supremegoddessofall: (Default)
[personal profile] supremegoddessofall
My partner's father is incarcerated for first-degree murder.

For life, without the possibility of parole. Seeing as how he's in his 60's and not in the best of health, we expect that he'll die in there.

Now, this isn't a case of "getting screwed by the man" or an innocent man taking the fall for someone else. It's nothing so romantic than that. He is absolutely, positively guilty.

Don't think that he's a bad man, because he's not. He was a career military man and served several tours in Vietnam. Afterward, he worked as a correctional officer for several years. He wasn't always the greatest father, and was known to cheat on his wife, but he wasn't a bad man.

I'll say it again - he wasn't a bad man, he just had a bad day.

A hell of a bad day, but a bad day all the same. See, money was tight and he didn't know how to tell his wife that the bank was foreclosing on the house. So when the deputy sheriff came with the new owner to evict him from his home, he didn't handle it too well. In addition to trashing the house prior to their arrival, when the deputy knocked on the door, he answered it with a loaded gun. He then proceeded to fire that gun at the deputy and the owner, and succeeded in killing the owner.

After discharging the gun, he retreated into the house and shot himself in the head. The bullet went through his cheek and out his temple.

The man couldn't even kill himself successfully - sad, I know.

I should at this point note a couple of things:
1) He was drunk as a skunk when the police showed up to arrest him.
2) Although he surrendered himself without a fuss, he did claim that he had planted a bomb in the house. There was no bomb.
3) When at the police station awaiting interrogation, there is video tape showing him sitting in a room alone singing "I shot the sheriff, but I should have shot the deputy."

Now, although this all happened in early 2003, my partner didn't know about any of this until late 2003, as her mother didn't bother to tell her about it until then (they had been estranged). When we went to visit him, he was very clear that he had indeed done the deed. When we asked how it all came about, he simply said, as noted above, "I had a bad day."

A bad day indeed, but how many of us truly can say that we're not one bad day of our own away from being in the same place?

Now, I know many readers out there are saying "but I would never kill someone!"

Would you? Probably not. But have you ever had too much to drink? Have you ever done things you regretted while drunk? Have you ever (sober or not) been so angry you've said "I could kill them right now!" or other similar things?

I'd be willing to bet you have.

And maybe, just maybe, a confluence of these sorts of events will lead you to your own bad day. Maybe you won't kill someone. Maybe you'll just drink and drive. Maybe you'll just speed. But maybe you'll run a red light and hit a pedestrian.

Still deny that it could be you? Let's look at something else - how many of us are one or two paychecks away from complete and utter financial ruin? We all know we *should* be saving money, but how many of us do? We're *supposed* to have two years worth of money in savings "just in case." I don't know too many people that have *two months* set aside, let alone too years.

In reality, your security is illusory.

Your freedom is also illusory.

Indeed, your sense of control over your life is illusory.

You may think "I'll never be one of *them*" when you see a homeless person or an inmate. But you're deluding yourself.

The reality it is that you're *already* one of them. You just haven't had your one bad day yet.

I hope beyond hopes that I'll never have my one bad day. But I know I could have one.

And that's why I don't see inmates or homeless people as "the other." I look at them and I see us. Us with one bad day.

This has been a post for LJ Idol. If you liked it and want to vote, the link will be up later in the week.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And that's why I don't see inmates or homeless people as "the other." I look at them and I see us. Us with one bad day.

So very well said. The world would be much better off if fewer people lost sight of that.

Date: 2011-03-28 03:11 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-28 04:13 am (UTC)
kellzilla: picture of a chimpanzee mid-clap ([other] clapping)
From: [personal profile] kellzilla
This was really powerful and I kind of have a little bit of a tear in my eye from reading it.

Date: 2011-03-28 04:13 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-28 07:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Uh, yeah... I've been thinking recently that I could see myself having that kind of bad day, and it scares me. I hope that day never comes.

Date: 2011-03-28 01:01 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-28 12:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not sure what it says about me and my terrible sense of humour that I laughed a little at this:

3) When at the police station awaiting interrogation, there is video tape showing him sitting in a room alone singing "I shot the sheriff, but I should have shot the deputy."

I know, it's not funny. I'm a terrible person.

I completely get what you mean, though. Years ago I volunteered with the Red Cross Soup Kitchen in our city. I ended up being paired with the same driver for over a year, which was great, and we both agreed, seeing the people who would come to get food from us, "There, but for the grace of God, go I". Even in this past year, I have had to accept stuff which I never thought I would... it's humbling and depressing and enlightening all at once.

I like your analysis at the end of this.

Date: 2011-03-28 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh don't worry, we laugh at it all the time. There but for the grace of God reflects pretty well what I believe (well, maybe minus the God part - damned agnosticism!).

And thank you.

Date: 2011-03-29 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heh heh... 'damned' agnosticism ;P

Date: 2011-03-28 02:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In reality, your security is illusory.

Your freedom is also illusory.

Indeed, your sense of control over your life is illusory.

Yep, this is so true. I'll confess, I do have 2 years of living expenses saved in liquid funds. This all came about from the loss of my Dad which actually goes to support your above thoughts. Despite my conservative financial nature, I recognize that in the blink of an eye one's life can completely and utterly change. I think we end up living in the delusion of the mirage because it feels better than the reality.

Date: 2011-03-29 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good for you for having that much saved! I wish I had anything near that close...I have some money in 401K and pension but I have tried very hard to pretend that it doesn't exist so I don't dip into it...

Date: 2011-03-28 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your use of the word security is what really chills me here.

This reminds me of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke, but with a couple of key differences--the first being that I actually like your piece. Most importantly, this entry has crawled under my skin, and I think it's going to stay there for a while.

Date: 2011-03-29 12:55 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-28 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I also immediately thought of "there, but for the grace..."
What a sad case all around. I read the Court part, too.
I can't help thinking his intent was suicide by cop and it just didn't pan out that way.
Nice job telling this and making the topic as real as illusions can be.

Date: 2011-03-29 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
from what i understand, his intent was indeed suicide by cop, but the cop... don't get me started on the deputy.

it is what it is, and it's gonna do what it does. i can't say what i would never do, but i can say what i hope would never happen.

Date: 2011-03-29 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I couldn't find a direct link to the news/trial info from when it actually happened, although its probably in the archives of several of the NC newspaper. I'm pretty sure it was intended to be suicide by cop...

Date: 2011-03-29 03:14 pm (UTC)
shadowwolf13: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowwolf13
I"m further from my bad day than I was a couple of years ago ... but I'm well aware that it was close a few times. Very well written.

Date: 2011-03-29 07:08 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-29 09:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well said. That's all it really takes in a lot of cases is one bad day.

Date: 2011-03-29 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Indeed. Thanks for reading.

Date: 2011-03-30 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And that's why I don't see inmates or homeless people as "the other." I look at them and I see us. Us with one bad day.

I totally agree with this. Then again, I have been surrounded by criminals most of my life thanks to my family. I have seen the other side and could share stories such as this as well. I know a bank robber that was incarcerated that is possibly the nicest man you could ever meet, you'd never think he was capable of holding up a bank or hurting a soul...

Date: 2011-03-30 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I worked with plenty of inmates that I wouldn't mind having as neighbors...

Date: 2011-03-30 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wouldn't doubt it.

I call the bank robber my uncle though he is no relation to me. I even chose him over some of my own family.

Date: 2011-03-30 06:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very ell done. The mortgage industry truly screwed the American public putting people in home they couldn't afford and talking them into a sliding interest rate where their payments doubling and tripling. That doesn't even touch the closing of factories, loss of jobs and insurance.

Date: 2011-03-30 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is true.

Date: 2011-03-31 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Powerful stuff here. And what you say is absolutely true. Well done.

Date: 2011-03-31 02:41 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-31 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really agree. I expected that by now, I'd be working as a creative in an ad agency in NYC (and making oodles of money) and that I'd do that until it got to be too much for me ethically, and I had the money to work in nonprofits comfortably.

Instead, I'm on disability at age 26.

Shit happens.

Date: 2011-04-01 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Shit happens, a lot. :(

Date: 2011-04-01 12:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*shudders* all I can do is hope I never have that bad a day... I have a trigger hot temper.

Date: 2011-04-01 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One day at a time...

Date: 2011-04-01 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's unfortunate how one bad day can ruin the rest of your life. :(

Date: 2011-04-01 05:47 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-04-02 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think this is true for the majority of the population of the U.S., and yet so many of us seem to think that we're close enough to being billionaires that we need to protect their money over our own safety nets and well being. There's a saying that "Americans would rather live with the illusion of one day being rich than the reality of being poor."

I think that pretty much captures the USA.

Date: 2011-04-02 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're right, that encapsulates it nicely.

Date: 2011-05-06 05:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Just reading this through the latest Favourites post. I didn't see it when it was first posted, but this was really well done.

Date: 2011-05-06 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2011-05-06 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ah, didn't realize i appeared in that....


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Kimberly Boyd-Bowman

May 2011

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