Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Article by The Zoo Cage Prophet "Labels" by Adrian Torres

Found this article on line the other day and thought it worthy of repost: 

The Zoo Cage Prophet
Labels by Adrian Torres

"The labels came off these." The store manager held up two cans of roast beef. "They are not old or expired. The labels came off, that's all."
I was a bit suspicious, but I only had $8 to spend (my monthly earnings for working 150 hours) and I wasn't going to debate the person who knew her product. "Okay, I'll take them," I said to her. I also added two packs of Peanut M&Ms and a bag of refried beans (dehydrated.)
I walked off excited, thinking about the wonderful roast beef I would be enjoying that night. And to go with it, a nice-sized helping of beans. For dessert, M&Ms.
At night I took out one of the unlabeled cans and heated it up in my hot pot. I prepared the beans by adding 3 jalapenos (sliced in wheels) and 7 yellow hot chiles. (What? I’m Mexican.) I opened a pack of M&Ms as I waited.
About 15 minutes later I removed the very hot can out of the boiling water and prepared it to be opened. My mouth watered just thinking about the delicious roast beef that waited inside.
I took the can opener and clamped it onto the lip of the can. My mouth now watered even more. The can opener’s one claw pierced violently into the lid, causing it to bleed out the juices that were trapped inside.
Seeing the juices bleed onto my fingers brought of tsunami of saliva in my mouth. I felt rabid. Animal-like. Very Fred Flintsone-ish. So I cranked the can opener even harder. Even more hot juices majestically flowed down my fingers. Such a beautiful mess.
Too much of the can's nectar was on my fingers, so I paused the cranking to lick them.
Strange. It didn't taste like roast beef juice. So I took another – but slower – taste. Yup, it wasn't roast beef but beef stew. My mouth went dry.
I finished opening the can and confirmed what my taste buds were telling me. What a letdown.
I don't dislike beef stew; it's just that I had my heart set on enjoying roast beef. I still ate the beef stew with thanksgiving, but it wasn't the same. Even my heat-packed beans felt bland.
Labels on cans are important. I've learned my lesson. I'll never buy unlabeled cans again.
Labels are good for many things, like for organizations. Clothing. Gas or diesel. Men's and Women's restrooms. Labels are good, but not on people. Labeling people is very hurtful.
When we label, we judge, and make ourselves better than those we label. If the label is ugly enough, it causes the "labelee" to be boxed in.
As an inmate I have been labeled many things by staff – by other inmates – by society – and even by my own family. The worst label, however, is that which is placed on inmates the minute they are sentenced. Murderer. Molester. Rapist. Thief. This is the label you are known by from that day forward. A label one can't remove. 

This is the label other inmates use to judge who you are. Eventually this label causes separation, hate, depression, and violence. This is one of the reasons prisons are so full of hate – because some crimes – sins – are viewed more favorably than others.
The night of my Mystery-can Surprise, after eating my beef stew, I sat on my bunk (yes, while eating my second pack of M&Ms) thinking how Jesus hung around a whole bunch of labeled people. He purposely befriended tax collectors and sinners, two groups with the ugliest and lowest labels in His day. Yet He publicly was seen with them and never really cared what others thought.
The Pharisees did their best to discredit Yeshua by pointing out how He hung out and ate with them. But what the Pharisees didn't care to understand was that Yeshua left heaven to find, and dine with, the lost – the labeled. It wasn't a surprise to Him. Yeshua knew and expected others to judge Him for his actions. Yet He continued anyway.
He wasn't afraid to get down and dirty with the outcasts. He purposely embraced them to change their labels from "Sinners" to "Saved."
I wonder how many of us are purposely staying away from the labeled? Not wanting to be affiliated with the outcasts? Shying away for the sake of our reputations? If we are to be like Jesus, and are His disciples, why aren't we seeking the labeled?
You probably know someone, or have heard of, a labeled person to whom you could actively reach out, yet you don't. Why not? Are you better than he is?
Let's not forget that we too had the "Sinner" label on us. Yet Yeshua tore it off and graced us with a new label, sealed by His Holy Spirit, that reads "Saved."
There are many labeled souls out there who are waiting for your non-judgmental love.

... sticking to cans with labels ...    Adrian G. Torres
(Adrian's book "The Walls Talk" is available on online on Amazon and other dealers: ISBN 1495391000)

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"When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect."
~Adlia Stevenson U.S. Vice President (1893–1897) and Congressman (1879–1881)

On a Personal Note

Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts regarding the issue of citizens’ rights, particularly addressing certain sex offenders’ crimes that do not fit the devastating, inequitable and endless punishment given.

As you know, many young men and women lives across the nation are being destroyed by incarceration, life-time registry and restrictive laws that do more harm than good. For those individuals, there is no second chance.

Below is a personal letter to President Obama:
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“Dear President Obama,

I truly agree with your sentiments that individuals, such as ex-felons, should be able to receive a second chance at life. Since we all know that one can veer off that path of life and travel along rough, rocky terrain, sometimes running off and ending up in some ditch. We all have made our fill of mistakes and sometimes those held a costly consequence that changed life forever. So we lived through it, trying harder to make things right with family, friends and those around us, but what about those who aren’t able to make things right even if they tried…because they’re labeled as too dirty, a leper, a person who is rejected from society and home.

But what if they’re a seventeen year old and had sex with a fifteen year old, consensual at that? Or they’re a teen that had gotten so enraged after a breakup that he sent out naked pictures of his girlfriend on his cell phone or email? Or an individual urinates where someone just happens to see them?

All are wrong and a travesty but do they deserve the life of no second chance with a registry that ends all. They are labeled, no jobs, no where to live…they have been deemed a menace to society, a plague. These certain circumstances, and many other situations similar to these, I believe still deserve a second change.

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

After my son’s early release and two years of prison, I thought I had handled that fact graciously knowing after serving his time he would be able to get that fresh start, that second chance. He was an exemplary inmate, GED, college courses and vocational classes. Little did I know that a second chance on the outside was the farthest from the truth? He now struggles and lives in a trailer park sharing a trailer with another and surrounded by others in the same rocking boat, one to float endlessly in shark infested waters. I see him little because of probation requirements (he couldn’t live with us because we were 800 feet near a school). My family is afraid of what would happen to them if he lived with them…vigilantism. My son has no other place to stay since others condemn him of his crime that is screamed from the highest rooftop. Sex offender, sex offender!

Not all sex offenders are pedophiles or predators but some are simply young kids that make one stupid and rash decision that eventually changes everything, and they have no idea what they’ve done until their life is never their own. Exactly, where is that second chance for those sex-offenders who are lumped together with pedophiles and predators? Now, it makes me sick to think of my son’s future and many like him that are on the registry and many with no second chance…ever. I am asking you as a mother and as another concerned citizen of the United States that these laws are looked at again and taken into serious consideration in what they are doing to the Constitution of the United States, not for sex offenders in general but the future rights of every citizen, before anymore are put into effect. They unjustly strip an offender of their rights and place them in a guillotine that can be easily set off by anyone and at anytime. Where is the second chance for ex-sex offenders in the present, pending and future laws?”
* * * *
What truly saddens me is the weakness and deterioration of what the sex offense issue is doing to our once, great nation. Across Europe, others are seeing the injustice and disregard of rights, but we ignore this problem and it makes me wonder where humanity is heading….

We have become a hysterical society in which our latest witch-hunt is a sex offender--no matter his/her crime.

Below is a email sent from a foreign advocate to a father of a sex offender:
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“The tragic story of your son's death is just so sad that it's difficult to explain how. It was very hard to read your letters. It seems almost unbelievable that this can take place in a democracy! From our point of view, there is no justice in this. Not in any way: not for you, your son, the former girl friend – or even the state.

It is an abusive legal system. It seems barbaric. And we are so very sorry that this takes place. That's why it's so important for us to try to neutralize the debate with this…, hopefully making some changes. ….. to show the every day life of the sex offenders, trying to show how they keep on being punished, even after served prison time…..But we will for sure tell the story of the injustice that your son has been exposed to.”
* * * *
I appreciate everyone's commitment and backing to protect everyone's civil rights, plainly as noted in the Constitution of the United States and is presupposed, giving ALL men are “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”