Summer is over, and so is my break from blogging. In my last post, I listed all the things I was going to do with my extra time: sit outside in the morning with my coffee and listen to the birds, plan a fall trip, and figure out how to publish the first year of the blog as an e-book. Oh—and write a novel.
I sat outside with my coffee once. I am planning a fall trip to Italy, Malta, and Spain. I didn’t write a novel, but Vince and I have started working with an editor on the e-book.
Mostly, I’ve tried to live in the moment. Summer is so brief. There were fun moments. At a family weekend at a cabin, someone brought a Donald Trump piñata (Made in Mexico, appropriately). I fostered a litter of seven kittens which drew visits from friends and family. Vince and I went to the State Fair where, at the FabBrow booth, he insisted he wanted a uni-brow. The makeup artists got back at him by making him look like a community theater actor.
I spent a lot of time outdoors. There were hikes and bike rides, and one day a friend and I spend hours making jewelry down at the river. Other times I packed a book and a beverage and biked to some quiet spot at a lake or the river.
The big local news this summer was of the killing of Philando Castille by a cop. Castille was black. The cop, Jeronimo Yanez, was Latino. Castille was pulled over for a broken taillight. He had a gun in his glove compartment, and believed that the proper procedure when interacting with a cop was to inform: “I’ve got a gun, and I’ve got a permit to carry it.”
I suppose Yanez didn’t hear anything after Castille said “I’ve got a gun.” Blam! Shot point blank five times and left to bleed to death. Castille’s girlfriend live streamed his last moments on Facebook. I have not watched that video, but hundreds of thousands of people have.
I live within walking distance of the Governor’s mansion in St. Paul, where the inevitable protests took place. Traffic was blocked off by the police for a month and I was kept awake a couple nights by helicopter noise. The protestors blocked off the nearby interstate and either police were patrolling with helicopters or it was news media copters, but they were loud. Not that I’m comparing my minor inconvenience to the Castille’s family’s loss.
This week marked one year since Vince was released from prison. He is doing so well. He just started a new job in catering, and he’s excited. In a month he will go off intensive supervised release, which means he’ll be able to stay out past 10:30 or go to Wisconsin to visit cousins. Best of all, he won’t have ISR agents showing up day and night asking him for urine samples.
Another event prompted me to write this post.
In 1989, an 11-year-old boy named Jacob Wetterling was abducted by a stranger at gun point in a small town in Minnesota. He was never found.
Vince was the same age as Jacob. Vince became a Bar Mitzvah, got his first job, moved out, turned 20, had a serious girlfriend, had serious drug and alcohol problems, went to jail, got clean, relapsed, turned 30, moved to Lanesboro, went to prison, got out, and has two years of sobriety. In a few months he’ll be 38.
This week, a man confessed to abducting, sexually assaulting, and executing Jacob Wetterling by shooting him in the head, then burying him—and returning a year later to move the remains. Lying handcuffed in the last moments of his life, Jacob asked the man, “What did I do wrong?”
Vince was sentenced to over four years in prison for drug possession. Because the statute of limitations has expired, Jacob’s killer will get 20 years on a child porn charge. He’ll be a cho-mo—the most loathed prisoner among prisoners. According to Vince, they are also considered a “protected class,” by officials, perhaps to prevent prison vigilantes from meting out real justice.