"Hypocrisy - n. behavior in which a person pretends to have higher standards than is the case. Origin Greek " hupokrisis", " acting of a theatrical part." ( Source: Oxford Dictionary of Current English fourth ed.)
That is what hypocrisy is, when we act like we hold to an ethic we really don`t practice. How often do we see it in here?
How about when we see a bully on the wing take something from a little guy and gloat about it?
Then he gets shaken down by the officers and cries to high heaven about the injustice of them taking something he wasn`t even supposed to have. He wants his rights to private property respected, but he doesn`t respect that with others` valuables. Why?
The hypocrisy we have all seen in here like that - about rights - has gotten on all our nerves at least once or twice. Let me put emphasis on us in white for a moment, because how we acted is how we got here. To make it simple, when you violate others` rights, you forfeit your own. That`s why we`re in prison - we`ve all done this to some degree. Many of us still don`t get it.
Why are these rights to be respected?
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
We have all heard of these rights. Why do we have them?
Most prisoners - myself included for a while - really don`t know. As I`ve found out, they are necessary for people to live and thrive in a fee society. Prison culture has predictably and ignorantly reversed them.
Life is the essential right. Human life is of irreplaceable value, each one percious and unique. But in the prison culture, many think a human`s life is worthless and have the skulls, demons and degraded imagery tattooed on them to prove it. " A dozen livers for a dime." is the view.
Liberty is the freedom to say what you will ( as long as you aren`t threatening others) and think what you want. These two freedoms lead to critical analyses, discussions and innovations. They make life better by making it more open to reason. But in prison, certain tyrannical inmates want to silence others if the person says something the other doesn`t like. He displays his wounded pride and in the name of respect, he is ready to fight`.
Can`t he use words to deal with it like a rational person?
The pursuit of happiness, as I understand it, is the right to follow the work you enjoy, to earn the values you need to live and to achieve happiness by reaching your goals. But inside these walls, some think being a "jacker" is a legitimate job. Let`s be real; being a robber isn`t a real job. If you think it is, then your rights will continue to be taken away.
If we can think, use our hands and produce goods, then why do we have a robber attitude when it comes to other people`s things - things others have worked hard for?
I know rights are limited these days - especially in prison. We need to understand that these rights stem from aspects of human nature; from man as a thinking, feeling, productive human being. The founding fathers of our country thought them so obvious that they called them "self-evident" in the Declaration of Independence.
We need to stop being hypocrites and respect the rights of other people. Forget the prison culture because, if we don`t we will continue to sabotage ourselves. We need to flush the " survival of the fittest" mentality, and then maybe we won`t come back.
We aren`t living in the Old West anymore, despite ow much I`ve heard about the desire to return to it.
We don`t live in a society of men forming gangs for mutual protection, of lynch-mob justice or six-gun showdowns in the street at high noon.
We live in a society of individual rights and freedoms that deserve to be respected.
Fact-based courts should pass judgement and settle disputes instead of fists and gun muzzles.
Let`s face reality: we must respect each other`s rights.
Regardless of whether it is a big, strong warrior, a physically weak guy, a woman or a child, we all have the right to live free. If you can`t agree with that, for whatever reason, you`ll hear the iron doors slam.
Don`t ask yourself, "Why?" because you know why...
Mitchel Mavoides, Robertson Unit,
The Echo Prison Newspaper...September 2011