“Trouble for Mayor Mark”

Shot Callers: Part 11

After that last incident where I’d honored my word to Gordo and the Mexicans, and actually punished the man who was in the wrong, I was seen by the other races as a guy who was fair, and who could be trusted. I was also starting to get a handle on my position; I was making mistakes but I was learning; I wanted the men I represented to feel comfortable bringing a complaint about the way I was doing things, directly to me, rather than run around behind my back and gripping. I wanted them to feel comfortable about complaining without fear of ill-feelings developing between us. Like I did when I was a Mayor on the outside, I made myself accessible and always listened, and if I was wrong, I’d admit it. Another thing I did was to accept and even go out of my way to speak to the guys on the yard most others considered unimportant, guys who weren’t considered warriors, I always spoke to them and always asked their opinions on issues.

However, I learned early on that a Speaker is always on the “Hit” list, not only in the event of a racial war where the first strike by the opposing side is always on the opposing Speaker, but also that every Speaker has men in his own car that are plotting against him. Therefore, a Speaker is only as safe as the men around him are, solid. With that, I’m going to tell you about two men who fit into that scenario, one on each side of it; one a problem, and one an ally. I will tell you here that the story I’m about to tell concerning one of these two men is going to ruffle some feathers in Europe, where he has a HUGE following, and maybe even in prison … but I give you my word as a man, what I’m about to tell you concerning him and I, is the truth. But first, the other man.

We had a man from Utah hit the Yard at FCI Pollock. I will add that this man had been a Speaker at the yard he’d just left, I’ll leave him nameless because I know he’d want it that way. Upon his arrival he came to the Art Room where I spent my days painting and introduced himself; it is a form of respect for someone whose had that rank to show respect to others who likewise have or have had it.

He was a real respectful man and I immediately liked him. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable being the Speaker at Pollock, and, I actually suggested that he might consider taking the “Keys” from me. He refused. Remember my philosophy, any man who actually WANTS that spot, is the wrong man for it. He, the guy from Utah would have been a great replacement, but alas, it was not meant to be.

I wrote a story about this man seven or eight years ago. In this story I told about how good of a fighter he was, about how he went into the bathroom with a “Hitter” from the Black Car and beat him to a pulp; he asked me to pull that story down and I did. I will add that he has since been released and went home. I wish him the best.

During this time we had a couple of youngsters and an older dude (I’ll add it here, he was 10 years younger than me!) from East Texas hit the yard. The two youngsters were members of a gang family called “White Knights” – the old guy was part of a gang called “Idiots”! No, that’s not an actual gang, that’s just what he was, an idiot whose mouth would get him slapped by more than one person … did I mention that he was an idiot? Anyway, the yard had a little racial ruckus and went on Lock-Down Status for a week or so. After a few days of this, the Administration implemented what is called a Modified Lock-Down – meaning, we were let out of the cells, but restrained to the cell block; no interaction between buildings and no one allowed on the yard. During this modified Lock-Down we were walked one building at a time to the Chow Hall to eat a hot meal as opposed to the bag-lunch bologna sandwiches of a full Lock Down.

Everything in prison is racial, segregated. In the Chow Hall for instance there are Black Sections, White Sections, Paisa Sections, Texas Mexican Sections, Asian tables and so forth – everyone had there own tables and we all honor that space. However, being that there were only 120 or so men going to the Chow Hall at the same time, MOST, of the tables in the Chow Hall were turned up on their sides, and as things played out, the Guards righted the tables nearest the serving line for usage … this was the white section, the white tables. I will add that the Chow Hall was full of Guards directing people to their seats. When we were led into the Chow Hall the other races began to set at the tables that had been set up for usage; the white tables. With that, the old guy began to fan the flames of this potential fire by stirring up the two youngsters who then began telling the Mexicans to get up and move. When I realized what was happening I stepped in and angrily told them to sit down, but the damage had been done.

As soon as we walked back into our cell-block the Paisa’s surrounded the two youngsters and were fixing to jump on ’em. I got in between them and put my hand on the chest of the F-4 Paisa Speaker a guy called Kalaca, and told him I’d take care of it. If you remember, I had a good reputation as being fair, and he reluctantly backed off. Tensions were high and the Paisa’s wanted to smash the youngsters, but I couldn’t allow that, the old guy was trying his best to be invisible.

After everything calmed down I explained to the two youngsters why I thought they were wrong; they explained why they thought they were right. After all that was said, I asked them to go and apologize to the Paisa’s we had in our cell block – guys they played cards with and even cooked and ate with in the block! The irony of this was completely lost on them. Anyway, not out of fear, but out of respect, they went and apologized. But, that wasn’t the end of it. As soon as the yard opened up, the Paisa’s who’d been working in the Chow hall, and had seen what had happened, went to the yard and told the other Paisa’s how the whites had acted, which created a strain on the very new Treaty I had made with their Shot Caller, Gordo. In addition to this, I had told the two youngsters that I was unhappy with the way they’d carried themselves, and was considering “Disciplining” them; hands on the bunk. They were not happy about this and went to the Texas white-boys and told them that I was siding with the Mexicans over the whites. I tell you this so you can see how petty and precarious the politics of prison really are.

Before this event, a man named Richard Scutari had hit the yard. Richard is a larger than life convict, a legend in his own right. Richard had been part of the a White Supremist group who’d fought against the American Government, a war in which most of their crew fought to the death, the most famous living member of this Robert Matthews crew was a man I’d know at USP Florence named, David Lane.

Richard will deny what I’m about to tell you, but it’s the truth. Richard wanted the Keys to the Yard and resented the fact that they weren’t taken away from me and given to him the day he hit the yard. Richard is a legend, he’s Richard F-ing Scutari, but he didn’t carry more respect, hence rank, than me. Not at FCI Pollock, anyway. The cons at Pollock trusted me to keep the peace, they didn’t trust Richard to do the same.

I will add here that Richard is five years older than me and has done, at least, ten years more time than me. I also think that Richard is probably been set free by now, if not, he’s close to going home. Last I remember he’d married some babe out of Europe and she and others were writing books about him.

During his many years of incarceration Richard had honed his body into a weapon and even for as old as he was at the time, he was in great shape … better than me, actually. He taught Yoga Classes and was the leader of the Odinist Religious Group at Pollock. He was a man of accomplishment and had spent his thirty or so years behind bars carrying himself as a convict should … but, he was resentful of me. I say this for several reasons, first, when he first arrived he came out to the Art Room and it didn’t take long for us to have harsh words, he even remarked, “If you’re such a bad-ass why aren’t you in the USP!” I’ll let you imagine what had been said before and after that, but let it be said here, that he ain’t afraid of me, and I damned sure ain’t afraid of him. Back to our story.

Like I said, when the yard opened up the two youngsters and the old guy went to the Texas Boys and stirred up a bunch of shit. It was all over the yard and the yard was split on the issue, of course they were only hearing one side of the story, that the Mexicans were sitting at our tables, and tables, like TVs, are sacred space. My position was that those were tables the Mexicans were TOLD to sit at, by the Guards. Suffice to say a big meeting took place on the yard, I was there, the two youngsters were there, the recently disbanded Texas Car was there, Richard was there and the man from Utah was there along with other white boys from the yard like Craig Orler; it was a big crowd.

To make a long story short, the youngsters were trying to avoid being disciplined, the Texas Car was trying to use this issue to discredit me as a way to get back on top, and Richard was taking his best shot.

We were in a large circle with me on one side, my opponents to include Richard on the other, with everybody else filling in the circle. The youngsters had their say, then Richard stepped into the middle of the circle and in the style of a circus Ringmaster, declared himself with the youngsters; “They did what was right. Mexicans were sitting at our tables!” he preached. And, in the crazy world that is prison, they were right, and I was wrong … and I knew it. The fact that the Guards had made it so those were the only tables open for use; the fact that every other cellblock had also been seated exactly the same way as we had been – with blacks and Mexicans; the fact that I’d been a champion of my people with an impeccable reputation, meant nothing to those my detractors, and ultimately Richard Scutari who was using these two youngsters and this incident to try and take me down. No, they couldn’t attack me, that was forbidden, I carried too much respect for that, but what they could do was to use the issue to turn the yard against me and ask for a vote on a new Speaker. Like I said, I was in the wrong. I had committed the unforgivable sin of appearing to side with the Mexicans against my own people, it was an indefensible argument, and Richard knew it.

Just as things were at their worst and the consensus was being reached that I would “not” be allowed to discipline the two youngsters without a struggle ensuing, the guy from Utah took center stage, looked at me and said, “This is your yard! If you say they get disciplined. They’ll get disciplined!” and everything stopped! This man was respected and I had his unconditional support. Truth is, out of the 150 or so whites on the yard, only about ten of ’em matter, everyone else will fall in line behind them, and the guy from Utah was one of those, most respected guys.

In order to keep the peace, I simply told the crowd that I stood by my convictions that the youngsters were wrong, but being they’d apologized for their actions, I no longer felt they warranted a discipline. Yeah, I backed off what I thought was right, and I never really got over the deceit I experienced that day. I learned a real valuable lesson; as a Speaker you have to always watch your back, even among your own people.

As time passed I became friends with the two youngsters from East Texas. The old guy and I ended up cellies – I never did learn to like him, still don’t. The guy from Utah would remain a close allies and be instrumental in helping me hold the yard a year or so later when a few of the Texas Boys would get behind a big-time Texas Shot Caller who’d hit the yard and thought that he should run it. Richard Scutari and I became, marginal, friends, you can see photos of us together on my FB page, I think! So everything worked its way out, but not completely, because I knew from then on, to watch my back.

Forgive me for not following up on the issue of the South Louisiana boys, I try to get to it next time.

Side Note: In my experience with both men, David Lane and Richard, I can tell you that they really didn’t care for each other. Like I said, both men are legends, and, well, it really ain’t my business, I don’t care. I will add that in the prison system almost all white gang members have an identical tattoo the reads 14/88. If you are curious about the meaning, I’ll tell you that it’s something that David Lane wrote and published years back and represented his beliefs, beliefs I can testify that he lived by in prison. David died of natural causes in prison a few years back. Rest in peace.

Three Rivers, 11-8-18