From: WALTER EDMUND BOND (37096013)
Date: 5/19/2020 7:19:47 AM
Subject: One Last Word From Prison
I am scheduled to be released from prison to a halfway house in my home city and state of Denver, Colorado on June 18th of 2020. Suffice it it say I am anxious to leave prison and also nervous. I have no family left in Colorado, I have no car, I have no job and very little money. Whatsmore, is the last time I was free was 2010. But ultimately I have faith in my abilities and the community of friends and supporters I have picked up along the way. I feel that now is a good time for me to give a little bit of a retrospective as well as where I am at today, and also a little bit of context to my time in prison.
I was arrested in 2010 for a string of arsons spanning Colorado and Utah which I did commit under the moniker ALF (Animal Liberation Front) ‘Lone Wolf’. Before that I worked for a local chain of health food stores and spent my spare time as a volunteer at various Animal sanctuaries as well as Vegan outreach and public education about the plight of Animals at the hands of human oppressors. I did very little protest activity in my long career as an activist, I always preferred to work directly with Animals. However, I became increasingly frustrated and impatient with the issues that Animals suffer and was no longer willing to stand by peacefully. I took illegal direct action in the form of arson against businesses that traffic in Animal products.
After my arrest, having been betrayed by my own brother to the feds for nothing more than reward money, I took the opportunity to give inflammatory speeches at two court sentencing hearings. And I wrote a string of jailhouse essays that would later become my book ‘Always Looking Forward’. I had always planned to capitalize on my eventual arrest using the opportunity to further the message of Animal Liberation. While I did not plan to be arrested when I was or in the manner that I was. I knew that either arrest or death were in my future because I was simply too well know and outspoken amongst the local community. but I had made peace with these outcomes before I began my campaign.
But contrary to the bravado in my statement to the court in Colorado where I said ‘prison is no great hardship to me’ this proved false. for 6 out of the 10 years I have been in prison I have been in CMU’s (Communication Management Units) these are counter terrorism prison units that are incredibly restrictive and house a united nations of extremists and political prisoners. The other 4 years of my incarceration has been spent in gang units surrounded by violence. In the last 10 years of imprisonment I have at times had to fight. The thing about violence is that sometimes the only way to respond to it is with greater violence ( admittedly this is a paradox, but there it is). at one point I broke my right hand in an altercation and never received timely medical treatment as a punishment for refusing to talk about the details of the fight with investigating staff.
In these last 10 years I have seen murders, multiple stabbings and assaults, drug overdoses resulting in death, fights and riots. I have been pepper sprayed (twice), I have seen men extorted into prostitution and have gone on a hunger strike just to try to get Vegan food. For 6 out of 10 years I have lived in a concrete box that looks like a retired mop closet. It is filled with cockroaches (the big kind) and silverfish. I have never been allowed a visit in all my time in prison and I have never been housed within 500 miles of home either. For 6 out of 10 years I have only been allowed two 15 minute calls per week.
So for anyone that thinks I deserved harsh punishment for my crimes of conscience believe me I have received it. However, this time has not made me repentant, nor has it turned my concern away from the plight of Animals and the Earth. What it has done is made me a realist instead of an idealist. To that end I will never start another fire or engage in illegal direct action again… Unfortunately.
I will not because:
First- I have no more anonymity and I suspect I never will again. And,
Second- I no longer feel the frustration that I once did from not having a voice.
As thousands have let me know in letters of support over these years you all hear me loud and clear. So, moving forward I will be using that voice in anyway I am able to support the liberation of our Earth Mother and her Animal Nations, as well as the truth of the Vegan ethic. I have spent this past decade reading an incredible and prolific amount. I have learned how to read, write and speak Spanish and I have don’t my utmost to keep my mind and body strong and healthy.
Also, during this past decade I have seen from my prison cell how much awareness of Animal issues has grown as well as the mainstreaming of Veganism both of which are positive advances. Of course, it will never be enough until all are free but for those of us that have been around awhile the advances from just 20 years ago are impressive.
I see a new generation of Animal activists that understand that there is a hugely effective middle ground between holding signs and waving at traffic and committing arson. They bring Direct Action Everywhere in dynamic and very intelligent ways. And so I will end with this:
I once told my comrade and still beloved friend Camille Marino that ‘there is no one to raise the alarm to besides ourselves’. I still maintain now, as I did then, that if we see and understand the severity of the wrongs that are going on. if we are concerned by Animals suffering and death then the responsibility is on us to do what we can. Each person in their own capacity can save Animals lives.
As for me, I have had my struggles and strifes and I’m sure I always will. But this is just the price of admission for all life upon this Earth. Nothing from a blade of grass to the planet Herself does not face tribulation and ultimately demise. life is not easy but is truly made easier once we accept it will be difficult. And it’s made easier still when we remember those that have it worse than we ever will. Worse than you where you are, and worse than me where I am. And of course through struggle comes purpose and life. And this is my life and I wouldn’t change it, not even the last 3,600 days of it. Not if it meant standing down, instead of standing up.
Love and Sincerity,