sheep and goats

sheep and goats 4.

I just received word that Alex King was to have begun serving a 6-month sentence in Florida for traffic offenses the state considers criminal, but I heard from him yesterday that his case has been continued and he has an additional month of freedom. As unpleasant as jail would be for most people, Alex just doesn’t care. He has spent so much of his young life behind bars, he must feel at home there. In my opinion, Florida has set the financial bar impossibly high for convicted felons; in Alex’s case, Florida is getting exactly what its flawed logic leads to—a repeat “guest” in its penal institutions, at great cost to the taxpayers, over driving infractions that he considered necessary risks to just get to and from work.

As for Derek, his aversion to incarceration is greater, and as soon as his case in Virginia for possession of a single marijuana roach is settled at the end of December (I talked with hs lawyer last night: a $100 infraction), he says he’s still planning to high-tail it out here to Estrella Vista where he can live his life without interference from state authorities. After six years in the unforgiving outer world, he is ready to admit that the cards there are stacked against him. Life here will not be as rich and easy as he may like, but at least it’s a foothold to a productive life of freedom. Maybe he’s old enough and experienced enough to tolerate and learn from the “boredom” he once found so objectionable. I think it’s ironic that Virginia’s insistence that Derek stay in that state for months until such a minor matter is resolved immensely increases the hardships and risks for the kid.

A lot of readers may think that these travails suffered by our youth may be viewed by me as defeats, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the kids adopted by the Redemption Project have had one or two decades of dealing with an abominable home life while under the control of awful parents, compounded by the actions of an abusive state. It is unrealistic to think that these influences can be undone by relatively short interventions. These kids—even the best of them—will screw up and stumble time and again. The best and only thing we can do for them, no matter how often they fail to live up to our expectations or the demands of society, is to always be there for them.

Several weeks ago a mother contacted me, convinced that the prison authorities in her state had it all wrong about her son. I promised to look into the facts of her son’s case, and I did. I learned that her son is not only unrepentant about his crime, a rape, but that he is boasting to other prisoners that he thinks what he did is pretty funny. It isn’t, of course, and he is the kind of young man that I could never serve nor eventually impose on my neighbors. I love my neighbors too much.

I placed a call to his mother to tell her what I’d learned. But she hasn’t called back, probably already knowing what I intend to tell her about her son. In assessing the sheep and the goats, her boy is one of the goats. But what she is probably not expecting me to say is that this conclusion is not to say that her son is a lost cause, but that he needs her continued love and support—but not excuses for what he has done—if he is ever to learn the errors of his ways and achieve redemption.

Some kids deserve the interference of the state in moving on, and others don’t. It is obviously beyond the ability of many courts to discern the difference, and they consequently treat everyone as goats.



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PS: Derek has just announced on his Facebook page that he has become engaged to a woman with four kids. I just spoke with him 3 days ago, and there was no indication that this was a possibility. What this means to his plans to come to Texas is unknown, but I would bet against it. I’ll tell you more when I know.

PPS: I heard from Alex last night (December 23), and through a series of screw-ups in which a new judge was on the bench and his prosecutor was absent, the judge issued a warrant for his arrest. He is in the Santa Rosa County FL jail, unable to make bond, and resigned to serving out his six-month sentence. He says he was walking home from work when the sheriff’s deputies picked him up.

Despite our difficulties last year, I am pleased that Alex continues to rely on me when the rest of his support system fails him. I am the only contact he has been able to make to get messages to his public defender and bail bondsman. He has no money in his commissary account and is unable to buy soap, toothpaste and other basic essentials; I am going to made a deposit to his account so his Christmas is less bleak than it would be otherwise.

Just before he was arrested and incarcerated, he spoke with Derek, who sounded the happiest he ever remembered since Derek’s engagement.

If you want to write to Alex, his address is:

Alex King (11001755)

Santa Rosa County Jail

5850 E. Milton Road

Milton, FL 32583

At a cost of $1.00/page, he can also be reached by email through:




1 Response to “sheep and goats”

  1. 1 Katherine Frew
    December 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I moved to Crestview Florida in July 2011. My grandfather is Ray King. He is the uncle of Terry King, and brother of Wilbur King, Terry’s father. I had no clue of this whole thing until I arrived here. I am very interested in having a relationship with my cousins. My name is Katherine Frew.

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