Miami Herald Article on Gary B. Waid

Miami Herald
Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Steve Bousquet
Capital Bureau Chief

TALLAHASSEE - A convicted marijuana smuggler serving time in Florida was moved over the weekend from a low-security work camp to a high-security lockup amid accusations that he used the prison's computer to write letters to The Herald and other newspapers.

In those letters, inmate Gary Brooks Waid, 49, joined the chorus of prisoners accusing guards of brutality. And in the tense atmosphere following the fatal beating of Death Row prisoner Frank Valdes, Waid's charges are being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and his temporary transfer has drawn intense scrutiny.

Late Monday, Waid was back at the work camp with other white-collar criminals, away from the killers and rapists down the road at Florida State Prison - the place where Valdez died a month ago after a confrontation with guards. Waid's brief journey speaks volumes about the climate in the Florida prison system since Valdes died.

Shortly after Waid was moved last Friday, his lawyer was demanding explanations, and a friend, Kay "Grandma" Lee of Key West, was sending urgent e-mail messages to Florida newspapers and to inmates-rights groups around the country, pleading with them to take up Waid's cause.

Prison officials took pains Monday to describe Waid's three-day transfer to the closest prison as a necessary move while they look into charges of misuse of state property - a computer in the work camp law library.

"He is not a security risk at the moment. We're moving him back to O Unit," said Florida State Prison Warden James Crosby, using prison jargon for the work camp. "We wanted him separated from any access to the computer until we could have someone go through the computer and check it. We have everything he had on the computer. We had to remove him over the weekend until we could get an expert to look at it."

Letter not typical

Prisoners' letters to the outside often are written in painstakingly precise handwriting, a reflection of the amount of time inmates have.

Not Waid's.

His three-page letter to The Herald on July 28 is neatly typewritten and articulately phrased, with key words italicized for emphasis. Describing himself as an apprentice law clerk, Waid said that since Valdes' death, "more and more inmates are coming to me to help them with their affidavits."

"They don't like a prisoner who's able to articulate himself," said Waid's lawyer, Donald Cohn of Miami. "He's one of the people they don't like because he's exercising the rights he has. This was, in effect, a form of punishment that was given to Gary because he's not the kind of inmate you normally get."

Waid, formerly of Merritt Island on Florida's Space Coast, was convicted four years ago of conspiring to smuggle two tons of marijuana on a fishing trawler from Jamaica to Florida over several years. He got a nine-year sentence in a federal prison and wasn't supposed to be in state custody in the first place.

He was one of about 30 minimum-security federal prisoners swapped last November for 30 violent state offenders, many of them murderers who came to the United States during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. The prisoner swap had been advocated by state officials.

Miami Herald Article

Record Defended

His lawyer says Waid had an unblemished record while in federal custody and that he'd probably be in a halfway house by now if he hadn't been transferred to Florida State Prison's work camp last November.

"We're now in the process of doing whatever we can to get him out of there and get him back into federal custody," Cohn said. "He was in the worst place they could have put him."

Corrections spokesman, C.J. Drake said some e-mails on Waid's behalf came from people involved in efforts to legalize marijuana use. But, he said, Waid's transfer back to the camp was not a result of any complaints made by Waid's supporters on the outside.

"There's a heightened sense of awareness by prison management when it comes to conducting internal investigations," Drake said. "The Valdes incident has created an environment in which prisoners feel they have a forum to rehash allegations against the prison system."

Waid's Internet home page, set up by his friend, Kay Lee, is entitled "A Smuggler's Tales From Jails." On it, Waid describes Florida's prisons as "factories of hate and violence."

A biography written by his brother says Waid was a promising musician - a onetime professional trombonist with the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra who got into shrimping and from there "became enticed into the marijuana trade."

Friday, June 18, 2010



WARNING:   ALL OF GARY WAID'S TALES CONTAIN "BAD" WORDS: If you don't let that stop you from reading his work, you will discover excellent lessons presented in a simple, hard-hitting, humorous manner. With Gary Waid, you never miss the point!

This Smuggler's Tale is Gary's response to a letter found in the Making The Walls Transparent guestbook from a Hamilton prison guard who identified himself as just "John":

Name: john
Comments: I'll tell you all whats really going on in floridas prisons. first as a correctional officer we have more rules then the inmates ever think about, and they change weekly. we cant even use harsh language even though we get cussed out daily among other thing like bodily fluids throughn on or at us. second we can barly defend ourselves even when officers are getting assulted on a weekly bassis, if we defend ourselves we have to spend a year worried that the state can still think we did it wrong and we will be fired. third the inmates are usually belived over us. all becouse people like kay le here jumping on any cause that comes along just becouse someone gives her a sob story. catch a clue some people lie and i'm not just talking about inmates. people like this when they hear about a crime they jump up and start talking, oh that horrible this monster needs to be prosicuted. well the system works and the criminal goes to prison, starts violating the rules and gets put in confinement. he starts writing every one he knows seying, oh there treating me so bad they got me locked up i cant go outside or see anybody i cant even call you to ease my mind, boo hoo. his people call everyone who will listen and complain they got my boy locked up there treating him so bad. along comes miss lee hears about it and jumps up oh that poor inmate we need to do something. and its the same criminal taht she was so worried about the victoms and outraged at his crime. thats whats wrong with the prison system today."

John the guard is getting beat up by the new regulations because for so long they were breaking the old ones.  And if they insist on checking inmate records, let's remember that guards need some checking also.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ The approximately once-in-a-while letter to Kay and friends, which installment features Gary Waid asking the Ultimate Question: "What Came First?"

Hi Kay, whaaz' up?

I, Kay, am no...ahem...fool.  Stuffed into that groovy little packet of email you and Paul sent was a for sure attention getter, wasn't there?  A little herald trumpet of a note from that PO'd CO named "John."  It was the epistolary equivalent of, say, Donald Duck's famous rages on the old Mickey Mouse Club show, Kay, and almost as unintelligible. Needless to say, the hack who wrote it may not have been thinking clearly.  You inserted that little number because you knew it would get my engine going.  You KNEW!

Very funny, Kay. And sneaky.

The DOC E-mailer named "Hamilton CO" was right, by the way.  You should always consider the source, the mental state, the criminal record, from inmates and guards.  And the comments from around the country and the world were great [in the guestbook], especially the lady from Bend, Oregon (Carol), who said, "O'siyo," and wished me well "in the spirit of Crazy Horse," which was about the coolest thing anyone's ever said to me.

"John", however, has a problem.  His letter reads like a note from a serial killer.  He should have signed it Son of Sam.  Boy, was he mad!

Not that John/Son of Sam was referring to me or my stuff.  He was probably talking about all those other dirty cons.  But for the record and as an exercise in control, I will respond to his letter here, Kay, the best I can.  There's a Chicken and Egg thing that only I can explain.


So, what came first, John/Sam? The abuse or the whining? And who has the most credibility, me or you?

It's true that inmates in boxes, like monkeys in cages, throw things.  Hell, I myself have been known to scatter sputum from time to time; witness this website* and the carnival admissions I make. But I wasn't always shooting sheet in your playpen, Samson John.  Before I was illegally chosen to participate in the Federal to State, 30 for 30 trade of inmates, I was the dumbest and quietest federal neophyte in the South.  At FCI Texarkana I was once rousted and searched by my range officer because he thought I was sneaking around in the wrong building.  He thought I was trespassing, but I'd been living on that range for over two years, quietly doing my time, doing what was asked of me, anticipating what was promised to me.  My behavior record was unblemished, Sonny.

Then one day I was chained up and lied to, sent off to Florida, in secret, in ignorance, and given as a present to the Florida DOC.  My vested rights were stripped away, my right to seek programs was abrogated by bureaucrats, my property was taken and sent away, and I was told what a piece of shit I was.  The DOC and the BOP, the Governor of Florida and the US Justice Department, all deluged me with their bodily fluids, John Boy, and it was all against the law {see F.S. 944.091 (1997), The Privacy Act, The Administrative Procedures Act, and 18 USC 3621(e)}.

O'siyo, Johnny. If they'll do it to me, they'll do it to you, too.  Which might be part of the reason you're so mad.

There were fifteen of us in that first bus (See "The Lake Butler Nightmare"), and when we took our seats in the Lake Butler Bullpen, we were forced to endure the greenhorn Introduction/Indoctrination that some long-ago DOC moron decided was the way to treat first-time inductees.  We'd all been down for a number of years, Samson, but it was our first experience at hate for it's own sake.  We were called "fuckboys" and worse, threatened, some were made to do funny tricks, and I myself was designated as playtoy for some orangutan who couldn't spell cat if you spotted him the t.  As I sat nearly naked and sheared hairless, he stood over me and said approximately: "You!  Douchebag!  You're the goddamn reason I ain't home tonight!"  He went on at length about what scum I was.  He was on top of me, daring me to breathe.  He wanted me to say something.  He wanted to beat on me.

So no offense, Samuel-John, but you started this.  And the Spirit of Crazy Horse dies hard.  O'siyo.  If I could have, I'd have expectorated all over that guy - jizzed in his watch pocket or something.  Murder was in my heart, John.  Murder in my soul!

Do you think that you yourself might have wanted to sling a bucket or two of bodily you-know-what had you been subjected to such shit?

But Dude, like man, they were just doing their jobs!

No, son, they were not.  And things only got worse when I got to Florida State Prison Work Camp.

In the shadow of the Big Green, I was for the first time in my life afraid to even speak to an officer.  At the induction lecture a lady Sgt. told me that if I didn't behave I'd likely be taken across the street and beaten.  "They don't play over there," she said.  Later, out on the yard, I saw a man pulled out of the canteen line and clobbered for no reason I could fathom.  One morning I watched an FSP bullyboy sit on the bunk of my neighbor and whisper in his ear, secret whispers, sotto voce, stage whispers, grinning like an ape, like a crazy man, sandblasted brain pan, face rouged with fervor shine, completely around the bend, explaining what he was going to do to the man, the "nigger", how he hated "you boys", how he loved to fuck with niggers, how he was going to take special, proprietary (my word) care to see that this inmate asshole gets the full treatment.  And later the inmate was gone.  You and I, John, can assume that when that inmate hits the street someday, he will be angry.  We can also assume that the DOC will accept no responsibility for such monstrous behavior by one of theirs.

Have you ever sat on an inmate's bunk, Johnny?  Just who trained this idiot?

But I saw it, Buddy; I was there; two bunks over, watching him have his fun.  From that day forward I was confronted at least weekly with the specter of out-of-control guards.  At one point I was escorted out into the yard at midnight, and there rousted by a pair of DOC thugs named Zook and Anderson, two buttheads later implicated in atrocities performed on inmates.  They wanted to beat me, SoJo, for writing something.  Zook called me a smartass, over and over.  My federal status saved me that night, but later, after Valdes was murdered, when I ratted the joint out (with Kay's help), sending affidavits from beaten inmates to a federal judge and to the Miami Herald, I was again stood up by Lt. Anderson.  I'll never forget his words:

"If I ever see my name on your crap, you're through, Waid.  When you fuck with me, you fuck with my job.  When you fuck with my job, you're fucking with my family.  And I deal with people who fuck with my family.

Standing flush against the bulkhead in the wicker*, I performed admirably.  In no time at all I was shaking my hinie off.  My bowels went liquid and I almost had the squitters right there.  Too bad I hadn't the courage to let loose.  I was thrown in the hole, G-wing/death row, for writing the Miami Herald.  I spent five days and six nights there, while across the road at the camp, a staff of liars busily tried to cover their asses.  When I was let out (with Kay's help and the assistance of the Miami Herald), Lt. Anderson gave me a lying DR in which he ignored my paperwork and lied.  He's a liar, Sambo, whose best feature is lying.  I had to be removed from FSP W/C the next morning for my own protection.  Later, after a cursory investigation, Major Tison was demoted and transferred.  He wasn't busted to Sergeant for saying "nigger", by the way.  That's just what the Gainesville Sun was told.  He was busted down and had to leave because he couldn't control his men.

* A wicker is an officer's station.

O'siyo, Johnnykins.  May my hero Crazy Horse bury FSP under a mudslide of Internet buffalo pies.  All those new rules and regulations you're so pissed about are because the secrets are in retreat.  The thuggishness, the nepotistic cronyisms etc. are being looked into. Little by little, professionalism will have to eventually creep in.  If the inmates have a voice.

After two educational months at New River West, I was transferred to New River East where once again I was confronted with DOC Beagle Boy pigs.  You can read about it here on the web, giggle over it, slap your knee, Boricker Boo games, and crazy guards and throwing me out of the library (Col. Whitehead thought it was the typewriter doing the writing), and felonious evidence planting and so on.  I shall add a brief story here:

After a series of cartoon events in which Kay Lee was extremely helpful in having a pair of thugs removed (permanently, I hope) from their posts in lockdown, I was removed from my residence in one of the dorms and placed in a two-man cell in G-wing, which shared an officer's wicker with that same lockdown unit.  G-wing was the "quiet" unit.  They probably hoped I wouldn't see much there, especially since I'd been removed from the law library and put to work on the farm and in the ditches outside the gate.  One day I came home from work and was pulled aside on my way to my cell by an excited group of inmate residents.  The place was in a sort of hushed uproar because earlier that day a houseman cleaning the officer's station happened to jostle a ceiling tile while he was dusting.  The tile fell, and down came a dusty mountain of grievances, inmate requests and complaints stuffed up there from months or years ago, hidden in the crawl space atop the drop ceiling in the wicker.  The previous abusive officers had been afraid that the truth would be less than secure.  They'd hidden the grievances and forgotten them.

So Johnjohn, should the affected inmates have gotten pissed because their mail was intercepted?  Why does the DOC refuse to give receipts for grievances, dated proofs of post?  Or should the guards have waded in, issuing more and more DRs for, hmm, disruption, throwing food, tossing turds, peeing on the grate, whatever?

What came first?  And who can we believe?  My shit bucket runneth over, BooBoo.  And I was transferred again.  But I was there, friend.  I was there.


A generation ago a book was published, with the help of Norman Mailer, called "In The Belly of The Beast" - by Jack Henry Abbot (I hope I spelled his name right).  It was a best seller.  In it, Mr. Abbot chronicled his experiences and the abuses of a system, horrifying a not insignificant portion of the American public.  A lot of bureaucrats and prison officials grumbled, but it was Jack Henry* who was vindicated when a number of pro bono lawyers like William Kuenstler (spelling?) took up the cause and began litigation.  They paid particular attention to the federal system (BOP), and eventually the feds had to change - secrecy was out.  Nepotism and cronyism were out.  They had to institute a system of explicit rules and point-by-point procedures.  They were made accountable.

* Jack Henry Abbot was paroled briefly, but almost immediately committed a horrendous act.  Turned out he'd been permanently scarred by the system he helped reform - Another manifestation of the Chicken and Egg question.  Was he born, or created?

Everyone needs to know, gang, that unless there are rules about every little thing, a prisoner would not get that thing.  Food or toilet paper would be used as rewards, snitch bait, or punishment.  Prison agencies are not in the humanitarian business.  The employees are a rulebook away from anarchy.  Every squad of uniforms is a potential Nazi cabal.

Anyway, the cleanup was (and still is) a painful process mostly because there was so much wrong and the investigative procedures of the BOP (like those of the DOC now) were designed to cover up.  To lie.

The BOP still covers up and lies, of course.  Witness what they've done to me.  A few years ago at the Oklahoma City TC they beat a parole violator to death, then lied to cover it up.  GQ Magazine reported Janet Reno saying:>

"How can we make this go away,"...which makes her a pig and a felon.  Still, for the most part things are not at all like before.  And there is a certain paranoia between the staff members that is there for a reason.  They're not pals watching zoo animals anymore.  They're employees.  And it's because of publicity and the printed word.

So, Sam, the reason the bureaucrats in Tallahassee don't take your word is first, they don't care, and second, they know you guys, they are you guys.  They have a historical perspective.  Credibility-wise, both of you have feet of clay, and until the reality matches the hyperbole, many things in DOC will not be believed. I mean really, how does a man kill himself by repeatedly throwing himself off his bunk?  It was a lower bunk, Johnnie, only a foot off the floor.  People know this.  You guys are insulting them.

Now all those letters that have infuriated you are on the world wide web instead of in a DOC trash can.  So what?  You should welcome scrutiny.  If you're a good officer, you won't be affected, or you shouldn't be affected.  You, of course, are just a peon like me.  Neither of us matter.  But next time you get bodily fluids tossed your way, look at the larger picture.  Shit flies in the monkey house because shit was and is an only alternative.  And if you become like me, where your sensibilities have been torpedoed and you begin to see that you don't matter even less than you thought you didn't matter, that those laws everyone quotes aren't really for you, that the patriotic, ancient windage that goes, Of the people, By the people, and For the people doesn't refer to you, then the best you can do is try to tell other people, some of whom may matter somewhere.

But - uh- first use your spell-checker, Juan.  Sprinkle some commas and things here and there, for christsake.  I wish I had a spell-checker.  Until you get a little better, I suggest you don't write Michael Moore about your concerns.  Kay will print you comments; she's cool.  But Michael will put them in his handy dandy Oliver North 2000 shredder.  Unless,, couldn't be. But - ...this isn't you, is it Michael?  You're not Michael Moore, are you?  Pretending to be John/Son of Sam?  If this is you, Mr. Secretary, get off the keyboard!  Right now!

But if this is ol' John for real, well, hell, you're in a box just like me.  Welcome to the sewer.  Here's your bucket.  Fill it and let's get to slinging.  O'siyo.

Gary Waid, dirty laundry pick-up guy, River Junction Work Camp 3-20-2001


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