Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I have been spending a lot of time reading the blog of a girl who is currently a crime reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. Just spending a half hour on her blog today dredged up some memories. Richard Whackman asked me when I would tell a story. So, here is a story, about karma (sort of), inspired by Erin's blog.

Once upon a time, in a mid-sized city, a gang member holed up in his room, brandishing a pistol and threatening to kill himself.

Dave, the officer involved, spent about 4 hours talking to the gang member, and eventually persuaded him to give up his gun peacefully.

The gang member was transported to a mental health facility, where he received counseling and therapy to deal with his suicidal behaviors. Post-treatment, he appeared in court for sentencing in a separate offense (an aggravated assault, which in layman's terms means attacking someone with a dangerous weapon).

The judge ordered that the boy serve a sentence in a secure juvenile facility (juvenile prison, basically) because he felt that the boy was a danger to himself and others.

The youth corrections caseworker, whose job was solely to transport the boy to the secure program, took it upon himself to amend the judge's order, and place the gang member in a non-secure group home back in the community.

Within 12 hours, the gang member had fled from the group home, and was at-large. This outcome was not particularly unforeseen by anyone who had worked with this individual, the judge, or the officer involved. Even the mom of the gang member felt he should have been locked up. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but nothing happened for several months.

Then, the gang member turned up. He killed two people and wounded 3 others during a robbery of a little taqueria on the west side of town. The taqueria was your standard immigrant Cinderella story: it was small, but successful, and was owned by a couple of honest, hard-working Mexican immigrants. One of the victims was the owner of the restaurant. Dave was the first officer to respond of the scene of the shooting. The gang member's take out of this robbery amounted to $16. Two people were dead, three people were seriously injured, for sixteen dollars.

Eventually, the taqueria went out of business, and the owner's widow moved back to Mexico. All of the employees, including the ones who had been shot, lost their jobs. Dale ended up going to therapy for about a year to deal with his feelings of guilt for keeping the gang member from committing suicide.

Fucked up, eh?

So tell me: Do you REALLY believe in karma? Because I don't so much, anymore.

There isn't any rhyme or reason to the universe most of the time.
Bad people do bad stuff, and more often than not, don't suffer for their actions. Just as often, horrible tragedies befall good people. Sometimes, life just sucks.

There's a story, Richard. Not all stories have happy endings, unfortunately.


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