Saturday, May 2, 2009

MB6 2.0: And Now For Something Completely Different

May 2nd, 2009 – 2.15 PM

AS one of my favorite musicians, Bob Dylan, once said: “for the times, they are a-changin.” It is springtime and since I already clean my “house” with a persistence approaching the ritual, I thought it might be nice to give the old website a sort of Potemkin village spruce-up. I have actually wanted to do this for some time, but other matters seem to always take precedence. As you can see, gone are the days of having to squint in order to read tiny white letters on a pitch-black background. That whole color scheme was my idea, as it sort of fit the stark mood that I wanted to convey with the first iteration of MB6. It fit my humor, in other words, which was understandably dark. I started to get some complaints, however, not long after people started reading this train- wreck. Rather than fix the problem, I made the font even smaller, the black even deeper, and invested heavily in LensCrafters stock. Now that I have made my fortune off the backs of your broken eyeballs, I suppose I can graciously change the color scheme, I kid; in reality, I wanted it changed a while back, but it was more important to me that I not be a bother to my cousin, so it has had to wait until I could get her a little help. And the cavalry has indeed arrived: I would like to publicly thank both Tracey and Tonya (San-Fran Tonya, as I have far, far too many Tanya/Tonya’s in my life currently) for helping me convert the old html site to blog format. I was never comfortable asking my cousin Victoria to do more for me, as she has a life, currently working on her Masters and some variety of hush-hush project for one of the art museums in H-town. I am hoping this format will make the site less of a time-drain for everyone.

Blogging will also unlock some new functions for me. I have always wanted this site to be more media-rich: more photos, videos, links, articles, etc, which can help prove ant particular point I am trying to make. I can now accomplish this, and am currently “seeding” many old entries with additional content. This will include Spanish translations for most, it not all, of the current entries. I would ask all bilingual readers to please keep in mind that many of my literary references or “turns of phrase” only really work in English, and simple do not translate in Spanish. Any translation is, at best, an approximation. (gracias Dorothy para tu apoyo constante!)

For those of you few ur-readers who have been with me from the beginning, back when this site was more exclusive than the Garden of Eden, you will notice that we are reviving the short-lived email alert system. This time around, however, it is all done via RSS feeds, which are far more l33t anyways. If you would like to be informed when there is new content on this site, all you have to do is find the “Follow This Blog” dealie over there in the right-hand column, and click on it. Little magical elves will show up at your place, fix you a nice cup of tea, and fluff your butt pillow to maximize your viewing experience. There is also a slightly less creepy non-elf version, which I highly recommend.

Last but not least, I have authorized Tracey to open up the comments option. I do this with a great deal of trepidation, as I have seen the brutal, nasty core of the pro-death crowd, and I am not sure that they can help themselves from giving me their worthless two-cents. If you have an intelligent thought, either for or against me, that is fine. I’d rather minimize any sycophantic nonsense, if possible, as I am already deeply rooted in my beliefs of how awesome I am, and don’t require any additional ego boosts. (That was sarcasm, by the way…I know that some of you have no concept of the idea, so I thought I would help you out.) What I absolutely want to avoid are the ugly, retrograde, infantile hysterics I see invariably develop on the crime blogs. Both sides start with a few valid points, but then everything devolves into an ugly spectacle where every other word is something that you wouldn’t want your children to hear. Go do that someplace else. I don’t mind criticism, as only a fool believes he is error-free, but if your comments do not contain a certain level of penetrating logic or reason, I will ban you. If we can't all be civil, and I have to spend more than a few minutes being your parents, I will simply turn this car around and shut the comment section down. Please don’t make me regret this. I have a feeling I am going to, as confusing the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. (As always, any comments requiring a response from me need to be directed to me via the mail.)

To paraphrase Horace, I hope this plays well in Corinth. I’m open to suggestions on how to improve the old girl. By my calculations, this site is about 22 months old, about to enter the “terrible two’s” of life. I find this image amusing, as I have some very nasty surprises in store for TDJC coming around the bend. When you trap a man between the gavel and the grave, do you really expect him to just lay down and die? You have made me vicious, this creature who is subletting the space where I used to live. Just because I have chosen to male physical violence anathema in my life does not mean I am not going to get my licks in, in other ways. Watch and see.

As a way of inviting some of you newcomers into my “public privacy” I have a few images for you. As you can imagine, there are not a whole lot of photographs taken from the inside of 12 building. The photos featured below were grabbed from a video which had a very short life online, wherein certain procedures for officers were videotaped for training purposes. If I can ever come across this raw footage again, I will link it here. Until then, these screenshots show a few aspects of my life. There are several which show two officers (wearing gray shirts/pants and black vests) standing in front of a cell. This is what a run looks like on DR. In the video, this is where the officers are asking for the offender to strip naked and pass them all of his clothes, which they inspect via the tiny door set about two feet off the ground. In the next image you can see an inmate (wearing white) bending down to allow himself to be handcuffed from behind. You do this every single time you leave your cell, even to go to the shower. In this particular image, you can also see what our sink/toilet look like, and the narrowness of the room, and the two little window slits in each of the doors. This space is all a DR inmate has to live in, and he spends every moment of his life there, save for the few hours of rec he gets a week. The next few images show the outside rec area, and the inside one. Again, once placed here, he is alone. Finally you see them passing a tray through the bean-chute in the door. I love that photo: the tray is just over flowing with food, and there even appears to be a huge slice of cake over there on the right. Haha, you assholes. Cake. On a totally unrelated note, the food does get much better when the state inspectors do their yearly evaluation. The cleaning crew actually cleans, the paint crew actually paints, and the AC is on. Life is almost bearable, for a few days a year.


Death Row Run at Polunsky

Inspecting an offenders clothing after offender has stripped naked

Being handcuffed from behind before leaving a cell

Having handcuffs removed before outside rec

Inside rec area

Food tray

Full video

Click HERE to read the Amnesty International report
"Too Much Cruelty, Too Little Clemency
- Texas nears 200th execution under current governor"

© Copyright 2009 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker.
All rights reserved.


Ric and Sharon Bruce said...

Well, I don't have much to say in comment form except that I've been following for some time and find your posts fascinating. Thank-you for sharing your life with the world.

As for your fears about people abusing the comment feature goes, I think you may be surprised. Here's hoping!

Rabbi G. said...

Dear Thomas,

I believe that you have a mental illness. I do not say this to insult you. To the contrary, I think that you did what you did not because you are evil - and you are **not** evil - but because your brain doesn't work correctly.

One thing is for sure: it is wrong to kill people who are ill. You should be in a hospital, not a prison. You might have to be in that hospital the rest of your life, but you do not deserve to die.

I hope that your father can convince the state to commute your sentence to life in prison.

God bless you,

Rabbi G.

Dixie said...

Great entry Thomas! I like the new format and the pics. Can't wait to hear more about the "surprises"! Stay positive and keep that wonderful sense of humor. :) Blessings, Dixie

Jen said...

Hello BART I am a friend of San-Fran Tonya as you call her. I'm the person who goes and gets your letters at the PO Box for her. Though you might want to know that she taken a slight turn for the worse but is still fighting. Please keep her in your thoughts.

Every Sailor said...

Excellent, Thomas.

Hello to Rabbi G, and I think you may be on to something. If you knew the sort of stultifying atmosphere of fundamentalist Christian gibberish Thomas was forced to grow up with, you and I would be insane too, were we exposed to it. It seems, though, that when in the tender care of the TDCJ, one receives third rate care both medically, and more recently, psychologically. In case of the latter, it just doesn't do to have a boy scout place a band-aid on a gushing arterial wound.

An Indonesian dog receives better treatment. Shame on you, State of Texas, and shame on you, Supreme Court of the United States for permitting this outrage to continue unchallenged in law.

Keeping this young man caged and abused between, as Thomas himself has written, gavel and grave, is a disgrace to the dignity of your American nation, and an egregious offence to the memory of the men who founded it.

I find it perverse in the extreme that Liberty and a rejection of Tyranny has found it's perfect analogue in Texas Death Row.

Veronica said...

I doubt you will hear of this before I send off a new letter, but it's worth a try. I am moving this weekend, 2000 miles away. I have a new last name and a new address, in a new state. Lets see if they block my letters now, hmm?

Dixie said...

Not a cult following, just a lot of people who value the santity of life and care for others. None of us are in the position to judge others. "Judge not, lest ye be judged." I wonder why you sound so angry. You should channel that anger in a positive manner, such as fighting for basic human rights and dignity for ALL persons.

Steve Molohosky said...


I can not comment to you if I can not get your e-mail. Your comment is great but why with a condemened inmate?

Dixie said...

After reading the book by Thomas' father, I was simply moved to correspond with this young man and get to know him. It has been humbling and my eyes have been opened to many things. Thomas is doing positive things under unbelieveable conditions. I do believe that people can change(he has, according to those who have known him for years). What is particularly compelling for me is the fact that the actual triggerman in this case will be free in 20 years, while Thomas got the death penalty. That is so wrong and I will fight this injustice I have never believed in the death penalty,my reasons: it is not a deterrent, it is the state killing to show that killing is wrong, it is very, very costly as opposed to life in prison, innocents have been executed and I just morally cannot condone it, ever! The prison conditions are such that they kill the convict with years of multiple deprivations and dehumanization long before he is actually executed. We are a better country than that. Most countries and many states have abolished the DP and I will continue to do all that I can toward that end and yes that would include befriending those who truly need friends.

Steve Molohosky said...


Good points again, howevwe sence the death penality supream court cases of the early 70's I think New York and one other state now have excution as a punishment. I am also against excutation, however prisioners should not be allowed to do this. I am sure Thomas has changed however I see a mocking of the criminal justice system which has problems of course. Some of his information is not truthful as I know TDCJ and have worker there. He is only famous because of the stories of his crime. His father who does have some valad points (I have not read the book)could not get the jury to spare his life. I see him as it is said in jailhouse tearms of running game.
He needs to go with honor. Did he really discuss killing his girlfriends parents with her in Mexico? Go With Honor Bart

Steve Molohosky said...


I was looking back at Welcome to Pounsky and It looks like the blog has succomed to the terrible two's Only you can change that or is it too late. I know my spelling is bad I need to get my spell checker.

Go With Honor Bart

Rogelio said...

Hey Bart,

you know I was kinda shocked a bit at the begining, but I'm still glad to hear you are alive. I found your site i think last year but was unable to access it. Anyway, I'm going to start reading it, perhaps is too late, but I still think everything's fine here in Mexico. Hope you don't mind me calling you Bart, unless you would have me calling you Tristen once again dude.

Rogelio (Roger, Sindy's friend in Monterrey, i don't know if you would remember us =S, but i can try, right?)

Exiled said...

I have been aware of your web site almost from the beginning as I saw 48 Hours or something similar which featured your case. I do not sympathise with you personally, being a mother myself I find the concept of being responsible for the death of ones mother and brother beyond my comprehension, but I am sure, your mother would forgive you, as mothers tend to do. I have tried to find the milk of human kindness to emphathise with your plight, however I do not, but I do have compassion for your father and wonder how a parent can bare to lose his only child, even if that child wiped out his family. I continue to read your blogs and any news of you I hear. I live in a country which does not have the death penalty and was brought up in the UK, where the death penalty was abolished before my birth, yet still, I fail to disagree with your sentence.

Paul said...

"If you knew the sort of stultifying atmosphere of fundamentalist Christian gibberish Thomas was forced to grow up with, you and I would be insane too, were we exposed to it."

Every Sailor, what an appalling load of gibberish. This mans family were instrumental in his upbringing. As has been demonstated, his father shows Christian virtues above and beyond anything even the most ardent church-goer would have a right to expect.

Are you saying that they were in some way responsible for their own actual/attempted execution?

Generalisations like this are an insult to thousands of law-abiding Christians who were raised in the same manner.

On another note the third-rate medical care is streets ahead of the care afforded to a great section of the public at large.

Shame on you!