Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Bit Sick To My Stomach

Occasionally, when I have a little time on my hands, I get on the computer at work and look up offenders i have dealt with before to see where they are and what they are doing.  Of course after all of those years in the Hive, the only ones I really remember are the worst knuckleheads, so it's rarely good news.

But it is sometimes amusing.

Not this time.

I first met this little idiot in '07 or '08 when he was nineteen or twenty.  Constantly in trouble.  Acted like he was somewhere between twelve and fourteen, mentally and emotionally.  In and out of the Hive all of the time.  Sometimes for random acts of douchebaggery and once in awhile on suicide watch for claiming he was going to kill himself.  Always doing something remarkably ignorant.

We were always relieved to see him leave and never surprised when he came back.

I remember thinking at the time "Here's one fool we are going to be dealing with for the rest of his life."

Much to my infinite surprise, he got out of prison March of last year.

I hadn't though of him since then.

Tonight I got on the computer and ran his name and it came up again.  He landed in the intake side of a prison up north at the beginning of this month.  The first time he was incarcerated it was for stealing animals of some sort and stealing a car and setting it on fire.  He did three or four years for that.

This time he was in for 1st degree murder.  Sentenced to life without parole.

Warning.  If you have a soft heart or a weak stomach don't read the next  paragraph.

I wish now that I hadn't looked.  But when I got home tonight I searched and found what he did.  Some fool left him watching her children while she was at work.  He took her 4 year old son out by a pond and cut his throat with a pocket knife, then sent her a picture with his cell phone and confessed to the murder.

That left me feeling sick to my stomach.  Obviously the system had failed.

I can't place any blame other than the fact that I feel slightly guilty even though I had nothing to do with the decision to let him out.  Obviously if he had completed his sentence they had no choice but to release him.

But still....

Since I'm a part of the system I feel bad when it fails so catastrophically.  But I know that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this.

There were times when I wanted to wring his neck, sure.  And if I had done that then maybe that boy would still be alive.  But then I'd be in prison instead and that wouldn't have worked out well for me at all.

At least I take the small comfort in the fact that my prediction came through.

We will now be dealing with him for the rest of his life.


  1. That was tough to read, being a mother and all.
    But, I have to wonder about a woman that would let "this guy" look after her son. I don't know, maybe it's wrong to say that, but did she know him, who recommended him...the questions are reeling in my head. the taxpayer gets the fun of picking up the tab for this useless piece of snap. (borrowing your word)

    Wow...lots I could say, best not to...wouldn't want you to think I'm Satan's sister given what I'm thinking should be done to this sod.

  2. Take comfort - there were times when 'miscreants' could be 'hanged and quartered' at the whim of the local Sherif.

    Mmm, have times changed, and did that work as a 'deterrent', seems not.

  3. Ok, was a bit flippant. there are many instances where the "judicial" system has a problem - but am only writing from the Australian point of view.

    'Tis a long story, and difficult to put into a "few words".

    Each and every case has to be seen on it's merits; and judged according to the "law" decided by Parliament.

    "Magistrates" in Australia are allowed some 'leeway' to allow, or discount some disputes that are silly (ie 'slap on the wrist').

    there are, of course, some cases that verge on the 'serious'. Bear in mind that the "death" penalty (in Australia) was discarded as unproductive. There will always be those who choose to kill - either by misdirected passion, ignorance - or choice.

  4. Um, what am trying to say is that "penalties" won't stop ugly stuff ... education might ..

  5. I don't think you should blame yourself, or even the system. Unfortunately, these things happen, and no one could have foreseen it beyond a general feeling that something was seriously wrong with the guy. And we certainly can't have a system that extends people's sentences on the basis of such feelings. In the end that would cause more tragedies that it was avert. I know that's probably a bitter pill to swallow, and it's natural to wonder if you could have done something.

    Besides, I think it's dangerous in general to start blaming yourself or the system for what these people do. It was THAT MAN who put that knife to that boy's throat. The blood is on his hands. He had a choice to make, just like anyone, and he alone is responsible for what he did. Being a sick demented SOB doesn't let him off the hook, like some wild animal that got loose, and I don't think you should punish yourself by looking at it that way.

    We shouldn't even blame the mother. Sure, it seems like an incredibly stupid and careless choice on her part - and like Jenny said, we don't know the whole story of why on Earth she would leave her child with a mad man with a prison record - but again, HE was the one who held the knife. HE is the one that forces the rest of us to be more careful living in a world with people like him.

    You remember when I wrote about my car being broken into, and I mentioned people that would blame me for not locking the door? This is, of course, a much much more tragic situation, but it's the same principle at work. It's prudent to lock your doors against this man. It's prudent to lock him behind a door. But in the end, it's his fault that the doors have to be locked. It's his fault that he can't be trusted around unlocked doors. It's his fault for everything he does.

    And it would be different, of course, if he had slipped out under the wall or something and you had a professional failing that played a hand in all this, but again, we have to have a system where people are punished for the crimes that they committed, not a system where we sit around in hindsight and wish that we had punished them more for the crimes that they were GOING to commit. That's not a failure. It's just how it is.

    1. You make an excellent point, Bryan. Only THAT GUY can be held accountable for his actions.

      I’m sure the mother will be blaming herself for the rest of her life, and unless her actions and motives can be shown to be a contributing factor one must remain unbiased by one’s emotions. (hard to do given the crime)

      Having read Rev's blog for some time now, I can safely say I wouldn't know where to begin if I had the daunting task of keeping order in such a place - but I would hope I would not be feeling any guilt about what prisoners, under my watch, did once released.

      I can only imagine how unnerving, and unsettling, it must be to know you dealt with this low-life at some point, and the subsequent “what-if” thoughts that invariably spring up. I can see where this would niggle at Rev and cause him to ponder the events leading up to this horrific and heart-wrenching crime.

      There is never an easy answer or solution.

    2. Oh yes. I can totally see all the doubts and second-guessing that he'd go through in a situation like this, and I sympathize. The problem is that we tend to look at these kind of things in hindsight, and it all seems simple and we beat ourselves up over it. It's unfortunately human.

      Like he talks about wanting to "wring his neck.", and you can see it from A to B, clear as day. Neck wrung; kid lives. But you can't look at it like that, because at the time, in that moment, it wouldn't have been the right thing to do. I mean, it's not like he can go around in the future wringing necks on the off chance that Such & Such might be a future child-killer, and he wouldn't have been any more right to do it then than he would be doing it now, despite what we know. It enough to make your head swim.

      And, of course, he knows that, and you know that, and I know that. But there's that temptation the think, "If that one little moment had turned out different..." And that's the thing that'll drive you nuts if you let it.

  6. I'll bet he doesn't end up doing life, unless a fellow prisoner kills him. I'll bet he'll be out in 15 years. Then he will kill someone else and return, maybe next time it will be for life.

  7. I should tread carefully here. I probably said too much, what with all the neck wringing and all. This post will probably get me spoken to if not just frowned at. But it hit me in a way I hadn't suspected and I needed to vent or explode. This is, after all, what this blog was designed for.

  8. Hindsight is a nuisance idea. If, perchance, 50 years ago i had concentrated on acquiring "University" qualifications - i might have become something else - e.g. rich, respected.

    In hindsight - could have achieved many "ideals".

    These days, am simply who i am.

    Will, however, recognise some sort of "parental" influence that will not allow me to 'murder' - am supposed to care for my fellow humans, the environment - and try to leave campsites the same (or better) than i find them.

    I hear, read about, and sometimes experience - females who have been "seriously" abused, as children, by their fathers (or 'uncles').
    But this is not restricted to males. Have just been watching documentaries about female genital mutilation, by females - in Australia.

    It's a long story, i guess: and not solved easily. Some perpetuated cycles need to be broken. There is the old apocryphal story -

    'give me a child for the first seven years - and i will show you the person they will become'.