This man who defended the bird is Jarvis Jay Masters. As a child, he grew up in circumstances that were less than ideal, to say the least. He was poor, neglected by his own parents, abused, thrown into the foster care system. He was incarcerated because of robbery charges. Before he was able to finish serving time, a prison brawl happened and a prison guard was killed. He was implicated, and even though many believe his innocence and there is evidence that he is innocent, he was sentenced to death row. The irony of this is that it was during this murder trial that two things happened. One, he started to reflect on his life, where he had gone wrong, and who he was. Two, he met a private investigator working on his case who taught him how to meditate. His practice progressed to the point that he became a Buddhist, and he took the boddhisattva vow, that means he has committed his life to the freedom and awakening of all beings.
So that day, when he told the other inmate "That bird has my wings" he was talking about compassion that comes from non-separation. Compassion is to understand from the deepest level that every life matters, not from that airy fairy everything-is-perfect land of privilege, but to understand compassion drawn from his own suffering. The bird has my wings. Jarvis Masters has written a book by that title to speak at length of his story. That bird has my wings. It is a reminder that we are all interconnected to each other, our paths intricately interwoven, our destinies interdependent. That bird has my wings. It tells us that as far as the practice of compassion goes, we make it our business when others are bullied, and we do not let that happen under our watch.
Note: One of the most impactful ways we can practice compassion is to become vegan. Please watch From Farm to Fridge to witness the violence that we inflict on other beings, and join Manila Vegans to seek advice on how to stop this.