Letters From Prison

In November of 2003, my partner and I cut the lock on a small pedestrian gate leading on the Fort Benning US military installation as an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Fort Benning is home to the notorious School of the Americas, a US training school for Latin American soldiers from whence emerged 12 dictators who seized power through military coups. We knew that we would go to prison for our action.

Below are letters, poems, and communiques from my six months in Terre Haute Federal Prison.

Sentencing Statement

These are the words which I spoke to the judge just before he sentenced me to six months in prison, a year of probation, and a $1000 fine, in 2003.

Your Honor: I am here before you because I violated a law. In front of Fort Benning Georgia I cut a lock and injured federal property.

Letter from Prison | January 5, 2004 | Conversion, Christianity, and Anarchism

I suppose all of you have heard rumor of amazing spiritual forces at work in dark, sardonic me: a Stretch Armstrong, if you will, caught between the forces of good and evil. For those of you who have recognized my divided nature this may come as no surprise. For some, it is a bearded Marx or Kropotkin sitting on the one shoulder in a posture of buddhist peace—the picture of the earthly utopian vision, while upon the other shoulder a horde of televangelists twist and writhe in a heaving mass of snakelike coils and snatch at my rarefied (strictly metaphorical) soul with lizard tongues.

Letter from Prison | November 15, 2003 | Hell in Christianity, Samarai Culture, Buddhism, Daoism, and Prison

For the Buddhist, hell is very tangible. The unenlightened life is hell. Souls continually recirculate through hellish life after life until enlightenment, upon which they escape to a state of oneness, infinite compassion, etc. This infinitely repeated cycle of life, death, and birth is called samsara: the Wheel of Suffering.

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