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October 24, 2005

"I wish I could say I was surprised."

Got an email from a friend of mine back in Kentucky last week. He was forwarding on a request for information from the high school class reunion committee. I've mixed feelings on the whole business but in the midst of the email there was the following tidbit of news: one of our classmates was shot to death by the police over the summer.

The email included very little information other than a copy and pasted headline. Google failed me when I tried to find a link to the story so I'm left out in the dark as it were.

I had known the deceased since 5th grade. He was one of a handful of people in the class that really went out of the way to be friendly when I was the "new" kid.

By the time of our senior year he had taken some twists and turns that I hadn't. In our freshman year he was the first person to show me seeds for growing marijuana. (In our first period English Class no less.) By our senior year I can remember he was already connected with people who could take care of most of your recreational pharmaceutical needs for a price. By that point in time I doubt I ever spoke to him very often.

It was hard reading that the same person who was just as excited as I was to get the Star Fleet Technical Manual for Christmas in 5th grade was shot to death by a police officer. I would like to say I think it didn't have to happen but odds are if you're hell bent for trouble in high school it will eventually find you. This wasn't someone from a bad home or a rough background. My impression was that he came from a loving family and never really wanted for anything. If you were going to pick someone out of a lineup as having pretty much everything he would have been one of the top candidates.

The first place I worked in Baltimore employed, by the owners choice, a number of recovered alcohol and drug addicts. (The owner had survived catching himself on fire while freebasing cocaine and after coming through it decided to try to help others around him.) I literally used to work with someone who had once had a full ride football scholarship to the University of Maryland and his sophmore year had been introduced to cocaine. The next 10 years were tragedy, struggle and day to day survival the likes of which I pray no one close to me ever has to know.

Think you lose sleep over this stuff when you're single? Try being a parent. The notion of having anything happen to Jack makes me sick to my stomach.

P.S. If I do go next year it would give me the chance to introduce Fabulous Babe to Ashley Judd. Ashley transferred in for our senior year and, excepting the one time her mom came by after school to pick her up in the tour bus, the impact was minimal.

Posted by Jim at October 24, 2005 08:08 PM


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