WEEDING OUT THE GENES
The world is what it is: Men who are nothing, who
allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it,
A Bend in the River
I recently had a conversation with another prisoner while waiting
to see the doctor, with a look of dejection, he asked me if I'd
heard anything about the house bill for first—time offenders
serving life without the possibility of probation or parole. I
said no, but added that I believe a prisoner has better odds at
being granted executive clemency--or struck by lightning——than
the Missouri State Senate passing the first—time offenders bill.
Having served twenty years on a life without parole sentence,
the guy expressed his frustration with the judicial system,
enduring three jury trials——one hung jury and two retrials——end
completely exhausting all legal remedies in state and federal
court. Now the only remedy left available to him is executive
Something occurred to me as I listened: although he and I have
had similar experiences with the criminal justice system, we were
molded by the juggernaut differently. Time in the system left
him broken, bitter, and without hope or direction, whereas it
left me strong as an oak tree after a torrential downpour, and
resolute as a young lion eyeing a gazelle.
As human beings, we have become not just survivors but conquerors
over the adversities of life, through the formation of societies.
Society labels winners "winners," losers "losers," the weak "weak,"
and the strong "strong." Rut how does it label the incarcerated?
We are labeled the losers, the weak, the ones with the genes that
did not evolve to become productive members of our communities.
In his book <i>Mastery</i>, Robert Greene writes<blockquote><i>All
of us are born unique. This uniqueness is marked genetically in
our DNA. We are a one-time phenomenon in the universe~—our exact
genetic makeup has never occurred before nor will it ever be
repeated. For all of us, this uniqueness first expresses itself
in childhood through certain primal
inclinations.</i></hlockguote>The misconception is that we, the
incarcerated, are of low intelligence and of little value to
humanity because, instead of evolving, we acted out primitive
instincts of survival, and, by doing so, violated socially
acceptable norms, and destroyed the trust of the people who make
That which doesn't conform must be eradicated. Over time men die,
and their genes die with them. Only replication—-sex—~allows the
genes any hope to escape death. The men who are less capable of
surviving or having sex will be weeded out of the gene pool. A
cost-efficient way to accomplish this goal is by mass
wittingly or unwittingly, public officials subtly went to work,
constructing a genocide through tough—on—crime laws and the
imposition of extreme prison sentences, sentences so long that
the primitive genes of those who did not evolve will eventually
For our genes to survive, we must evolve, attentively cultivating
our primitive instincts into a creative force for the betterment
of ourselves and mankind, developing communication skills for
conflict resolution and effective communication, raising our
self—worth through setting and accomplishing goals, revolutionizing
the criminal justice system from within, and regaining the trust
of the people. hut without society's encouragement and support,
a prisoner's effort to change is futile.
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