HOW, you ask, can you put freedom in a cage..
Well I was asking myself the same thing, How I could feel FREE while I was a cage...
I took a trip the other day, and it’s been hard do process folks. I was handcuffed with my hands in front of me, I had shackles on my feet, a chain around my waist linking my hands to the shackles in a position where I had to lean over, or I’d trip myself. Okay, do you have the pictures in your mind? I was then placed into the back of a van, which had 2 cages built into it, and I was locked into a cage by myself, the door shut, the bolt shut then pad-locked. So, I’m not only chained like a animal, I’m in a cage smaller then what they would transport a monkey to a Zoo in! BUT I felt free...
Sounds nuts huh??? The news vans only got windows facing the rear, and of course towards the front, so I had to sit and turn myself a little sideways, so I could see the scenery... As we started moving, as the van started to leave the prison unit where I have been caged and housed for 10 years now, my eyes were wide, I was trying to see everything I can. I saw buildings and inmates out working. Then we got to the main road, the van turned, and the drivers hit the gas like they were trying out for a NASCAR team!!! DAMN!!! Look at the trees... Everywhere, there were tall green trees. People were driving to work, and we were rocketing along towards Huntsville Texas... The screwy thing is, usually guys on death row DREAD the ride to Huntsville, since usually when TDC takes death row inmates to Huntsville, the inmates never come back... But today I was only going to get my eyes checked, so I could breath and enjoy the free world..
It only took us about 45 minutes, thanks to the generous gas pedal the driver used. This wasn’t the first time I’d made this trip, and I was wondering if I’d have the same feelings. I DID... I loved the drive. Even though I was caged like a beast, I felt free. FREE... That is a four-letter word that can describe a thousand feelings. But, I was also confused... HOW COULD I feel free, I was in a cage with chains... The thoughts kept swirling around my head, even as I tried to soak in all the images passing before my eyes. I LOVE cars, trucks, and motorcycles, so I was checking out everything I could see... Seeing them in real life is so much different from seeing them in magazines!!
Alright, let’s fast-forward thru all the crazy strip-searching, it’s enough for me to say that TDC is crazy now since a stunt earlier last year put egg on their face.. So, now we’re on our way back and I am talking with the old school cat I’d taken the trip with. This is a old-timer I’ve known for 9 years at least, and who I actually talk to. People, who know me, I don’t talk to a lot of guys here on the row... So I was happy I got to take the trip with someone I am cool with and could enjoy the ride with...
Now we’re speeding back, headed back to the unit where I will be placed once more in my usual cage, where I will not see the free world again until at least 2 years, the next time I am able to put in for a new eye exam... I’m headed back to the hell-on-earth- that TDC calls Death Row. I’m headed back to a place where we are treated worse then animals in a zoo, where we are fed food that most people would not feed their dog, where we are housed in cages that leak water, that drive guys to cutting them self, hell these cells even drove a man into plucking out his one good eye and eating it! I’m not tripping, it happened on death row in 2009. Well, maybe 2008, we do lose track of time, but, it happened!!
So, we’re on our way back and I’m talking shit with the old-timer and just trying to soak in as much of this free world as I can... When I realized something... I was uncomfortable... I could almost look forward to getting back into the death row building... So, I got a little quiet and tried to fit these thoughts into something I was able to understand...
So we’re on our way back, my mind is going nuts... I started to realize what it was, it was the free world. I’d been locked up in this damn concrete jungle for so long, that I had started to feel like this was my "world". That meant that, being on the road, even in a cage, made me feel like I was out of place... When this understanding dawned on me, I hated myself. How the HELL could I feel more comfortable in a cage while driving down the road? I’m sure there’s some head doctor out there that probably has some big words to explain it, but for a simple guy like me, all I could think of was... SHIT! I felt like I was one of those stereo-typed convicts Hollywood puts in their movies that after doing so much time in prison, they can not handle the free world.
I was in a cage. I was feeling free despite the chains. And I felt like the sky was going to crush me because I was out of my world... As I said, these cells drive folks crazy!
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