Thursday, July 12, 2018

FIve Short Essays on DEALING WITH THE MURDER OF HIS SON




BORN DYING

By Rufus West a/k/a Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo; June 3, 2017

In 1998, Scarface asked me, "A baby's born and you hear mom's crying; is she crying because she's happy or the fact she know she's born dying?" As a father I never forgot that question. Until the murder of my son, Richard West Gray, on June 3, 2016, it really was just a statement of reference. The term “born dying" takes on a deeper meaning when a parent's child is murdered. Otherwise, it's like a heartbeat or breathing. How often do we focus on our heartbeat or breathing? How long would we maintain that focus?
The truth that every person who is born will die seems to be a reality that we have managed somewhat to repudiate until it happens to one of our children. I say "somewhat" because there's something in a parent's nature that feels the need to protect their child from harm. I remember sending Richard an April 2, 2012 Time magazine article by a columnist named Toure titled, "How to Stay Alive While Being Black: In the wake of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, some advice for young black boys." The article stressed eight points on how that population should handle themselves so that they don't end up like Trayvon Martin: the 17-year-old African American boy who was murdered by a White man. When I sent it to Richard, my concern for Richard's safety was that he would be harmed by a White person or the police. Even though Richard's murderer has yet to be caught, it's safe to say that my son was not murdered under circumstances like Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Emmett Till, etc As an African American father, the incessant-murdering of young-African American males in America is a constant reminder that my children will likely be victimized by that reality, which unfortunately hit home with Richard being murdered.
Even though it's been a year since Richard was murdered, today I was revisited by the shocking pain from having a huge chunk of my heart being violently ripped out, leaving this gaping hole in my being. My tears flow but fall short of filling this oceanic pain that has no shores. After a year I thought that l would be past shedding tears, but my sister warmly advised me, "Don't do that to yourself." Meaning, don't rush the so-called healing process. After reflecting, if I were to gauge my "healing" progress I would have to admit that I'm still in the ICU holding on by a single thread, i.e., Islam.
While I always knew that the price for life is death, there's nothing in existence that could have possibly prepared me for this experience.
THERE'S NOTHING IN EXISTENCE THAT COULD HAVE POSSIBLY PREPARED ME FOR THIS EXPERIENCE!
Salaam!
Rufus West, #225213
a/k/a Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo
P. 0. Box 19033 (GBCI)
Green Bay, Wi 54307

  


Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim. Al-Hamduljllah.

HAIL MARY by Rufus West a/k/a Muslim Mansa Lutalo Iyapo. June 8. 2018
'Take me with you! There, I said it and, quite frankly, it felt liberating actually saying it. Take me with you! The only thing inappropriate about me saying this to you now is that I(for some reason) didn’t say it to you earlier.
You need to take me with you because you know in the core of your heart that I don't belong here. You are my star witness to the impressive tactics being used against me to keep me in prison which is  testing my Breaking Point. Because I have always been myself, I have to say with confidence that you've never imagined (nor met) someone like me. I know that I 've never met anyone like you.
You need to take me with you because I've never sang to anyone let alone a rap song, but you. You are also the only person whose growling stomach could lighten one of my dark moments.
You need to take me with you because had I known that it would end like this I would have NEVER taken my Brother's advice and asked to see you. While i admire you abiding by the Law of Self Preservation, I only ask that you see that this is me aiding by that same Law.  I can  envsion you saying with smile "Well,. I can't take you with me," while wrestling with something within you asking yourself,."Why not?"For every good reason you come up with why you shouldn't, you know deep down that there's also a BETTER reason for why you NEED to. I'm not some baton that can be passed on to someone.' I'm the human being-on the operating table whose doctor is preparing to abandon her patient on the operating table in the middle of an operation. Everyone like you. Has abused and misused me for decades solely to justify their existence.-Then you came along and over a period of years convinced me that you're not like everyone else. and that it's safe:to trust being in your hands because they were better than All State.
Take me with you because you fill a void in my existence that I never knew existed until you filled it.
You’re the first person I ever trusted that didn't like or dislike. What I mean by -that is that for some reason I'm unable to determine e=whether I like you or not, yet I t rust you. To me, the emotion of liking you is irrelevant as you are a possessor of a certain '8kill-set' that no one else has that has contributed to my survival.
A while ago I attempted to sever my ties with you out of concern that you would somehow hurt me. Well, that didn't work because the moment you called for me it made me happy that someone made an effort to reach out to spend time with me just  to see how I was doing. It was then that l asked you-to never hurt me ...and you agreed. Well, just the thought of being forced to be alone in this regard is frightening, yet all of my being supports you to do what's best for you and your loved ones. I would never want you to do anything out of guilt because those decisions usually end in regret. Just always fill your heart and let the words "1 love you" be the last words your loved ones hear from you ESPECIALLY your kids because you'll never know; .whether that last time 'will be THE last time.
Well,
it up in the air now and I have absolutely no idea where it will land ... God willing in your hands. There's an old saying that gi├ĘS, "A fair exchange ain’t never been no Robbery, ”as such if for no other reason I ask you to take me  with because I’m forced to take you with me.



Bismillah ir Rahman it Rahim. Al-Hamdulillah.
“SHERO" by Rufus West a/k/a Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo 6/4/18

Just a silhouette. Sometimes an amorphous human glow in the darkness of my mind. No face, no figure, but undeniably
female and wearing a cape.
A figment of my imagination? Perhaps. It's difficult to discern between what's real and imagined when you show up to rescue me from under the innumerable layers of trauma that endeavor to suffocate me.
Sometimes all you have to do is just make an appearance to jumpstart my resolve.
The sunlight through the stained glass window now has a dark silhouette bringing energy to whatever is lacking. In you do I realize my strength realized which shouldn't come as no surprise as it is in the strength of your womb where l materialized; wherein you carried me for months until you were unable to carry me anymore, yet provided me with what you felt I needed to carry on.
Your-cape-absorbs years of tears like a single drop.
Sometimes when I'm at my lowest I look up and wonder, "How did you get way down here?" Present long enough only to jumpstart my resolve and then you're gone again ... to save somebody else, maybe even yourself.         .
No, 1 don't believe in superheroes. I only believe that you're my "shero."            .
Salaam!
Rufus West 335312
AKA
Muslim Mansa Lutalo Iyapo
Po Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307

   
  Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim. Al-Hamduljllah.
W.O.M.B. : What Our Mothers  Bear
by
Rufus West a/k/a Muslim
Mansa Lutalo lyapo
June 13, 2018
What Our Mothers Bear is the responsibility for the  existence of humanity's past, present and future. Every human being has spent months being shaped within their mother’s sweet suite before being born into this world. Males will never be equipped with what our mothers bear-equipped with What Our Mothers Bear –Only females.
What Our Mothers Bear is the incredulity of males designating a single day for treating though mothers special,even though mothers deserve to be treated special every day of the year.
What Our Mothers Bear is the replacement of names like "woman," "queen," "lady," "ma'am," "m her," etc. with names like "bitch," "jumpdown," "ho," "slut," "tramp," "whore," etc. They went from being worthy of protection to being targets of severe dejection.
What Our Mothers Bear is the acceptance that their bodies will grow in order to accommodate the humanity growing within them. It doesn't reject humanity because of skin complexion or gender.
What Our Mothers Bear is the full weight of carrying humanity around-inside - of them not for just nine months but for the rest of their lives. I recall a wife telling her complaining husband that her breasts sag because they're "working breasts," meaning for breast-feeding their children. She then looked him over and asked him "What's your excuse?"
It is in His Perfect Universal Order lies the axiom that the continuum of humanity's existence is contingent upon the  beautiful Blessing of What Our Mothers bear. Without the existence of YOU there is no legacy of humanity before me or future ahead of me. It is within the beauty of YOU where my physical makeup and intellect formed befor you pushed me into  this world.
What Our Mothers Bear is the luxurious freedom of unconditional LOVE manifested in the incessant reproduction
of humanity who have repaid her with misogyny, disrespect, misuse and abuse on a scale unimaginable. But imagine, if you will, what would happen if What Our Mothers Bear stopped beariig. Until we are able to imagine this as a people in pursuit of gender equality the results will always be unequal.

My name is Rufus West a/k/a Muslm Mansa Lutalo lyapo and I approve this message.
Salaam!
Rufus west, #225213
a/k/a
Muslim Mansa Lutalo  iyapo
P.O. Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307


 Bismillah ir Rahinan ir Rahim. Al-Hamdulillah
SUICIDAL CHECKMATE 
Rufus West a/k/a/ Muslim Mansa Lutalo Iyapo 6/3/18
 
If anyone tells you they have experience in dying - they're lying. The permanence associated with the physical death is an axiom that leaves no room for dispute. When it's time to die, everyone who is living will die. This physical human form that we've invested so much in will rot away and be food for something. I believe that it's not when we die that's important, but how we die.
I believe that I'm prohibited from committing suicide and that a person who commits suicide will be committing the same suicidal act in perpetuity in the next life after being-brought back to life over and over again in a never-ending cycle as punishment.
CHECKMATE!
I believe that I owe  the very few people I love a sense of responsibility that I will never do anything to hurt them. These are the people who I would be devastated if they died - especially via suicide which would add the feeling of that person betraying our friendship. I owe the same sense of responsibility to certain people with who I feel more than just a casual connection.
CHECKMATE!!
.1 believe that as long as I utilize His Spiritual Laws to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong  in my, heart that I will make the world a better place to live. However, the pain, from the murder of my son., Richard West-Gray, makes it  unbearable to the point where I feel like the only way out is to take myself out. The device around my throat clamps the air completely off as I get dizzier and see black spots flashing before my eyes. I begin to panic because I really can't breathe no matter how much I try. The razor that disappears into my wrists causing blood to shoot everywhere causes instant panic, fear, and then an eerie calmness as I realize that it will be over soon. But time passes and I realize that I’vr gotten more uncomfortable as the blood that I'm laying in slowly puddles around my body. This is taking too long'! So, the razor' slices deep across the left side of my neck and then the right side.  I can feel blood. A lot of blood. My blood. My face drenched in tears as I get lightheaded thinking about all of the people I love and the people who said that I would be okay after I told them I wasn't feeling suicidal.. Inching closer to death is horrific. I don't want to relive this forever in the Hereafter. Why is this takng so long? If I had a gun it would have been over in an instant instead of dying out in a prison cell. STOP!!! I don't want to die! I deserve to live because I believe He created me not so that I will commit suicide, but to worship Him.
CHECKMATE!!!

Salaam!
Rufus West #225213
a/k/a
Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo
P.O. Box 19033 (GBCI)
Green Bay, WI 54307

Monday, May 7, 2018

T.R.U.S.T. (TO RELY UPON SOMEBODY TOTALLY)


 
T.R.U.S.T. (TO RELY UPON SOMEBODY TOTALLY) by Rufus West a/k/a Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo April 3, 2018
       When a child is conceived, the baby is unable to provide for itself. When the child is born it has to rely on somebody else for its provisions. This total vulnerability is the closest analogy that I could draw upon to articulate the sense of helplessness that a person suffering from a mental illness feels when in need of psychological help... especially in the penitentiary.
        The person who is suffering from psychological trauma is unable to self-help him or herself out of the "Danger Zone" of terror that is invisible to the naked eye. Consequently, some ultimately commit suicide, self-mutilate, become violent, or suffer in silence. I ruminate on the total reliability that one in that situation is forced       to have on the professional who is trained to treat such terrors.
        The reality is that because humans are fallible by nature there will be times when that total trust is betrayed intentionally or unintentionally. The result is the survivor suffering from an exacerbated psychological scar that causes indescribable damage to the person.
        Those who are set on keeping people who suffer from psychological illnesses in prison need to provide the necessary number of clinical staff to balance out the disproportionate ratio between the two. There's no valid excuse for a person's pleas for psychological help to be unnecessarily delayed because that person is being forced to rely upon somebody totally.  -
-              -----        Salaam
Rufus West 225213; GBCI;PO Box 19033; Green Bay, WI 54307

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

An Endeavor to End Recidivism



Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim. Al-Hamdulillah.
AN ENDEAVOR TO END RECIDIVISM
by
Rufus West a/k/a Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo
November 9, 2017

            What can the justice system do differently than it's doing now to reduce recidivism?  What programs, if any, should the judicial system put in place to reduce recidivism? Although these are two separate questions, my answers to them are the same.
            First And foremost, I feel that there needs a heavy emphasis on establishing a  mentor department made up of mentors who are dedicated to ending recidivism. The establishment of this program begins with working with the community and the Department of Corrections to recruit people, especially prisoners and ex-prisoners, to be a part of this effort. Those who are prisoners will not be on a payroll, but will instead act as advisers until their release, at which time they can apply to be employed in their official capacity. The mentor mission statement has to include objectives that include a mentor program inside the prisons. The idea is that a mentor program that begins inside the prisons increases the chances of a successful transition back into society with greater chances of avoiding returning to prison. It is critical to introduce prisoners to this mentor program as early as possible so that the prisoner is incessantly mentally engaged in preparing for success. The idea of prisoners and ex-prisoners being a part of the staff is rooted in the fact that their experience makes them more credible in knowing what works to prevent them from returning to prison.           
        Secondly, there needs to be more investments in alternative-to-prison programs, e.g., house arrest that includes participating in the mentor initiative for a period of time, and/or participation in the Restorative Justice Program.            
        I believe that there also needs to be a mental health clinic that specializes in providing psychological treatment to ex-prisoners.
        The last question is, how do I feel society looks at “offenders?” Majority of society looks at "offenders" disdainfully as "them" and not "us." The danger of this perception is that it allows for the psychological indoctrination of dehumanizing people.  This progression is actually a regression backwards to this country’s European Lifestyle when it openly held that "Africans" and "Natives" were not considered humans, but were named "slaves" and "savages," respectively. 
Systematically dehumanizing people with brainwashing techniques begins with labeling these people with derogatory names, e.g. "slave," then evolving over the years to "prisoner," to "convict," to “inmate” and finally "offender”.  I began with "slave" because the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution legalizes slavery:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
(Emphasis added, underlined.)
            If we are going to be honest, we have to come to grips with the fact that a legal marriage exists between slavery and the criminal justice system. Its current relationship exists in a more sophisticated and subtle manner that famed author Michelle Alexander calls, "The New Jim Crow." It is through this institutionalization that society bets against the "offender' by making a "felony" conviction a legitimate reason to deny the "offender" employment, housing, financial support, and equal opportunities for obtaining a college education, intimate relationships with a significant other who fears discrimination or being ostracized because of their relationship, and opportunities to shape their future via the political arena. This is clearly a recipe for ostracizing a people. It's akin to inviting a group of people to dine with you but you're the only one who gets to eat.  The only one dining is you.
            Fyodor Dostoyevsky once stated, "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."  I submit to you that with all of the institutionalized obstacles in an "offender's" path, the prison for that person exists regardless of what side of the prison wall he or she is on. The bad attitude that society has towards "offenders" is like a flat tire, until it is changed, as a country, we cannot go anywhere.

Salaam!
Rufus West, #225213
a/k/a
Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo
P.O. Box 19033 (GBCI)
Green Bay, WI 54307

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Staying in Touch With Islam




Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim.Al-Hamdulillah
STAYING IN TOUCH WITH  ISLAM by Rufus West a/k/a' Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo
 Date: October 25, 2017
          From September 6, 2001 to July 3, 2007, I was entombed at the Superrnax Correctional Institution. Prior to that experience I never felt comfortable with physical contact with other people, especially strangers.  In certain social circles, however, I was required to at least participate in a certain handshake or it could be perceived- by the other person as a sign of disrespect. When I was at Supermax the only physical contact allowed was when staff would hands –on escort me in chains  to places within the prison, or via some violent encounter. Under these limited circumstances I learned to hate.being touched to the point, where it felt normal.
         When I was released from Supermax, 1 experienced a sense of paranoia and extreme apprehension every time someone would extend their hand for me to shake due to concerns that they were, trying to get close to me in order to cause me physical harm, and also because it just felt very abnormal. The person who initially helped me-begin-to deal with this was Ms. Peggy Swan when she came to visit me at the Columbia Correctional Institution, She just walked up to me and hugged me for what seemed like an hour. My mind resisted but my body felt tense. It felt unreal because for years the only time I've ever seen her was on a small monitor behind a glass window, and hoisted about 8 feet in the air via something called a "televisit" at Supermax. I still feel very uncomfortable about coming in physical contact with other people but it's not as intense as it was when I first got out of Supermax.
           If I had my way I would live the rest of my life without having physical contact with anyone.
However, according to the Sunna (Way of life) of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), it is
recommended for Muslims, myself included, to make "musafaha" (shaking of hands) when they
greet each other. According to a Hadith (sayings by Prophet Muhammad) (PBUH), it was related that
"Every time I met Rasulullah 'sall-Allahu 'alaihi Wa sallam,' he would make musafaha with me."

           Musafaha is two people attaching the palms of their right hands to each other, in a manner
wherein the sides of their thumbs contact each other. The handshake which is done by holding the
second person's fingers in your palm, and which is in fashion today, is a Shiite manner of handshake.
 The sunnat fashion,' however, is ..when you meet your Muslim Brother and as both of you utter the
words 'of greeting, to attach the inner parts of four of the fingers of your naked right hand (without
wearing gloves or any other kind of wrapper), to the outer part of his right hand, towards his thumb.
 Affection spreads from the veins of the thumb. As two Muslims make Musafaha, they exchange
brotherly affection. This is another example showing  that Muslims should love one another and
  avoid separatism." (Source: The Rising and the Hereafter by Imam Ghazali,)
          It is because of this information I found myself forcing myself to shake hands with people regardless of my personal feelings. And it's worth it. I mean, before embracing Islam I felt compelled to shake hands with people to stay in touch with a certain organizational code, whereas now I only shake hands for the sake of staying in touch with Islam.
Salaam,
Rufus West, #225213
a/k/a
Mus1rn Mansa Lutalo Iyapo
P.O, Box 19033
Green Bay, WI 54307