Clearly, he intended to make a lasting impression.
He hit that ball right ‘outta the park, too, because today, like a bunch of scattering, squawking crows, cable TV news outlets are cycling the young man’s name and footage of him in the courtroom every 15 minutes. (Is his Tumblr fan site really a shocker?)
Countless wrathful comments now follow every T.J. Lane-related post. Some are angry, others giddy, and still others are nauseous with indignation. Many simply praise the treacherous world of prison, believing T.J. Lane will encounter Samuel Jackson’s Ezekiel 25:17 death speech from Pulp Fiction every day for the next 62 ½ years.
(Example: “…tumblr isn’t going to save him from the ass ramming he’s bound to get in prison.”)
Perhaps unbelievably, though, the gestures and remarks he made to that packed courtroom will instead likely serve as Lane’s insurance policy against those vengeful public fantasies coming true. Like it or not, as he’s transferred from Geauga County’s Jail to Ohio’s Lorain Correctional Intake and Reception Center, the impression he made on his soon-to-be “friends” will probably reveal itself to be a smart play.
How, you ask? With all the media attention he’s received, the State of Ohio will likely be forced to classify Lane above a scary, Level 4 Maximum Security inmate by appointing him to an even-scarier Level 5 “Administrative Segregation” unit. This means that, at worst, Lane’s immediate future will be filled with intimidating remarks and mean looks from the workaday Badges with whom he’ll interact. Corrections officers and facility functionaries tending to his case will hardly raise an eyebrow at the kid, since they process ho-hum paperwork for hardhearted badasses day in and day out. Sure, some of the Yard apes will be eager to knock Lane down a few pegs, but administrators are well aware of the staff’s extreme distaste for incident reports (and spelling), so Lane will no doubt stay at Level 5 for a decade or more.
If and when his status is finally dropped and Lane is let into the general population, the nickname T.J. Max will be waiting for him. And it will be no small thing that Badges and prisoners alike, in a maximum-security setting, never forget the faces of the men pointed out to them as convicted murderers. One learns to pick those guys out of a crowd by the deference that surrounds them. So if T.J. Max can maintain his defiance in the face of being tested (“Thank you Sir, may I have another?”), he’ll walk the red carpet of homicide royalty from the chow hall to the basketball court. If they let him out of his solitary shoebox and onto a regular max Yard.
No matter where Lane goes, it’s true he’ll probably face predators and those hoping to prove themselves more hateful than the Godless monster “character” he wanted the world to see. But those would-be attackers will be outnumbered by otherwise hardened convicts of every stripe wishing they’d displayed such bravado, cruelty, and callousness in the courtroom. And they will reward him for that.
In other words, our offense is his footstool.