My life is controlled by the I.D.O.C. everyday. Not because I committed a crime, but because I love someone tortured by the I.D.O.C. in solitary confinement for the last 8 years.
It’s really hard to keep a family together under that pressure. Its because I’m so focused on surviving and keeping the I.D.O C. in line that I’m sometimes vulnerable to people and organizations and take them at face value. I shouldn’t, but sometimes I just lack the energy to investigate. Gerard says I fall for snake oil salesmen. He’s rarely ever mad at me but this is one of the things that really upsets him.
Well this time with The Marshall Project we both bought that oil. I understand what nonpartisan means but that’s not the same as misquoting and using sensationalism to lean opinions one way or the other. That’s what they did to me. I should have learned my lesson when Gerard was quoted in an article about double bunking in solitary. He had written back and forth with the writer for months. He gave the letters he wrote to me to read before sending them off so I knew what he said. The article came out and it was good. I even messaged the writer and thanked her and sent her the link to a video about our current situation.
It bothered me though. I know Gerard better than anyone. I recognized the article as mostly his own writing and yet he was given credit for one quote. She should have just said “Here write an article about this topic” because basically that’s what happened. He’s intelligent and articulate. He can do it. Give him credit. I kept my mouth shut because it was a helpful article. I did send him a copy and mention my suspicions.
Then the Texas decision to stop family members from doing social media for their family members in prison came out. At that time we were going through Gerard being threatened with solitary for the Facebook page I made for his art. I was very vocal about it. Someone else from The Marshall Project contacted me and asked if they could speak with me about the decision. I sent the the link to a video I made with Brian and Greg from the Torture Survivors Against Solitary site and told the writer he should watch that and then contact me with questions. He called the next day. I felt I had given a lot of good information as to why social media is good for all of us in and out of the prison system. I was happy with it. He called again the next day to ask a few more questions.
A few days later my mom sent me a link and asked if I had seen it. I wasn’t even notified it was done and out. I was horrified. Besides being misquoted and made to look ignorant, he used the “selling serial killer art” as sensationalism to draw people into his horrible article. That makes him no better than someone who profits from their crime or profits from someone else’s crime. Its disgusting. I have NEVER used who Gerard is or what he’s incarcerated for as a way to advance myself or make a profit EVER. We most certainly could.
Unlike that writer, we have morals. It was basically a trash article that could go in National Enquierer with me thrown in at the end in a mess of misquote and misinformation. No help to the reform movement whatsoever and most definitely NOT neutral. I feel as though it was a passive aggressive move to harm us. I was hurt, embarrassed, ashamed. I didn’t know what to do. I emailed the so called writer and told him how I felt and that Gerard and I were no longer available for The Marshall Project. A week and a half later I decided to put my name and The Marshall Project in the search engine to see who shared the article so I could do a little damage control and stick up for myself. What I found was that countless websites and blogs took the Marshall Projects horrible article and switched it up a bit and used it as their own. With the misinformation.
I feel violated. No one ever got ahold of me to fact check or anything whatsoever. If this happened to me how many other people do you think its happened to? I put my heart out there to make things right in the Dept. of Corrections. I’m honest and give my all. My life is hard and I go through hell. All I ask for in this world is for people to do the right thing. The Marshall Project doesn’t. Thats the nicest way I can put how I really feel, but yes I feel violated and I’m mad as hell about it. Our lives are too hard already to have to deal with things like this. Beware of wolves in sheeps clothing.
By Lee Anne Schultz