an observation from outside the jail
Last week (Monday, Nov. 23) I was at the jail in the evening about 7 pm when a group of what appeared to be detention officer recruits came marching out of the front of the jail. Although they were trying to appear in-step, they weren’t that crisp. Perhaps it was because they were in shirt-sleeves and the temperatures that evening were in the 40s. Perhaps it’s because they are new. Perhaps it’s because secretly they all think it’s ridiculous. In any case, the group of ten made their way out to the flag poles. Two recruits stepped forward, and got the United States and North Carolina flags down from their respective poles. This was followed by a ceremonious folding of these flags. I have heard others talk about seeing recruits doing exercises in the front of the jail, but I hadn’t seen it myself. And I hadn’t ever seen these flags get taken in.
Seeing them perform in what could only be described as a martial manner reminded me of the fact that we are at war. We don’t always or even often acknowledge it, but these recruits, along with those who currently staff the Durham jail, and all jails and prisons, along with those on police departments, have aligned themselves against us. And seeing these recruits perform such pomp all to take down the flag reminded me of what our comrade Rick Alston, who has spent some time in DCDF, has said while looking at the flag pole outside the jail: “That flag up there might as well be the Confederate flag. Cause that’s what the place stands for: the slavery of the Old South. The way they treat inmates in there, even, maybe especially, the black guards. They should just replace those flags with the stars and bars, so people really know what that place is all about.” I thought about this as I watched the recruits–seven of whom were Black–shiver and march back inside with their flags.