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7 novembre 2014 5 07 /11 /novembre /2014 16:10

Death row is not the most ideal place to spend the rest of your life. Years of waiting. Years of not knowing, when or if, the time will come when a large needle will be placed into your arm. The last thing you see is a blank ceiling, as you lay on your back, wondering what it will feel like when that first drug is pumped into your body. Strapped down by numerous belts, unable to move, not even to scratch an itch. Mouth dry, alone with your thoughts, knowing your life will come to an unwilling finality. At least, you tell yourself, all that mental turmoil and stress, and especially the waiting, will come to an end!  No more  hoping your execution will never be carried out. An execution now being carried out by people whom care less about you, than discarded trash!


Could anyone imagine, when they were young, that they would find themselves in a state sanctioned death chamber? As a man, who has been on death row for over 30 years, I have asked myself this question many times, too numerous to remember. Upon arriving on death row, I could not accept the fact that I had been sentenced to die. But, within a few weeks, you begin to realize that the unreal, may become reality. That death is a cell you wake up in every morning. You cannot leave it, turn your back on it, or close your eyes to keep it from staring back at you!


Men, whom cannot adjust to a death sentence hanging over them like Democles sword, go on to commit suicide. Others struggle with it, and grow old before their time. Still, there are some men whom take it in stride because they do not know any better! I know this because I have seen it happen every year.


Of course, no one really knows what goes on in the mind of a condemned man. The constant, mental struggle to wait out one more day! Freedom is but a dream! Living on memories of when you could walk down a street, wearing no chains, and not worrying about being shot! Shot by a prison guard who has no qualms about taking your life!


All of these thoughts, emotions, doubts, fears and restrictions, are mixed together into a cold reality that freezes you into a stagnant state of limbo! Never mind any good deeds you may have performed in your life. They carry no weight on death row. Society considers you condemned to death, a monster, and whose life is not worthy of any second thoughts!


Like I have indicated, death row is not a place to spend the rest of your life. Especially, if you consider yourself to be of some worth. I write these words from experience. A lot of experience! Experience brings wisdom, and a lot of hindsight. But, being on death row, wisdom and hindsight can only help in bringing one, a small amout of personal punishment.


I cannot stress enough the moral need to abolish the death penalty. Sanctioned executions are forms of sanctioned revenge! Masochistic behavior by civilized society! However, an executed man's conscience, ends with his death!


Fernando E. Caro

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25 septembre 2014 4 25 /09 /septembre /2014 19:17


Voici le dernier article que Fernando a écrit :

If you want to understand people, listen to what they say. If you listen long enough, you will know what they value most. When you share life-changing moments, you touch other people profoundly.


What we say defines us. Certainly, much of what I say comes from experience. It is also fueled by being able to imagine. Relying on magic for things to happen in my favor, is folly.

Not being out there in the real world, I can only imagine what my life would have been. Asit is, my life revolves around day-to-day living on death row.


What I say reflects much of what I have experienced, in here. Only my undiscarded sense of moralty bonds me to what I was taught growing up. Longing and nostalgia color my imagination. In a place like this, a little bit of « what if » can make the difference between feeling melancholy, or moving on.


Surviving is not enough, on death row. One needs to maintain sanity and self-respect. To be conscious of the fact that, to lose your moral values, is to become insticinctal! Living like an animal that reacts! Instead of being able to seek compromise and solutions, it leads to despair!


Humans are adaptive, and change can be benefical. We are capable of making our own choices. The wrong choices can cost us our sense of responsability. Fortunately, my sense of responsabolity is intact. When I give my word, I keep it!


How does one survive on death row without a sense of responsability or morality? One gets shot or thrown into solitary confinement away from others. This has happened here before! Sometimes, the mind-set of a death row prisoner cannot adapt. Are they hopeless cases? I do not know. They are, however, human beings and their lives are as valuable as everyone else's!


All of us on death row dream of walking out the front gate, and leaving hell behind. I have imagined this myself many times. What I cannot imagine is how I would « feel »! That, eludes me everytime.


No-nonsense reality keeps me from stepping over the line into fantasy. It is best to rely on what I can see, and use my imagination to comfort my psyche!



Fernando Eros Caro,

July 2014

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 19:22

Living out in the countryside, with not much to do in the summer, I often ventured out into the fields and brushland. Usually along the rivers created by run-off water from irrigated fields.


One warm, summer night, I decided to camp out near one of these rivers, just for the experience. There grew a lot of thick brush on both sides, and in certain places a clump of trees. You really cannot call them rivers, they were more waterways formed to drain off pesticides saturated water into the Salten Sea.


It was getting close to sunset when I picked a spot among some trees. The trees were not tall, nor big. They did form a sort of ring around my camp-site. It was a small clearing, a stone's throw from the water. Because of the brush, I could not see the water, but I could hear it rippling, flowing. I laid out my bed-roll and settled in for the night.


The sun had gone down, and the summer sky began to sparkle like dew-drops on a web. A breeze came up and the tops of the trees swayed and parted. I wondered to myself, "Were the trees opening up so I could see more twinkling stars? Or, were the stars reaching down and parting the tree-tops to look at me?"


About the same time, I heard a yelp! It came from the direction of the river. It was a coyote, for I had heard that peculiar bark many times before. Then there came a second yelp, joined in by several other yelps. The yelps turned into a chorus and seemed almost musical. It was from several coyotes, probably prowling the underbrush looking for prey, mice mostly. They knew I was there, in the dark, letting me known that they knew. They just did not know what I was.


I was not frightened. I welcomed their greeting, and their brief visit, as they continued on their own night venture. The encounter was in passing, yet I knew I would not be alone at any time during the night.


One does tend to bond with one's surroundings. The darkness usually brings fear to some people. But, fear is only an imagination of one's own lack of self-confidence.


As I laid there, listening to the soft murmurs of the water, and the gentle rustling of the tree-tops, I questioned my reasons for doing this. As I drifted off, the wind of my ancestors swirled gently in my mind. Telling me that everything in the universe are one and the same.


Fernando Eros Caro

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26 février 2012 7 26 /02 /février /2012 11:12

Prison is one part of my life I thought I would never experience. Never gave a prison a second thought, let alone what kind of life exists inside. That is, until I was sent here to San Quentin! And, spending the last 30 years wondering what it would be like to live outside of this prison.


It takes time to adjust to a life far different than that of liberty. The freedom of movement, the ability to venture anywhere without restraints. For some, adjusting to prison is quick, they have grown up being raised by the state. For others, it takes longer, a year or more. Some do not adjust at all, they die mentally or physically.


When I first came here I was 32 years old. All I saw around me were condemned men, easily prone to violence, murderers!

Some with no idea what morals were. No sense of responsability, and with a warped sense of respect.


In those first 10-15 years I met violence with violence! Either I succumbed to a beating and/or death, or I defended myself. Prisons are not rose gardens. Even those whom have found religion, are prone to violence. Their god or deity will not protect them from an attack! The air of violence is thick inside prison walls, like a gas waiting for a spark. And, high up on those prison walls are guards with weapons, waiting to use them!


Prison is supposed to be a place of rehabilitation. Executioners say that the only rehabilitation that exists is death. Is it any wonder that men leave prisons with anger, fear, and more anger?! All those negative emotions and no way of cancelling them out.


I have always said that there are two sides to a coin. In every tragedy or disappointment, there is a positive side. You just need to make time to look for it. At times, I felt that my last 30 years were lost, misspent, a waste! True, facing a death sentence discourages one from being positive. Seeing a man go to his death makes that light at the end of the tunnel flicker, and almost go out! But, it does not extinguished!!


Whether that flicker of light goes out or not, depends on the strength of one's character. I must confess, that tiny light was oblivious to me for some time. But, I dug down deep inside myself and said, "Enough"! If I cannot make that tiny light bigger, I can at least try and make the tunnel bigger so I can get to that light!


Hope and age, play a part in one's survival. Time matures one's mind, brings wisdom, and in turn teaches common sense. Common sense, the sense of right and wrong, to use life's experiences for problem solving rather than using brute force!


To keep anger from building up inside of you, when offended by someone or something, is a test of your character. "This", is the other side of my 30-year old coin!


Fernando Caro, 2011.

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22 février 2012 3 22 /02 /février /2012 11:05

In the State of California, San Quentin State Prison is where men, condemned to death, are sent and kept for their execution. An ex-warden, who woked here at San Quentin Prison, was a woman. She was warden during four of the executions that were carried out in this prison.


Before each execution, she would ask herself if killing this man would make this world safer. She answered to herself, "No".

It does not work, it is not a deterrent to crime. Nor, is it justice carried out swiftly. It takes years, often more than 20 years, for a man's appeal to be exhausted and maybe given an execution date. Some men do get a favorable decision in their appeal, and are never executed.


The death penalty was re-instated in California in 1977. Since then, only thirteen men have been executed. The first one died in a gas chamber. The rest, by lethal injection. And still, hundreds of men on death row wait, and wait, and wait!


It has been very costly for the State of California to maintain capital punishment. California has already spent billions of dollars just to execute thirteen men. And, the cost is expected to rise.


The cost in humanitarium terms has never been estimated. The family members of the condemned men have to deal with the emotional stress of having someone on death row. Wondering, year after year, whether he will live or die!


In some States that have the death penalty, some condemned men were found to be innocent. Some, who have already been executed, were also found to be innocent. Because of these reasons, some states governments have eliminated the death penalty. Others are considering it. Yet, the complete elimination of the death penalty is not certain. It is just an idea. As long as the death penalty is on the books, it will be carried out!


I have been on death row now going on 30 years. A long time! A long time of not being able to plan for any future, because I do not know if I will live long enough to live out those plans.


The death penalty exists because some people say it is the law. But, in reality, it exists as a form of revenge by the victim's families, and for politicians to use for political gain. Politicians do not care whether a man is executed or not. He just wants to make sure that he is kept in office!


The death penalty was vigorously encouraged and supported years ago. Now, it is just "there". It should be eliminated, so that we can all get back some of our humanity.


Fernando Caro.

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15 septembre 2009 2 15 /09 /septembre /2009 17:05

Perhaps because of too many years on death row, I have been comfortable with seeing myself as a lost cause. It is so easy to ignore my problems, and the problems of the outside world, by simply withdrawing into my small prison cell and make up selfish reasons to deny any guilt feelings. To try and convince myslef that I am sane, and the world is crazy.

In reality, humans are not crazy. We all have our own paths to walk, and we walk them as best we can. Naturally, all humans are a bit aggressive. Aggressiveness is a form of survival. Unless of course, a person is beaten physically and/or emotion­ally into submissiveness at a very young age.

I believe that throughout history, as a species, we all joined together in a vast social network, not to spread peace and light, but to create a higher power to keep us from killir.g each cthér. Of course, this has not always worked! Which leads me to believe that there is no higher power.

Yet, we continue to exist, despite ourselves. The soul refuses to die. Because of our egos, we place more value on our souls.

How often does a person even think of one's soul? Only when it is in jeopardy? Everytime we make a decision? Or, do we even care about our souls? Have we become so complacent that we com­pletely ignore our own souls?

No, if the soul was only an object, then we would just be an object. Statues with pigeon-shit all over.

Sot I sit in my cell, and during moments of focus, I understand my own value. People are not all crazy and the world is not all bad! And, that life is worth getting involved in!

Just keep moving forward in your lives. This way, you do not need to worry about pigeons!

Fernando Caro

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9 juin 2009 2 09 /06 /juin /2009 17:55
Voici une lettre bouleversante de Fernando qui date du mois de mai 2009. Fernando a accepté que je la publie. Nous vous la livrons dans sa version intégrale, non traduite. Nous la traduirons dès que possible :

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