Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Mac Moment

This one's for you, buddy.

You have to picture the scene- the guy is 6'4", muscular, with a mohawk, USMC tatoos and buggy eyes. He's from one of our mental dorms and earlier had started to square off with another inmate. When the fighters were broken up and he was taken to Seg, he attacked the three officers escorting him. He then confessed that he wanted to die, so medical staff placed him on suicide watch.

My shift comes on duty. He is in the cell, slamming the lexan with his fist and elbow making the walls echo. Medical staff wants him moved to another facility. This means that officers will have to enter the cell, take him down, cuff him and carry him to a transport vehicle. It's not my area, but they call me.

So I wander down to the dorm where the sergeant in charge of the area is making the entry plan and a rookie deputy is running around getting belly chains and leg irons. I pull up a chair across from the lexan door, sit down and get comfortable. First rule: if no one is getting hurt, there is no reason to rush. It's not a macho game- whether I could or not, I have no business going into the cell in some kind of contest. I'll wait, stack everything I can to my advantage and go in fast.

The guy is screaming, spit flying out his mouth, slamming his fist again and again into the door, eyes locked on mine. Understand that this is calm for me. There are huge subconscious things going on with dominance and aggression that give most people an adrenaline surge when threatened even if there is no real danger. If you've ever gotten worked up over a phone call or an internet flame war, you know what I mean. For whatever reason, non-standard emotional wiring or experience, I don't get excited.

I'm sitting there, legs crossed, leaning back, hands behind my head and say, "What happened today?"

"I lost it!" He screamed, "I fuckin' WENT OFF! I need some fuckin HELP! MENTAL HELP!"

"That's pretty clear," I said, "Why'd you lose it today?" He kept screaming, but he was puzzled. The way his world works is: You get loud and angry, the other person gets loud and angry and then you get violent before he does. I wasn't working by his rules.

At this point I could feel a palpable rage. I'd been able to smell the adrenaline from the rookie, but this was different. There were waves of rage coming off the inmate, not just rage at me but rage at himself, just pure human anger. I decided not to work with the anger. The next part will not only sound weird, but corny. The kind of thing that only occurs to people who talk to Mac too much. I felt for the source of Universal Love and let it flow from me into the inmate.

As he was talking about his breakdown and making threats, I was projecting warm light and I was saying, "You did good. You did good for a long time. I know you don't like being in a dorm around people but you did it and you did well for a long time. No one can ever take that away from you. You did well and I'm proud of you."

He paused for a second and I said, "It's time for you to go. Will you let me put handcuffs on you?"

He said yes. He even said thank you.


Anonymous said...

Thanx. Or in risk management lexicon, "where there is no fight, there is no paperwork". So how do we teach/give/bring forth the self-knowledge that allows people to feel these energies and then have the skills to deal with them successfully. Two out of three come as a package; self-knowledge yields confidence. The skills come from experience, from total endorphinization post-sex or exercise or sport-danger overcome, to being so afraid that you feel if you even move your eyeballs, take a single breath, move a single muscle that you will die a horrible screaming death, to the total calm and almost orgasmic joy you feel as you look down at the dead enemy who failed to kill you to mindless berserk rage where pulling yourself back from the brink is almost a disappointment. You know these people when you see them and I have been honored to not only meet some, but walk the path with one for a distance. Now that the huggy-kissy part of this is over, let's get out the boat oars and have some FUN!!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Beautiful! Use the gift if you have it!