mommy dearest

A hot wind is blowing from the southwest and the temperature—even up here on Estrella Vista’s high perch—measures 102° in the shade. It has to be at least ten degrees hotter down on the desert floor.

Yet even if it were a cool day outdoors, I should still be burning up.

I have been smoldering ever since I visited the Facebook page of the mother of one of our kids where I see her bragging about her six (and soon to be eight) kids, and where she is receiving compliments from oh-so-knowledgeable Facebook friends about what a wonderful mother she is. The truth is, after she pops them out she pretty much treats her kids like used paper cups.

Has our throw-away culture sunk so low that parents like this woman think they can get away with treating their own children as things to be used, neglected, and ultimately disposed of when and how convenient?

Is the idea of self-responsibility so alien in our culture today that a mother can abandon her child to defend himself alone from the misguided and wanton prosecutorial power of the state and from her abusive and crack-addicted ex-husband’s (her description, not mine) intention to see the boy destroyed for something he didn’t do?

The boy of whom I am speaking is, of course, James Prindle. And his mother is Monica Charlene Wilson-Sanders, an unemployed convenience store clerk, waitress, assembly line worker, and former student of the Tennessee Academy of Cosmetology, who lives in Cordova TN, a suburb of Memphis with pockets of poor people concentrated in apartment complexes. Thus far Monica has ignored my pleas to stand by her son—something she will not do despite the fact that she told me she “always had doubts” about James’ guilt.

I am not a judgmental person, but I cannot refrain from commenting that it is precisely this kind of parenting that lands good kids in jail. It is precisely this kind of parenting, too, that creates raped, brutalized, and dead kids in prison.

Monica has never taken the time or summoned the will to explain her situation to me, but I can only surmise that she has adopted a course which, perceived from whatever psycho-social corner she has painted herself into, must appear to her to be the line of least resistance. Yet if she lives long enough to ever become unselfish or introspective, she will regret this as possibly the most shameful mistake in her whole life.

When she recognizes her abandonment of James as the sin against creation it is, it will be much too late to do anything about it. The torment and destruction she will have wrought will then be complete and irreversible.

Now is not too late, but the present moment is passing.

James’ trial begins on June 19th.


Groove of the Day 

Listen to The Dixie Cups performing “People Say”


May 28th – We have just received disturbing news that James has been beaten up in jail. He has a black eye, his eyes are bloodshot, and he was shaking uncontrollably while being visited this morning by our friend-on-the-ground in Memphis. He wouldn’t tell our friend what had happened to him, only that “I want to talk to Stephen.” We are awaiting a call from him, and I will report what we learn when we learn it.

Monica, is this what you want for your son? It will only get worse.

May 28th (evening) – Stephen has called to say he heard from James and, although James was pummeled pretty severely and has sustained  injuries, he was feeling pretty good at the end of the phone call and was even laughing at Stephen’s terrible jokes.

Here is what happened… a group of 15-20 inmates decided to create some chaos in the jail by stuffing the toilets with toilet paper to make them overflow. Somehow James has developed a work ethic which causes him to clean things in the pod, just to have something to do. He will sometimes go into the showers and scrub them without being told.

His jailors love James’ initiative, but today when James cleaned up the flooded bathroom, his fellow inmates did not. After all, he was undoing the disruption these inmates had created on purpose, and the inmates interpreted it as an affront to them. So James was jumped and beaten by about four of five of them.

The guards felt sorry for James and sent out for a special fast food meal for him which consisted of biscuits and gravy, cole slaw, Mountain Dew–just the kind of thing a Southern boy would consider “comfort food.” The guards placed James in a holding cell so James could eat his meal in peace and without further harrassment. James said the meal was so good, it was almost worth getting beat up for.

James survived the attack and his wounds will probably heal in time for the trial. But here is the important point: James clearly does not understand the upside-down world of prison where what is bad on the outside is good inside the bars, and what is good on the outside (like exercising initiative and cleaning up a mess) is bad inside the bars.

If James is imprisoned in an adult prison for a sex crime on a child (which he did not commit), James will be eaten alive by the inmates. He is a small and sensitive boy, and so vulnerable that his lawyer confirms that he would not come out of prison alive. He will be the butt of inmate bullying and terror.

Is this what you want, Monica?

Somehow, in spite of everything you and Jeff have done to this boy, he has turned himself into a good kid; even his jailors love him.

Why can’t you?

You would stand by and see him thrown away, and destroyed or killed in prison?

What kind of mother are you?


11 Responses to “mommy dearest”

  1. May 24, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Let’s just hope justice will be finally done. Praying for James

    Anyone can bring a child to this world but that doesn’t mean they can be a Mom

  2. 2 justicebedonenow
    May 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

    i just hope and pray james will have a happy family life, he is a good kid and possible be healing between a healthy relationship between james and his mom. POOR GUY HE NEEDS OTHER PEOPLE TO CARE FOR HIM LIKE i do. GREAT SOMEONE STEPS TO THE PLATE TO MENTOR AND BE THERE SUPPOIRTING JAMES. I WISH BEST OF LUCK TO JAMES.

  3. 3 andy rea
    May 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    She gets a check for every kid. They just announced giving four billon dollars to extended family members of people who have no SS#. The money goes to these extended families in other countries.

    Hard working folks who have worked all there lives, and paid into the system, played by the rules, are treated like shit without insurance or money. This has nothing to do with race, but should have everything to do with status.

    God help all of us!

  4. 4 Andy Rich
    May 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Its depressing, i bet her head is all messed up too though on one hand shes got a little girl whos been abused and thats got to hurt her so much and its dreadfull to think of what happened to her.

    On the other hand she has her loving son who people have pointed the finger to saying its him he’s done it and its the doubt in her mind thats stuck, maybe through peer presure or the constant thought of what people have said to her what he’d done and the picture remained in her mind like a virus

    If she loves her son she should close her mind to the misbelievers and judgmental people of this planet and listen to only her son, he knows the truth about what he has and hasnt done, she should believe in her son and know he hasnt done anything wrong. Love your kids, dont abandon them, they love you too much and you should feel the same.

  5. 5 Andy Rich
    May 29, 2012 at 8:32 am

    So sad to hear of the beating, thats terrible, although its known these things happen in jails all the time, hope you get better soon. Im amazed by the work ethic in James, it kinda seems unusual to imagine a young lad actually wanting to clean mess up, yet alone its someone elses mess! My brother is 17 and he doesnt even clean his own mess up, even trying to ask him to move someone elses gets an evil stare! Im well surprised, Actually Thinking about it. does he want a flat mate? 😉 Get well soon buddy!

  6. 6 Gloria
    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I just read the postcript and I’m in shock. James does not belong there, I really hope his lawyers can get him out of there. Poor Kid. He is a good Kid. Glad to hear that at least the guards treat him right. Get well soon James. Praying for a not guilty veredict.

  7. June 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I’m glad the corrections officers are treating James well. It is nice to know that he has some allies where he is. He deserves support from wherever he can possibly get it. I’m also glad to hear that he helps out when he can. He sounds like a fundamentally good kid.

  8. 8 Tinker
    June 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I hate that James has to go through all this alone. I have crossed paths with Monica and I do not like her. She is a pathetic excuse for a human or so called mother. She deserves to be sitting in jail for everything she has done. I do not see how she can wake up everyday and look at herself and live with everything she has done. I wish the justice system would do something about her. I wish all the best to James and he is in mine and my family’s prayers.

  9. 9 Stormy
    June 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    My Prayers are with this young man. I personally know his mother and she is a sorry excuse of a mother . She has one on the way now and never goes to the doctor for check ups .. Wish the state would step in and take that unborn baby from her before she gets here.. I pray james gets good results at this next hearing.. No one should suffer like that..

  10. 10 Ann Smith
    June 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    A) The neighborhood is Cordova – not Cordoba. B) it is not a poor neighborhood – In fact, it is seen as upper middle class with pockets of poor folks in some of the apartment complexes – how do I know? I’ve lived in Memphis for 23 years. Just want to keep the facts straight. I read somewhere else that Cordova is “wedged between Germantown road and i-40” – it is more accurate to say it is wedged between the suburban neighborhoods of Germantown and Bartlett.

    I just get concerned when the easily verifiable facts are inaccurate. It tends to erode credibility for the rest of the story.


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