A brush with the law

Yesterday we drove the long 45min journey that the prisoners take from the Polunsky unit (death row where they live) to huntsville (where the death chamber is). We did it twice.

It. Was. Really long.

When we were at the perimeter of ‘death row’ we thought it would be a good idea to get out and film. I still personally think it was a good idea. Steph did a vlog (a video log, like a blog, for those unfamiliar with the term) and I got some general barbed wire shots. It all felt pretty relaxed and we were really far from the prison, I had to zoom fully in to get this:

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Turns out we weren’t that far away.

A big white truck decided to slow down and as I turned around I read the words ‘Perimeter Patrol’ on the side of the truck. Yikes. We were playing with a gopro trying to attach it to the windscreen as he pulled up. So I kinda dropped that on the floor and casually strolled to the driver’s side.

He took his time to get out of the truck (making it as dramatic as possible I guess). I decided it would be a bad move to get in the car and drive away – he might shoot the tyres or something! So as Steph said the words ‘it’s ok we’re going’ and got in the car, I strolled over to him and said hello.

He asked “y’all having some trouble here?”

This was our get out!

I said “aw yeah, we’re just looking at directions, but we can do that somewhere else”. And I kinda edged back to the driver’s side.

I thought to myself “yeah nice one Rach he obviously knows what you’re doing and has probably seen you with your camera”.

He seemed to take a few seconds to reply and then said “where y’all heading?”

I said, “Huntsville”.

I think other words must have been exchanged but that’s the gist of what I can remember.

The short story is that he gave me directions and I nodded along pretending to be dumb (I had to try really hard… ). I thanked him and tried to break away and then he offered to draw us a map. I wanted to say no just so we could go! But it seemed rude and counterproductive to our little tale. So I went over and asked Steph for her notebook and pencil – her notebook of course being filled with all of her research on the project! Luckily she flipped a few pages! And then he drew us a map! Very helpful. If we were actually lost.

As he was drawing I was eyeballing his gun.

It was the first one (and hopefully last) I’ve seen out here. It was so close to me I thought that if I reached to get my phone from my pocket I could accidentally have reached for his gun. That would have been really awkward, so I’m glad I didn’t do that.

We thanked him and enjoyed driving away! I really think that if we were blokes then that first question he asked would have been more like ‘what y’all doing?’ and after that he probably would have grilled us. So in this unique situation I was quite glad for a bit of sexism!

You can see Steph’s vlog as we drove away here: https://theroadtohuntsville.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/too-close-2/

So, lesson learnt. Don’t mess with the Texas.


p.s. This is us minutes before our little brush with the law, just enjoying the sunshine and scenery:

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