Friday, January 18, 2008

I ran into an old friend recently

Well I can find old friends on the internet thru the various social networking websites out there. People commonly use Facebook or MySpace to name a couple but I use another tool and thru there I won't be just as able to contact them. What I'm referring to is the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

I don't know when the first time I started doing this was. I know that one day I was at a computer lab when I went to college in Chicago and this girl sitting next to me was amused at the faces she recognized off the IDOC website. I looked to see what she was giggling about because quite frankly it was distracting, but she took umbrage at that and said something.

Eventually I decided to have a look myself. What happened to some of the people I went to school with? Especially those who I eventually figured out were on their way to running into some trouble with the law.

Some of these people I figured would be in jail by now weren't in jail yet or perhaps they had just been released by the time I started looking for them. Some left for a while and came right back to jail. That was the case with a couple of guys I found recently. Sometimes it seems easier to get in trouble than to find ways to stay out of jail.

Now when I was able to figure out some of these people were headed to jail or for serious trouble or would otherwise go psycho on me for any unexpected reason I just decided to put myself at a distance from them. I didn't need the trouble nor the complications. Thankfully though I didn't really hang out with anyone after school whether they were decent people or otherwise. So that helped me for sure.

I did find one friend who I've known since elementary school. He had issues and today I've concluded that he had to have been abused as a child. He was a thief and let me qualify that statement. He stole a sandwich from the teacher's lounge once and my former second grade teacher had caught him. Another time he stole some snack cakes from my former third grade teacher when he was a guest in our after-school program. Those were the times I know about.

He often didn't eat at lunch saying that he would eat it before he came to school. What probably really happened was that his folks didn't fix him lunch and he wasn't exactly crying for help. He would beg often and behind his back I would often talk about him or make fun of him for this tendency. There was certainly a reason if he did eat lunch before class, he was hungry by lunch time, especially before my grammar school had a lunch program of sorts.

When we did have a school lunch program most of the time he rarely paid. Then again he didn't seem to be well-to-do or even close to that so he should have had free lunch. Maybe his folks must not have cared much about him enough to even bother filling out the necessary forms so that he could get free lunch! What could be more likely was that he had the form and never bothered to give it to his people at home.

Oh and another thing I found out about him was his temper. If you "assaulted" him in any way he wouldn't let it go and he would get his "lick" back. In other words it didn't matter if you were playing his only solution was to fight you. Apologies weren't going to get it for you he was going to get you. Who knows if I kept fooling around it would have been worse than a beating eventually.

Oh I remember one time he said he was stabbed in the leg. I don't recall what story he told but I sort of recall that he was hanging with his older brother when it happend and probably late at night when he should have been at home. He also had the tendency to sleep in class most of the time and it was a wonder that he even kept moving up with us back then. Either way within the first couple of months in sixth grade, I never saw him again he left the school. To where is anybody's guess!

Then I found him just a few days ago. He had the same features I remember though he does have braids or cornrows now, something I honestly associate with criminals. His crime doesn't seem terribly violent, it's over narcotics. I honestly thought he would have been in jails years ago when I started browsing IDOC.

Whatever happened in his homelife and I can never know for sure, it sure didn't help him in the real world. It took over and now he's actually in jail for real. I'm sure the cry for help was there, but what could anyone at our school have done to get him on the right track before he found himself in jail eventually.

Oh I want to conclude on another anecdote. Another classmate was on American's Most Wanted (AMV) but that wasn't the worst part. AMV wasn't even looking for her, she just so happened to be in a target of a major manhunt in Chicago and they ran a check on her and found that there was a warrant for her arrest in another Illinois county outside of the Chicago area. I heard her name and the camera was on her and it was her in handcuffs being placed into a squad car. It's really messed up!

Well that enough talking about people I used to know who are now in jail. I don't mean to start off on a drag of sorts. Just a cautionary tale of people you knew once who unfortuately might find their way into the criminal justice system. In the naivete of my youth I couldn't even imagine that, but then what do I know.

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