Teach Your Children by John A. Gabor

© 2002 John A. Gabor

Used with permission of the author


 

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We are all placed in situations that don't seem to be quite right in our opinions. I wonder how some things get to be the way they are? Sometimes it is difficult to understand if rules are written as laws to protect us or punish us? How do we decide which side of the law we are on? As a man I am beaten by the seemingly gender-based court systems when concerning our children. Because of the situations presented to me I can honestly say I understand the true meaning of discrimination. I will never know what it truly is being someone born into a discriminating society but I can say that I know what it like not being able to do something you want to do and being told you can't.

I have been before many judges in the city of Virginia Beach [Virginia] to petition them for more time with my children. Each time I have done this the apposing party would file misleading contempt of court charges that the judges will not check on. Through the advice of her lawyer, she will purchase the most expensive item available (band flute), claim they are related to school supplies, and send me a bill for half. These amounts were more than I could afford. This individual, with her income of over $40.000, and her husbands $38.000, versus my $22.000, knew she was placing me in financial difficulties. When I could not pay in the amount of time she specified, she would file contempt of court charges against me.

I have had two judges turn their backs on me like little children in a huff, tell me they were listening but it wouldn't do any good, yell at me and threaten to take my children from me, refuse to accept paperwork to mention a few [incidents of judicial irresponsibility]. I have sent absolute proof that a lawyer lied to a judge and nothing was done. When I go before the judges, the courts would rule in her favor, and then also award [her] attorney's fees.

I am now a beaten man but I will always be a father. When I refused to pay any of the hostage money demanded by these snake-oil merchants this time the judge asked me if I wanted to have a lawyer and I was appointed one. The trial was scheduled for a month later.


 

Sentenced To Jail

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I was awarded 10 days in the Virginia Beach city jail because my lawyer neglected to show up for the hearing. The judge would not allow me to speak and sneered at me in a menacing manner. I was [then] led into a hall behind the judge's bench. In this hall were additional deputies who took my belt, shoelaces, wallet, earring, watch, and Masonic ring. These were placed in an envelope and sealed. I was then placed in leg shackles and handcuffed.

The elevator was next to me at the end of the hall. We shuffled into the elevator and went down. After stepping from the elevator I was escorted out of the building and down some stairs [and through] another door. We were now in a holding area with three cells in [one of] which I was placed.

While talking to some of the other people in this cell I found out that they were jailed for marijuana use and distributing because they passed a joint to another at a concert a few months back and came from New York to face sentencing. They told me that eight others were arrested and tried, [but] they were the only two placed in jail. Could it be that they had jail time placed on them because they were from out of town? No, it couldn't be in this country.

We sat for about an hour chatting before we were led to another area. We went down a long hall completely under the courthouse to the far end near the magistrate's office and into another holding cell with even more people. We were now 21 in a cell made for 15. We had a very long wait in this cell, at least six hours, talking and walking and moving around. During this time the deputies came to our cell looking for an inmate and could not find him. He was convicted of murder and was somehow lost. The time was about 10:00 AM when they called my name with a few others and took us to another call that was much smaller and still had about six inmates in it. We were closer now to our destination.

The deputies began taking us in groups of three. We were led to a room with a window and two red footprints on the floor. When my name was called I was instructed to stand on the footprints and asked for my size. I was given an orange jumpsuit and plastic shower shoes, instructed to step into the next room and strip down. I gave all of my clothes to the guard while he inspected to see if I had anything hidden on myself. At this time he instructed me to move my sack to the right and then to the left, place my hands on my hips, turn around, bend over and spread open my butt cheeks and cough, turn back around put my hands in the air, wiggle my fingers, wiggle my toes, put my head back and stick out my tongue. At last I could clothe myself. I was asked a few questions and given a receipt for my clothes and items that were taken from me at the courthouse.

We were led to another cell with mats on the floor and stayed there while more inmates were processed and the cell filled up again. I was not in this cell long but it was getting late. A trip to one more cell and I was home for five days.

Day One

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When I entered the cell four guys were playing spades standing up at a metal table surrounded by five metal bunk beds that were filled. They told me to throw my mat on the floor between two bunk beds under the TV. I threw the mat on the floor and talked to the guys about food and books and other things. I had to lay down and get some sleep. It seemed I had just closed my eyes when I heard someone yell "razors." A guard was in the doorway with our daily ration of shaving materials. I got my razor and laid back down to sleep. Then I heard razors again, the guard was back again to get the used razors. I said I didn't get a chance to use mine and he said that I shouldn't go back to sleep tomorrow and took it. I fell back to sleep only to be woke up by a strong odor of cleaning fluid. The guards had brought in a mop bucket and some of the inmates were moping the cell and shower. I went back to sleep and heard someone yell "trays," that meant, breakfast was served, I got up and had some type of oatmeal, French toast, a cookie and juice. Trays were stacked on the floor and I went back to sleep.

Then I was awakened by loud voices in the cell. About six of the guys had gotten up and were talking; it was about 6:30 in the morning and I was exhausted. My sleep was deep and lasted till about 11:30 AM when lunch was brought in consisting of beans and franks, bread, cake and juice. We once again stacked the trays for pickup. By this time the TV was on and so I turned my blanket and pillow around so I could watch from the floor. I basically watched TV and slept till dinner that was nearly the same as lunch. Then I watched more TV and slept. Lights out was at 11:00 PM. They just turn off four of the five fluorescent lights. At this time the spades players get up and play till about 3 AM each day. I watched them play and slept on and off till I heard "razors" again.

Day Two

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I jumped up off my mat and showed my wristband to the deputy to get my razor. I hurried up and shaved and sat at the metal table till the guard came back for the used razor. I went back to sleep until I heard the wash bucket pushed into the room, I got up and helped to mop because my mat was still on the floor and the smell was worse down there. I sat at the table till the now familiar sound of "trays" was yelled and was first to get breakfast and sit at the table. For some reason most of the guys eat standing up around the table, I never did ask why. We had scrambled eggs, toast, some type of meat patty and juice.

Most people go back to sleep after breakfast and so did I. I woke up when somebody stepped on my leg to turn on the TV, I laid there and watched TV on and off till lunch time. This consisted of lunchmeat, a hot dog bun, a cake, and juice. I was in some sort of depression and could do nothing but sleep. When I mentioned this to one of the guys he said that is the best way to serve your time, asleep. After lunch I was a bit more alert and listened a little more to the guys telling why they were in. One fellow had been drinking and been arrested but could not arrange bond so he had to stay in jail till trial in about 30 days. Another had gone to trial for a bar fight and been given 60 days. Most were there for simple DUI's or some involvement with drinking. One guy that was really weird had drunk a bunch of wine and had sex with a girl for money. When he found out she was 13 he tried to kill her. He never could figure out what was wrong with that because she had lied to him.

The dinner was served as Jerry Springer ended. Yes, it is possible to eat after Jerry Springer. It was sliced potatoes, cooked cabbage, a canned meat substance and juice. After dinner was over we played cards and talked about different stuff.

The deputies came in and called out some guys name and he was released. One of the other fellows on the floor now was able to have a rack. This guy was 22; he had been arrested for burglary (during the middle of the day, felony) but was out on bond for marijuana. They put him back in and had been moved around from cell to cell for a month and still had 30 days to go till trial. He had also just come back from a suicide watch. He has bipolar disorder [manic depression] and had slit his arm and didn't remember doing it.

Tonight is the World Series. It was an OK game [but] I slept on and off through most of it. The guards left the TV on late until the game was over. The lights went out and the spades players got up to play. People seem to have particular groups, even here, and are up at different times.

I laid on the floor listening to the conversations while one guy was saying how this was his third time for spousal abuse. His wife gets mad at him for drinking and yells and berates him. When he yells back she scratches herself, runs into walls, then calls the police and has him arrested. He feels guilty about drinking and stays there and puts up with it. I kind of wonder about that one and roll off to sleep.

Day Three

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Somehow I sleep through the smell of the floor being washed and wake to the sound of "razors." I get up and stand in line for mine, only about three want them. I sit on the bench and wait my turn. After I shave I play a little solitaire and give the guard back his razor. Most people are still asleep so I pull the sheet across the shower and get clean. I lay down and go back to sleep till "trays." Today is three slices of French toast, syrup, butter and jam, and juice with milk. We eat in silence most meals except for some trading of items on the trays.

After breakfast I got into a conversation with one of the inmates about the new jail being built. He said that the new jail is why the judges were giving out so much jail time. I asked him to explain what he meant by that. He told me that the state pays a certain amount for each prisoner that is in jail. Well that floored me. Our courts are a little socioeconomic; you guessed it, "system."

The more people that get jail time, the larger the jails have to be and that creates jobs. Unless I am wrong about this, each time a prisoner is given jail time, lets say for 30 days, his term is cut in half and he serves 15. The court order is written up for 30 and the state is billed for 30. Look at the rollover. So now lets look at this, liars, whoops, lawyers cause hatred and animosity throughout our society, keeping violence flourishing therefore keeping them eternally employed. Most judges are, yes you guessed it again, liars, whoops again, lawyers. What have we turned into? Creating hate to promote jobs, [that's] what has happened to us?

I had to think about this for a while so I played more cards till lunch came. Hmmmm, now lets see I am not sure what day this is by now, I haven't been outside in days and the meals are beginning to taste the same. I haven't been able to crap in days. Oh well, "trays." Oh joy, more of those yummy potatoes and cheese with lunch meat, bread, packages of mayonnaise and yes, yes, yes, juice. Stack the trays again and when the guards return they take out another guy. Hell yeah, I'm off the floor. I never thought metal bunk beds were softer than concrete, learn something new every day.

Today is clean jumpsuit day. We take off the dirty ones and are given clean ones. It is nice having something that has been washed after being in it 24 hours a day.

Strange, I never really noticed being next to this one fellow while on the floor and it seems he didn't notice me much either. When laying on the bunk he looked over at me and said, "What are you in here for?" When I told him non-payment of attorneys fees he didn't think much of it. He started talking about how the short timers never did anything around there except make a mess, and never clean up, and that it was my turn in the morning. I told him I did my turn when he was asleep. He said he didn't see me and so I was going to do it again. His mouth was moving fast and I was going to mop weather I liked it or not. When the 22-year-old guy said he had seen me mop this fellow turned on him and was yelling, "Look young blood, I don't need to hear you. I don't need to see you, Get back on your bunk and stay out of this."

I wasn't going to listen to this and told him he reminded me of the Pillsbury doughboy and to watch his crap or I was going to roll him on the floor. He just kept running his jaws for about 15 minutes, so I just rolled over and went to sleep. The last thing I heard him say was that if he wasn't getting out in three days he would jump in my shit, I just said yeah right, back atcha. I heard him rag on the kid for about an hour while he yelled back at him but never backed down.

I got up a little before dinner and sat at the table. The kid got up and sat across from me. He said he knew the perfect way to get out of here. I said how and he showed me his arm. He was going to get a razor the next day and break it apart and scrape his arm with it. I said, "Why are you going to do that?" He said he couldn't talk that dude ragging on him because he was so much larger than him, I said don't worry he won't bother you anymore. I didn't lay back on my cot, I just stayed at the table and watched TV and played cards. I sat there with the kid and said to him that he was being selfish by hurting himself. He asked me what I meant. I said that he had a girlfriend that loved him and wouldn't want him to be hurt. He said she would understand. I told him she may understand but it will still hurt her. He agreed and stopped talking about it.

Dinner was brought in and we ate a dried, breaded meat patty, bread and butter, mashed potatoes, beans and juice. There is still not much conversation at mealtime and most still stand up to eat.

We played more cards and talked. I sit at the table more now since I can't see the TV from my cot. This lets me keep an eye on the kid and the big mouth. The big mouth still picks on the kid but not as much when I am nearby. The TV shows start running together and now after just a few days of being home are not remembered. I do remember watching the World Series and then going to sleep.

The spades players get up and review the day that has gone by and talk about getting out of jail. One of the guys was supposed to be released today but the judge didn't think he had learned his lesson and gave him 30 more days.

Day Four

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"Razors" is the next thing I hear. I am very tired today and have trouble getting up off my bunk. I drag myself to the door and get my razor. I sit at the table falling asleep leaning over. Just as I start to fall asleep sitting up while the last guy shaves. I get up and shave just in time for getting rid of the used one.

While I am shaving I start to feel that I can finally take a crap. After throwing my razor away I go back to the area with the metal toilet. A half wall is on one side and the shower stall on the other. A piece of a sheet hangs in the shower and can be pulled over to the wall and held into place with a shower shoe balanced on top. This creates a small private place to sit. Oh the relief. I sit there a long time and let go of a week of refuse. I feel a little better.

I start to head for my bunk when I hear "trays." Oh boy, French toast again, syrup, a scrape of butter, sausage patty, juice and milk again. We eat in silence and trade a few items.

Just after breakfast the guards come to the door and removed the guy who slept with the 13-year old. Apparently someone wrote him off the block for masturbating in his bunk and in the shower. Strange how much goes on undetected in such a small place. That frees up another bunk and gets another guy off the floor that was brought in during the night. They come and go for small infractions, some for just a few hours, to teach them a lesson and then they go.

The kid came and sat across the table from me and we began to play cards and talk. He told me that both his parents were crack heads and spent a lot of time being shuffled around to friends and relatives. Some of the other guys were listening to the kid and came over to encourage him and tell their stories. Most had similar stories about the lack of parental involvement for one reason or another. Most of the inmates in the cell, were raised primarily by mothers that drove their fathers away. One spoke of his father calling all the time and his mother not letting him talk to him. After some time the calls stopped. He was very mad about that and began to rebel and get in trouble.

Lunch come with no fanfare. It seems that the food doesn't have a great deal of taste but isn't really bad. It seems to have nutrition and all the essentials to survive. After lunch the guards came and got the big mouth. It seems the kid had written a message and slid it in the door for the guards to take. He must have felt threatened and unsafe. I am surprised they removed him. It is very quiet for a long time. Another guy moves to the bunk and that still leaves two on the floor. There is always at least one on the floor at all times.

I have to count meals and think about what day it is and how long I have been here. How much time is left? I can think OK. It is good that there are so many people here to listen to and watch move around in their daily routines. I hear this guy nicknamed "Rooster" always instigating problems. Giving people nicknames that are uncomplimentary. Then others begin to call them the names. Then when that person gets upset, he denies starting it. This old biker guy is just in for a DUI, but it is about his 10 th one from lots of states. He is proud of his bike and misses it. He has 60 more days to serve.

Yeah it's Friday, and clean jumpsuits are here again. I change quickly and think I will take a shower in the morning. I feel very grimy, it sure is good that this place is air conditioned. I could imagine the stench if it were humid in here. I turn in my suit and go back to playing cards. I just watch bits and pieces of show while plating cards. I don't seem to need as much sleep. The depression is leaving me and I feel better even though I am here.

None of us ever know the real time but can get a general idea from the TV programs. The TV has a clock but you have to get up and push the buttons to access the menu so we don't do it most of the time. I couldn't imagine what it would be like without the TV.

"Trays," its dinner time. Tonight is boiled cabbage, a meat product similar to a chunk of chicken, bread, and juice. Still not much flavor but it goes down with a swallow of the juice.

It is much more quiet with the big mouth gone but we can still talk. The baseball games are over and we look for a long movie. More of the same, card games and conversation. How much more time is on each sentence and family. The kid has been reading the Bible the last three days, and is thinking about setting some goals and changing his life.

I toss and turn in my bunk and am full of thoughts concerning the conversations I have heard and how they fit in with my life. I fall off to sleep as the spades players get into a heavy game of cards.

The noise of the door slamming shut wakes me up. The guards have drought in a late night inmate. I fall asleep, it seem, for a few seconds. Then the now familiar "razors." I get up and the new guy is in front of me. Two other guys shave and then the new guy. He is very meticulous it his grooming. I am still sleepy and think that he is taking a long time just because I am waiting and start to get agitated. I think for a second about how stupid that is and go to sleep. I am shaken and must give up my razor without shaving, who cares. I go back to sleep.

Day Five

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The door opens with a rattle and I hear "Gabor!" I stand up wondering what is up and he yells, get your stuff. Man I am up in a flash and rolling up my mat. I sit on the bench to wait and say a few good byes to the fellows who are up.

The guard comes back and leads me down the hall to another cell. Here we pick up another inmate, down a little further to another cell and get another prisoner. The guard leads us to a room to throw our mats in and then down another hall. We are led to another cell near the guard station and placed in a cell with about five more guys. No one talks much, it must only be about 6:00 AM.

My name is called and I am led to the room with the red feet on the floor. I state my name and they hand me a large plastic box containing my clothes and envelope of personal items. We read the inventory list together and I go into the next room and change into my clothes. I put on my belt, shoes and ring. They seem to be in a hurry to get rid of me. I go to checkout and get my dollar. I say my good byes and leave the building. I sit on the steps and put on my laces. I sit for a few seconds to think and notice that ants are crawling all over me. I get up and walk away.


 

Summary

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The experiences I have relayed in these passages are of great concern while relating to social issues. We are somehow heading in the wrong direction when it comes to how we are treating each other during times of difficulty. We are punishing each other for the downfalls that are placed upon us in our positions in life.

I see that many of these issues can be resolved with further education and rehabilitation. If we could be taught in our homes, to relate with each other in more concerned mannerisms. Further parental involvement needs to be stressed and implemented in all facets of our society.

The "system" is looking at the money-producing aspect of justice. The more money and jobs that are produced must be good for society in general. As long as employment is up by criminal activity the government will not step in and correct it.

The legal industry has gone from a bad dream to a nightmare of inconsistencies and generalizations. It seems that law is no longer practiced and is actually now a crime in the manner it is dispensed.

The system is broken and it needs to be fixed.

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| Chapter 1 — Our Dysfunctional Courts |

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| Back — Judicial Bias(?) – How It Works and How To Defend Against It by Zed McLarnon |


 

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