By A. Hosack P. Berman & K. Hecht,
Move Larry move don’t just lie there. This is your own fault. Why couldn’t you do what you were told?
Martin was back at his post staring at Larry through the window of the intensive care unit. He was lost in thought, this time full of anger. He had warned Larry over and over the last night they were in prison about what was expected once they got to Philadelphia. There was nothing more he could have done to prepare him for life with the gang on the outside. Larry had been the screw up – not him!
“He’s here he’s here. I told you daddy that he be here come on hurry up.” Amelia was trying to drag her dad as he laughed and did his best to wheel his chair faster. Shocked out of his internal rage, Martin looked down the hall and couldn’t help but start laughing. Ted was wearing some kind of crazy something on his head that looked like it was made from pipe cleaners.
“Mister, Mister!!! Do you see the hat I made for my daddy last night? I made it myself to keep his head warm.” Amelia twirled over to him and looked up at him with a big smile. Ted arrived and apologized, “I’m so sorry that my daughter was yelling at you from down the hall. She’s gotten a little overexcited today.”
“It’s my dad’s birthday and we had cake and ice cream would you like a piece?” Amelia said all on one breath. Martin could barely speak for laughing. He looked at Ted and when words could come out said, “She’s not bothering me at all. She looks about the same age as my daughter.” This led Amelia to begin tugging at Martin’s shirt saying, “Is your daughter here! Would she like to play? We have cake!!”
Blood rushed to Martin’s face. Thinking about his daughter for a moment made him feel deeply ashamed; what would she think if she knew that her dad was involved in attempted murdered? Looking down into her eyes, Martin said softly, “she can‘t play with you today. She’s hours away from here.” Amelia looked down so dejectedly that Martin shared a little more. “I am sure she would want cake, if she was here. Would you like to see her picture?” Amelia began to jump up and down in excitement as Martin removed a photo from his wallet and showed her his daughter.
“What’s her name, what’s her name Her dress is so pretty.” “Now, Amelia, give this gentleman a chance,” Ted said, smiling down at her. “Here name is Destiny,” Martin said with pride. I have three sons and this little ball of fire.”
“She looks fun daddy; can we go over to their house and play?” Ignoring his daughter, Ted smiled up at Martin and said, “she looks like a wonderful girl.” Martin smiled back but then shame quickly returned and he said as he walked off, “Sorry, I have got to go.” He almost ran down the hall, not giving them a chance to say anything else.
I almost killed Larry. I almost killed Amelia’s dad. Selling drugs is one thing but… Can Jesus ever forgive me for what I did to Larry?
His sweet daughter Destiny was in church with her mother right about now. What would she think about her dad if she knew? He was destined for Hell. No praying of his wife’s would stop that. He was lost for sure.
Martin doesn’t want to be a killer. What would he have wanted if given more guidance?
Martin was born into poverty with a single mom desperately trying to care for four children on the income she made running a cash register part-time at the local grocery store. As she got further and further behind on the bills, her oldest son, just 10, turned to the local gang for help.
Might you want to offer a better form of help to poor children faced with tough choices?
A political advocacy step would be to support bills that are intended to help end poverty. One bill currently under consideration is H.R. 4436: National Poverty Research Center Authorization Act. This act would financially support Poverty Centers run by institutions of higher education. These centers help support programming to end poverty in their communities.
There is a website below that would help you learn more about this bill. If you support it, you would click on the blue tab at the top that says, “Call or write a letter to your representative.” If you click on this, it will show you who your senators and representatives are. Since this is a house bill, you would click on your representative (s). For mine, I had to fill out a brief demographic form to prove I was a member of his district before a pop-up menu to write a letter appeared. Go to the website below if you would like to consider supporting this bill. The letter I sent is also below, feel free to use it for your own email or phone call if you decide to take action.
Dear Representative Thompson,
Please support H.R. 4436. It would provide funding so that many research centers could be established around the country to help end poverty in their communities. Poor children have more difficulties learning in school, are less safe on their streets, and often spend too much time alone as their parents work long hours trying to earn enough money to feed them and keep them housed.
We have approximately 7 million people in prison in the USA (https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=kfdetail&iid=487) Estimates are that it costs $182 million dollars to do so (https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/money.html). Please consider spending this money on programs that could end the need for crime to support families and drugs and alcohol to dampen the pain and unnecessary suffering caused by living in poverty.
Imagine what a legacy that would give you as a congressman to be listed in history as helping to build a strong USA through supporting families, rather than supporting incarceration.
Pearl Berman, Ph.D.