In Exonerated Former Death Row Inmate Nick Yarris’ new book, “Hearts Forever,” he offers eight self-isolation survival tips for surviving a mass killer attack. Those tips are based on what he says is his personal experience: surviving mass shootings in the workplace, a school shooting, an elementary school massacre, and a bowling alley shooting. All of those things happened just a few weeks ago. This article will address how he relates them to the current issues of hate crime and terrorism.
In his first piece for “In Their Own Time,” Nick explained his thoughts after being exone. He said he had felt like a different person since he was let go from Death Row. His thoughts centered around the fact that he was no longer the angry person he used to be. He said that he realized he was no longer capable of hating anyone or of taking anyone’s side, especially the one that was hurting him. In that same piece, he mentioned a possible future for himself: living in Florida for the next decade while saving enough money to fund a second home in Florida.
In his second piece, “Exonerated,” he discusses his decision not to take part in the execution of an innocent. Nick told the story of an innocent killed by a repeat offender. When he learned that the man would be executed again, he said he wanted to take action but was unsure if he could stop this crime once it was done. He wrote about the scene of the crime, the level of cruelty inflicted on the victim, and how he decided to act in the manner he did. In his final paragraph, he mentioned a quote by William Bradford that he had chosen to follow: “Action is better than inaction.”
In his third article, “The Vanishing Book,” Nick explained that he was not sure what he would do in the future. He had been fired from his job as a county correction officer when the ex-convict got into his car and drove off. He didn’t see who was driving the car and didn’t think about whose identity the person might have stolen. He ended up getting into a fatal car accident on the freeway, which is what prompted him to write his blog post about the hate crime he had witnessed. Nick told his story in a series of blog posts, which he hoped would help him survive his upcoming murder trial.
In his fourth installment, “The Vanishing Book,” he discussed the events that took place during his time away from work. According to him, he spent about a year working on writing his latest installment before he was laid off. One summer evening, he went out with some friends to celebrate his anniversary. When they walked into a bar, one of their friends, identified as Austinite A.J., started arguing with them. An argument escalated to a physical confrontation where the group left the bar and never returned.
After several years, Nick reconnected with his former boyfriend, David, whom he had not seen since he went to prison for more than 20 years ago. David, now identified as Michael, introduced Nick to the white supremacy group Identity Evropon. According to the official website of the American-Statesman, an associate of the group called the Eagle Forum invited Mr. Yarris to come to a meeting at the forum’s offices in Austin, Texas. Mr. Yarris declined the invitation, which the news report characterized as a “show of force.” He also stated that he felt uncomfortable associating himself with a hate group, stating, “I really don’t like the white-shirts, and I definitely don’t want to promote any type of hate.”
In an October 2021 article published by the Albuquerque Journal, Mr. Yarris makes mention of his experience while in prison. According to the Journal, Mr. Yarris was held at the California State Prison in riotous circumstances for over thirty days. When he finally received assistance from a private prison within the state, he was transferred to a super max facility. The supermax is known for having a high-security environment. Despite his violent history, Mr. Yarris was accepted into the prison program, which allows for violent offenders to serve time outside of California’s death row.
In a separate interview posted on the American-Statesman online, Mr. Yarris clarifies his rejection of Identity Evropon’s invitation. He states that he has heard that this program is being offered in thirty-six states across the country, and that he refuses to participate in it, stating, “The clock is ticking”. Mr. Yarris further states that he will not be a part of any organization that is not part of the Multi-Government Consolidated Bureau Prison (SHAC), which is a prison bureau for the Department of California. This information should be made available to anyone who may be interested in the future of a multi-gov organization, perhaps including the newly-formed “CA PACS”, which Mr. Yarris is part of.