Kids: The Good, Bad and Ugly?
Some seem surprised that I, Mr. Nice Guy, wouldn't exhibit that touchy- feely He's just a child... attitude that so many others have after this recent shooting. Very simply, I'm not going to rush to judgement in this or any other case. That said, I stand by by what I said:
Having worked at Humboldt County Juvenile Hall for around three and a half years quite some time ago, I can think of at least a few kids I would have loved to never have to see again in my life. That said, I enjoyed interacting with most of the kids I'd met and worked with. Some were absolute pleasures.
Some of the most pleasant to deal with were supposedly real hell raisers on The Outs, as kids in the hall would say. That's why I'm curious about this Burgess kid, not that Hall behavior is any kind of answer to a kids inner personality in and of itself.
Surprisingly, one, a kid we'll call "Jim" was one of my favorites when he first showed up at The Hall.
Jim was around 15 and came from Southern Humboldt. When I first met him he was pleasant to deal with and had a good sense of humor. Seems to me he wasn't with us too long the first time.
I think it was around six months later he returned and had changed. Now he wanted to be Mr. Bad Ass, just like dad- A convicted murderer. He'd developed a hostile attitude that eventually resulted in numerous assaults on staff. Although he never struck me personally, I was involved in restraining him one time where he was puching my partner repeatedly in the face. And so went his stay at The Hall for the seeming eternity he was there.
One day he was standing at the Control Room door and I had to ask him, "Jim, what happened with you? You used to be one of my favorite kids and now you seem to go out of your way to be the bad guy.". He just shrugged. I think he knew he wanted to be just like dad.
I forget what his disposition was, but I was glad to never see him again. Last time I heard of him was reading the arrest reports some years ago in the Times- Standard and he'd been arrested for "Making Terrorist Threats", or some such. Not sure what that involves as I don't recall hearing of that crime when I went through the Redwoods Police Academy. Regardless, didn't surprise me. Good riddance, asshole.
"David" was another one. He was in The Hall starting with day one- My first day starting as a volunteer. Seemed ok to me at the time but he was a major problem child in The Hall and I didn't know him yet.
Didn't take long for me to realize what a pain he was: Fifteen years old and totally irrational, at least a lot of the time. You could have problems with him develop out of nowhere. Even Mental Health couldn't neutralize him with all their psychriatic medications. A real pain.
He went to a few group homes and then, for the life of me, I don't remember seeing him again. Maybe he finally fit in somewhere. In any case, good riddance, David. Funny thing is, of all the kids names I've seen show up in the paper now and again, his name isn't one of them. Maybe he's one of those that are a real problem in The Hall but not so bad on The Outs? I don't know. At least he's out of my life.
Then there was "Arthur". He actually had his more lucid moments, but he'd always revert to his jerk self. Mostly just a predator, as he would be the first to admit. He'd always tell us, "I'm a predator. I seek out weaknesses in people and try to exploit them...". And he did, or at least tried with me. I didn't like that guy.
Seems to me he ended up finally making it to a group home. He didn't have much time left as I believe he was around 17 when I last saw him.
Last I heard of Arthur he got 8 years, I believe, in prison for his participation in a shoot out in Hoopa that left his "friend" dead, his friend being another Juvenile Hall alumni. I imagine he might still be in prison now, for one thing or another. Let's hope so. Good riddance, Arthur.
If I would of gotten word that any of the above were on the outs and got killed by whomever, it certainly wouldn't have bothered me.
"Nick"- Shot dead in the Sacramento area not long after he turned 18. He was a violent person on The Outs, but a pretty decent guy to deal with in The Hall with a good sense of humor. I liked him. I was told that, as a member of a gang, he agreed to kill someone. When he and his accomplice backed out, they were both shot and stuffed in the trunk of a car.
"Stacy"- I think she just turned 18(?) when she was shot dead in Arizona. She could be a pain sometimes, but I had the ability to make her laugh and distract her thus liked her.
"Felicity"- Committed suicide. Didn't know her too well but she was well liked by nearly all the staff, at least so far as we knew her. She was a pretty quiet girl.
"Mike"- Accident or suicide? Unkown. Playing around with a handgun with friends and ended up with a bullet in his head. Quiet guy but peaceful enough. Didn't know him well at all.
"Jesse"- Suicide. After an initial physical confrontation with him when he first came the The Hall, he was well behaved and quiet. Don't know the details of the suicide.
"Manny"- Shot dead in Hoopa during some sort of altercation.
"Michelle"- Killed on Highway 299 when she apparently drove her car off the road and hit a tree. Broke my heart. She was my indian princess. Always gave me a hug when she'd return to The Hall.
"David"- Suicide. Blew himself away with a shotgun. That bummed me as I used to talk to David a lot. He'd often catch me going by his room and ask for "a little one on one...". He just wanted to talk. Nice guy with a good sense of humor but a lot of early death from one reason or another in his family.
There's more I'm forgetting right now. Of course, I could also list all the ones I know of that ended up in prison. One of those being one I was astonished to hear being involved in some pretty hefty crimes. Last I heard, he was facing Life on a Three Strikes Your Out deal. Hard to believe knowing him from The Hall. He was a very pleasant little fifteen year old kid.
And I still see names pop up in the arrest reports I recognize. Saw on guy in the paper a few days ago for one of those "injury of a co- habitant..", deals. Hard to believe that one, too. He was a pretty peaceful hippy type guy when he was in The Hall.
Last but not least are the ones that move on and lead normal lives. I can only think of maybe a couple I personally know that went that route. But, that's usually the way it is, isn't it? When they move on, get a job and a life, you don't normally read about them in the news.