Wasted Honor -

Carl R. ToersBijns is the author of the Wasted Honor Trilogy [Wasted Honor I,II and Gorilla Justice] and his newest book From the Womb to the Tomb, the Tony Lester Story, which is a reflection of his life and his experiences as a correctional officer and a correctional administrator retiring with the rank of deputy warden in the New Mexico and Arizona correctional systems.

Carl also wrote a book on his combat experience in the Kindle book titled - Combat Medic - Men with destiny - A red cross of Valor -

Carl is considered by many a rogue expert in the field of prison security systems since leaving the profession. Carl has been involved in the design of many pilot programs related to mental health treatment, security threat groups, suicide prevention, and maximum custody operational plans including double bunking max inmates and enhancing security for staff. He invites you to read his books so you can understand and grasp the cultural and political implications and influences of these prisons. He deals with the emotions, the stress and anxiety as well as the realities faced working inside a prison. He deals with the occupational risks while elaborating on the psychological impact of both prison worker and prisoner.

His most recent book, Gorilla Justice, is an un-edited raw fictional version of realistic prison experiences and events through the eyes of an anecdotal translation of the inmate’s plight and suffering while enduring the harsh and toxic prison environment including solitary confinement.

Carl has been interviewed by numerous news stations and newspapers in Phoenix regarding the escape from the Kingman prison and other high profile media cases related to wrongful deaths and suicides inside prisons. His insights have been solicited by the ACLU, Amnesty International, and various other legal firms representing solitary confinement cases in California and Arizona. He is currently working on the STG Step Down program at Pelican Bay and has offered his own experience insights with the Center of Constitutional Rights lawyers and interns to establish a core program at the SHU units. He has personally corresponded and written with SHU prisoners to assess the living conditions and how it impacts their long term placement inside these type of units that are similar to those in Arizona Florence Eyman special management unit where Carl was a unit deputy warden for almost two years before his promotion to Deputy Warden of Operations in Safford and Eyman.

He is a strong advocate for the mentally ill and is a board member of David's Hope Inc. a non-profit advocacy group in Phoenix and also serves as a senior advisor for Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council in Chino, California As a subject matter expert and corrections consultant, Carl has provided interviews and spoken on national and international radio talk shows e.g. BBC CBC Lou Show & TV shows as well as the Associated Press.

I use sarcasm, satire, parodies and other means to make you think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Last time I went to a funeral it was a Suicide

I normally don’t write about things like this and I can’t explain why I feel compelled to write about funerals and suicides all in the same sentence. Perhaps it is because I have been to so many funerals that were suicide connected and feel that there is dire need to address the two in one story line but keeping it perspective and order. I hate funerals and I am sick of suicides. 

I experienced my first suicide back when I was a teenager and my friend down the street hung himself in the garage. He left a note for his parents but no matter what it said, I couldn’t understand what it was that drove him to kill himself. I was shocked mortified and in disbelief such things happened just right there under my nose and I had no clue he was that depressed about life he would do this. 

So as I scroll my mind and recalled all the deaths and funerals I have attended both personally and professionally, I can conclude without a doubt many of them were suicides. Thinking I will just leave out the names and circumstances to give them the well-deserved dignity, respect and privacy, I will summarize these events by saying they all came suddenly and they were all unexpectedly surprising as I had no awareness such sufferings were going on in their heads. 

I was told I had become sensitive to funeral because of the dynamics that were involved in the process. The truth is I never know what to say, how to say it or when to say it. It all seemed so lost and unbearable to even mutter a word to someone who is grieving. The process of communicating how I felt was difficult but I managed to overcome my lack of words with the communication of body language that express the pain and sorrow at hand.

Seeing how my nonverbal communication worked better for me I learned to cope with funerals but often had deep thoughts afterwards of how the whole thing went down. I know I had to give a eulogy once and even had to deliver words at the funeral of my parents but I never quite got over how to put it all together thus I often bumbled and fumbled with my words as I tried to control my emotions. 

Sometimes I just said what was on my mind and other times I had written it down so I would remember what to say at such difficult moments. I became aware that the culture within your life, your work and your surroundings often play an important role in this process. My attempts to convey thoughts, feelings and values was all based on cultural inferences, acceptances and approved methods of participating in such activities.

I was worse when we had open casket ceremonies versus the closed one. Seeing the face, the body or the person just triggered an emotion I had to deal with before I could say the words I wanted to and often denied me such opportunities. 

I know this and that is very important. Grief is personal. Grief is private and not meant to be watched. Tears and choking moments are personal and should be kept out of sight the best way possible. That’s just how I feel as others will tell you just the opposite. High profile suicides bring the press and the public eye.

It intrudes on the family and the ideas, thoughts and feelings processed during the funeral. They also bring large crowds who want to pay their respects but are totally strangers to the family and I doubt it has any consoling impact except for showing the person was well known, respected and will be missed. 

Not enough awareness of suicides is the answer. We need to bring our awareness up and learn to see the signs of distress before it becomes a critical moment in time and thoughts. Suicides have a lasting impact on people and I as one do not want to go to another funeral again that was connected to a suicide. I hope and pray I have attended my last funeral that was suicide related.