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He testified that Almena persuaded him to co-sign the Ghost Ship lease. A couple of weeks after signing the Ghost Ship lease, Bouchard arrived at the warehouse one day to find a huge hole had been cut in the second-story floor.

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Concerned, he told his mother, and together they prepared for a meeting with Almena to discuss how to make safe, legal changes to the space. She then dedicated herself to maternal arm-twisting until her son cut ties with Almena. Over the six days of hearings, the state compelled a series of Satya Yugans to testify. A gulf in understanding opened in the courtroom. What was a family? Was your real name the name your parents gave you or the one bestowed on you by your friends?

What qualified as a home? What did it mean to say something was beautiful? But the feeling among people who lived there was that arresting Harris made no sense. About Almena, some testified that they were scared of him. But they were clear about Harris. Yes, Harris coordinated with the music promoter. Yes, Harris cleaned the warehouse for the party. But Harris had no power. Everyone who lived in Satya Yuga knew that. I talked to Harris a lot in the spring and summer of Her voice sounded like a single thin strand of hard caramelized sugar, sweet but ready to crack.

Part of the magic of parental love — its ballast, its power — is that your family will always be there for you. Their love will build for you a steadfast home in your heart, and the stability of that home will give you the strength and the sense of self required to extract yourself from bad situations when you need to leave. Harris never quite had that.

No parent, like Kathleen Bouchard, was determined and able to wrest him away from risk. Instead, even in prison Harris felt a duty to take care of his mother. For a while, each time I visited, I found Harris behind the thick glass divider in his red-and-white jail jumpsuit. To talk to me in a visiting slot in his cell block, he had to lean his lanky body over to the side of the cubicle because the cord on the phone attached to the wall was humiliatingly short.

He reminded me to clean the mouthpiece of the phone on my side of the glass each time I sat down. There was no way for Harris to process the situation, no way to assimilate the facts. He always thought that if he moved gently through the world, the world would move gently over him. He thought that if he helped others, good karma or Jesus or both would take care of him. Had he not done enough? He lost friends in the fire. He had his own trauma to work through.

How had his life taken him here, with all these bodies laid at his feet? One day in April when I visited Harris, he told me that the guards had woken him up in the middle of the night and searched his cell. They took his soap and deodorant and left another inmate standing in his boxers in the cold cement yard.

Oyster Card vs Visitor Oyster Card vs Travelcard

The casual cruelty disoriented him. He had nightmares at night. He had nightmares during the day. Almena, too, was in jail and not doing well. Shortly after his arrest, he was moved to the Glenn Dyer jail in downtown Oakland. He cried during the second interview when he talked about his children, then he remembered all the children who had died and that it was cosmically unseemly for him to cry in public about his own; his face collapsed as he sunk into the quicksand of his own pain. When his children visited him in jail, he told them he was now on a spaceship.

He hated for his children to see him locked up like this. He longed to touch their warm, soft skin. No one touched him anymore except to lock him in handcuffs. If he was lucky, he slept for 18 or 20 hours a day. In his dreams, he visited every studio in the warehouse. He saw Harris making jewelry, Nikki Kelber making feather headdresses, his wife upstairs belly dancing.

It was all beautiful again. Then he woke up behind bars. When I visited him in November, he looked defeated, subdued. Harris never wavered in his belief in his own innocence, though he lost faith that he could get a fair trial. In June , after nearly a year in jail, Harris agreed to take a plea deal. The deal stipulated that Harris would receive a six-year sentence, while Almena would receive nine.

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On July 3, , in Oakland Superior Court, his hair pulled back in a respectable bun, Harris sat as the judge read each of the 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Every time they read a name, another corner of the courtroom would break out wailing. The sentencing hearings were supposed to be a formality. In the month leading up to them, Harris prayed and kept the Sabbath and studied Buddhism.

He knew each family would be granted the opportunity to make a victim-impact statement and that those statements would be brutal. He felt it was his duty not just to sit there in the courtroom but to listen with an open heart, let the words in. Late on the morning of Aug.

The space felt hopelessly small and wrong, but it was inevitably all going to feel small and wrong. This was a criminal-negligence case that was trying to perform the civic emotional work of a mass-murder trial. The community needed the proceedings to do much more than call two human defendants to account for negligence; the community needed catharsis. The trial needed to create monsters, then decree those monsters must be locked away so that the world could be made safe and right again. Harris, along with Almena, entered from a side door. Harris seemed to be trying to hold on to a bit of himself, the gentle hippie artist, by wearing an undershirt he tie-dyed with jailhouse juice packets and crushed colored pencils.

The second family member to speak was Linda Regan, who lost her year-old daughter, Amanda Kershaw, in the Ghost Ship fire. She had no mechanism to salve her rage. She could not forgive. Family after family wanted Harris and Almena to know that loss did not get easier to bear. The sorrow did not decrease, it radiated.

A young woman named Lesley Moran took the stand to talk about her 6-year-old twin daughters whose father, Alex Ghassan, died in the fire. And I have to just watch their faces fall. They talk about death all the time. The horror followed by sadness followed by horror followed by sadness flowed and overflowed and kept overflowing. There was no way to contain it, nor should it have been contained. Colleen Dolan, who lost her daughter, year-old Chelsea Dolan, described standing out in front of Ghost Ship for hours on that awful night, breathing in the same awful fumes that killed her child, feeling the same awful heat.

She wanted to sleep at home in her comfortable bed. Almost all the parents who addressed the court disapproved of the plea deal. Harris and Almena would very likely be released in two and three and a half years, respectively, given the months off for good conduct and time served. It did not seem enough. The presiding judge, James Cramer, who was standing in for Judge Morris Jacobson, who had approved the plea deal but was now on leave, interrupted.

The next day Harris took the stand and apologized. He knew words were inadequate and that he would have to use words anyway. I know that nothing I can say comes close.

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Almena, too, took the stand, and this went less well. Even now, here, he could not conjure a world that did not revolve around him. After a two-hour recess, everyone returned to the courtroom. Over the two days of hearings, the families of the victims had made it very clear in court that in addition to being wrecked by loss, they felt legally aggrieved. They were angry that the landlord had not been charged.

They were angry that the city of Oakland had not been charged. They were angry that P. To the great surprise of everybody present, the judge threw out the plea deal. Harris has expressed from the outset, unconditional remorse. He was at the scene, he stayed at the scene, met with the officials, has done so from the outset. A trial was no guarantee of justice. A trial would certainly not bring justice with regard to the city of Oakland, P. But the judge would let a jury decide the fates of Almena and Harris. Harris remains in Santa Rita Jail and most likely will until his trial, which is scheduled to begin next April.

Officials at Santa Rita Jail declined to comment. He studies Buddhism and looks for ways to model equanimity and grace. It strains the human heart — and all the wisdom of the great books of the world — to hold all this suffering. Thirty-six families learned their children died. Each story is a complete universe of pain. In none of those stories does the child come back. Each of those children was loved. Harris tries to sit with it all, to let the unfathomable in, but a person can only absorb so much sadness at one time before the mind breaks down or deflects.


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So Harris takes in this swollen, shattered world in the ways he can. Recently, in his cell, Harris read a story in National Geographic about Alex, an African gray parrot who could count and identify colors like a small child. He cried when he told me about the bird.

Alex had worked with the same trainer his whole life, Harris said, and his trainer cared deeply for him. An earlier version of this article misidentified the college that Peter Wadsworth attended. He graduated from Reed College, not Reed University. An earlier version of this article misidentified a woman who gave a statement at a sentencing hearing and misidentified the victim she spoke of.

Elizabeth Weil is a writer at large for the magazine. Over the past year, she wrote about three teenagers dating in Brooklyn and a year-old Polish man who kayaked by himself across the Atlantic three times. Supported by. Matt Lauer said good morning, then dispensed with the niceties. The warrant read: People of the State of California v. Right up there in the Top 5'. The Water Dancer tells the story of a young boy born into slavery on a plantation in the U.

The book will be released September He's also acclaimed for his essay for The Atlantic magazine The Case for Reparations which pushed the cause for issuing payments to descendants of slaves into a national conversation. While discussing the impact of The Water Dancer, Winfrey was brought to tears. I ended up with my soul pierced,' she added. The year-old Coates said that he began the novel after completing his first book a memior entitled The Beautiful Struggle, and acting on editor Chris Jackson's suggestion that he try fiction.

Jackson said The Beautiful Struggle demonstrated Coates' 'ability to dive so deeply and imaginatively into a character's interior life and invent an idiom to tell the story that was more Joyce-ian than journalistic. Coates, who had been reading extensively about the Civil War at the time, wanted to open readers to the 'inner lives of enslaved black folks,' a 'thriller' that would also dramatize the most profound questions of freedom and identity.

He worked off and on over the next few years on The Water Dancer, while honing a literary voice - of realism and poetry, outrage and exploration - that Morrison would liken to James Baldwin's. I pretty much write for myself and the only people I think about are my wife and my editor,' Coates said on learning Winfrey chose his book for her new book club partnership with Apple. It was like I get to go play again. Winfrey's original book club was started in She has since helped turn dozens of books into best-sellers, from novels by William Faulkner to a memoir by Sidney Poitier. For The Water Dancer and her upcoming choices, Apple has pledged that for each copy purchased through Apple Books, it will make a contribution to the American Library Association to support local libraries.

Winfrey said she was wary at first of The Water Dancer, if only because she found Coates such a 'beautiful essayist' and wondered if he could move beyond the factual world. Speaking on his process of writing The Water Dancer, which follows protagonist Hiram Walker's journey into the Underground railroad he said: ''I really liked his story, and I said, "This is it.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. And then came that call from Oprah Winfrey. Share this article Share. Share or comment on this article: Winfrey picks Ta-Nehisi Coates novel for her book club e-mail Comments 23 Share what you think. View all. More top stories. Luckily, there is usually a business savvy shop nearby that offers top-ups, but this is something to watch out for if you are planning to travel by bus. Because of the daily caps, you can have some certainty as to how much you need to add to your card.


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Below is an example that assumes that you will be flying into and out of Heathrow Airport during peak hours , will otherwise travel exclusively in Zones , and also assumes that you will reach the cap each day. These prices could be slightly higher or lower, so do check out the fare table to make your calculations. Though, this does not take into account any discounts that you might use with the Visitor Oyster Card.

Travelcards are prepaid cards that give you unlimited access to specific zones within London. You can choose to either order these in advance in which case you will be given a paper Travelcard or you can buy them upon arrival in which case you will be using a plastic Oyster Card with the Travel Card loaded onto it. The only difference is that you must pay shipping and handling fees to receive the paper card, and in our opinion, these are much easier to lose!

As mentioned above, there are many different lengths of Travelcards, but the 2 most pertinent to visitors are the 1-Day Travelcard and the 7-Day Travelcard. In fact, you will likely lose money if you choose the 1-Day Travelcard over a regular Oyster. The cost of a 7-Day Travelcard varies quite a bit depending on which zones you want to be able to access on it.

Generally speaking, unless your accommodation is out in Zone 3 or higher, the Zones are probably all you will visit as a tourist. But what happens if you need to travel somewhere like Heathrow Airport, which is in zone 6? No problem! You just have to pay the difference for that particular journey. You can do this by topping up an Oyster Card or buying a single fare ticket.

This depends on what it is you want to do and where you want to go! Note that the London Underground Map is divided into 9 different zones. Zones 1 and 2 are in the centre, where most of the popular visitor attractions are.

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As a general rule of thumb, you can determine which ticket will be best for you depending on the length of time you are in town. Once you have spent the equivalent amount on your Oyster Card, that you would have spent for a 1-Day-Travelcard, your Oyster Card will stop deducting money from your Pay-As-You-Go balance. If you are in London for more than 5 days and you know you will be traveling extensively throughout the capital then a 7-Day-Travelcard is the most sensible choice by far.

This Travelcard is good on both London Underground as well as London buses and can also net you a discount on some boat journeys. You may choose to put your 7-Day-Travelcard onto an Oyster C ard, or you may wish to use a 7-Day-Travelcard paper ticket — the choice is yours. Rates vary depending on the time you wish to travel and how many zones you want to cover. Zones: Most London attractions are within Zones 1 — 2 but a Zone 1 — 6 covers absolutely all of them, as well as Heathrow airport!

Time: 1-Day-Travelcards and single fare paper tickets come in two different formats: Peak and Off-Peak. Peak means that you can use your ticket or 1-Day-Travelcard any time to travel on the Underground. Off-Peak means your ticket is not valid on weekdays between — am or from — 4 pm till 7 pm Mondays through Fridays. We have some more interesting facts on our blog.