Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 544, November 15, 2009

Life goes on.

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The Care and Feeding of Animals in Prison
(not including inmates and staff)
by prison 'vet' Don Meinshausen

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Many people here in prison comment that it's like Ground Hog Day. Here we are conscious of being shadowed and also that every day is the same. Maybe that is why we have ground hogs here and feed them. Why do inmates feed the ground hogs? While in prison you always want to be friendly with the guy who is making the tunnel. You dig? Some people are always indulging in escapist fantasies and it usually involves petting something cute and fuzzy. This underground culture brings out the beast here. We are living on burrowed time.

Get too close to a ground hog and you get sent to the hole. Young ground hogs are ground piglets. Therefore we think that they are related to the CO's and are treated better. We figure the ground hog has rights. After all where else can our rights go after they take them away from us?

I saw one guy who had been feeding ground hogs for a long time and had gotten one so tame that he was able to persuade it to eat out of his hand and to sit on his lap. I asked him how much a table dance was. I later found out that this guy was in prison for smuggling women from Russia into the USA and so it all made sense (Seriously). Being cute and furry allowing yourself to be petted will get you far, as many women have found out.

It is illegal to feed ground hogs here. Ground hogs might bite you and biting inmates is a prerogative reserved solely to the corrections officers (COs). Groundhogs are not given shots here but neither are CO's. Still the existence of the ground hog and his shadow is somehow proof that one day the winter of prison will be over and the spring of freedom is not far away.

We also have seagulls here. Since we are right next to McGuire Air Force base we believe that they stop here on the way to learn bombing practice. Perhaps the inmates feed the seagulls in order to train them to find targets of opportunity like the warden's car. This is unlikely since seagulls are gray and white similar to the uniforms of the CO's. I think that the seagulls are fed in order to determine whether the prison food is edible. COs are also similar to seagulls in that they also eat the prison food even though they have more options and therefore should know better. Both of them are gull-able. But COs continue to return here every day even though an intelligent prisoner would never return. There is also the idea that since COs are like seagulls that by feeding the seagulls one can also make the COs tame in a form of sympathetic magic. But all they do is hover over us and squawk and grab our food. So rather the seagulls become like COs and shit even more on us. We ask them why we are here and the CO's and the seagulls give us the same screeching non-answer.

Inmates here also feed squirrels. Squirrels are also like COs in that they gather and guard nuts. They jump out at us from trees expecting something from us inmates. All these animals know how to get through the fence but you think after all we feed them that they would help us or even leave this place? There is no way an inmate can get a break here. We're surrounded and get it from all sides. It's like a zoo here and the four-legged animals here just make it more so.

There are even inmates who feed feral cats. These cats are feral in that they are for all to pet. That is why they have lice. It seems natural to give them something since the first place an inmate wants to go to when he gets out of here is a cat house that is fur away from here. We share our fish with cats. Inmates here eat a lot of fish since when we open a package of fish we can remember what a woman smells like. The cats have a right to be here and no one would take them away since they have a claws in their contract. Cats have been known to bite and scratch CO's without inmates teaching them. The cats know they have it better than us inmates; no waiting in line, no work, an occasional pat on the head and no service with a snarl. Maybe it would be nice to be treated like an animal. Occasionally the cats will fight the ground hogs but I know enough to stay out of gang violence in the prison yard. We break it up before the COs come and tell the cats to hide their claws. The animals know enough not to talk, which is more than some inmates know. And they say that animals are dumb.

It is said that vultures come to the yard. I doubt it since lawyers are confined to the visiting room. But they do hover about and carrion.

If I don't see you tomorrow—may I wish you a Happy Ground Hog's Day. And if I don't see you the day after that may I wish you a Happy Ground Hog's Day.

This article was written while Don Meinshausen was in prison. He is the person who organized the draft card burning at the 1969 YAF convention which is regarded as the dramatic beginning of the libertarian movement. He's also a former political prisoner in for 4 years for heretical misinterpretation of the First Amendment and the doctrine of free enterprise (as his old friend and client Robert Anton Wilson put it). The state called it conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and hemp. Unauthorized shamanism. He is currently in desperate need of work and money. Contact him if you have some available! He's looking and ready to move. This is serious inquiry.


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