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I am standing in a sterile white staring defiantly into a camera, and maybe if I can look into it hard enough then maybe I’ll scare the photographer. That pesky photographer. He takes my picture every time I wind up in this silly “detention center,” you think he’d just reuse my photograph from last week. I can’t stand him. The way he peers into his photographing device. It drives me insane to be in here for no practical reason! I am not a criminal. I am not a criminal. I didn’t do anything wrong. The photographer hands me a metal slate with the sequence “LM2345-56” written on it. This sequence to them is who I am. Turn to the left he says and now to the right. Turn the other way... All I want to do is scream, “Do you want me to turn myself about as well? Like in the Hokey-Pokey?” That would really make ‘em furious. Maybe I should try it...
Next my clothes are taken, and I am forced into a hideous, horizontally striped jumpsuit. It is extremely uncomfortable. As soon as I zip up the jumpsuit, I am a lower species then my guards. They treat me like a piece of chewed gum that is stuck to the bottom of their shoe. I am not a human or even an animal. I am a “non-essential” to today’s growing and thriving society. The government wants to stamp my self worth right out of me. Then they want to mold me into a “useful” machine to keep our economy afloat no matter the costs. The less than 2% of our country is trying to decide if we can buy an apple or if my calculus examination will at nine am or ten am on Monday of this week or Tuesday of the next. This less than 2% believe they are an elite force of nature given the divine right to rule us, order us around and expect us to obey like mindless zombies.
As I walk down this bleak but familiar hall, I am assaulted with whistles and shouts of profanity from behind the bars of the cells I pass on my way to mine. These will be my hall mates for the remainder of the week and maybe the weekend, at least until I start acting like a “civilized” and “patriotic” citizen in their book. They attempt to pull my strings and tell me when and how to think, but I refuse to let them. When they tell me to sit, I stand. If they tell me black, I wear white. I need to stand up for what I think is right and I know their way isn’t one of justice and free will. They preach that we, humans, were created for a divine purpose, to serve, which I completely agree with, but the next part is where they fall off the beaten track. They preach that we are to deny ourselves our own basic needs to help our neighbor. They also say that we may have a divine purpose, but we are far from lovable. We must punish ourselves by thinking that we are evil and that we deserve to suffer.
Screech! My cell door slides open, and I am man handled inside. The two guards stand in my cell for a short moment and then one leaves. I am left alone with a man named “Jeff”, which I know of via his soiled name tag. He looks into my eyes and reaches into his pocket. I think he is going to whip out a electrical baton and start zapping me for the heck of it, but then he pulls out two letters, solemnly hands them to me, spins on his heel, walks out beyond the bars, locks them and then leaves. As soon as he is out of sight I retreat to the dank corner of my mildewy room and look at the blank envelopes trying to see whats inside until I finally build up the courage to open them. The first one is a business type, formal one and the second is a handwritten letter .
The first one reads:
Dear Ms. Rachel M. Cassidy,
Good afternoon. Unfortunately it in my jurisdiction convey the news to you that you have committed treason of the worst nature against our unified nation, individual decisions and thought. In doing this, you have denied a police officer by the name of Jared F. Hob a chance to teach an eight year old female, Margaret Night, a lesson of respect and obedience. By your interference, you implanted the idea in this young innocent mind that the unlawful behavior is an option in this sophisticated union. We are very unhappy to inform you that you will be given a lethal injection on May 1st, 2020, then your body will be burned and sent to your family as a message. Sadly it is by your own twisted belief that has selected this undesirable fate.
The President of the United States of America,
“Plop.Plop.” goes the sink of my cell. The whole world has shrunken down to the size of my cell. Terror clenches around my stomach like an iron band, and bile creeps up my throat out of repulsion that they would “give a lethal injection” to a twenty year old for protecting her younger sister’s “bestest” friend. I don’t cry. I am so infuriated that I can’t cry. It isn’t possible for a human body to hold this much righteous anger and cry. I feel the anger increasing the pressure on my gut, and soon I will turn into a raving lunatic. I shake. I quiver like a leaf in the autumn barely hanging on to its branch, not want to let go no matter how fierce the wind blows.
I open the next letter, and it reads:
What were you thinking, by telling your the police that it is wrong to abuse young children? I never thought I could be more proud of you. You saved that young girl’s life without even stopping to think that it could cost you your own. You were selfless and rose above the threats and the “doctrine” of our evil government. You see the truth in things and that is why I love you so much. I know we haven’t known each other very long, but I believe you are my savior along with our country’s. You believe in fundamental rights and justice. You believe in a righteous, fair judiciary system, and you live for the greater good of the people, but not like our current government thinks you should. People listen to with their hearts and their heads not out of fear. They hear the sound of the truth ringing in your words like church bells at noon, and your ringing truths uncover the diseased and tainted ways our own school teachers tell us this very hour.
Rachel, I promise I won’t let them hurt you. I swear on my honor and my family’s that you will not die for a good deed. You will be celebrated for it instead of degraded. I take an oath as I write this letter to you. You are my Juliet. “You are the sun.” -Shakespeare. As soon as I heard your fate, I knew what I had to do. I knew nothing could keep me from setting you free. I knew nothing could ever restrain me from coming for you, so as you are reading this my plan is certainly already into play. It is a devious one, and I intend to out maneuver everyone by doing the deed least expected, getting arrested. My arrest will be planned though, not as your probably was. But after my arrest I will be lead by Jeff, yes this is the same Jeff that gave you this letter, down your hall to your cell. When you hear us coming, come to the door of your cell and we will get you out of there.
Rachel, do not try anything brave. Please let me be the hero. I need you to get out of there alive for I don’t know what I will do if you perish by way of lethal injection.
Please, I am begging you Rachel.
Now the tears came, they flowed, and I knew without a doubt I would live another week. I would live to think a million more thoughts, and live to share them with Aaron. When the letter was no longer legible, I heard the “Snap. Snap” of two sets of shoes, and I grabbed my letters and inconspicuously meandered over to the cell door. When I looked between the grimy bars, I saw a pair of worried gray eyes, and a warm mop of chocolate hair, and I smiled.