Prison Pete

Friday, August 20, 2004
  Prison on September 11, 2001.
[Editor] I was going to post this on the anniversary of 9/11, but someone asked the question today about what was it like to be in prison on that terrible day. So what the hell, why wait, I will post it now. This is from an old letter dated a couple of days after the attack, the first letter Pete wrote to me after 9/11.

September 14, 2001

What a difference a few days can make. Just when you thought the world was on an even keel.

I am still having a hard time picturing the scope of the damage, since I am obviously very familiar with the WTC area, and the view through the window of a 21-inch TV screen does not give a wide enough view. I assume you have already gotten a look of the new skyline in your travels? Where were you when the events started?

We were actually locked in our rooms due to some pretty heavy fog, but when the events started to unfold, they decided to keep us locked in our rooms and kept the TV's off. All of a sudden the noise level started to rise as some of the inmates that were listening to the radio started to hear of the terrible events unfolding.

So up I jumped from bed, and on went the headphones. They eventually let us out into the day area, but not before feeding us lunch in our rooms and having some restricted activity for the rest of the day. They had the telephones turned off for the whole day, but I was able to call Mom on the 12th to wish her a Happy Birthday.

I have been listening to some of the NYC AM radio stations from 11:00 PM on for the past few nights to see what is really going on. I was actually on my way into NY the day back in 1993 when terrorists first bombed the WTC and my girlfriend at the time was going crazy beeping me every ten minutes while I was on the good old Long Island Railroad oblivious to anything going on.

I remember driving into Manhattan many years ago after one of those major blackouts when the lights were just coming back on. I do not remember exactly, but I seem to recall either watching the lights work their way back on as floor after floor of the World Trade Center got power, or the fact was so much of the towers were still dark.

Missing loved ones is probably going to be the hardest part for a lot people. The fact that even now, one of the nurses who worked some of the triage sites was also looking for her boyfriend, and each time she saw a characteristic of her boyfriend, the hairstyle, the shirt, or some other trait, her mind would go into the "is it him?" mode.

And like the old saying goes "to err is human, but to really screw things up you need a computer", imagine all the heartbreak as names of possible survivors keep popping up on the list, but then when loved ones try to track them down, no one knows how the name got on the list.

On a slightly morbid note, boy what a great chance to disappear if you were supposedly in the area that day and just so happened to be walking around with a wad of cash in your pocket. Since it appears that a lot of the bodies will never be found, one could certainly be just assumed to be among the missing.

I have not heard yet if anyone I might have known is missing in the devastation and I hope and pray that you do not have anyone close to you involved in the mayhem.

This cannot be good. It is only 9:10 AM and they just announced for all Facilities workers to report back to Facilities. That is where all the painters, plumbers, landscrapers (SIC) work out of. Usually, when they call inmates back it means something is wrong, so let us see if we are going to be locked down or not. Time will tell. I will keep you updated. Stay tuned, film at 11.

Well, sometimes you do win some. It turns out they only wanted to feed us before 11:45 AM. Usually lunch starts at around 10:45 AM and ends anywhere between noon and 1:00 PM depending on what is being served. So the reason for today's schedule change was so that we could experience the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance.

They made the COs turn all the TV’s to the CNN coverage of the services from Washington. It was pretty neat, but they ended up calling us back to work just before Bush started speaking, but the good part was they had the service on at Education, so I got to see the end.
Your 9/11 experience is interesting to say the least. "Where were you when", is a question that everyone ask's. I happen to be in the same downtown area on 9/11. That neighborhood is where I was born and raised. My family is still there and I was visiting my sick mother. I was just 15 blocks from the attack and heard it loud and clear. I knew immediately that it was terrorism. Either it was domestic or foreign coward who wanted to kill anything and everything in site. My story that day is a very long one. Suffice to say that it has taken a few years to forget that tragedy. So I guess being in incarcerated was probably a good thing. You didn't have to hear or smell death around you.
interesting. very interesting. That is, to say the very least. I'm half torn between believing this blog is real and thinking it is crap. Right now, i am leaning towards it being real. I have to agree, if people dont believe it, why keep reading. Its interesting and at times funny. I'll be checking back!
Thank you for giving us an idea of what it was like that day. I must say, I actually didn't expect it to be so bad. It must have been terrible not to at least be able to watch TV. It was bad enough to actually see, but our minds can create images much worse when we can't see what is really going on. And, as a note to your computer comment, this is my email siginature line. I thought you might get a chuckle from it.
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster
than any invention in human history - with the
possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
Mitch Ratliffe, _Technology Review_ April, 1992
Thanks again and take care.

This is interesting, I've been looking around to get some ideas for our blog. Haven't started yet. I'm hoping you can give some advise. Here's my topic and website. Please take a look.

long island newsday . It pretty much covers long island newsday related stuff.

Come and check it out and if you can suggest something I would love to hear your advice :-)

Best regards,

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