Karma and the Incarcerated

  • No family is perfect; mine certainly isn’t, and I suspect that if you think yours is, you may be sadly disillusioned at some point in the future.


    Between us, Ken and I have six kids/stepkids. They are all over the spectrum, from GED to nursing school, from well-employed to…jailed. Today I’d like to talk about my beloved stepson who is in prison.


    Patrick was always the smart one. His book learning was immense, and he had a delight in science and technology. However, after suffering two painful bone breaks in a row, he became hooked on Vicodin. Our efforts to help were ineffectual. We despaired every day.


    About two years ago, he decided (if such a term can be used when discussing a drug-influenced mind) to rob a pharmacy to feed his habit.


    He donned a woman’s wig. When he went into the first pharmacy and tried to rob the place, they just laughed at him and he left. In an effort to up his game, he found a piece of PVC pipe in the trash and took it with him to the next attempt. He was courteous, but said he had a bomb (the aforementioned PVC pipe), and escorted the staff and customers into a bathroom while he took what he wanted. No one was injured in any way.


    His getaway vehicle was a bicycle.


    Needless to say, he was captured almost immediately.


    He was sentenced to ten years.


    As saddened as we were by all of this, we had to realize that Karma had finally taken pity on Patrick. Yes, he is incarcerated and will remain so for several years. However, he is now completely clean and sober. While in prison, he is tutoring other inmates so they can get their GED’s, and will finish his own college degree. It looks like his experiences will lead him into teaching when he is released, and with his life experiences behind him, I think he’ll be excellent at it.


    We talk with him regularly and exchange letters. He knows he is not alone, and that his family still loves him. Karma has given him a second chance and we have every expectation that he will go on to live a wonderful, happy and productive life.


    What goes around, comes around. Patrick is taking responsibility for his actions, making amends by helping others, and moving ahead. If that isn’t the definition of Karma, I don’t know what is.


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