An Increase In Contempt…

In the Covid Isolation Unit of the prison I’m currently housed in, they are bringing people in everyday who’ve tested positive. With the increase in population comes a higher incident of needs by the elderly, ill and uninformed. All of us were uprooted and shoved into this unfamiliar situation. For some reason though, there’s also an increase in contempt by select staff for all of us.


“I served at the start of that war in Iraq when we had many enemy combatants surrendering.”


I served at the start of that war in Iraq when we had many enemy combatants surrendering. They were often sternly dealt with because they were completely unknown to our forces and had recently been trying to harm us. Even then it was done with a level of compassion in most cases. From one war fighter to another, they were doing their job, too. The rules said to be decent to them. When it wasn’t decent for them, it was made public and leadership heads rolled for it. But this isn’t a war zone and the contempt increases by select staff members are troubling. One is a shining example in particular.

She’s worked the afternoon shift almost everyday we’ve been here. She’s simply a prison guard, no more, but carriers herself as a combatant. I certainly don’t believe she has a military background. She keeps a tightly pulled French braid to the back of her skull and shaves the sides of her head above her ears like a crew cut leading up to the braid. Her prison guard pants are tightly bloused into her privately purchased combat boots and she brags about how much time she takes to spitshine them. She firmly believes she’s somehow a soldier and we are the enemy that she comes to inflict discipline on daily.

“…But it isn’t war, she isn’t a soldier, and we are very much citizens of this country,…”

Of course, even to this trained soldier’s eye, a guard’s job isn’t to “inflict” anything except when ensuring safety. The real task is providing basic human needs. There are no human circumstances to be had from staff to inmate by her and by her demeanor, if she could get away with more, she would. We are simply her interference, or maybe even a conquest, and she let’s us know that. She diligently dresses the part of a warrior, tenaciously wanting the destruction of her enemy. Clearly, she doesn’t know how it works, even for war. You can’t make a situation better through tyranny.

If this were the front lines of a war far from here, if she were a member of the military, and even if we weren’t citizens of the United States, perhaps this high level contention and nasty attitude could be understood as a novice’s approach. But it isn’t war, she isn’t a soldier, and we are very much citizens of this country, all well inside the borders of our state, sent to prison as punishment and not for it. And to the added level of contempt she shows, she’s never reflected that this is a Covid Unit full of the elderly, ill and displaced.

There are no enemies for her here. What it shows is the level of depravity people in power are willing to inflict on the helpless, the infirm, and the wards of the state. Nobody in this place wants to be sick, but treating them with massive disregard and thoughtlessness will do nothing to heal them. More over it’ll do nothing to heal the divide between the errants and the community. Do you want a power hungry, paramilitary vigilante in charge of a nursing home? If you do, you’re just as sick as she is…

by Rory Andes

Abuse comes in many forms. Today it wears polished combat boots…

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