During the 1980’s I used to go to the Opryland Theme Park in Nashville, Tenn. The highlight of these visits was to take a ride on CHAOS, the indoor rollercoaster. As you walked up the ramp to access the ride you heard clocks ticking and loud booming sounds, then a message that said, “Please move quickly through the station. Your time is running out. Access to controls have been terminated.” Then a loud boom and the sequence would be repeated.
Chaos reminds me of my life before prison. I was always rushing from one place to another. Always trying to make this deadline or the next one. Always trying to solve problem after problem. And always running against the clock to find solutions to the problems I faced. What I needed to do was follow the teachings of Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.
But I did not follow these instructions. I tried to solve things myself. Broke the law and took the path that led me to the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp.
Chaos reigns here, it is king! There are days I feel access to controls have been terminated to the staff and administration of this place. One minute you are ordered to report to your education class, if it has been recommended you need education to successfully return to society. Then the next minute we are ordered back to our dorms and stand by for Count. The Count is when guards physically visit all eight dorms and count every prisoner. Just to make sure none of use have decided to leave.
One minute you hear that the work is piling up at the jobs. And that prisoners can work overtime and more workers are needed to help clear out the backlog. But then CHAOS sets in. Everyone is recalled from work, for no apparent reason, and told to report to their dorms. So the work that was set for today is not done, the backlog increases, and the problem gets worse. The 5-P Principle is not practiced here. Prior, Planning, Prevents, Poor, Performance. (There is actually a 6th principle but this is a G-rated blog.)
At times like this I wish the Bureau of Prison Officials would consult a higher power for wisdom and directions. I wished I had done this, too. The B-O-P staff could start with James 1:5: “If any one of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” AMEN to that!
It’s amazing to me that anything gets done around here. An example: Three years ago a doctor decided that an elderly inmate needed special shoes because of his medical condition. Just recently that doctor told the inmate, “I have good news. Your shoes should be here in 60 to 90 days.” That is good news! But the inmate will finally go home in a few days. There is no need for the shoes now, and he will not be here when they arrive. Where have the shoes been for the last three years? Who will wear them now? Can they be returned? Will money be refunded?
CHAOS strikes. Clocks are tickings, there is a loud boom, then a message. “Please move quickly through the station. Your time has run out. Access to controls have been terminated.” BOOM.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cards and letters can be mailed to: Bernard Addison/ 44863-074/ FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D/ P.O. Box 150160, Atlanta, GA 30315.