Bad Willie


We’re sitting in treatment in a windowless room, when all hell breaks loose.  We know the clouds were darker than usual when we came here.  The chemical dependency building is about 150 feet away from the barracks.  We march over.

It sounds as if a million woodpeckers are searching the corrugated metal roof for their dinner.  It’s deafening.  I know it’s a hail storm, but others don’t because they can’t see it.

Our counselor leaves the room briefly and comes right back, to tell us we can go look outside.  And what I see is cool as hell.  The ground is covered in what looks like those 1 cent white mint-flavored gum balls and golf balls.  The ground is being bombarded by these in the millions.  It’s been only two minutes since I heard the first one hit the roof, and already they’re three inches deep.

Accompanying the hail is a rain so heavy that it, too, appears white and forms a wall that blocks our view of everything else.  It’s beautiful.  I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

Ten minutes later…heavy rain continues.  Something tells me I’m going to be very busy tomorrow on Restorative Justice Work Crew.  If there’s any damage from the storm such as downed trees or even flooding, we’ll be there to clear debris, make sandbags, and do whatever else we can to help.  I’ll write more after treatment.  (Treatment is really boring today.)

Back in the barracks.  I can see out of a window again!

The sun is out, the ground is still covered with hail, but it’s melting and creating fog, so it looks like the hail is slowly crawling its way back up to the clouds.

The hailstorm nearly wiped out our entire crop.  Over four acres, no, maybe six acres…dang.  I don’t recall.  But it destroyed a lot of organic matter.  It also caused some minor flooding in Willow River so today myself and eight others swept and shoveled all of the sand and dirt left on Main Street.  Six hours of sand removal.  Ugh.

It was another exhausting day.  As it turned out, wet sand is just as heavy as cement.  Who knew.  I’m happy that this day is over.  69 days and a wake up.

[ANNE: There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Obama’s clemency program.  As of this writing, he has commuted the sentences of 68 prisoners, some of whom had been sentenced to life in prison for nonviolent drug offenses.

As I understand it, the program is only available to federal prisoners.  I don’t know the total pool of prisoners who were eligible, but 30,000 applied.  So 68 were granted clemency out of 30,000…and that doesn’t take into account prisoners like Vince, who are not federal prisoners.

Well, the intention is good, and it’s a start and just one part of the overall momentum to reform drug and sentencing laws.

What they are really afraid of on the Democratic side is another Willie Horton.  He’s the prisoner who was furloughed for a weekend while serving a life sentence for murder.  He decided to spend his weekend committing assault, armed robbery, and rape.  The incident torpedoed the presidential campaign of Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.  Such an incident couldn’t be pinned on Hillary Clinton, but it would feed into the Republican narrative that Democrats are weak, and soft on crime.

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