There was a parole, or maybe a commutation, today at the Zerega Ave Rubber Room.
As mentioned the other day, Rudy Baylor as reported here on Monday, received a new suit, a bus ticket and a ride to the deep end of the ATR pool courtesy of our friends at the DOE. We all bade him a fond farewell, wished him the best and went back to waiting. And waiting, and waiting for whatever fate awaits us.
Now there are 11 of us left. Coincidentally, we are all, we the exception of one (Who happens to be on the cusp of 40), over the age of 40. The vast majority are male and/or of color. But all of us share a few similarities. We are independent of mind and counting the days.
Two weeks ago I wrote about Tito Landrum and how OSI came for him. The poor guy has his meeting just a few days ago and he has been a wreck. He is walking around the last few days in a fog, just in shock. Almost 20 years in the system and it can all go down the toilet because anything a child says is gospel and teachers are deemed guilty unless they have the fight in them to prove themselves innocent after being kicked in the face for months.
Last year I wrote about my lack of human contact where I was assigned. In some ways that was better than I have it now. In a surreal way the Rubber Room at Zerega Ave resembles, rather is, Death Row. Death and doom are all around me. At least at 4360 Broadway I could create my own fantastical world.
That's what it's like. We sit around day after day, week after week and so on and wonder when our doom is coming or if will we get a last minute call to save us. Worse, we sit there wondering if this is all some kind of dream that we can't yet wake ourselves out of.
We are in a large lunchroom with is akin to the day room in the pod on Death Row. A dozen people who didn't know one another before thrown into this Kafkaesque rabbit hole sit there and do nothing other than read the paper, read a book, sleep, or dream of a better place for themselves.
Since there are about a half dozen networks at Zerega and 3 district offices the building is always buzzing. People (As it is their right), come in and out of the lunchroom we are confined to mostly polite to us but mostly ignored, as if they can catch what we have; DOE Cooties.
The DOE wants to break us, destroy us, and be rid of us. The only difference between the Rubber Room and Gitmo is that the prisoners of Gitmo are treated with more respect and have better accommodations. We get what? A hard plastic chair that is not made to be sat in for nearly seven hours and a hard dirty table.
And like Gitmo, the longer we are held without knowing why or having our cases adjudicated, one becomes more radical in their thinking and more resentful to those responsible for their imprisonment.
Dignity and respect go without saying, but sadly it is going without.
Amnesty International, where are you guys?