30 April 06
Hostage Situation (Part 1)
4:15pm “Surprise cell inspection,” Officer Rivero said, entering my cell.
“Uh-oh,” I replied, acting surprised, although I’d heard him say the same thing to my neighbours, giving me just enough time to chuck the clutter on the countertops into the drawers.
“It’s quite clean in here,” he said.
He ticked my name on his clipboard, and continued down the run.
4:25pm Officer Rivero sprinted across the rec area and out of Yard 4 into Yard 2. Numerous officers from all directions were running toward Yard 2. I assumed there had been a fight or an assault on a guard.
5:40pm Kitchen workers, ordered to return to their cells, were yelling:
“We’ve got another hostage situation!”
“A hostage has been taken on Yard 2!”
My heart sank. A previous hostage situation at Buckeye had lasted for fifteen days, making it the longest prison hostage standoff in US history. On January 18th 2004, two prisoners – Steven Coy and Ricky Wassenaar – took a male and female guard hostage in the guard tower, where the female was raped. During the crisis, inmates were not allowed out of their cells, and didn’t get food for several days.
My dad and sister have travelled so far to see me, I thought. Unless there’s a swift resolution to this situation, I might not get to see them. How will they feel if they are turned away tomorrow?
6:05pm Guards amassed on Yard 2, and put ladders up to the roof.
6:25pm Why's this got to happen right now? How soon before everything is back to normal? Calm down. There’s absolutely nothing I can do. What’s going to happen is going to happen. And what about the person who’s been taken hostage? How do you think he or she feels right now? A person’s life is on the line. I feel sick. Stop pacing the cell and go back to reading.
6:34pm Strategic Response Team (SRT) members arrived at Yard 2 in flatbed trucks.
6:35pm SRT members marched into Building 2. Yard 2 had begun to look like a scene from a war movie.
6:37pm More SRT arrived.
6:43pm A floodlight was shone over Building 2, lasting ten seconds.
6:46pm Another truckload of SRT arrived.
6:54pm The setting sun turned the mountain behind Building 2 pink, adding to the surrealism. SRT members extracted equipment from the trucks.
8:00pm Darkness. Bats swooped around the yard lights catching moths. Another truckload of SRT members passed by.
8:47pm “Are you a regular or a diet?” asked a guard at the door.
“Diet. I’m a lacto,” I said.
“We’re serving regulars right now, but I gotcha,” he said – meaning he may or may not be back with my food at some hour of the night.
9:15pm I ate peanut butter and crackers as I didn’t fancy staying awake for black beans and mashed potatoes.
9:30pm Shoved wet toilet paper in my ears and went to bed – still worried about the visits.
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