I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 Update on Clark Fish

There's continued to be a lot of interest in the story of Clark Fish on this site: I think folks can settle down now, though - he's not going anywhere. On August 2, 2010, Clark Fish was committed to the Arizona Department of Corrections to serve a life sentence for the murder of Elizabeth Anne Friedel.

Beth Friedel's family are the ones who had the grace to ask the prosecutor to shelve the death penalty for him this summer and offer him life without parole, otherwise he would likely still be facing execution for kidnapping, torturing, and killing her as he did...which he denied doing until he was actually convicted, only at which time his attorneys claimed the PTSD made him do it.

See, there's much more to Clark Fish than PTSD, as Beth Friedel's brother pointed out to me - so don't be fooled. Just donning a military uniform does not make one a hero to be exempted from the responsibility of his/her actions, either. As many soldiers well know, in fact, there are an awful lot of people who just pull out their uniforms to hide their own inadequacies, and wrap themselves in ribbons and medals the way that politicians wrap themselves in the flag. It's show.

Vets and others out there with PTSD that's messed up your lives - Clark Fish is no sympathetic martyr to identify with. Women - he's a wreck alright, but tormenting and taking the life of an innocent human being can take its toll on the mind and soul. Do not be sucked in by his victimized appearance. He may not be very brave, but he survived Maricopa County's jail so he's tough enough. He'll find his place in prison in time. Maybe he'll even get a grip on his rage and abusiveness and help teach other vets to do so as well so they don't re-offend. Stranger things have happened.

Clark's biographer got quite close to him over the course of his trial, which may have obscured some more deeply disturbing things about his crimes and defense, but you can easily find some pretty decent human beings who have endured unbelievable trauma and never turned around to hurt anyone in response. Rape survivors don't regularly go on a nut and kill creepy men because of their trauma; most children who were sexually molested do not grow up to be pedophiles; and the vast majority of soldiers who have been in combat and seen violence first-hand don't come back and re-enact it in our streets and libraries.

That said, it appears enough people want to know how to reach prisoner Fish now that he's out of Joe's jail and in prison that I should post it. The ADC link here should help you keep current if he gets moved - though once someone lands in SMU, it can be a good long time before they're able to climb out and get into a less-restrictive hole. Follow this link for policies you should be aware of if you want to correspond. Here is also the family & friends guidebook.

As a final note, though, if you want to do something good for veterans caught up in the criminal justice system, look for your local veterans court, if you have one, or inquire at your closest homeless shelter or VA hospital. There are lots of traumatized souls behind and beyond the razor wire who could use help putting their lives back together, who have hurt only themselves. My bet is that they could use the kind of fan club that Clark Fish already has behind him, so please look before you leap with your good intentions.

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