Oftentimes, prisoners in this country are assumed to be guilty no matter what the circumstances. Also, people tend to see all prisoners as uneducated people of color who have committed violent felonies. These same people who are so quick to judge people they don't know are themselves uneducated when it comes to the current U.S. prison system. The rehabilitation process of prisons is arguably a joke. In fact, most treatment of prisoners could be considered a violation of human, moral, and ethical rights. I urge everyone to research the prison system, because everyone is affected by it through taxes, courts, rehabs, halfway houses, jobs, and the undeniable fact that our prison population continues to grow, especially in female prisons. PRISONER: BYRON SHANE CHUBBUCK
aka Oso Blanco, aka Robin The Hood
"Sometimes I feel the lonely pain and separation from my community and people. I'm locked down in a room. A cement cell 23 hours except twice a week or three days I get no recreation - 24 hours! I did not kill anyone, yet I was treated as a killer - because I defended my life. They got on a mic and told reporters I was the most dangerous criminal in NM. They claimed I was a junkie, they said I was a gang member - useless to the world. . . Now I'm like a free wolf. Chained to the floor like a sad dog, lonely in the cage. Being told, 'hey wolf that's your home for 80 years'. This is insane. Who have I killed - nobody. Who have I raped - nobody. Its unjust, the cost, the price of not only a revolutionary fighter but also the price of being a political prisoner." - Byron Chubbuck
Byron robbed 14 banks in 1998-9 to help fund indigenous and barrio peoples and the ELZN Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. He was nicknamed "Robin the Hood" by the FBI for his endeavors. Not only did he never brandish a firearm, Byron was courteous to tellers and other staff during the robberies. He was captured, but he escaped from a prison van on December 21, 2000 and began robbing banks again. The FBI once attempted to murder Byron while his pregnant wife was in the house. On a separate occasion, the FBI and gang unit tried to kill Byron again in February 2001. After being shot in the back, Byron was recaptured. Part of the reason for this arrest was that Byron tried to tell a popular morning radio host of the attempt on his life (by the FBI) and about the poor treatment and beatings of prisoners. After having his sentence extended to 80 years in federal prison, Byron told the Albuquerque Tribune: "I am still able to hold my head up and feel the gratification for my work in a world where money, power, and destructive industry are regarded far above humanity, indigenous, and impoverished peoples and cultures. I cannot help that I got into my work."
Of course what is not discussed in the media sound bites is that Byron Chubbuck was funneling money to indigenous revolutionaries in Mexico. The articles don't discuss the indigenous people's plight or why a revolution took place. The articles don't discuss that Byron is a very smart, creative human being who has written books, poetry, and songs throughout his life. Instead, you are shown a mug shot and told to fear a bank robber. Nothing is as simple as it seems.
I have been writing Byron for a couple of months. He is still very passionate politically and gives me advice on books, thought processes, activism, and everyday life. Byron tries to stay involved with his barrio (community) and family but has had numerous problems sending and receiving mail. He was recently put in solitary confinement after getting jumped and beaten by a few other inmates. Somehow, his spirit continues to stay strong. Byron's Native brothers- including Leonard Peltier -punished those few attackers and have tried to get him out of the solitary holding unit (hole). Byron believes he remains in the hole because the administration does not like him because he's a "New Mexico (Alien Class Character), a sovereign" (an indigenous person).
Byron is currently looking to raise the minimal amount of funds for legal help to appeal the ridiculous 80 year prison term handed to him in a fraudulent federal court. He writes: "I got a letter from a defense project at Kansas University. They are studying Blakely vs. Washington. They wanted to review my case. But they since claim they are unable to help me after learning I'm a political case! Pastor Rose in New Mexico - she's trying to start a defense fund. Maybe we could get folks around the nation to raise penny by penny to add to the fund?" To help Byron Chubbuck's defense, send contributions (no matter how big or small) to: Pastor Margaret R. Ramirez, 310 Aztec N.W., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107, (make checks payable to Pastor Margaret R. Ramirez with Byron Chubbuck written in the memo line). Questions, call 505-345-3883 or 904.824.5565 (ask for sumner).
If you want to write Byron, send mail to: Byron Shane Chubbuck, #07909051, P O Box 1000, Leavenworth, Kansas 66048 (Bryon requests that people NOT use zip codes, always spell out the state name, and put "North America" in place of the zip code).
Byron has been held in lockdown solitary confinement for months (since July 13th), with no release date set. He could use your support in writing the warden to demand that he be released back into the general population immediately. It's important to let the prison system know that they can't do anything they like to prisoners. They have also restricted Byron from using the phone (only once a month) or receiving calls. Please send a letter (any size) to the warden at: Warden E. J. Gallegos, 1300 Metropolitan Ave., Leavenworth, Kansas 66048 and send carbon copy (cc) to: Sam Brownback, 303 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington 20510, U.S. Representative Jim Ryun, 1110 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515, Roger Pine, 1783 E 1500 Rd., Lawrence, KS 66044.
If you would like to send Byron some reading material (he is constantly educating himself) it must be sent through Amazon.com, or through the publisher of the magazine or newspaper. Another excerpt from Byron's letters:
"... but this is elementary - accomplishing the unseen is advanced. The unrealized is what is possible by thought vision. This is only part of our real abilities. Prayer is a true voice power, yet I believe many organized religions have mislead the masses about prayer... Once when I was on escape in Mexico - I had no money, no food, or H2O. I was at a Big Store begging for pesos and a Christian taxi cab driver came up to me and asked if I was a believer, or he said christain? I said yes but I did not have time to go into complex stories. He asked if I needed help, to go anywhere? I said yes - to Central AutoBus Station in Juarez. So he agreed to help me. I had been awake four days walking 24 hours a day. He said we must wait for his girlfriend and I said fine. His girlfriend got off work from that Big Store. We drove to the bus station talking. When we got there I gave him all the pesos I had begged, about 30 pesos. He said to me, "Blanco, how are you going to get a ticket to Chihuahua, Mexico?" I looked at him and I said, "I'm going in that bus station and God is going to provide a ticket for me." I could have said The Great Spirit or Great Creator but he would understand just who I said. And I said good-bye.
I walked into that place - as I had many, many times before. I went up to the free bathroom - I came down I walked over and sat down with some Mormon Elders. I talked with them for a few minutes and one young 19-year-old elder, Elder Sholes, from Mesa or Tempe, AZ asked me, "do you need me to buy you a ticket Blanco?" Yes, I said. He asked me, I only said yes - 20 minutes after walking into that bus station I was on the Mexican Camino Pan American going south.
I fell asleep for the real sleep in the very back seat. I got into Chihuahua at 3 am or so. No money, no food, no water, homeless, praying every step of the way. All I had was will power, vision, and the heart of a spider warrior, a soldier from my Barrio. I made a last begging attempt for a 5 peso coin. A lady gave one to me - I got on the city bus to my old Barrio. I went to my brother-in-law, Chema. He was shocked to see me. I told him I escaped from the Federales. He took me in. He called over my Indian friend Shasha. She took my bloody feet and cut off the dead infected skin and soaked them in hot salt water. And she prayed for me. I healed.
We killed a chicken and a rabbit. We made good food and had some beer and everyone was amazed I got away from the feared evil american federales. All of it took place from out of my vision. I had gone from a max lock down cell in Fed holding in Santa Fe, on a long, hard journey to a home where people loved me in a house in Chihuahua where the little kids of my friends were running to me - Oso Blanco, Oso Blanco - jumping up into my arms as I sat in their cosina (kitchen). The little girl, 6 years old, of my friend Shasha, who is a Mexican Indian - she climbs up into my arms for a long time. Safety. Love. Compassion. Food, food, food. And Shasha cries on my shoulder about her hubby who is in the United States working. "He sends no money", she cries. These are his two babies. He calls, I was there when he did. The baby or six-year-old girl sleeps in my arms, my chest is her bed. Shasha cries - I look at the floor and the door - I realize I am back in Mexico. My vision is reality. A chicken walks past the kitchen door - cluck, cluck - you know, chicken talk.
My brother in law's brother in law comes, "Oso Blanco, don't come outside!" The feds are there and the Mexican fed police are there looking for you in the Barrio, the rebel. I don't care. I stay inside Shasha's house, with ten people all loving me! Indian, Mexican - they are all mixed up but family - all happy, all drinking, eating. Its Christmas, new year's time. They are making a lot of deep fried bread, making sweet mixed raisin sugar pumpkins and squash. And it all get cut up into a big pot, 10 gallons big and its good. Tamales by the 100s. But the love. They are poor but let me tell you, they're rich in love and unity. Boy, did my thoughts and vision and prayer pay off.
But I came back to the USA three times robbing banks and I sent a letter to a radio station to speak out about prisoner abuses and the Zapatistas. They caught me due to this repeated contact with the radio station. They got a photo of one of my co-defendents and went to his house. I had just happened to go by there to pick up a leased car... they shot me with an AR15 in the back, left armpit. The round came out the front of my chest. So - now you have read the part of my case that got me back here in prison in Leavenworth." (all italicized & underlined Byron's)