Desistance, Suicide Not Synonymous

by Brian A. Wilkins
12/8/08

A tie-in to the “55 Days In Maricopa County Jail” blog.

It is after 3 a.m. In a little more than four hours, I will show up at this call center and telemarket for 9 hours per day, Monday through Friday (and sometimes Saturdays), just to ensure I will eat one meal per day, be able to pay my one-month-behind-and-counting rent and pay the 200-plus annual percentage rate on a car title loan I had to get just to move into the apartment I currently live in. I would not normally be up at 3 a.m., but every night around this time, a train will go by on the tracks which are maybe 100 feet from my bedroom window. Trains come by anywhere from 5-10 times per day and seemingly get louder as it gets later. I can rarely fall back asleep, so I’ll get up and watch telelvision, but not before I use the restroom and see a 4-inch-long sewer roach on the wall. On the brightside though, spraying it with insecticide and subsequently watching (and [yuck] listening) to it die helps me lose my appetite. I have no food to eat anyway so I kill “two roaches with one stone” (or spritz, if you will). Being listed as a convicted felon (though you’ve not been convicted of anything) will eternally keep this pattern going. There are very few jobs you can get, and those are low-paying, stress-filled we’ll-hire-anybody places. Would it even benefit me anymore to finish those 12 credit hours at Arizona State University and earn a bachelor’s degree? How would I pay for it anyway? You can’t get federal aid when you’re listed as a convicted felon.

What you have just read is DESISTANCE; the state of life, as I knew it, stopping. Being held hostage for 55 days will not only change your thought processes, but will drop you several spots back in the rat-race called “life.” No matter what happens from July 21, 2008 to eternity, I’ll be a different person. As I’ve said before, being held hostage for 55 days is like re-living a painful death everytime you, unfortunately, wake from your sleep. There is no thinking about the future, no working to make things better for yourself and family, and no trying to contribute to making the world a better place. These are all characteristics of a living, breathing, American; not of one who has desisted in living; but continues to exist.

Suicide is the intentional taking of one’s own life. My life has already been taken from me by two radicals given the power to completely alter your state of being, and another radical whom I should have shot, as again, Arizona statutes favor killing. You cannot take something, in terms of ‘a life,’ you don’t already have. I no longer have a life to take. I still exist in a 170-pound body, wear glasses, and have a large birthmark on my right cheek (face, not ass). But laughing, smiling, and prospering – all characteristics of a living, breathing human – have all desisted through no choice of my own. I am simply being pro-active, as to not allow the abductors the satisfaction of taking ownership of anymore of my mind, body, and soul. Self-desistance gives the radicals nothing else to take. They are putting their hands into an empty cookie jar.  

I have absolutely no control over what will happen from here. All I do know, for a fact, is what WILL NOT happen. On January 20, 2009, when the judge or jury or whatever says “ten years in prison,” it will be like watching the end of a creepy, low-budget movie you’ve already seen a few hundred times. Knowing what will absolutely not happen is just as powerful as being able to predict the future.

Suicide and self-desistance are denotatively different, but can have the same impact. Suicide is for the depressed, the weak, and for the attention-seeker. Self-desistance is for the soldier taken hostage, awaiting Bush-league torture at Guantanamo Bay. Self-desistance is for the terminally ill who endure excruciating pain all-day, every day. There are several cases of self-desistance in which the person still exists. One way or another, when I’m released from captivity on January 20, my form of desistance will commence. I can’t predict the future, but I know what will not happen…and that is just fine with me.

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