FLASHBACK TO YARD 4
The Prison Machiavelli
Two Tonys relates quotes of Machiavelli to prison life
And, above all things, abstain from taking people’s property….
“In the joint you should abstain from takin’ people’s property, 'cause, firstly, you can get hurt, and secondly, it’s not the right thing to do. Readers may be saying', ‘But Two Tonys done robbed, done stole, done conned, and now he’s sayin’ takin’ someone’s Snickers and two bars of soap is wrong,’ so lemmetellyasomethin’: there ain’t nothin’ worse than a jailhouse thief. Also, extortion of property by gang members ain’t right. It’s hard enough in here with the boot of the man, society, on our necks, to then hafta experience man’s inhumanity to fellow man from yer brothers in chains - shit like protection rackets, quid pro quos, I’m gonna give you two boxes of cigarettes a week to handle my problems. Here the strong prey on the weak and the smart take from the strong.”
…it is much more safe to be feared than to be loved….
“Here, bein’ feared can hurt you or can help you. If you’re too feared motherfuckers might wanna take yer out. I whacked a motherfucker outta fear. He scared me, so I had to get there first. There’s a happy medium. Love in prison is a word thrown around a lot, love and respect, wah-wah-wah. If you get right down to it there ain't too many motherfuckers who love yer in these fuckin’ shithouses. You’re pretty much on your own. Respect is a more common emotion – and a form of fear. I respect the Rock outta fear. I’m not gonna pull his moustache and poke him in the eye if I see him in a bar. That’s respect.”
Politics has no relation to morals.
“Prison politics have changed since my first time down in 1980. There was a code. If you were a good person of your race they wouldn’t beat you down and take your shit, they’d show you the ropes, the dos and don’ts. If some ese or black dudes run up on your store bag and say, ‘Whatchu got in there. I’m hungry. Gimme some,' and you’ve got no allies, you’re in big trouble; so, you need six or seven white guys to roll over to prevent a situation. The white guys aren’t supposed to exploit you later on but they do. Politics changed when DOC STG’d [classified as a Security Threat Group] the gang leaders, and sent 'em to SMU. The cons used to run prison. DOC runs it now. The days of the old wise-crackin’ con talkin’ outta the side of his neck are gone.”
…a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.
“That’s so fuckin’ true. When somethin’ bad's goin’ down, you feel it, it’s in the air, you know it’s about to happen. I seen a guy one time they were gettin’ ready to kill. I knew him, and somethin’ told me to warn him but I didn’t do it. They killed him. The virtuous thing to do woulda got my ass killed. You can’t be too virtuous in here. If I see a guy comin’ outta a cell with some jabroni’s TV that I don’t give a fuck about, I’m not gonna get involved. If it’s a partner’s TV, yeah, fuck, let’s get it back. In society you see your neighbours house gettin’ robbed and you call the cops. In here that’s a no-no.”
For men are so simple… that the deceiver will never lack dupes.
“No question about it. There’s a lotta dupes in prison - some smart people too. Turned loose on society, there’s some motherfuckers in here that’ll run big game.”
Hatred is acquired as much by good works as by bad ones.
“Churchgoers are not privy to a lotta things goin’ on. You can’t be too good in here. When you start feedin’ hungry motherfuckers, it’s seen as weakness, and yer gonna have a line at yer door every night.”
How perilous it is to free a people who prefer slavery.
“You’ve gotta lotta institutionalised prisoners. State-raised from the cradle to foster homes to juvenile hall to county jails to prison. These guys hit the gates, get out, and can’t cope with it. They’re freer in here than with the bunch of worker ants I see on my television at 5:30 in the mornin’, on the freeways, bumper to bumper, bunched up line after line, all headin’ downtown. Here we don’t decide what we eat, wear, or what doctor we see. If this is all you’ve known yer entire life how are you expected to get out there and get a job, buy clothes, get to work, pay bills? It’s a drain on a motherfucker who’s not ready for it. You’ve gotta be a well-oiled machine. The tiniest infraction – a speedin’ ticket – and the whole machine is kaput. Suddenly you’re down $175, so you’ve gotta boost some canned ham from the meat department at Safeway so you can eat. When I wave goodbye to motherfuckers like Repo at the gate, I know they’re comin’ back. Slavery is a state of mind and prisoners are mentally conditioned to be in prison.”
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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood