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Jeanne Schinto 8:30 a.m., May 19
"This is it!/ Make no mistake where you are... You're going no further/ Until it's over and done-- One way or another!" --Kenny Loggins, from "This Is It"
John Gardner has left San Diego County...and will never again return as a free man. His new home is north of The Grapevine at North Kern State Prison, in Delano. It will be only a temporary home for him, as in 45 days worth.
While at North Kern, he will be poked, prodded, tested, and gone over by California Department Of Corrections and Rehabilitation staff before being sent to his permanent home in the California State Prison system. They will match his needs against which facility will be best suited to house him.
When he is sent to the prison that will be his "Home Sweet Hell" for the rest of his life, more likely than not, he will be housed in the "Special Needs" section of the prison. Here, he will have added security, plus a single-bunk cell. This is typical, since those in "Special Needs" would be "dead men walking" out in general population.
Who qualifies for "Special Needs"? Well, child rapists/killers; ex-gang members going through "debriefing"; prison informants; mentally ill prisoners; incarerated celebrities; rapists; those whom have abused the elderly; homosexuals--this list may be longer, but as you can see, it's a pretty eclectic grouping of the incarcerated that call "Special Needs" home.
The term "Special Needs" itself is a modern invention. Such a place in prison used to be called "Protective Custody" by corrections staff (and "Punk City" by the general population inmates). Either way, however, the safety of those in "Special Needs" is not absolute.
One only need remember the riot at New Mexico State Prison back in 1982 to understand what can happen when the general population prisoners start feeling right froggy...and obtain the tools to carry out their plans of gruesome, abbatior-styled mass homicide.
In the NMSP incident, 12 inmates doing time in the "Protective Custody Unit" were slaughtered in such ways that would make Hannibal Lecter blow his dinner down the toilet! It is often said that you can still hear the screams today, even from the new prison next door!
Be that as it may, John Gardner will no longer be able to breathe free air, enjoy a decent meal, or live without the paranoia that the Grim Reaper awaits him around any corner. His life as John Gardner, citizen, has ended. His new life as John Gardner, CDCR Inmate, is just begining. One day, he will become John Gardner, Underground Worm Feast, when his time on Earth expires.
Some wish that he received the Death Penalty, but it was not to be. Oh, the inmates can still get to him and waste him...but it would have tio be a pretty creative fellow to do the deed. Most "Special Needs" inmates consider their time in their part of the facility "easy time," and would have no desire to wreck it just to waste Gardner.
But, it looks like Gardner will live--and die--behind the concrete-and-steel of a maximum security state prison. The Bible states that no one knows the date or the hour of their demise. Speculating otherwise might be a fun way to pass the time, but the reality will be that John Gardner will meet The Reaper when God says it's time.
Not one minute before.
One way or another--John Gardner dies not a free man, but a prisoner of his horrid crimes, and in the place where it was foretold he would be to pay for his misdeeds. That, in itself, is the ultimate death sentence--the death of your citizenship and your freedoms, so ordered to exact justice for three horribly brutal rape/murders.
John Gardner is facing a real life "Hotel California," in that he can check out anytime he likes, but he can never leave! Hope he likes it where he's going--for he will be there for all eternity!
Definitely South Of Heaven!