out of my 'Sleep Number' bed that held my beautiful wife (now ex-wife). I miss those days. Here at 9:00 am I am writing this posting in a typing room with four other men. A couple of the men I really do not like associating with, but hey we are all in the same boat. When and if I close my eyes and dream, I remember
sippin
g coffee on the back deck of a multi-million dollar yacht. I might be behind some Caribbean Island such as the Bahamas, or along the waterway of the Eastern Seaboard. Or I might just be sitting in the home marina where I was captain of the boat. I had a great life, but I lost it all.

Please, understand, I never thought I would be in prison. No way. I really felt that I wasn't doing anything that wrong. Yes I knew I had a problem, but I was blind to what I was doing, a sure sign of addiction. Not seeing the danger you put your self into. The danger is real. If you or a loved one spends too much time on-line please, I beg you get help. I beg you because I lost it all and I feel like I am wasting time here in prison.  I help no one. I realize my mistakes but I am stuck here. If I can get one man or woman, just one to get help for pornography addiction, I will feel that I saved them from hurting others, themselves or innocent children. I pray I can
change someone’s life for the better
.

Captain Shipwreck

 

 

 

 

CCNCR 
P.O. Box 1548 
Waynesville, NC, 28786 
 

August 4, 2016 
 

 
    
Dear CAUTIONClick.org, 
First of all, thank you for the work you do for all of us inmates that have been incarcerated. I commend all the work that CCNCR is trying to achieve and am happy to respond to the questionnaire that was sent. 

You asked - Please grade the information in the newsletter Certainly a growing newsletter needs to think about making itself better. Funding will help. 

Since money is a major concern, it would be good to recap what funds are currently in CCNCR's operating funds. \~at are the printing and mailing cost, website cost etc. When people see where the money goes, they are more likely to donate. Perhaps a campaign like "Sponsor a Clicker" (need a better name) where a family can have a small monthly donation, Five dollars, ten, or what ever they can afford to be charged to a credit card each month payable to CCNCR. There is no doubt that some family supports some of us that truly made a mistake. Yet there are many men in prison whose family are too embarrassed or ashamed and have cut off all ties. Part of that is the misguided nature of the "first impression impacting a man or woman charged with viewing child pornography. 


As an internet induced crime, a serious thought and effort for funding should be made with 'The Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation', Google, Yahoo and AOL. Different File Sharing programs like Lime Wire and GigaTrihe should also be approached. Without their 
contributions and businesses, none of us "clicker" would be here; incarcerated. So some effort should be addressed to their directors with the notion on how your efforts are not based solely on helping those that succumbed to a pornography addiction, but that 
all of us reformed clickers need to make amends and help fight against the innocent being victimized. 


I find that I need to speak out to try to keep others from falling victim to a danger to on-line pornography. My mother, brother and sister have created www.myshipwreck.com where I post warnings to others. (feel free to share this link). We list CAUTIONclick. I am not sure iif it is a direct hyperlink. fredcomic@aol.com is my site coordinator. 


As for writing letters, yes, I will write letters, and do so. I can always use some guidance for specific targets. I know that every time that letters to the sentencing commission are asked for, that I make a strong effort to let the word be 
known, by posting the notices around the facility. I have shared your information with others. My sister has been on one Shoetalk 
and was impressed. She has had troubles connecting to receive e-mails from you. There is confusion between CUATIONclic.org and CAUTIONclick.com. Many inmates with true links also seem to have a problem while some of us are not allowed access to e- 
mail. (That in itself is a good story to publish, all because of misleading information in what is called the PSR). 
Once again thanks for all your efforts on our behalf. We all need to stay positive! 

 

                                   

                                                                         

                                                                             May 18, 2016 
“Ahh, a new e-mail from Frank, that guy in sales. Another 'camel toe' joke slash picture. Boy, that Frank's something. Hmmm, I ought to find something to send back to him. Let me take a few minutes on-line to see what I can find” 
How many received Frank's e-mails today? That may lead to Frank's co-worker to spend a little too much time on-line; trying to find that one sexy picture. But what is too much time? Hard to say; let me refresh my story. 


I used to get e-mails like the one from Frank. Matter of fact, when I looked for more pictures, that search became a game. Instead of hide and seek, it was the treasure hunt, never knowing what I was going to find online.Behind closed doors, I felt that I was invincible. Nobody would know who I was. Heck I even knew enough to keep my IP address changing; never allowing my IP address from my home to be used during my searching on-line. Part of the “thrill” was catching me if you can. 


I wasn't alone in this destructive way of thinking. We all thought that being anonymous would keep us out of trouble. We all lost that bet. Not just one or two of us, but many. The inmate population of FCI Loretto is about 950, down from over 1400 when I first arrived back in December 2011. The population is being reduced because of prison reform efforts that have finally taken place. Here at this FCI, through the rumors and not anything official, it is said that-over 40 percent of- the inmates are S.O.’s. What a label, S.O.’ sex offender. Not a pleasant title or label, all due to my anonymous on-line activity. Like most men I talk with, we all had such ignorance on the laws. Laws are one thing, but it is sentencing 'enhancements' that no one ever talked about. At least my Tampa, Florida private attorney seemed to keep it a secret. So, if someone you know spends too much time on-line it is very possible that the Feds are watching you. Trust me. That sight that you just got that 'camel toe' picture may have a tracking bug. And then when it led to that teen 
site, another tracking bug. Whether it is legal adult pornography or not, assume that the Feds are watching. It is a fact that every day, someone is being arrested for viewing illegal pornography. It stays on your computer, even when you erase it.

 

There are men in here that deny that they looked for and viewed child pornography, but they are here because it was found in the dark 
spaces of their hard drive after they erased it. I lose respect for some of these men, for they refuse to see the errors of their ways. If the Feds find it on your erased sections of your hard drive, and you are the only one using that computer, ... well in my book, it didn't get there without someone looking then deleting. No way. 


I admit, I was wrong in my on-line behavior. I was stupid. No excuse. And believe me, it was not worth it. No friggin way. A cheap, quick thrill, that now has cost me the love of my Life, my estranged wife. It has cost me the smiles, laughs, and the simple questions that my son never had a chance to ask me. He is now nine years old and probably doesn't remember my last day before 
I got arrested. He and I went for a bike ride. Oh-how I still remember that day. I strapped his bright colored safety helmet on his head. We were riding along when he looked up and with a grin from ear to ear he said "I'm faster dad, I faster than you!" The next day, I got arrested. That morning, my daughter asked me as I dropped her off at her school, "dad, will you pick me up today after school?" I replied "you bet Sweet Pea". I never made it! 


Please don't lose your wonderful life. If you, or a loved one, looks forward to logging in on-line to view pornography, there may be a problem. It happens to strong men, not just the weak. Please seek counseling, you may have a pornography addiction and not getting help - well it cost you dearly. Just continue reading myshipwreck.com to see how much my life has changed.

 
Captain Shipwreck 

 

 

 

                                                                             Real Life at FCI Loretto 
                                                                             2nd Week April, 2016 

Another day down. That is the reply when Dr. Brown passed me in the hall and asked how I was doing today. Just another day down. When I replied that, I had too many days ahead, he told me, "one day at a time". 

I am going through a tough time. It happens. Some days not so bad, other days just ... I seem to never get a break. I am having a "poor me day". That is what you figure on once you fall into this pit of despair. I have been ship wrecked now for over 2,030 days, and I'm having a poor me day. Yet I still know that I'm not the only one having a hard time because of my actions, everyday I think about the hard time I caused my children and ex-wife. This is not a joke! 


I am still trying to get use to the constant noise. Seldom is it quiet. Privacy, as a term that has lost any meaning. Just the simple pleasure of taking a crap is lost. I mean really, wait around with your own roll of toilet paper, waiting for a man to get off the pot. Then in you go, taking a spray bottle with you. A few sprays to the toilet seat, wipe it off with toilet paper, then sit. Since I had to wait for my turn, I suspect that someone else is waiting so I try to hurry. There are three toilet seats, for my side of the living area, along with two and a half urinals. How can you have a half an urinal? Because one is called a waterless urinal and since there is no flush lever, nobody uses it. Each of the commodes is in its own little cubby with a shower curtain in front, so unlike county jail, there is a bit of privacy 

here. In prison it seems that many people never think about others. Because of that, some may just waste time, reading or ... and just make others wait. I'm naturally not like that, so I hurry. No reading material when I do my business.  


Wait in line for chow is another chore that has gotten worst in the last year. It used to be that each unit was called to the chow line with a little bit of time between one unit being called and the next. This allowed time for people to eat and then leave the table, clearing up space so that the next person could sit. That was back when we had another 300 plus inmates in the population. Back then you could find a seat as soon as you received your tray. Now, with less people, for some reason the staff rushes the inmate population  
through the chow line. When you get your tray, many of us are standing around waiting to get a seat. Now there are empty seats, but we're not to sit in those seats; Prison segregation. Black New York has their table. The few Italians, have a permanent eight seats at the end of a row of tables. Then the white 'first table' where you can only sit after you show them your paperwork, so they can make sure that you are not a "SO"( Sex Offender). The Latinos have a couple of tables. So the middle age - older white men table consists of two rows out of about eight rows. Twenty-five percent. Interestingly, sometimes the Lt. will order someone standing to take any seat. When this happens, the person, most time average age white man, just goes over to the garbage can and dumps their food, throwing it away rather than cause potential trouble sitting where they are not welcomed. 

 

But not always. Yesterday, a white inmate was told to sit at the so- called Latino table. As he was standing waiting for a seat to open up at the middle rows where he normally sits, There were drink cups on the table, marking the spaces 'saved'. The inmate moved one and sat down. The Latino that placed the cups there told him to move on, however the inmate just looked at him and told him he was going to eat and that he was told to take any seat. When the white inmate went outside the Latino, others were waiting for him. A fight broke out, all over sitting down to eat a hamburger. Several men are now in the SHU (Special Housing Unit).   


Last night, while I was reading, an inmate named JR tapped my bunk. I was listening to my MP3 and reading when he interrupted. JR is a skinny white man about 38 years old; Ex-military. He told me that because of the “incident” earlier that day, that all of us are to eat at the "white table"only. I looked at him and asked why he was telling me that? He said that “it’s been agreed upon” that we are to stay separated during “chow-hall”. 


This is a problem due to others inmates that are afraid of sitting next to someone who's “papers” are bad. Afraid of sitting next to a 'SO' or cho-mo. The mentality of inmates is that anyone with an 'SO' charge, (sex offender) is a cho-mo slash pedophile. Without any direct evidence other than that you choose not to show your “paper work", but then, the ones yelling the loudest, when they talk about their own papers, they claim that "the government got it all wrong and the charges aren't right." Hello - if your own paperwork is flawed, why is it that the so called cho-mo’s paperwork is correct?

 
Yes there are dangerous predators incarcerated here. But they are few among many others that are here due to various other crimes. Many men are here due to the addictive nature of on-line pornography. Unfortunately there are those that continue to crave child pornography. 

 

Prison porn is rampant. There are many organizations that provide 'prison allowed pictures' that are bought and sold throughout the compound. I stay away from it. I have spoken out at the chow table about the fact that if we can not change our behavior now, while behind the barb-wire, how do you expect to be able to avoid pornography on the out-side? The common reply is,"but it is legal porn". Again, I point out that it was'legal' porn that led to child-porn, and most inmates then agree. Prison! 

 

Amazingly, there are many here that have killed, without getting charged for murder, many here that have had sex with under age girls, without being considered a predator. It is so called “jest be bizness” guys. These men out rank the accused S.O's, yet they have stories about the 14 year old girl that looked "old enough" that traded sex for drugs. That doesn't seem to be a problem to the ones that torment the S.O’s. And I believe that behind the majority of any child pornography produced, you will find the work of these “drug” inmates; illegal drugs playing a major part of the operation. Whether drugging children, or parents drugged out, allowing their children to be used by the producers of child porn, many inmates are all equally responsible for the innocent victims. 

 

Another part of life is waiting for the phone. In Central unit we have four telephones to use. We are allowed 300 minutes per month; each call up to fifteen minutes long. After you hang up, or get disconnected, you have to wait for an hour before the phone allows you to make another call. A far better system then what was applied in county jail. There, some inmates hogged the - phone, only giving it up when their phone card money ran out. All phone calls are recorded, and include that warning to the person that you dialed. They 
must accept your call after they hear a message detailing that "This call is from a Federal Prison, Hang up if you want to terminate the call ... " bad part is that the person that you dial can opt to deny anymore calls from that inmate. I do not know what you have to do to get them back on your approved call list. You may have to wait a long time to get it resolved. 

 

There is an e-mail service called Trulinks. A pay as you type and send messages that many inmates use. Some, however, do not have the privilege of e- mail service. The reasons vary but for me it is due to what is written in a "pre-sentence investigation report" ordered by the court after you are found guilty or after the court accepts you plea. This report, often referred to as a PSR or PSI, needs to be well understood and if not 100 percent accurate, contested by your attorney. IMPORTANT, be sure the pre-sentence investigation 
report is completely accurate. Every single item in it must be scrutinized because it will impact your incarceration. Make sure your attorney fights every single sentence, line by line; accepting nothing but truth. In my case, a probation officer misinterpreted items that were in an investigation report used by the FBI. Misinterpretation is common and can quickly be corrected - before the sentencing court accepts the PSR. Once it’s in the case, it becomes very difficult to correct. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOUR ATTORNEY 
AGRUES EVERYTHING FOR YOUR BENEFIT. 


That is Real Life at Loretto. So much to say, but I've  been told to try to keep it short. I tend to be over worded or long winded. So let me finish by restating - if you know someone that looks forward to logging into the internet for the pleasure of viewing on-line pornography, they may have a problem. An excellent article in Time Magazine, April 11, 2016, explains a lot about the possible dangers of on-line pornography that I have been saying or experienced. Pornography can be very addicting, seek counseling if needed. 
Captain Shipwreck 

   

 

 

                                                                                 First Aid?
                                                                    March - First week of spring 2016

When I first arrived in jail, back in 2010, I noted that I was better equipped for an emergency when I was a hundred miles from shore, in a rowboat. In other words, while in prison we are a “million miles” from decent first aid. Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but not by much. Two days ago I passed a man with a cast on his arm. I asked him how long it took from the time that 
he injured the arm and the time that medical agreed that it needed to be set. Ten days or so was the answer. The common action of the BOP medical system, wait and maybe the inmate will just go away or quit complaining. 
A few days ago, at lunch time, a man had a seizure sitting down to chow. It was not because of the quality of the prison food, it was a medical crisis. This man has a history of seizures. Gilland sat behind me a week ago in an ACE (Adult Continuing Education) class, and that night directly behind me, a tapping noise began. I looked back and Gilland, staring off in the distance, 
was tapping a sharpened pencil against the desk, like a drummer. Everybody was looking at him as he stared out in space. I put my hand over the tapping pencil and his hand stopped, while he continued to stare out in space. Completely out of it, he trembling, a slight shaking motion. He is nick named 'Shaky'. The inmate ACE instructor called out to him and there was no indication Shaky heard, he just continued staring out into space. Now this was one of the few times I have become a bit nervous. The sharpened pencil is known to be a weapon in prison. "Brown give him a shake, see if he pops out of it", the instructor ordered.  Well, I shook him and he slowly came out of his trance. But I tell you one thing, I was kind’ a nervous that I just might have a pencil jabbed into my neck. This inmate has a history of seizures. When he came to prison he had them under control with medication, which the medical services promptly changed, taking away a few key medications. Of course this is all hearsay or is it? 
Ok, just this moment, an old man named Fred just came into the typing room. He is scheduled to leave in 13 more days. He has been kept here at Loretto because of a medical hold instead of being able to go to a camp. The doctor told him that his heart was operating approximately at 30 percent. Bad enough to keep him from transferring out but not bad enough to have an outside heart doctor care for it. 
My bunky, Mr. Chin was told something similar, that his heart would never be 100 percent after he finally had heart by-pass surgery over 13 months ago. It took him longer than a year from the time he had his first problem to his heart by-pass. Now once Mr. Chin had his surgery, he was told that he would be seen by the surgeon in a week or so. Mr. Chin has never been back to see any outside medical experts for over fourteen months. And, it is not because there are experts here on staff. Mr. Chin has been suffering from shortness of breath ever since his heart surgery. 
Just the other day Mr. Chin was seen at the top of the stairs catching his breath. A very decent teacher, MS. Shields noticed him and asked him if he needed medical. Mr. Chin is stubborn and said that he was OK. However, those of us in his cube later convinced him to demand from medical services some more consideration on his health. Well after being seen by his PA, given an EKG, he is now scheduled to go out for out side services. Apparently, the EKG was not good, so we will wait and see how long before he actually goes out. This type of medical care has been going on throughout the whole time I have been here. Back around the end of September 2014, a friend disappeared on a Thursday, and returned the following Tuesday. He suffered a major heart attack. Two splints were required for Mr. Russo, a man from Ohio. The left side of his face looked like it was droopy from a minor stroke. Now Frank was actually glad to be back in the prison. The whole time he was in the hospital, he was chained to the hospital bed, two Loretto guards standing watch inside his room. These men, three different shifts, were not concerned about Mr. Russo's health. They were excited to be getting over-time pay. While the patient tried to recover and rest, these men constantly talked among themselves about pick-up trucks, hunting and when they were not talking, they controlled the TV all night long, the volume never turned lower. This is completely different from what people see on TV, where the guard waits outside the room, giving the patient time to rest and recover. 
Nobody should be surprised about the dismal health care provided in the nation's prisons. After all, look at the problems facing our American veterans. If the government medical services can not treat out veterans decently, it is no wonder that the prison system is what it is. 
Now, I'm not writing this to complain, but to inform you. Be assured that your tax dollars are not buying unneeded medical services for the majority of prisoners. Matters of fact, last year chronic care medications, in particular GERD medications, were withdrawn from the pharmacy dispensary. IF you are lucky enough to have outside help by providing you with some commissary funds, the medical department makes you buy any medication that is available at the commissary. Now I am considered indigent as everything I ever owned I lost. Thankfully what little there was, my estranged, now divorced wife took everything, not the government. 
Since I have not been seen by any medical personal that has my best interest in mind, I now am self medicating by taking an Omeprazole and a Ranitidine tablet daily. One Omeprazole in the morning, costing 13 dollars for 14 tablets, more than 26 dollars a month, plus one ranitidine tablet at night. The ranitidine tablets cost $5.30 for 21 tablets. Then to add to that, one and a half bottles of generic liquid max-strength anti-acid that cost around four dollars a bottle. I also suffer from headaches due to a buckle in my right eye. This was due to a detached retina that occurred while I was in the Pinellas County Jail. That in itself is a whole other story. Finally, after four (4) months, the detached retina was repaired, requiring a buckle to shape the eye-ball into proper form for the detached retina to get reattached. Most any eye specialist will tell you that four months is way too long to wait to save the eye. Losing my eye has been all caused due to my case. As it was, my own insurance did finally pay to reattach the retina even though that was not what was supposed to happen. Another part of my sentence that was never considered by the sentencing Judge was the loss of one eye. 
Now this is just a sampling of the medical care available here in prison. It is not better than the military gets, like some news organizations claim. No, it is what it is. After all, do you know what kind of professional medical people we get here? Honestly, there are a few good decent folks that have to work a system that limits them. But then we also have some that just don't care. Now if you have read these postings you may have notice that I try to keep it decent, without a lot of profanity. After all, I'm hoping my daughter who is around sixteen reads them from time to time. But I must end with a story about the one Doctor here at Loretto. While I will not mention his name let me tell you a story. 
Every six months I am directed into his office for a complete thorough five (5) minute examination. During the last examine I told him that my mother who is on a limited income, is doing without because she wants me to have a few things from the commissary. Things like coffee, peanut butter, cup a soups, along with typing ribbons etc. When I lost my chronic care medications, she increased my monthly commissary account to pay for the GERD and headache medications. The doctor could just write me a prescription saving my mother almost fifty dollars a month, thereby I would then receive them without cost. There are people here that receive these same medications from the pharmacy and continue to have commissary accounts. 'Professional inmates', figured out how to continue playing the system. Anyway here is a following conversation. 
"Doc, I really need my GERD medication, look at my commissary account. You see I'm buying them every month and it's costing my mother a lot of money that she just doesn't have. She is on a limited income." (The Doc looks at my commissary receipts on the computer and sees that I have indeed been buying around 40 dollars a month of medications that just six months before were provided for chronic care). "Yes I see you have been taking them. Do they help?" "Well doc, yes I need them. As it is, I still wake up several times a month in the middle of the night because of acid reflux backing up and getting into my lungs. It takes an hour before I clear my lungs and have the courage to try to lie back down to try to sleep." (The Doc laughs, really, he does) 
''Well, do you know how poor I was when I was growing up?" the doctor asks. "No Doc, how poor were you?" "Well, when I was a kid we were so poor that I had to jack off the dog so that we could feed the cats milk!" 
Prison; My God what have I done to myself. Please, remember that I did not ever think I would end up in prison. If I got caught 'playing' on-line, I figured I would get a slap on the wrist. After all, I was ignorant and that I was doing no harm. 
Please, if you or your spouse looks forward to getting on-line to view any pornography, you or they probably do have a problem. Seek counseling, it is an addiction. Get help before you get your self "Shipwrecked"! 

 

Captain Shipwrecked,  

 

 

 

 

                                                           Still Shipwrecked at the end of March 2016
I thank God for my brother. He keeps me going by his humor and intellect.His humor over the telephone lifts up low spirits. The thing about my brother is that his eyes have been opened up to the American Justice and legal system. A convert.

My brother also sends me thoughtful books to read. He sent me “Freakonomics” back when I was in county jail. A book that made sense of the way some theories are proven or disproved by throwing out emotion and using logic and statistics instead. Authors Steven D Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner carefully state some widely held presumptions, and then they show why the perceived theory 
is most likely false when looked at through statistics. Levitt's and Dubner's new book, “Think like a Freak” continues with this 
same logic. It tries to show how people should ask, and then find out the answers to complex questions. Often these questions need to be broken down into smaller questions, thinking out of the box. Once the smaller questions are asked, and answered, the main problem will take shape and perhaps other relevant questions come to mind. The Justice system should use this approach. 
Many times this requires some basic common sense. Don’t put your hand in fire, you will get burned - common sense. Don't 
down a bottle of whiskey then get in a car and drive out to get another bottle - common sense. At times it is more difficult to understand. In Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary ®1983 (yep, right up to date. Found in the typing room at FCI Loretto) the definitions are as follows: Common-sense n. (1535) 1. the unreflective opinions of ordinary men. 2: Sound and prudent but often unsophisticated judgement. adj commonsense - commonsensible adj - commonsensibly adv - commonsensical adj 
We all tell our children to try to use common sense. I often say there seems to be a complete lack of common sense in the judicial
system. Searching through the premier law dictionaries - Blacks Law Dictionary or Bouvier's Law Dictionary, there is no definition for the word nor phrase 'common sense', none. Yet if you look up the word 'assumption' you do find a definition. Most successful sales staff and researchers have long known the problems of assuming things. Yet, the Justice system allows unfettered assumptions. The Justice department did not get the memo; one rule of business is "never assume anything because it makes an ASS out of U and ME! 
 
Blacks Law Dictionary: Assumption; 1 a fact or statement taken for granted; a supposition. Wasn't it taken for granted at one time that the world was flat? Or that it was assumed that OJ Simpson would be found guilty. Get my point? 
Laws are created by elected men and women. While they may have the public's best interest in mind, they leave out common sense when it comes to punishment. Law makers are more worried about re-election and it is best to look like they're overtly tough on crime. Believe me; I thought that way just 66 months ago. I learned a very hard lesson. Lawmakers should take time 
and read books written by people like Levitt and Dubner. Dubner and Levitt have thoughtful insights into solving problems. 


Speaking of problems, yep you guessed it; I'm still here behind the barb-wire of FCI Loretto. I am always hopeful. I truly want to give thanks to all of you out there that have written letters to the United States Sentencing Commission. Taking time to write does lead to change. Statistically, I read in some sentencing reform campaign literature that a phone call to your congressman is worth about 1 point, e-mail 2 points. But if you take your time to write a letter and post it in the mail the influence jumps up to around 5 points of leverage. It could be the same for the United States Sentencing Commission. If only more people would realize that ten minutes can really effect a commission that wants to make positive changes. But change is under way and I'm hopeful I will get some help, any suggestions? 


Reform is slowly under way. More and more Judges are correcting harsh sentencing problems forced upon them by Congress. The United States Sentencing Commission has consistently wanted to back off on the harsh and draconian sentences that Congress forced upon them. Not just on child pornography enhancements, but many other enhancements as well. The child pornography 
enhancements are criticized in many publications such as the Harvard Law Review, Vol. 124:1082. 


Remember, when many laws were enacted for crimes concerning child pornography back around the 1970s, the format was magazines, 16-millimeter film and Polaroid pictures. Adult book stores and the United States mail system were used as the means to distribute. Viewers were a lot more integrated in the crimes. Today, the modern viewer would not go to these lengths to obtain images, yet it has become way too easy to find all behind the anonimity of close doors. More and more courts are easing up on the harsh and insane sentences that some Judges continue to mete out.

 

On January 21, 2016, Judge Jack B. Weinstein, Senior United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York came up with a very thoughtful and informative 40± page opinion in a child pornography case. In it, Judge Weinstein divided up the varying degrees of culpability of child pornography offenders. He sited that prosecutors under the current sentencing framework has largely failed to distinguish among child pornography offenders with different levels of culpability and danger to the community. This federal Judge sites many cases that were departures to the sentencing guideline sentence. The New York circuit is the 2nd Circuit of the Federal Courts. All Circuits are supposed to act accordingly and uniformly. However, the 11th Circuit, my circuit, which includes Florida, seems very reluctant to go along with other circuits. My sentence is proof of the failure of the Eleventh Circuit. 


Without going into the intimate details of the case before Judge Weinstein, let me point out a few items about this case known as United States VS. R.V., United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7717, 14-CR-0316 (information to use so that you can look up the complete text on PACER.gov. This is a link to look up cases brought to the courts and can be found on each District Courts own website, or Google it. 
The Judge sentenced this man, R.V., a sentence of time-served of five (5) days and seven years of strict supervised release with medical treatment. He was also fined $12,500; $2,000 in victim’s restitution; and a $100 special assessment. 


R.V. was 52 year old when he committed the crime. In 1991, at age 29, R.V. pled guilty to charges of attempting to sell cocaine. He entered a drug treatment program and was released on parole. He failed a urine test and was incarcerated for violation of parole. R.V. therefore had a prior conviction.  

 

Later R.V. married a woman that was age 21 when he was 38. R.V. had three children by his wife. R.V.’s wife testified that he was a wonderful husband. R.V. was a working man, and provided for his family but lost his job after arrest. 


R.V. used peer-to-peer file sharing programs to receive his child pornography. R.V. was not charged with distribution, even though had he been in  the Eleventh Circuit, they may have charged him with that also. R.V. admitted to chatting on-line in the guide of a  teenage boy and engaged young girls in "sexual manners". The Homeland Security Investigations agent downloaded four files showing various sexual activities. These  were very similar to what the FBI downloaded from my peer-to-peer file program. 

 

Now during his release on bail, R.V. was treated and a report was submitted to the court. The court, Judge Weinstein took this report very seriously into consideration for his sentence. During my sentencing the district Judge stated "I don't care what the experts have said, I'm not going to make that leap", and disregarded all my expert testimony.  I had three (3) experts.


On August 26, 2014, R.V. pled guilty to one count of a five count indictment. R.V. was able to negotiate a well balanced plea agreement. You normally get charges reduced or dropped in exchange for signing a plea, thus saving the government the time and expense of a trial. R.V. had four of his charges dropped.

 

 After negotiating a successful plea, the Probation department does what is called a pre-sentencing investigation on the defendant. It was here that the United States Sentencing Guidelines, based on 2G2.2 enhancements, (often limited by plea negotiations), determined R.V.'s sentencing guideline range, called “level”, was 28. This corresponds to a sentencing chart, and called for 
incarceration of 78-97 months.  A competent attorney's job after a plea agreement is agreed to and signed is to fight the sentencing enhancements. Most fight these aggressively and if not settled, the Court decides if they are each one warranted by evidence provided, not hearsay. Eddie S, My attorney, refused to fight any sentencing enhancements in my case. 


R.V. was sentenced to 5 Days! 


The fellow that the court refers to as R.V was very fortunate; he had a good attorney, putting on experts that the court listened to. Not allowing any “surprises” that might prejudice the court. Our cases are extremely similar in nature and activity. The difference is time, geography and a Judge realizing that the crime, while extremely foul, does not necessarily warrant such drastic sentencing when the defendant was never involved in either contact or production. 


The fact is that a lot of incarcerated men are here because of an addiction to on-line pornography. Like all addictions in the past, this is one that needs to be recognized by the courts. Many of us never had any criminal interest or intent. The Eleventh Circuit continues to be an extremely severe sentencing circuit. To this day, the Eleventh Circuit's stands behind its reasoning that all sentences, as long as they are guideline sentences, are sufficient and no greater than necessary. Pretty lazy.  Write them to know that is not always the case. 


Remember - if you or your spouse looks forward to spending idol time on-line, they may have a problem with pornography. On-line pornography can lead to a very dangerous addiction - please seek counseling. Innocent children may be harmed without us thinking about the consequences. Please - Do not lose everything like I have. 
Captain Shipwreck 

 

 

 

 

 

PANDORA'S BOX - MISCONCEPTIONS - F.B.I.
February 2016

 

 

In the recent January 28, 2016 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, Sean Penn's secret visit with El Chapo Guzman asks, once again, - what role consumers of illegal drugs have to play in regard to the drug induced murders in Central America, Mexico and the United States. Quoting Penn “...are the American public not indeed complicit in what we demonize? We are the consumers, and as such, we are complicit in every murder and in every corruption of an institution's ability to protect the quality of life for citizens of Mexico and the United States that comes as a result of our insatiable appetite for illicit narcotics". 

If we realistically look at the buyers of illegal drugs, are they really responsible for all the bloodshed? Who are theses buyers? I guess that would depend where you come from. Drug users come from elegant, well to do, neighborhoods to the ghettos; from the successful businessman or woman to the homeless. Now, according to Penn, either they all should be responsible for the killings and murders associated with the import of drugs - or we should let blame for the killings and bloodshed fall where it belongs - with those who commit the actual crime. 
Mr. Penn's theory is not necessarily the only way to look at the situation. There are many myths that influence what the public and law makers believe. Sometimes the facts do not back up the theories. For example, the auto mechanic, bass fishing out on the lake that happens to smoke a joint, did not kill anyone. The Wall Street broker, unwinding at a winter ski resort, does a line of coke before he skies down a mountain, never pulled a trigger.  The high school teacher, nibbling on a marijuana infused cookie" she did not directly harm anyone. These people are not murderers and kidnappers. They are people minding their own business. They are successful hard working individuals and when it does not bother anyone else, they do what mankind has done from the beginning of time; they find some substance to help relax, without any intentional harm to others. 
Mr. Penn makes the same argument with many of the law makers in Congress: that these citizens are directly responsible for the violent crimes others commit. Drug related crimes are not the only crimes that this theory has been applied to. The two largest incarceration factors in the last 
few years have been drugs and child pornography. Misconceptions, along with stubborn beliefs about these two groups, are turning the tide in one direction for the drug sector, while ignoring the child pornography sector. Despite the similarities of the two - both are addictions - the public ascribes a different view of acceptance. 

Recently, the public has started to gain an understanding of the over sentencing for so called low level drug convictions. Most of the recommendations to Congress continue to call for lesser sentences for federal drug crimes. It seems that the Public does not hold these low level drug 
offenders responsible for the crime wave that Mr. Penn shouts about. Look at this new logic; the drug addicts themselves do not directly see any murders, bloodshed or violent crime. They never pulled any trigger. They did not directly cause bloodshed or violence. With the public now accepting this logic, it is time that they open their eyes to the witch hunt that is incarcerating thousands of middle age men and women. Men and women that have no direct link to crimes that others commit yet are charged as though they pulled the trigger, in this case, snapped the 
shutter - abused the children. The explosion of on-line pornography addiction has led to an outrageous amount of men and women being incarcerated for viewing child pornography. These people are not pedophiles or abusers of children. Is not the same logic in play for the addict of porn verses the drug addict? For the most part, should these addicts care? Which addict could be 
said to be more responsible for indirect harm to innocent people? Would it be the drug user - addict or not, or the viewer of child pornography - most often an addict to all kinds of pornography? He or she probably does not care that others might have been hurt long before they consumed the drug or viewed the photos. Most likely never gave it a thought. Is this attitude right or morally correct? Of course not. Let’s agree - the main item that concerns the user is that he/she has his 'high' from someone that provided it for him, not how is was accomplished. 

The drug addict does several things. He first has to seek out and 
purchases a tangible product. Once found, he purchases the product, therefore 
someone is profiting from his action. Using Penn/s analogy, this minor player/consumer in the drug world should be directly linked to the true horrors of the bloodshed. Innocent people are hurt between the points of creation to the distribution of the illegal product. As Penn points out, the American drug consumers should theoretically be connected to this narcotic driven bloodshed. Of course if it is a younger addict that has no real means of support to purchase the drug, he or she may resort to minor crime such as robbery, burglary or prostitution to pay for the drugs. President Obama, along with massive support of public opinion, now believes that this is not the fault of the drug addict or low level drug supplier. As such, they do not deserve to 
be incarcerated in the federal prisons under such harsh sentences.

Viewers of child pornography are serving time that is much longer than the drug user or even the suppliers. Do we see any difference between how a drug user finds his product and the viewer finds his? 
Let’s look at the difference between the drug user and the child pornography viewer; seldom does the individual involved with viewing go out seeking material from someone on the streets. If he does, then he is a whole lot more involved then just subtle viewing , This individual is closer to creating a product because he is willing to buy it, but that is  different case, yet it is still similar to the street drug purchaser. For the most part, the viewer of child porn uses the computer. Seldom is a transaction made where any tangible product is exchanged. The viewer of child pornography generally does not line other pockets with profits. Most incarcerated men and 
women find all the pornography free on-line, along with bestiality, gay, Lesbian or virtually any 
fetish imaginable. Anything and everything, any sick perverted thought can be found online. Most of this material is protected by the Firs t Amendment as being “free speech”.  It is important to understand that many of those imprisoned today for child pornography never paid any money to anyone, and never acted in any manner which allowed anyone to profit from the production of, or the viewing of those images on-line. So the web of crime that actually exists with the low level drug purchase is not present in persons viewing child porn.

If the administration's logic regarding the Low level drug user justifies leniency should it not be the same for the viewer’s s of child pornography. The United States Government's reasoning in its fight against child pornography is flawed and very inconsistent. The government believes that if 
the viewer of child pornography didn't view it, the creators or producers of the product would go away. Then the government says that each time a picture is viewed it is harming the victims portrayed in these freely found images. According to United States Attorneys, each time a viewer views an image containing child pornography, children are victimized once again. However, is 
that logic true? Can someone be hurt when someone secretly views an image? They know nothing of the person viewing that image until after the government reveals that, once again, the picture was found on some stranger’s hard drive. 

Using this logic, the government itself is guilty of victimizing over 100,000 victims. This is because the Federal Bureau of Investigations has been running child-pornography web sites as sting operations.  Not just once, but according to a January 22, 2016 USA Today article multiple times. If the victim is re-victimized, the FBI has perpetrated a very serious injustice to these innocent victims and committed the very crime it seeks to punish others for. From February 20, through March 5th, 2015, the FBI states that over 100,000 registered users visited and viewed the site. This was being run by the FBI, offering over 23,000 sexually explicit images and 
videos of children that users could download. Directly from the FBI! Just like a drug sting? No, not at all.  Drug stings do not use innocent children without their knowledge or consent. During this sting, according to the USA Report, children were being innocently victimized again, over 100,000 times. Quite a lot of collateral damage by the FBI.

Realistically, this article says a lot about today's society. Was there 100,000 criminals viewing this site in just 12 days? How many criminals did the FBI create? 

There are some very different variations between the viewer of illegal child pornography and the consumer of illegal drugs. The difference is the profit motive on the part of the distributor. A man on the street looking for oxycodone, heroin, cocaine, meth, or marijuana will not find it available for free. No he has to go out and commit a crime by interacting in an illegal transaction of tangible items. The drugs are provided only after a payment or promise of payment of some kind is made. Profit motive leads to criminal activity. 

Viewers of child-pornography often find their 'vice' product free on- line. Therefore there is no profit motive. There is no interaction with others, but merely someone behind a closed door, clicking a mouse while he or she surfs the internet. 

Mr. Penn may be right, but the public pressure says that politically or now logically you must be wrong. The low level drug dealer and user receive leniency in today's justice system. It is right to go after the King-pins and the manufacture of illegal drugs, but the user did not pull the trigger. 

Why is it terrible the way the viewers of child pornography are harshly sentenced? The answer is because they did not produce the illegal pictures. They did not produce the product. Yes, it is right to harshly punish the suppliers and producers of child porn. There is never any justification for abusing any child. There is no doubt that children are abused when producing child- pornography, however the viewer is a long way from that, in both time and space. Often first time offenders of child pornography viewing are serving much longer sentences than drug dealers that have been in and out of prison a number of times. Sentencing enhancements for child pornography charges - enhancements 2G2.2 in particular, need to be corrected. Think about Pandora's Box, and Adam and Eve. When we are told not to look, that creates the curiosity to look. 

 

 

Captain Shipwreck 


Remember - if you look forward to logging on-line to view any pornography - 
you just might have an addiction - please seek counseling before it cost you 
your freedom! 

Holidays?

December 2015

No ice has enclosed the barb-wire so far this year. It has been a warm Autumn and we are just days away from the first day of winter. Yesterday morning was so beautiful. It was in the low sixty'&, a clear sky overhead and
a
fog was holding down in the valleys. The sun was just peeking up over the compound. I thought of my kids, living in Florida. They our missing the seasonal changes that a majority of people have to experience every year.

By the afternoon, clouds filtered in from the south. This morning, thsky was low and heavy, with well defined grey like dirty cotton clouds. Looks like change, possible rain. Change is good.

What does not change too much is my daily routine behind the wall. The clock ticks down one minute at a time. One thousand four hundred and forty  minutes a day. Seven thousand two hundred and eighty minutes a week. All these
minutes away from a world that I once took for granted.

Last night, the chapel held a 'Holiday' show. It lasted about 60 minutes. I didn't go. I skip holiday season. Why celebrate? I can not celebrate a holiday when I worry about my kids. Whether or not my two children are

celebrating Christmas. I don't know what they will be doing this year. I didn't know what happened last year. Their mother will not communicate with me. Any way, I pray that they have some laughs and 'fun' this Christmas
season
. I wish I could have taken them to see the new "Star Wars" movie, or heck, even the Chipmunk movie.

Oh yea, I live with my memories. I remember great times. One was probably eight years ago when I was given a year end 'cash' bonus. My plan was to buy a nice ring for my wife; A diamond ring. Money had always been tight, and I was
fortunate that my wife was very thrifty, and never wasted money. She never complained, but did let me know when she felt I went overboard. Like when I made an investment into a Florida condo that was not turning out as
planned
. Yet that year a pocket full of bonus cash was to be enjoyed by purchasing a nice gift for the love of my life.

My daughter, who was around eight years old at the time, and I went to the local mall. We went to every jeweler looking at all the rings. My daughter was so happy shopping that day. While we inspected rings, trying to find

 

something special for her mother, she was beaming with a great smile and a twinkle in her eyes. That seems so long ago now. Long remembered, and still cherished. Yes, there were times when I used to bring smiles to my wife and
children.

I have not hugged my wife or daughter for over one thousand nine-hundred and two days now. Sadly, I most likely will never hug the woman that is mother to my two children the way we used too. She long ago divorced me,
broken off all communications, and continues to be an extremely angry and bitter, 'estranged'. I can't blame her, it wasn't her fault. I should have been strong enough and smart enough to be there for them
. Damn addiction.

As a long time boat captain, I had many 'offers' to make fast money. Lots of money running contraband. But I thought I was smart enough not to risk any prison time. After all, large sums of money are not worth going to prison.
Strange thing is, if I did risk running contraband and I did get caught, I'd be on my way out of prison now, with money stashed someplace to boot! But that was not a healthy or safe life for me or family, and I sure as heck didn't
want to risk a valuable yacht belonging to the guy that trusted me. No-way.

No. Instead, I was so damn dumb to allow myself to get involved in an addiction that cost me everything, sending me to prison for way too long. When I get out I will have absolutely nothing but my own skills to get me back on
my feet
. It will take 'time'.

I often think about the federal judge that sentenced me. I try to look at the world through the eyes of others. I developed this sense when I was the  Captain of a sight-seeing boat on the west coast of Florida. It drove my crew nuts because I pointed out everything. "Now look over to your left, '" looking to your right; birds, crab traps, channel markers" and other interesting things. Interesting, our passengers rarely sees what we see everyday and take for granted.

Everyday. So now I wonder about how my sentencing judge sees 'time'. With that said, sometimes I can't blame my sentencing judge for such a lengthy and harsh sentence. Prejudice. Natural prejudice overwhelms scientific evidence. A
judge is supposed to be above that. If you let it; prejudice oversteps evidence. I'm sure that happened to me. It was a good trick from the prosecutor to 'set the hook' of prejudice on Judge Richard Lazarra, just 
moments before pronouncing sentence.

This holiday season, will Mr. Lazarra, my sentencing judge be stuck in the extreme Florida holiday traffic? Will he be slowed down or stopped from moving, saying to himself, "damn what a waste of my time"? Hmmm, waste of time. How
many federal judges think about the eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty hours in every year? Does that fifteen minutes being stalled in traffic ever see him wondering about all the amount of time he sentenced someone? Does a
federal judge ever think he might have made a mistake in 'awarding' judgment? And the real question, would the federal judge have the courage to recognize that he 'might' have made an overly harsh decision. Believe it or not, yes.
One or two federal Judges have realized their mistakes and have corrected sentenced. Mr. Lazarra has not been one to see his errors, yet!

Holidays, they are for others that are not behind the barb-wire. Not too much to celebrate in here. I watch inmates being released because of the recent “drugs - 2 level”. I hate to think how many of them will be back. Too
many. But one fellow in the cube next to mine left today, just in time for a real holiday.

I am very thankful because I have visits. This Holiday season, my brother (whom post these messages) and my mother are flying up from Florida. Then my sister who lives in New Hampshire, (she sure loves me) is driving all the way
over for a one day visit. She has made a new year visit every year I have been here at Loretto. This will be her fourth New Years.

I wonder, should I send my sentencing judge, Richard Lazarra, a greeting card? Not likely. I would like him to remember me though. Maybe I will send him a visitation form.

Anyway, I do wish everyone in the 'real world' to have a happy and safe Holiday season.

Captain Shipwreck

Remember, if you look forward to logging on-line to check out porn, you may have an addiction, please seek counseling!

P.S. I want to thank the CAUTIONclick.org supporters for the holiday cards and
their work. Please check out CAUTIONclick.org.

 

Mid October, 2015

Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody, Hmm what a song Midnight, Saturday - a red light is on - not the red light a mariner 

recognizes in the pilot house (night vision) but one signifying - count time in prison. While most inmates are sleeping in the semi darkness, this Saturday night the few still awake are driven from the TV room so that the C.O.s ( Correction  Officers) can do a silent count. 


Walking with flash lights pointed up towards the ceiling or down to the" floor, the CDs walk quickly from cube to cube, counting the bodies lying down. They just passed my cube where I am sitting in my top bunk listening to my MP3 
player. "For Crying out Loud", (Meat Loaf), A very good song to feed my prison depression, Next up, "Sixty Years On" by Elton John. I am up, wide awake, just not feeling like sleeping this dark Saturday night. 
The red lights go out, nobody escaped as shown by a good count and the men are free to move about once again. A stream of inmates loudly head back towards the TV room. A complete disregard to the inmates trying to sleep. Always so noisy. 


Even as the voices of the men die off as they fall to sleep, we have the constant noise of an industrial fan blowing down the corridor. Really is a blessing, this background noise, as it cancels out the snoring, farting and the toilet flushing that would be heard otherwise. Just last night, in another living area of the compound, an inmate was dragged out of bed because of his snoring. Both the snorer and the violator are now in the SHU - Special Housing Unit. 


As I sit writing this, my MP3 starts playing "If I love You" from the old musical "Carousel". This classic brings back memories of my late father. I remember watching the black and white movie with him and I remember my dad wiping his eyes with his handkerchief while watching and listening to this being played out on TV. As I think back, I don't remember my father being all 
that emotional. Some how that memory stands out. Since then, the music and story of 'Carousel' has always affected me. A  
story of a man, Billy if I remember right, in love with a beautiful woman, then taken away (died) by making very bad choices. Then in the "after life", heaven?, overwhelmed and worried about a daughter from the brief but intense love affair. 


I have to count my blessings. I have had the hard emotional love affair in my past life, and I now have two young children who are growing up estranged from me, their father. While this prison may take away my freedom, for awhile anyway, my past 
memories remain. Escaping through dreams allow me to relive my past. The loves of my past. I even feel the flutter in my stomach, and experience the endless thoughts deep in my dreams. Perhaps my dreams are tied to the music I listen to? I feel at ease with my music as I drift back into time. Drifting back, riding home on my fishing boat the 'Kaye-D', the hold full of grouper, as I listen to the Moody Blues. I can close my eyes and feel it now, 20 miles off the west coast of Florida, breezy, wind ten to fifteen knots with choppy waters. Yet peaceful as the boat rides 'heavy' towards Cortez Florida, “Nights in White Satin” playing as the crew sleeps and I keep watch. The glow of city lights seen some twenty-five miles from the shore as the boat moves forward. I drift 
to other nights. Staring up at the Milky Way stretching across the sky as seen from the foredeck of a motor yacht while anchored behind some cay in the Abacos. Or the sound of the wind in the sails and rigging, as the water slaps the hull on a dark night, leaving a phosphorus wake somewhere in the Caribbean. 


So I have been listening tonight as I write when a song called "Photograph" starts playing. I quit writing. Many times tonight, I sit with my eyes closed listening. Oh what a great song by a new to me song writer Ed Sheeran. I do not have many new artists on my MP3. In my opinion, this young man is a great story-teller, musician. I think of what I lost. Sitting upon my upper bunk 'K02-oB2U', listening 
to late night music, I again drift back, returning to my leather easy chair at my home in Florida. Bose surround sound, lights off, when my beautiful (ex) wife coming out asking "aren't you coming to bed?" Damn, what a fool I was. Only in my dreams will she ever whisper those words to me again. And I pray that in those dreams, I recognize how much she loves me, and return with 
her to bed. Damn, what a stupid man I was, loosing all that life. 


Now I must pray that she is able to find another man that will appreciate her love. I wish her to be able to laugh and smile with my children, to be happy once again. Just perhaps, she will soon be happy with someone that deserves her. Another chapter of life - or perhaps a whole new book. 

It is now past 1:00 am. I have been rambling along as if I have been drinking. I haven't. But I have wondering why I even write, for whom? I guess,no, I hope that some other person will capture this 'message in a bottle'. A message that I toss into the waters of the internet. I say to who-ever, realize that life is too short. Think about all we take for granted, and how quickly it can all change. Seems that the world is a mess. So much is out of your own control. Be conscious of what is in your control and choose wisely. As you embrace those who you love, whisper in their ear how much you truly love them. 


Until then, let me tell you something. Prison Sucks!" 
Captain Shipwrecked. 

 

 

Be careful of what you ask for!

Late September, 2015

Back in my days of boating, I thought about finding a new boat to captain because I thought I was only seeing a small group of people. Of course I had a great job, traveling and all, but for some dumb reason I thought I was not meeting enough new people. When I looked around for another job and was asked why, I replied, "I want to meet new people." I now realized I was  trying to run away from myself, and not others. What I really needed was to seek counseling about an addiction that was making my life miserable.

The wise man I once worked for told me, "captain, be careful what you ask for." Wiser words can not be said. Be careful of what you ask. I am now meeting lots of new peopleI believe that there are two types of inmates in this low security facility. There are real criminals, and then there are those who just made a bad mistake in judgment, bad choices.

Criminals are the ones that are comfortable here. This isn't their first rodeo and most likely won't be their last. They believe in the 'shot caller' system, a system headed up with 'enforcers'. They only know how to resort with threats of violence. Controllers of others as they believe that fear equals respect. Thugs, they knowingly broke the law for profit, taking advantage of the weak, all for their own self-greed. Respect for nobody but their own kind. These seasoned criminals control the inmate TVs, seating in the TV rooms, stealing from the commissaries and food service, always making a hustle.

Just last week during the Presidential debates, I was accosted by two big Latino thugs, 'shot callers', all because I was sitting in a plastic chair turned towards the one TV airing the debate. Not bothering anyone, other than I was in the area the Latinos controlled. It is all about control in prison; not only from the prison staff, but also from the professional thugs. I stood my ground, and was shoved around a bit. I was mad as hell .... for awhile.

Later I realized that these scum are not even worth bothering about. Why argue with these men who have no respct for anyone. It is not worth losing 'good time'. The other group of men in here is quite different. I fall into .this group. Most are first time offenders. They show respect to others. Most will never re-offend; after all, they really are  not criminals that had any intent of defrauding or harming anyone.

Society often fails to realize that there are first time offenders serving time much greater than many 'professionalthugsThe belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty isno longer true. The fact is this whole concept innocent until proven guilty is now wrong! The Federal government now boasts of havinobtained over a 90% conviction rate. Nobody wins over 90 of anything! Society needs to ask questions. It is a fact that if you choose to go to trial and are found guilty, you will serve greater sentence than if you plea out. It becomes a 'risk management' question, "do I want to risk a trial when the government's conviction rate is so high?" It is sad to come to understand that our current justice system is corrupt and broken

Our legislators, whom have an approval rating in the teens, are passing laws to benefit themselves; trying to lift up their own political support.  They enact laws all in an attempt to look 'tough' on crime; mostly in the way of sentencing enhancements that lead to sentences far longer than necessary.

Many first time offenders incarcerated today have no violent offenses. They are serving sentences that are much longer than the identical offense if prosecuted by the state courts. All first time offenders need a break, after all, old dogs can learn new tricks! We have learned our lesson.

Captain Shipwrecked

P.S.: Seek help if you look forward to, and think a lot about online pornography - it can be a dangerous addiction!

 

 

A BIRTHDAY MESSAGE FROM AFAR

June 19, 2015

Dear Son,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, have a great summer!

It was just eight years ago, a great marvelous event
happened on the 25th day of June. Yes, I am talking about the
day that you were born; a special moment of time that made me a
very, very happy father seeing a fine son for the very first
time
. Of course I need to give your beautiful mother thanks for
all she
 did for both of us that day.

Son, please give your mother a giant hug and tell her how
much she means to you
. She tried all the time I have known her,
to be a mother that wants nothing more than to keep you protected
and on the right path
. Let me tell you about those months before
that wonderful day in June.

First of all, your mother was terrific in the way she made
sure she ate all the right foods. She never once drank any
alcoholic type drinks. No beer or even wine. She only drank
plenty of natural juice
. Your mother ate plenty of vegetables and
took vitamins that her doctor advised her to take
. Your mom
never got very bi
g other than her tummy. That last month, she had
a hard time sleepin
g, because of all the jumping around you were
doing inside her
. We both thought you were anxious to get out and
about in this world. Mom's stomach was growing everyday and
seemed like a soccer ball full of
 Mexican jumping beans was being
blown full of air inside her stomach
. Everyday, we both talked
about how strong you must be growing in her tummy
.

At first, we talked about how you were just the size of a
grain of 'arroz
', rice. Then according to a baby book, we knew
that you were the size of a frijole, a bean. Soon we could see
you on the ultra
-sounds, moving and waving at us. Your sister and
I kept waiting to be able to feel you kicking
, while mom had felt
you long before that time. Then it was time for you to come
along
.

 

Your sister was very excited about having a new baby

Brother. When it was time for you to be born, your sister went to
your grandma and aunt
's house just down the street. Your sister
wanted to
 go the hospital, but she was only seven years old at
that time
. She patiently waited until you were born, then she
rushed to the hospital with your grandma and aunt. Soon your
uncle Fred showed up
.

I was so proud when you were born. As the doctor cradled you
in her arms
, your umbilical cord was tied in two spots and I
carefull
y cut the cord, separating you for the first time from
your mom. You were now part of our world. You cried out and were
breathin
g all on your own. I, along with your mother, had tears
streamin
g down our faces. Not because we were sad, but because we
were so happy you were born so strong and healthy
.

That was eight years ago. Son, I want you to know that I
think of you every day. Not once, but several times a day
. As you
continue to
 grow up without me around to help you, my heart aches
for the both of us
. I know so little about you these last four
years. I only kno
w what I can see in your school reports. The
last year at Brentwood, I notice you had some bad experiences and
it seemed that it
 was not a good place for you to be. Your mother
was very smart getting you to your current school
. According to
your report cards
, you seem to like school now. The way that you
adapted to your new school makes me ver
y happy to see how smart
you really are. This last year, your school work was great work!
I'd give you many pats on the back as well as a big hug!
Remember, if you will continue to like school you will be able to
do anything you want
.

Son, as I used to tell your older sister, "Look up!", "Look
all around you
." Son, try to look up at the clouds, notice the
wind, see if you can find the moon
. Learn about our natural
world
. We live in a marvelous place, this mother earth. With you
growin
g up as a little man of eight years, remember that this
n
atural world is the real play ground. Try not to spend too much

 

time playing on a Nintendo, play-station, or watching too much
TV. As I have relearned these five years away from you, spending
time reading books will make you more ready for your future life
and school work. Reading will open up new opportunities for you
where you meet cool people
.

Your sister used to ask me, "Dad when you were little what
about
 .... ?" So let me say that when I was eight, I lived in Cocoa
Beach where I watched rockets blast off and men did the first

'space walks'. Then I watched rocket go to the moon and soon the
pictures of the world looking like a blue marble
 was taken when
men
 were circling the moon. I only imagine what cool new things
will happen as you continue to move forward in you life
. I only
wish I knew what your interest are now, but I can only imagine
that as I la
y in my bunk.

Son Happy Birthday. May you have a great summer. May you
have great dreams and remember one thing, your father loves you
and hopes to one day be there as not only your father, but as a
true friend
.

Love, Your Dad

Captain Shipwrecked 

 

 

Lost Boys

July 30, 2015

Where I grew up in Cocoa Beach Florida, the water was my
world. A
ll my friends and most of the kids in the neighborhood,
spent many summer days upon the waters of the Banana River, Port
Cana
veral and the Atlantic Ocean. Boating, fishing, skiing and
surfing
; it was what we knew and we were invincible. Between the
ages of 12 on up
, our boundaries were not fully adhered to.

On any given summer day, time in my 13 foot Boston-whaler
might ha
ve had me fishing the bridge pilings along the 520
causeway, then to the fender system at the locks leading into
Port Canaveral
. Within hours I might be found drifting live bait
along the buoy line in the shipping channel
. It was on one such
day that I was fishin
g, catching nothing but a small 4 foot
hammerhead, when I got bored and headed north to the shallow
waters of the shoals of Cape Canaveral. All by myself, I practice
my 'rough water' boating surfing the
 2 - 3 foot waves that peaked
up across the shoals when my 40 horse power motor quit
. Like any
kid, I never felt like I was in any danger
. I patiently waited
until I flagged down a boat to tow me back to port. I was late
for dinner
. My mother was worried and had no clue if I was
fishing in the Banana River or where I was
.

Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, most likely felt they were
invincible
. At this time, they are lost at sea somewhere off the
c
oast of Jupiter Florida, a place where I have fished many times.
There is no one to blame for their misadventure. It just
happened
. I pray for comfort for their families.

Our society seems to want to find blame for anything that
goes wrong
. Common sense tells us that sometimes fate plays a
bigger part and things just happen
. The mothers of Austin and
Perry are not to blame
. They are suffering enough without critics
and national news outlets saying things like
 "how can you let a
little 14 year old boy go out in the ocean by himself?" The
simple answer is because they loved their boys
. Perry and Austin
were not little boys
, but Florida kids that grew up around the
water all their lives
. These two boys were much more mature and

 

experienced then people give them credit. During that same
weekend, a man and his boys were adrift for 20 hours off the
coast of South Carolina. They survived, but yet the older father
still could not keep them from ending up in the water in the
first place
. Fate prevailed.

People need to understand early British and American
history
. Then they would realize that boys their age and much
younger have been heavily involved with boats and ships
. Just go
watch the movie 'Master and Commander'. The movie portrays boys
as young as 8 years old, running among the decks of a fighting
war-ship
. In the days of sail, many captains were responsible for
ships and crew by the age of 17
.

Cornelius Vanderbilt, an American mogul, quit school at 11
years of age to work the water front
. By the age of 13 he was
transporting passengers and cargo between Staten Island and Manhattan, across the swift and turbulent Hudson River
. By the time
Vanderbilt was 16, he was captain and owner of his own ferry

boat.

Boys grow up fast around the water. There is not a much
better environment for them than seeing and e
xperiencing mother
nature. Florida
's Mother Nature includes off-shore boating. The
two bo
ys from Jupiter, Florida were experienced boaters. They were
not some city kid that sat at home pla
ying video games.

Austin and Perry could have been my kids. My daughter is
their age, and my son is 9 years old. If I had been home instead
of in this prison over the last five years, she very well could
have been a competent sailor
, able to handle a vessel alone in
the Gulf of Mexico
. My boy would understand tides, winds and
summer time weather
. Yet, no matter how well trained, people of
all ages can make mistakes that cost them dearly
. No matter what
your age is, we all fail at times and that is just the way it is
.
Nobody's fault, things just happen. There is only one lesson in
this tragedy, have a vast respect for the sea
. Perry and Austin
are lost, yet remember their love of the sea
. Rest in peace.

Captain Shipwrecked 

 

Memorial Day Weekend

Then and Now

Sixteen years ago this last Memorial Day weekend, I brought my fiancé to
The United States. The trip was an eighteen hour boat ride, across the Yucatan
Straights, from Cancun Mexico to Key West Florida. That was the best crossing I
ever had. As we checked into customs in Key West, my fiancé was treated with
respect and smiles from both customs and immigration officials. I was married a
month later at the home of my employer and best man.

This last Memorial Day weekend, I shared with 1150 inmates at a federal
prison. It was a sunny day, and the recreation department allowed the inmate
bands to play short sets. The first group was a rap group.

After we checked into customs that afternoon back in 1999, we had lunch at
Turtle Kraals in Key West harbor
. That evening we went to Malory Square,
where the street performers entertained thousands of sun worshipers while the
schooners of past years sailed into the harbor. My fiancé was shy, but I remember
the prettiest and finest smile on her face that first evening in The United States.
She trusted me. After the sun went below the horizon, we started walking back to
the boat, a 58 foot sport-fisherman moored at Conch Harbor Marina. I worked as a
sea captain for a gentleman from Indianapolis.

I captained a boat throughout the Caribbean, from the northern waters of the
Gulf of Mexico, to the Yucatan Straights off Cancun Mexico. The waters off La
Guairá Venezuela, to the North Drop off of S1
. Thomas U.S.V.I. I was doing what
so many wish to do. I was chasing large beautiful fish in cobalt blue waters. My
office was among the flying fish and all the different docks among the ports.

Now I watch the men scattered about listening to the rap artists. I sit in a
nearly empty bleacher inside a fenced in basketball court. I am one of only two
white men seated in the bleachers among ten or so black men. Razor wire tops the
fence even though just on the other side of the fence is the common inmates' yard
where two horse shoe pits are located. Facing south against the wall of the
recreation building is where the band is playing, three white men on instruments
and two black men shouting out rap lyrics. Rapping how they' hate being locked
up', 'hate snitches', 'hate pedophiles', 'hate cops killing their black brothers'
,

 

'Hate the American injustice system'. Their next song tells of their need to be
home to keep their own kids from this prison
 life.

Soon the rappers are finished, and the majority of the blacks drift down
towards the athletic fields, passing through another fence, again topped with razo
r
Wire. Then an older men's group is getting ready to play.

Yesteryear, walking back to the boat, the air was filled with southern rock
music. Bands imitating Jimmy Buffet and Leonard Skyward filled t
he air. The
moon light rippling off the surface of the harbor waters as laughter from a large
mega yacht moved to a slip at the Galleon marina.

The next morning, before heading north with the boat, we had a delicious
breakfast at Pepe's Cafe, located on Carolina Street
. After fresh squeezed orange
juice, French toast and crispy bacon we departed from Key West and began to head
up the west coast of Florida. The pass into Sarasota Bay can be shallow and with
the draft of the yacht needing close 6to six feet of water to pass safely, I plotted a
course to the Venice jetties
.

It was a beautiful day as the vessel cruised up the coast. Water was a clear
emerald green
, flying fish skittering away from the fast hull as we headed north.
schools of mackerel and Bonita were plentiful, slashing the water and chasing bait
fish on the surface. White billowing clouds scattered in the blue sky. We soon
passed a large tower about forty miles north of South West channel, then we
passed Marco Island, Naples, Bonita Beach, Fort Meyers Beach, all eastward. We
got around Boca Grande shipping channel
. As we passed the famous Tarpon
fishing hole in Boca Grande
, I heard that the fishing was going well. Ninety
minutes later I pulled back the throttles as
 I entered through the jetties at Venice
Inlet. The beaches on both sides were crowded as beachcombers searched for the
famous shark teeth of Venice Beach. Fishermen lined the jetties, and as we passed,
more than one had
 fish on his line as indicated from the bending of their fishing
poles. I could even feel the excitement of the people waiting to see what they had
caught
.

The older men's band starts playing. The remaining crowd is mostly the
middle age and older white
 inmates, with a few black and Latinos still mixed in.
The sun is hot and it is easy to see the lobster skin of many men who seem not to
care about sunburn.
 I guess they are too "tough" to worry about it. The band is on

 

vocals, and it is a bit on the low side. One of the singers is a talented song writer,
far different than the music just twenty minutes ago. It sure is an assortment of
men in here
. As the ten minute move will be coming up soon, I decide to go and
fill my insulated cup with ice from the ice machine inside the rec building. Ice
inside the living units is scarce as one ice machine is serving all of central one and
two. I put on my shirt and head back into central one.

I am lying on my bunk, with a noisy fan blowing down the corridor and an
oscillating fan mounted on the wall eight feet away. Far, far away from the
Memorial Weekend of sixteen years past
. From a life of complete freedom,
endless boarders, time
less horizons, and nature's finest sights, I am now locked
behind the barb wire of a low security federal prison. As I lie on my back, I can
hardly
 remember the remaining trip up the intercoastal waterway to the dock in
Sarasota Florida. It was so long ago, 

 

 

 

 

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© Sue Brown