Taking responsibility

My brother’s frequent encounters with the law during the past several decades have taught me a thing or two about the circumstances under which those who break the rules are required to pay for their mistakes. The fact is that so many people violate the law that not everyone can be held accountable. Fines go unpaid, sentences are reduced, and folks like my brother who should be kept somewhere safe–for their own sake as well as for the sake of those whose lives they terrorize–are free to roam the streets.

Joe’s situation may be changing soon. He was arrested on March 30 when a staff member from a halfway house in Jacksonville called the local sheriff to report that my brother was threatening to harm himself or another individual at the facility. When the deputies arrived, they were able to talk to Joe and get him to calm down. Once they ran his name through the system, though, they discovered that he was listed as a fugitive fleeing from eight felony charges too horrific to mention in Pennsylvania.

Today, Joe goes to court. By this evening, he may be on a Department of Corrections’ bus back to Pennsylvania to face charges. Or, if the sheriff’s office there decides not to pursue his case, Joe will be released back on the streets of Jacksonville. Until next time.

As I sat at my computer this morning processing this latest development, Edwina called me. She’s been dealing with an incident that recently brought the police to her apartment as well.

Edwina kicked Tyrone out of her apartment a few weeks ago after she got fed up with his drinking, cheating, and shouting. All was quiet until Tyrone decided he wanted to come back. When Edwina refused to let him in, he and his nephew knocked down her front door. They then “shot up” her son Steve’s bedroom, “so bad,” Edwina said, that Steve “won’t sleep in there no more.”

Edwina called the police when the incident happened and was heading to the station after we spoke today to pick up the report. She has to present the report to her landlord so that she and Steve aren’t held responsible for the damage to the apartment and kicked out of the building.

Regardless of the landlord’s decision or actions taken by the police to make Tyrone pay for what he’s done, Edwina told me that she wants to move to another place.

“I don’t feel safe here no more,” she said.


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