Chain Gang All-Stars

Part I

Highlight (yellow) - Hurricane Staxxx > Page 21
The crowd clapped appreciatively. They were cultured, they liked it, Staxxx and her words. They wanted her to live and they loved that she continued to do so. The BattleGround was a shrine to harsh violence and Staxxx was as violent as any, but unlike the others, she offered something more after almost every match. A poem, a story, and of course more love. She insisted on it. Her violence, her warmth, the messages cryptic or clear: They accumulated to the character they called the Hurricane. And as they considered themselves good, learned people, they had long before decided they could appreciate the way she entertained them,
Highlight (yellow) - B3 > Page 31
He was born and lived and loved and hated. We do not excuse him or the chaos and pain he thrust into the world, but because we see and know that what he did in a moment of confusion and rage was an assault on all that is sacred, we must remember and see that what we’ve done to him in retribution has promised him that he was right. Retribution of the same kind promises he was not wrong but rather that he was small. To punish this way is to water a seed. His name was Barry Harris. His name was Barry Harris. We’ve sacrificed him to feed our fear. To pamper our sloth.
Highlight (yellow) - B3 > Page 33
The Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) operates the 1033 program, which arose during the administration of President George Herbert Walker Bush and transfers excess military equipment to civilian police departments. The surplus equipment, weapons, etc. are to be used to support drug enforcement.
Highlight (yellow) - Teacup > Page 34
In some sick irony, the deadlier she proved herself to be, the fewer precautions the men and women who shuffled her between performances took with her. Often it seemed that they wanted to align themselves with her. Her success, she knew, legitimized something in their minds. She killed, they loved her better, and she hated them more deeply. She took a breath. They were just people, and people were all the same. “Everybody just wants to be happy.” This she’d heard from a brilliant woman she’d shared a cell with when she was in prison. Everybody was looking for the same thing in a lot of different ways.
Highlight (yellow) - Electric > Page 54
George Stinney, Jr., actually. Young, Black in South Carolina. Of course, of course. On June 16, 1944, fourteen-year-old George Stinney, Jr., became the youngest person ever executed by the United States. He was charged with the murder of two young white girls who’d been killed by a railroad spike to the head. Seventy years after electricity pulled his life apart, he was exonerated. Since 1973, at least 186 who were wrongly convicted have been sentenced to death.
Highlight (yellow) - Sports Central > Page 96
She thought, as they counted down, about what it was to love sports, what it was like to accept a baton and sprint. To be part of a team. She’d loved what it meant to want something that badly. She’d loved running as fast as she could. The feeling of finding the finish line and looking back, knowing that what was left on the track was all you had. And she loved how in triumph or in loss you could discover avenues toward growth. Who was better? Me or you? Us or them? Me yesterday or me today?
Highlight (yellow) - Simon > Page 109
The incarcerated can be placed in solitary confinement for nonviolent offenses such as possessing contraband or insubordination. Segregated housing is also sometimes used for the “protection” of the incarcerated individual.
Highlight (yellow) - The New > Page 115
from Rico seeped a plague that ruined the lives of men and all they touched: He needed to be seen as strong, menacing, powerful. He struggled against it constantly.
Highlight (pink) - Stable > Page 135
Emily listened to Wil and thought, This is what is interesting about this game. Wil, who was a little basic but usually kind enough, this man who had come to feel like home to her, was negotiating a complicated forgiveness in real time as prompted by this, this show. Almost as if by accident, he’d become generally much more open-minded about what it meant to be a good or bad person. Someone he’d respected had done the worst thing possible to another person he’d respected and because of the way A- Hamm was, he was thinking about it in a way that Emily herself resisted but also quietly admired.
Highlight (yellow) - Stable > Page 135
“But the weapons were really a quid pro quo, and those only last so long. She’s more than what she gives out. So much more. It’s kind of, well, you know a leader when you’re around one. Like that book I told you to check out.” Emily had flipped through the first few pages of Lead with Your Head: The Alpha Man’s Guide to Understanding and Leading the Everyman and quickly put it down.
Note - Stable > Page 136
The irony of Wil who clearly sees himself as a rational alpha but doesn't see that he's just rationalizing vibes
Highlight (yellow) - Stable > Page 140
She could do the math, or search herself, but even though it made her feel almost sticky, it also made her life so much easier to give Wil what he wanted: to let him be an expert, a bastion of knowledge.
Highlight (yellow) - Stable > Page 144
As of 2018: 2,272 out of every 100,000 Black men are incarcerated at a state or federal level, compared to just 392 out of every 100,000 white men. Eighty- eight out of 100,000 Black women are incarcerated at a state or federal level, compared to 49 out of every 100,000 white women.

Part II

Highlight (yellow) - Children of Incarcerated People > Page 150
the soldier- police were predictably increasing their presence around all Chain-Gang All-Stars events and many politicians had already appeared before holostreams to implore nonviolence. An absurd thing for the murderous state to plead for, but, as always, the massive violence of the state was “justice,” was “law and order,” and resistance to perpetual violence was an act of terror. It would have been funny if there weren’t so much blood everywhere.
Highlight (yellow) - Children of Incarcerated People > Page 152
The keynote speaker, a virtual reality startup billionaire, gave a speech about how if they just “stayed the course” they’d become leaders of something. As if leadership were the end- all, be- all of human existence.
Highlight (yellow) - Children of Incarcerated People > Page 154
Under the guise of economic stimulus and punitive prevention, we’ve allowed the state to administer public executions as entertainment.
Highlight (yellow) - Vega > Page 157
she was the general of an army she despised.
Highlight (yellow) - Vacation > Page 207
Cyntoia Brown was forced into prostitution and was initially given a life sentence at age sixteen for killing a man aged forty- three while defending herself. Cyntoia, Cyntoia, Cyntoia. All across the world, women regularly serve prison time for killing their rapists.
Highlight (yellow) - McCleskey > Page 231
  • 1 It has been found that police officers’ families suffer from domestic abuse at a higher rate than non- police- officers’ families. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban law passed in 1996, and it required that those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor be prohibited from purchasing guns. And yet, this ban does not exempt police officers or members of the military.
Highlight (yellow) - McCleskey > Page 232
In 1978, Warren McCleskey, a Black man, was sentenced to death for the murder of a white police officer. He’d robbed a furniture store along with three accomplices. He was given the death sentence, that bloody promise. He appealed his sentence, citing both the Eighth Amendment (cruel and unusual) and the Fourteenth (equal protection), and used a study conducted by Dr. David C. Baldus that found that people who killed white people were over four times more likely to receive the death penalty. Warren McCleskey lost the case. It established in America the precedent that even solid statistical evidence of racial bias did not offend the Constitution.
Highlight (yellow) - McCleskey > Page 232
In a 5– 4 majority decision the Supreme Court ruled against McCleskey, saying the data produced was best presented to legislative bodies, not the courts. The majority decision was authored by Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. All five of the majority justices were white. After Justice Powell retired, he was asked if there were any decisions he would change, if given the chance. He said yes, and cited McCleskey v. Kemp.
Highlight (yellow) - Presser > Page 244
Eighty- six percent of women in jail have experienced sexual violence. A staggering reality. Most woman in jail have experienced sexual violence.
Highlight (yellow) - We the Enslaved > Page 244
To all with a conscience and a sense of justice: We the enslaved of the GEOD system facility known as the Forthwright Detention Center stand imprisoned but in power and solidarity with the imprisoned located at New Holly, and we reject the separation of families and the inhumane violence set against innocent refugees. We reject the notion that so-called aliens, because of their non-citizenship, must be subject to inhumane conditions in poorly organized detention centers. We further condemn the rape and sexual assault that is and has been prevalent in these facilities as well as the trading and bartering of children into any number of horrors.[*] We demand that these so- called immigration detention centers be abolished and ask for a more humane method of accepting those in need into our country. We demand an end to neo-slavery in GEOD systems and all American detainment institutions, which have long kept the harsh flame of slavery alive in this country. We find abhorrent the ease with which humans subject other humans to torture in the name of righteousness and justice, and we are ready to put our lives on the line to ensure our demands are met.
Note - We the Enslaved > Page 245
Interesting to think about how many people could be detained and effectively treated like prisoners without trial. Innocent until proven guilty feels hollow when the still presumed innocent are treated like the guilty (and this is not confronting what conditions are acceptable to impose on the guilty in the first place)
Highlight (yellow) - Interview > Page 247
“I’m an abolitionist, which means I’m interested in investing in communities to address problems rather than carceral answers that don’t serve communities at all. Murderers and rapists do great harm,” Mari said, “but the carceral institutions in this country do little to mitigate that harm. In fact, they do more harm to individuals and communities. The carceral state depends on a dichotomy between innocent and guilty, or good and bad, so that they can then define harm on their terms, in the name of justice, and administer it on a massive scale to support a capitalistic, violent, and inherently inequitable system.” And though this was what she said, and had said so many times, a part of her even then understood what this reporter was getting at. There were some people who she did not think should be released. Her father had been one of them.
Highlight (yellow) - Interview > Page 248
“I mean that all those issues that you’re talking about are symptoms of our current system. Rampant poverty, a lack of resources for people suffering from addiction and mental health issues— those are difficult problems, but ones that can be addressed. But they aren’t. Because criminalization dehumanizes individuals and implicates them rather than a society that abandons them in times of need.”
Highlight (yellow) - Interview > Page 249
“We aren’t asking for an erasure. We aren’t trying to forget the pain of victims. For us, abolition is a positive process. It means creating new infrastructure, new ways of thinking about reducing harm. That’s what we’re saying. I’m not saying there isn’t something to be afraid of. We’re saying the thing we fear is already here, so it’s wrong not to try to do better. And I can’t say that any one of us has the perfect answer of what to do, but we might be able to figure something out if we consider it together.”
Note - Interview > Page 249
This argument feels toothless because it proposes to dismantle the current penal system without proposing experiments to build a better system
Highlight (yellow) - The Farmers Market > Page 263
The dissonance between the protestors and the people in the farmer's market made him want to jump out of his own body. It was a dissonance that he felt in his core. They were all humans, and yet they had completely different ideas about what humanity meant.
Highlight (yellow) - The Farmers Market > Page 265
Trans Americans are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as cisgender Americans. More than twice. And trans people of color are more likely to be incarcerated than white trans people. The vulnerable are targeted, again, always.
Highlight (yellow) - The Farmers Market > Page 265
It is estimated that between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of incarcerated people in America are innocent. That number represents potentially over 100,000 people. George Stinney, Jr., again and again.
Highlight (yellow) - Deane’s Creams > Page 267
he’d also realized that when you emphasized the fact that everybody involved in the Chain-Gang Circuit was a criminal, companies became more and more willing to advertise with the organization. Once they’d started identifying each Link by their crimes, their deaths no longer held the same weight to the viewers. The nut to crack in any criminal-justice sport was to separate the criminal from the human.
Highlight (yellow) - Deane’s Creams > Page 268
He focused back on the stand, where William and Melanie Deane were frowning at their eldest kid. When they’d done the family background check he’d noted that the eldest son, William Jr., was not actively participating in or subscribed to any official Chain-Gang content, which all but guaranteed that he, and by extension his entire family, was an undesirable in terms of Civic Service placement. But the letter William Sr. had attached to the application stating just how much it would mean to his family, how he couldn’t afford tuition for his son and having Links to help out would certainly mean he’d make the month and then some in sales with the rest going toward furthering his son’s potential—Mitchell had always considered himself a man with a good heart, so he’d allowed Staxxx and Thurwar to be placed with the family. This was how he was being rewarded.
Note - Deane’s Creams > Page 268
The things we pat ourselves on the back for
Highlight (yellow) - This > Page 276
Kinetic impact projectiles, or rubber bullets or rubber baton rounds, typically have a metal core. Rubber is a minor component. “Rubber bullets,” which are used in “crowd-control situations,” often result in permanent disability or death.

Part III

Highlight (yellow) - Tear Gas > Page 289
Tear gas has been deemed a “riot control agent,” which exempts it from chemical weapons law. As such, it is regularly used by police on citizens in city streets, while still being prohibited from war zones.
Highlight (yellow) - Game > Page 350
You could believe there were good people and bad people. And that the good deserved glory and the bad deserved punishment. Or, you could believe that no one deserved to be punished, but that the punishment was a necessary fallout. An unavoidable sacrifice to serve the greatest good: humanity. And so they, the GameMasters, shouldered that burden as well. Always for the ultimate good. The difficult good. The goddamned world of good that was only possible because they were willing to build the infrastructure to facilitate the salvation. Remove a cancer. A justice of effort performed for the people by the best of them. An effort to incapacitate an ever-present evil, to perform the retribution necessary to honor the many victims of the world’s great pain, to deter the seeds of evil growing in the masses and rehabilitate, when possible, those who sought redemption.