Single Sisters Speak Out

The Modern Life of the Single Sister

What Would You Do? October 25, 2009

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — Sunny @ 1:16 pm

Note:  I am taking an undetermined hiatus from blogging to focus on God ( I was reminded at church today that I have not been putting Him first as I know I should), me and J.   It’s been a great time  and I will miss all of you. Thanks for reading and commenting… thank you for enlightening me and I only pray that I have touched someone in some way!!!!!!   Love you all.

When my mother first called me and told me about the praying robber, I will admit.  I laughed.  I thought he was foolish and I couldn’t think of any reason that would drive a person to get to that point.   But after I saw his interview on Oprah  (albeit just a piece of it), it added humanness to his situation.  See an excerpt on her site here

To sum up the situation, he needed money for his family.  He hadn’t had a job in months and he felt like they were going to be homeless. He robbed a cashier at gunpoint but when she starting praying, he fell to his knees and bowed his head and cried with her. 

Even retelling that story brings tears to my eyes, but they are not falling, I’m too gangsta for that. 😉

The young man’s mother saw him on television as the robber and demanded that he turned himself in.   He is now in jail.

If you were the judge, how would you convict this man?  I know people have sad circumstances all day and do not go to the extent that he did, armed robbery, but something about this man, and his immediate regret, will not allow me to want to send him to jail.   It really hurts my heart to know that some people feel like they have to rob as a last resort.

One of my criminal justice classes this semester is called CORRECTIONS, and prior to now, I really could care less what a prisoner had to face in jail.  You do the crime, you do the time.. short and simple.  But really- it’s not that simple.  After reading one of our assigned books,  “Life Without Parole: Living in Prison Today,” by Victor Hassine (who himself was a former law student, sentenced to life in prison),  I was enlightened even more.  These men in prison face far more danger inside than they ever did outside.   They face daily dangers of being raped or killed and cannot even count on their corrections officers to help – for they are also trying not to be killed. 

I don’t have the heart to sentence the “praying robber” to prison, where he would be susceptible, just because he was trying to take care of his family… What would you do? 

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31 Responses to “What Would You Do?”

  1. Shawnta` Says:

    I saw this on Oprah on Friday. It was a touching story. I was happy that no one was hurt & that he reconsidered what he originally planned to do. I felt for the mother of his child when she accepted some of the guilt/responsibility because she thought that her ‘nagging’ drove him to feeling like he needed to do something…anything.

    I’ll miss you but take as much time as you need for your hiatus. I’ll still be here if & when you’re ready to come back! Keeping God first & maintaining personal relationships is important. Stay in touch from time to time. 😉

  2. Thanks Shawnie: I will be keeping in touch- you do the same!!!!

    I felt bad for the mother of his child too….and his mama, when she said she didn’t do all that she could.

  3. Reecie Says:

    I also took a course in Corrections when I was in undergrad (I was a CJ major). The compassionate side in me would definitely allow for him to get the lowest punishment possible but if I were a judge I could not allow him to walk away without some sanction. I don’t believe in sending people to prison unless they are repeat offenders or in cases of extremely violent crimes. Its really hard to say, there are plenty of poor people NOT stealing, but I agree something is to be said about immediate remorse–which is also why that football player Donte Stallworth didn’t serve time for that manslaughter charge.

    you will be missed, but I hope you find what you seek during your hiatus. 🙂

  4. Danielle Says:

    I’m going to miss you too…..even though we just met a few months ago in this virtual world.

    But it is important that you take care of you and yours.

    Be blessed.

  5. FlawedBeauty Says:

    Ms. Nicki…

    I hate that this might be your final SSSO post. I am really going to miss you… I have a lot I’d like to say, but I started this thing with you and that really might bring out tears (I’m not gangsta…they would fall)

    Anyways, if this came before my court I cannot say what I would do. Honestly, I can see why he felt the need to do such a thing. It is hard out here, but as Reecie said there are plenty of people not stealing.

    BUT…jails are already over crowded so since he was essentially non-violent and his first offense I would sentence him to something to help him (maybe job training) or something that helps the community.

  6. “I have a lot I’d like to say, but I started this thing with you and that really might bring out tears (I’m not gangsta…they would fall)”

    I’m sad too..this has been apart of your creative outlet for MORE than a year. I’ve watched you evolve into a great writing. I believe even through blogging it opened you up to other career ideas as well. There;s no greater present from God than having him help you show what your talents are.

    But alas, decisions are decisions and we must respect them. I don’t think throwing the baby out with the bath water is the best decision, But its yours and it should be respected.

  7. truth Says:

    How long have u known this man?

  8. Thanks ladies!!!! I will miss yaw!!!!! And I wish yaw the best in everything!

    @Reecie: You know I had to ask about Donte Stallworth (I’m so out of it. lol), right? lol

    @Danielle: “But it is important that you take care of you and yours. ”

    That’s so true!

    @Jaci: hold those words then because there is NO CRYING IN BLOGGING (lol. There shouldn’t be!) SSSO was our baby and I had a good time…..

    Jails are so crowded and the consequences are scary.. I wish everyone could read this book I’m reading.

    @Comeback: Awww- u think I’ve evolved????? ****e hugs**** You are right, decisions are decisions and I think if me and J could sit down with everyone and tell yaw the ENTIRE story, yaw’d be able to undestand, but Trust me, I know this is the best way to handle it, for now. 😉

  9. @Truth: For long enough to know. 😉

  10. When I looked at those jail bars..i thought you were still referencing your personal situation. I think there could be some correlation.

    I’d honestly be interested to see what RW has to say about all this. He’s been married for a good little while now. And he wrote the last time about compromise, not needing to be right, and not side swipping people publically (he didnt say the last part..but I added it for effect LOL).

    I hope he comes on today to weigh in..he has good perspective -and has been maintaing a married relationship for a while.

  11. miss t-lee Says:

    I will miss your words miss Nicki, but take care of what you feel like you need to do. 🙂
    I’ll be here when ya make it back.

    My Pastor showed us the clip from Good Morning America of the robber and the lady who spoke to him in church yesterday. All I could say is WOW. She took it upon herself to talk to that young man and give him some encouraging words. The fact that they were together alone for over 40 minutes to me meant that she was there for a purpose, as was he. I think he should be punished for his crime, but shown leniency, if that’s possible.

  12. @Comeback: It’s only a picture, meant to go with the post.

    @Miss t-lee: thanks doll!!!! I will miss you too.

    I thought that fact was truly meant from God.. and he was RECEPTIVE to her words… that’s was something we talked about in Sunday School… being open to RECEIVE a word is very important.

  13. ******* I just wanted to add…. the point of my post today was simply to say good bye, but to ultimately, focus on the young man, who felt as if robbing a person was his last resort.

    I say this with the upmost respect, but I don’t need anyone to weigh in on my situation or psychologize it (I know that’s not a word. ;)). It’s pretty unfair to do when you don’t know the ENTIRE situation.

    I undestand that people are human and will talk and that’s fine, but I’m okay with my decision and I’d like support, because I would lend it to any of you.

    No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets. *********

  14. V Renee Says:

    Nicki – I don’t want you to go!!!! Do you really want to go??

    ::sniffle sniffle::

    I’ve always hated the line “you do the crime you do the time” (unless you’re snitching, not the new snitching people are crying, but the real life, I got caught doing some effed up ish, so to save myself, I’m telling on someone else), because I realize its not THAT hard to end up in jail. There are all kinds of circumstances that lead to “crime”, and I can never say never.

    And I still don’t want nicki to go.

    ::kicking over my chair::

  15. V Renee Says:

    Sorry I didn’t see your last post…. I still don’t take it back. Ha!

  16. @V: The decision was mine. 😉

    “I’ve always hated the line “you do the crime you do the time” (unless you’re snitching, not the new snitching people are crying, but the real life, I got caught doing some effed up ish, so to save myself, I’m telling on someone else), because I realize its not THAT hard to end up in jail. There are all kinds of circumstances that lead to “crime”, and I can never say never.”

    That’s true- it’s really not that hard…. And every prisoner who is in jail IS NOT guilty. I think it’s just easier to deal with them to say that they are.

  17. LOL> V, I think we posted at the same time.

  18. “I say this with the upmost respect, but I don’t need anyone to weigh in on my situation or psychologize it (I know that’s not a word. ). It’s pretty unfair to do when you don’t know the ENTIRE situation. ”

    We were asked to do it last week..”i’d really like to know what yall think” I believe those were your words..but I will leave it alone.

    and not “psychologize” your situation today.

  19. “We were asked to do it last week..”i’d really like to know what yall think” I believe those were your words..but I will leave it alone.

    and not “psychologize” your situation today.”

    Thanks, I appreciate it!

  20. Peyso Says:

    Word of the week – Psychologize

  21. @Peyso: Go’ne head and workcite me. lol

  22. noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! x50

    haha naw. I’ll miss your writings, but if that’s what you have to do, then that’s what will be done.

    Plus, when you DO come back (notice I said when) it will be of a refreshed and updated mindset. Cain’t be mad at that.

  23. No More Says:

    Awww….say it aint so!

    Bye Nicki!! Take care!

    I’m gonna play this song until your return.

  24. @Whyso: that’s a very good point… I’ll be renewd and I may even change my name to reflect that. lol..

    I’m still stanning for you and CYDI. 😉

    @NoMo: How do you do it??? You have a song for everything! I heart that. Thanks man. 😉

  25. FlawedBeauty Says:

    You’re all crazy.

  26. truth Says:

    Psycho-analize

  27. LP Says:

    Dostoyevsky has a very pertinent quote about prison systems. It says something like “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons”. This is a quote I wholeheartedly agree with. A society overall should be jusged by how it treats its least desirable members: the criminals, the poor, the invalid. Because it is infinitely easy to mistreat those non-contributing members of society, since well, they don’t contribute anyways. My problem with capitalism as a whole is that it truly discards those individuals which become the defects/rejects the system… It’s Economics Darwinism. You fit and succeed or don’t and fail…

    One of my favorite books of all time is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo because it talks about the very situation Praying Robber was in. A man who steals food as a last resort, gets sentenced to hard labor for life, manages to escape and become successful while helping others, but who is constantly tracked down by a police officer who believes in “You make the crime, you do the time”. I read this book when I was a wee bit and it has influenced a lot of my views on the subject.

    As a whole, our modern society has failed with its prison systems in my humble but very liberal and loud opinion. Prisons in America are just criminal making factories. The system needs to be reviewed and reformed… The American justice system has its problems as well, but coming from where I’m from, it’s the best justice system I have seen so far. Could be improved, but as it is, it’s still a powerful tool. I wish the prisons themselves were given a slightly better look as well.

    Anyways, as you can see, it’s a subject I’m rather passionate about so I could go all day. But let me just stop now and read the other comments. 🙂

  28. @LP: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons”.”

    I can saw now that I agree with it also. I agree- criminals are MADE in prison. They have to be made.. they are fighting every day to even stay alive.

    I think it’s ridiculous that they are put in there and pretty much left to theri own vices… I think one techniques of wardens that I just read in my corrections book is to pretty much stay out of prison affairs and let the bigger, badder inmate control the population..

    What on earth kind of mechanism is that?

    And thanks for that book drop. I will be checking it out.

  29. LaPreghiera Says:

    LP is correct, and the punishment for certain crimes are not justice at all, either too strict or too lenient, or jail terms get based on other factors like race, who was robbed/killed , where crime occurred, judge got an attitude that day etc…and not the legal precedent. With his remorse and admission of guilt, he could be a great candidate for shock probation-others have done a lot worse and gotten off.
    I saw part of this friday and There was another older woman locally who talked to her would be mugger/carjacker, she prayed for him, gave him the $2-3 she had in her purse and he went on, then turned himself in later I believe, she opted not to do national TV interviews.
    It reminds me there are soo many people hurting/desperate, not just because of money, but life in general. We need to try and reach out BEFORE people hit this point of desperation, just look in your immediate circles, someone might be going down. Everybody needs to consider his comment that he never heard anyone speak to him the way she did, watch how you treat others just because life throws you some lemons don’t spit acid on those in the same boat.
    Enjoy your time with the Lord, Nicki, I have been there, seemed like He was preparing me for something – good or bad – so I’d be able to go thru. Be blessed.

  30. “just because life throws you some lemons don’t spit acid on those in the same boat”

    @Lapreghiera: I love this- it’s the first time I’ve ever heard it. You make very good points, including we need to reach out and help those around us… I think even a smile or a kind word is sometimes what people need.

    Thanks for the well-wishes!

  31. he should definitely go to jail, as you must maintain some level of consistency. If you let him go, a million folks will go rob a bank saying they did it for their families. He is very remorseful though, so I think instead of just locking him up, they should allow some other creative ways to rehabilitate him. Perhaps making him work for the community.


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