You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘13th Amendment to the US Constitution’ category.

imagePlease help:  ● Spread the word.  ● Testify in person or online.  ● Contact members of the Committee directly. Your stories are important and legislators need to hear them.

LD 2987, Ban the Box on employment applications, is scheduled for Public Hearing on Feb 19 at 10 am, in front of the Labor and Housing Committee in room 202 of the Cross Building, next to the State House.

To help learn more about this bill, I attach an overview of “Fair Chance—Ban the Box” ideas. Also, I attach a research study of Ban the Box in the city and county of Durham, NC that we will be distributing to members of the Committee so feel free to refer to it.

You can testify in person or by submitting written testimony online, which is printed and distributed to the committee members. If you testify in person try to bring 20 copies of your testimony to be distributed to the Committee.

There is a 3 minute time limit when testifying in person. This Committee uses a clock so be prepared. Written testimony can be as long as you wish.

At the beginning of your verbal and written testimony, clearly note your name and town of residence. At the beginning of your written testimony clearly note which bill you are testifying about and your position on the bill (support, oppose or neither).

You can submit testimony online at any time after the Public Hearing has been announced. To submit testimony and read some guidelines, go to https://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony/.

Your stories are important and legislators need to hear them. Have you or someone you know had trouble finding employment with a criminal record?

If you would like to talk about participating or would like assistance, please feel free to call or send me an email.

I am trying to keep our legislative agenda list up to date so click here to view it and bookmark the file to check back later.

Yours in Love and Service,

Peter

PS: Clicking the LD numbers above links you to the legislative site where you can read the text of the bills, read the list of sponsors, see changes in schedule, and follow their progress. 

 

 

Peter Lehman

Legislative Coordinator

Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition

Thomaston, Maine

(207) 542-1496

Committed to ethical, positive, and humane changes in Maine’s prison system

For information on hot topics in incarcerations and recovery, please visit

Voices from the Other Side.

Voices from the Other Side

Thank you!

Isaac
host/ producer

 

flier3-1.jpg

For information on hot topics in incarcerations and recovery, please visit

Voices from the Other Side.

Voices from the Other Side

Thank you!

Isaac
host/ producer

 

flier3-1.jpg

For information on hot topics in incarcerations and recovery, please visit

Voices from the Other Side.

Voices from the Other Side

Thank you!

Isaac
host/ producer

 

flier3-1.jpg

For information on hot topics in incarcerations and recovery, please visit

Voices from the Other Side.

Voices from the Other Side

Thank you!

Isaac
host/ producer

 

flier3-1.jpg

logo-killeradvice1-ajb

Advise from Murderers and Lifers imprisoned in the State of Maine!

True Believers:

Again, we sent all of the prisoners we communicate with three requests for advice gathered from various advice columns.  We received advice back from Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune (M.S.P./serving two life sentences for home invasion,) Michael ‘Dirty’ McQuade (M.S.P./ serving 12 years for murder,) and Arline Lawless (M.C.C./serving 35 years for murder.)

As a counterpoint, we also requested and received advice from two of our law-abiding citizens, Maine writer and social activist Prius Maelstrom, and Maine mystic and holistic life coach Peaceful (Peaceful also comments on the responses from our inmates.)

Ready?  Here we go:

Problem 1: “Person I’m interested in was abusive to his spouses.”

I have become sadly aware that a person that I’m interested in was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to both of his spouses, one of whom just separated from and divorced him. I got this information independently from each of the women involved and without their knowledge of the other’s report.

I have had a warm but not close social relationship with him, including one or two dinners over the previous five years. But after this all became clear and undeniable, he approached me at a party and attempted to make conversation. I was only able to utter “hi” and turn away, and it was difficult to not share my thoughts with him about his behaviors.

Is this the right response? I will likely see him again in the future at similar events. I also wonder if I should inform the hosts of my certainty about his character. I am unclear on my ethical responsibilities in this matter.

Sincerely, Aware.


Killer Advice:

Danny:

Dear Aware,

Before I answer about your ethical responsibilities I must first ask if you are still interested in this man. I am not asking to be funny or judge I am genuinely curious. It seems to me that this man has some underlying issues with women that clearly need to be resolved. Abuse is NEVER okay and it is my hope that you are aware that this man ha demonstrated a pattern of such behavior. It is extremely unlikely that he would behave differently with you.

I believe that it was difficult for you not to share your thoughts with him that you set up a meeting with him (somewhere public) in which you can have a conversation between the two of you. Is your desire to have a conversation where you tell him what you know about his behaviors and give him the space and opportunity to share his thoughts and feeling about what you have said? It is my belief that this should not be n assault on his character or lack thereof but simply a clearing of he air. It is not your place to judge him for his actions but it might be a good time to tell him why you no longer wish to communicate with him (if that is how you feel.) Remember though, it is not your place to judge (“Let he who without sin cast the first stone.”) We all have done things that we are not proud of and would not like to be questioned about, however if you give him the opportunity you might learn that he knows what he has done is wrong and maybe just maybe he is in counseling or something to correct his behavior.

I do not believe that it is your “ethical responsibility” to tell the hosts of his wrong-doings. First, it is not your story to tell; he has not treated you with anything but respect (and while this does not excuse his horrendously bad decisions in regard to the abuse of his wives) It is not your place to “spread the word.” Also do you know if his ex-wives (his victims) want their horror stories talked about? It would be different if he was dating a women and then I would be the first to suggest letting her know his history, but the host of the party is something different.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I’d pretty much agree with that.”)

Michael:

Dear Aware,

Be glad you dodged that bullet. If it were just one ex-spouse’s claims then it might’ve been an exaggeration. But two of them unknowingly confirming the other’s story? There’s definitely something to their stories. I don’t think open confrontation is a good idea. I guarantee he’ll have an elaborate story. Probably about how his ex’s are crazy and he’s the victim. Don’t believe it. These guys can be very convincing.

As far as your ethical responsibilities I advise you exercise caution. Accusing him openly will put you in a conflict of your word against his. So far, as you know, he’s no real threat to anyone outside of a relationship. I at some point you observe him in a new relationship you may want top warn that woman about his potential to be abusive. Maybe go so far as to refer her to the ex-spouses. After that it’s up to her.

As far as social interaction with him, I would say and do as little as possible. Alienate him. I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from the movie, “the Departed:”

“Treat assholes like mushrooms. Feed ’em shit and keep ’em in the dark.”

(Comment by Peaceful: “Well, I agree with the last part, but why assume somebody’s gonna lie?”)

Arline:

Aware,

As someone who has been on the receiving end of the same situation with pretty much every relationship I have ever been in, yes, you are doing the right thing by turning away from him. But, if you still wish to share your thoughts with him about his behaviors (which, me being the person I am now, I would definitely call him on his shit.) I would make sure that I had a male friend with me just in cast he tried any of his shit. Yes, you should definitely inform the hosts of your certainty about his character so the can’t try to pick up on some other poor defenseless woman. The hosts could not invite said “dickhead” in the future. Anyway, you would know that you have saved some woman from a predator.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Gee.. would you mind repeating that?”)


Prius and Peaceful

Prius Maelstrom:

Dear Aware:

Unfortunately, domestic abuse remains a pretty wide-spread problem, and it obviously strikes a nerve with you. There are things that you can do to attack the problem as a whole, by getting involved with one or more groups currently advocating for change (see https://greatist.com/happiness/stop-domestic-violence-organizations for a good list.) In the above case, it seems as though this person is already leaving quite a documented trail of his past deeds. If the abuse is what provoked the separation and divorce you described, I’m sure that it was brought up and recorded during the proceedings. As far as you know (and you don’t) he’s never been arrested for an assault, or been served with a protection from abuse order.

You also don’t know whether he’s received treatment, had a life-changing event or was visited by three ghosts.

In short, you don’t have enough information about this person, good or bad, to cause you to feel responsible for taking an action. If you still feel the need to do something, then try contacting one of the groups I mentioned previously. It might also be helpful to ask yourself why this situation has triggered such intense feelings within you, and what can you do about that?

Peaceful:

Dear Aware,

I don’t see the point in doing any of that because anyone can change for the better. You don’t put them in a permanent box of being a problem. The guy might possibly be in the process of getting help right now. Who knows?


Problem 2. “One of our guests wet themselves on our sofa.”

We need some advice. Recently we hosted our annual holiday party and invited all of our neighbors and friends. Our invitation stated that the party would run between 5 and 11:30 so our guests could also attend other parties that might be going on at the same time.

As our party was winding down, it was noticed that one of our guests (who had been at a previous party) had wet themselves on our sofa and covered the spot up with throw pillows. We served wine, punch, etc. at our party, but this couple arrived pretty tipsy already. In the future, should we just not invite these neighbors? We are very distressed about this. What do you suggest?

Signed “Oops.”


Killer Advice

Danny:

Dear Oops,

I am not sure why you are so distressed about the incident. While it is definitely disrespectful for them to try to cover up the accident with throw pillows, I do not believe that this rises to the level of not inviting them to any future parties. Since you seem to know which couple made the stain, why don’t you just talk to them? From the way that you have written your question, it is my belief that this is the first time that this has happened. If this is correct then I would advocate giving them a second chance. The fact that they covered it up leads me to believe that they were embarrassed about what happened and that it would not be something that will happen again. However if you are upset simply have a conversation with them. Let them know that you are aware of and upset by their behavior at the partly last year and if it happens again they will not be allowed at your house in the future. I believe that this conversation is not necessary, but if you feel it is, go for it.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Well, if you’re gonna talk about that issue with somebody, you approach them with love and gentleness, and ask them what you can do to help?”)

Michael:

Dear Oops,

I’m a recovering alcoholic myself. And as embarrassing as this is I’ve been the drunk idiot who wet himself on a neighbor’s couch. On behalf of drunken morons everywhere, let me apologize. Some of us have no control over alcohol and in turn we tend to lose control of out other faculties. This is no excuse though..

As for my future comrade in A.A. I would limit their invites to non-drinking events. It’s situations like this that alcoholics share in meetings that express how powerless over alcohol we were.

“My neighbor’s afraid to invite me over because I wet myself on their couch.”

Still, it could’ve been worse. I’ve seen some real nightmare scenarios (watch MTV’s “Ridiculousness” sometime.) I would be a bit more exclusive with my invites for drinking engagements.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Oh yeah, that makes sense.”)

Arline:

Oops,

Now this is just an all-around fucked up situation. First thing I wouldn’t have stated on my invitation that guest who plan on attending your party could also attend other parties where there was going to be drinking, since it was a holiday party to begin with. If people showed up shit-faced or tipsy to begin with I would’ve gone over and talked to them, saying I was worrying about alcohol poisoning or them driving or something, to get them not to drink. Say, let’s go into the kitchen and I’ll make you some coffee or something. It that didn’t work and they continue to drink and end up wetting themselves and then covering it up with a throw pillow and you find it later I would tell them that they need to pay for dry-cleaning and whatever else needs to be done to fix their mistake since they didn’t listen to your advice. And yes, definitely don’t invite them to your parties in the future if they are going to be so immature about something like this then that is not something you need.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Well, that’s a bit of a narrow response, I think.”)


Prius and Peaceful

Prius Maelstrom:

Dear Oops,

Is this a one-time incident, or the most recent of a long line of poor behaviors? Are these good friends? Both of these have a bearing on my answer. If this was just a one-time mishap, and they were tipsy, I can see how in their embarrassment they might go for the pillow trick. If these are your friends, you could easily, even humorously confront them about this. If they are just acquaintances, then why worry about needing to invite them back or confront them. If it’s the last in a long line of screw-ups, and this is your friend, well, your friend has a problem, and you should definitely talk to them about it, perhaps with another common friend. If these are just acquaintances, and you’ve tolerated other things in the realm of couch-pissing previously, well, you need to do some boundary work here.

A friend, with explanations and apologies can get away with soiling the couch once, and acquaintance? Sorry; you only get one shot at the sofa.

:Peaceful:

Dear Oops,

I suggest inviting them over when they are not going to be there for an extended period of time, because maybe they wanted to go to the bathroom and there was two people waiting in line. Some men and women have on-going problems in that area. I mean, what are you gonna do? Go out in the front yard and pee? Especially if you have only one bathroom.

Problem 3. “A sex-only arrangement with an ex?”

What are your thoughts about having a sex-only arrangement with an ex? Most of the women I’ve dated have contacted me after the relationship was over hoping to have “no-strings-attached” sex on a regular basis. I have always refused because I figured it would make it more difficult to move on and to meet someone new.

That said, I’m an attractive guy in my early 30s, and I’d hate to continue to waste my prime sexual years. I’d love to be married and have a family, but I’m struggling to find a woman who is honest, loyal, a good communicator and independent. That leaves me with either having no sex while hoping for a miracle, or a lot of sex with women I don’t really like.

Signed “Confused.”

 


Killer Advice

Danny:

Dear Confused,

The first question that you have to ask yourself is do you really want to have sex with women that you don’t like? If you are an attractive guy in your early 30s then why don’t you just tell some woman from the start that you don’t want to date them, that you’re just looking for sex? Also I wonder where you are meeting these women? Sometimes (when people respond to you in a certain way and the responses/results are the same) it is time to look at the energy reactions that you are putting out. What about you is attracting these women? What vibe are you putting ou that makes women think it’s okay to lie to you? I feel that you are putting too much time and pressure on yourself to “find” this perfect woman, but appears that you are not sure of what you really want. How important is sex to you? Do you want sex with a lot of women you don’t like, or no sex while you wait to find a good woman?

(Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I mean, in order to have good sex you have to love the person you’re doing it with.”)

Michael:

Dear confused,

Let me just get this out of the way. From a majority of men who’ve read about your plight let me just say, “OMG!! You poor baby! Your ex’s are calling you for “No-strings-attached” sex? We all wish we had your problems.

That said I understand you’re a traditional romantic. That’s very commendable. Any woman would be lucky to have you. That’s probably what your ex’s realize. They may not be as over you as they’ve convinced themselves they are.

If you’re not in a committed relationship then there is nothing wrong with a booty call. Hone your skills, my friend. If not for yourself then for the rest of us true unfortunates; you owe it to us.

“I got problems.” Sheesh!

As far as a real relationship and children be patient. You’re young, kid. True love will creep up on you when you least expect it and from he weirdest places. Maybe from an ex who claims not to be interested. I’d say good luck but I save that for people with real problems. (Ha, ha!) You’ll be fine, kid.

(Comment by Peaceful: “I have no comment on all that.”)

Arline:

Confused,

Well if you don’t want to have anything to do with your exes as far as a “no-strings-attached” sexual relationship for fear if would be more difficult to move on, I get it. Bit if you look at it this way (or at least I would) they are saying or thinking, “Man I still think your awesome and by having the no-strings-attached rule maybe, just maybe you might want to take them back. You have said you’re an attractive guy in your 30s; then I wouldn’t worry about it. Just know that there is someone that will give you everything you deserve and more. Believer me on this for I know this happens and everyone deserves happiness. You deserve a woman who wants kids and getting married and everything else you have said, but you should also add that someone who will love you with all of your idiosyncrasies and not expect you to change.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I kinda like that. People have to have faith that they’re gonna meet the right person. That’s really important, because if you have faith that something’s going to happen, it’s much more likely to.”)


Prius and Peaceful

Prius:

Dear Confused,

For a moment I thought that this might be one of those situations where you brag in the form of asking for advice. But I’m sure I was mistaken.

First, there’s a reason, of course, that these are ex-girlfriends and not current girlfriends, right? And, are there still more women than men in our population, or had there been some sort of girl-killing flu that I’m unaware of?

If you’re the attractive man that you say you are, the only reason to find yourself in such a conundrum is that you’re on some sort of “Gilligan’s Island,” where you can’t leave and there are only so many women, or you’re just lazy.

Peaceful:

Dear Confused,

I’ve never really heard of anyone that was in a really good state of harmony who had multiple partners and multiple commitments. If you want to deal with having uneasiness most of the time, then keep doing what you’re doing.

logo-killeradvice1-ajblogo-killeradvice2-ajb

logo-killeradvice3-ajb

[Killer Advice logos by Alyssa Joy Bartlett, 2019]

Kenneth McDonald

I met Kenny McDonald while in Kennebec County for a probation violation (drinking).  Kenny was a sweet guy, child-like in many ways.  We were cellmates for a while and despite a head injury that always allowed me a bottom bunk, I took the top; Kenny had trouble getting up there.  I shared food with him, games of brick-house.

Kenny stabbed his 80 year old mother to death in 2009.  I assumed they’d send him to the State mental hospital, but you know how the insanity defense rides here in the union.

Kenny got sentenced to 30 years.


download (7)I met Micheal ‘Dirty’ McQuade when, after my first trip to Windham Prison, my dear sister placed me in the cheapest, grottiest rooming house in town at the time, Larry “Slum Lord” Fleury’s Edward’s House.  Real sweet guy when I knew him back in ’06, intelligent fellow who seemed to have a big heart.  I lost touch with him when I went back to jail later on that year (probation violation: drinking,) and only heard about his descent into darkness after moving into ‘the Vatikan,’ in the ghetto of East Bayside P-town.

Dirty was addicted to heroin and he and a couple of other fellows decided that the best way to get more heroin was by robbing another addict of his heroin.  The man ended up getting murdered during the caper; Dirty gave evidence against the fellow that supposedly did the actual killing.

Dirty received 12 years.  


download (13).jpgI met Michael ‘Madman’ Pedini at the same time, and in the same cell-block as I met Kenny (as well as Danny Fortune.)  Madman, an enforcer for the Outlaws motorcycle gang killed a member of the rival Hell’s Angels.  He never wrote for the blog.

Pedini did five years and then entered the witness protection program.


arline-lawless-2.jpgI’ve never met Arline Lawless in person, although she’s been trading letters with the Project for a few years now.  Arline (who came from “Beans of Egypt Maine” surroundings murdered her boyfriend, a working fisherman, with a gun, apparently when he told her of his intention of breaking up with her.

Arline was sentenced to thirty-five years.


danny.2014

Finally, I met Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune at the same time and in the same cell-block as Kenny and Pedini.  Daniel was a good kid; the first time I’d bumped into him we were all going to court and I was cuffed to him.  Danny told the cop to cuff me to someone else and then explained to me, “there are gonna be cameras out there and you don’t want to be on television next to me.”

Danny was a former sports star (Gardiner Highschool), born in Haiti, adopted into white central Maine.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident and after that, things got darker.  Drugs.  Danny had stolen a safe from a former State Senator’s home; he’d partied there a lot with the Senator’s son.  The son ended up owing Danny’s foster brother Leo some money for drugs and one night they went to collect.  As it turned out, the son wasn’t home. While Danny waited outside (he was already jammed up due to the safe robbery) Leo ended up attacking the Senator and his young daughter with a machete.

After the pair were arrested, Danny kept quiet.  Leo, sang like addicts usually sing in such situations, blaming Danny to a large degree; he later recanted and took full responsibility for the vicious attack.

Leo got fifty years.  Danny got two concurrent life sentences.


 

“The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.
But the Gospels actually taught this:
Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. So it goes.”

– Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

Get it?

Robin Rage

 

For information on hot topics in incarcerations and recovery, please visit

Voices from the Other Side.

Voices from the Other Side

Thank you!

Isaac
host/ producer

 

flier3-1.jpg

logo-killeradvice1-ajb

Advise from Murderers and Lifers imprisoned in the State of Maine!

True Believers:

A while ago we sent all of the prisoners we communicate with three requests for advice gathered from various advice columns.  We received advice back from Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune (M.S.P./serving two life sentences for home invasion,)Michael ‘Dirty’ McQuade (M.S.P./ serving 12 years for murder,) and Arline Lawless (M.C.C./serving 35 years for murder.)

As a counterpoint, we also requested and received advice from two of our law-abiding citizens, Maine writer and educator Kate Miller, and her cohort Peaceful, Maine mystic and holistic life coach (Peaceful also comments on the responses from our inmates.)

Ready?  Here we go:

Problem 1:

I work part-time in a small sales office of about 10 people. About a month ago, one of my coworkers approached me about doing a project for his graduate program at a local university. It was for some sort of anatomy textbook or similar: it would be a photo of my breasts with my face not in the photo for the textbook. I would be compensated for the photos.

There were some red flags in his proposition — the photos would be taken by him, in my home, and he never presented me with official paperwork about it. I called the university and they assured me that whatever “project” he was working on was not through their university, as there would have been extensive paperwork, screening, photos professionally taken, etc., which was what I had figured in the first place, particularly for such a large university and for a master’s program.  My question is this: Is this a matter that I should bring up to my boss? Is this something that she needs to know about?

Sincerely, A.


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear A,

First of all my deepest apologies that you had to deal with an incident like this. Especially at work. Yes, I believe that this is a matter you should bring to your boss’s attention. I say this for several reasons. First, from what you said, he approached you at work so it is a workplace issue. Now, sexual assault, abuse and harassment – the workplace should be an area of your life where you do not have to worry about any kind of sexual misconduct. You should be able to have a conversation with your boss concerning this individual. As he said it was for a “public” textbook, he should have no problem with it being discussed in public.

I would also like to commend you for trusting your intuition and doing due diligence; because of his scheme – saying it was for school when the school had no idea – he crossed lines and the fact that he wanted to do it at your home moved him into predator status. His behavior is not okay. I understand that you might not want to make waves at work but what he did is beyond inappropriate; it is borderline if not outright criminal. While you might not have fallen for it who knows how many others have or will. Tell your boss.

[Comment by Peaceful: “That’s more or less what I said.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear A,

It’s too bad you can’t set up a photo shoot that he shows up at to find an overweight, middle-aged gay man setting up to photograph his genitals for a “textbook.” You could later explain there was a big misunderstanding. As for going to the boss, I guess it depends on the degree of creepiness he’s emitting. Definitely keep an eye on this guy at the least. Chances are he’ll try it again with another attractive co-corker (or something just as weird.) If the situation arises again then go to the boss with both stories. If he’s obviously a degenerate that no one likes, go to the boss. Present dates, times, places, witnesses. Document everything. Get him on video and post it. Creepy people suck.

[Comment:by Peaceful: “Umm.. I don’t know. I’ll have to ponder on that one for a while.”]

Arline Lawless:

Dear A,

This could’ve been his way of telling you that he likes you but didn’t have the guts to come right out and say it. I know that this is a bit of an extreme way to say it but, you know how people can get sometimes. It also could’ve also been a tip that he is just a bit of an odd duck that might need to go to sex anonymous. If this is something that he kept on harping you about repeatedly then yes, you should definitely bring it up to your boss. But if he just lets it go after one time of asking, what is the sense of ruining someone’s career, just because he might no have known how to tell you that he liked you? But, if you hear from another co-worker that he did something similar to them then, yes, you should definitely inform your boss about this. You could be working with someone that is a sexual predator or who knows, maybe worse.

[Comment by Peaceful: “That was unique because she realizes that some men don’t know how to relate to women very well.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear A,

I am so glad you called the University and asked if this was legitimate. Smart move.

If you ever question that something seems off or you feel in your gut that something is wrong it is always a good policy to check it out with a reliable source. I am not sure of your relationship with this coworker.  I would first go to the coworker and confront him with the seriousness of what he has done. I would tell him that you checked with the University and found out that what he wanted you to do was not sanctioned by them. I would let him know that this is considered sexual harassment and if you hear of any more of this nonsense from him that you will immediately report him to his boss. I am not sure of your relationship with him. If you feel uncomfortable in any way with him I would tell your boss and not wait.

Trust your gut. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear A,

I would tell your boss because he is liable to do it to someone else in the future. – Peaceful


Problem 2. “Do I Have To Tell The Daughter I Abandoned At Birth That I Trash-Talked Her Late Mom For Years?

When I was about 20, I got my girlfriend pregnant. She was 23 and wanted the baby whereas I was not ready to be a father, so she broke up with me and had the baby pretty much on her own. Her family helped her and she didn’t ask me for child support until I graduated college and had a steady job. Still, it was a burden on my entry-level salary and I resented both her and my daughter, so I wasn’t an involved father. To explain myself to my family and others who knew I had a daughter I hardly saw, I made up stories about how horrible and crazy my ex was and how it was all her fault…

My ex contacted me last year to let me know she had a terminal illness. As a new father to a year-old son, I saw I couldn’t let my 18-year-old daughter, “Lynn,” go through that alone, so I reconnected with her, made peace with my ex and have been trying to make amends.  Lynn naturally resents and distrusts me, but she is slowly becoming a part of my life. The problem is that my wife, my parents and my friends think the worst of her late mother…

Must I confess, or can I just make it up to Lynn by being the best dad I can now? The truth could really ruin our fragile relationship.

Signed “Bad Dad.”


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear Bad Dad,

First off if you do not tell the truth there is no way you can be the best dad you can be. There is no way you can avoid telling your daughter. She is going to find out and you need it to be from you or your relationship will be over. You need to step up to the plate; you have run from responsibility for 18 years. Do not continue. Your actions have been completely about you and here is a chance to change that.

You ex has done nothing to you; she got you off the hook when you didn’t want the job of a father. Apparently you were grown enough to conceive a child, but not enough to raise one. She was kind enough to wait until you were done with college for child support. That says so much about her character. To which you showed your character by resenting that your child had to eat and wear clothes; you showed her how much she meant to you by being an absentee father and to top it off, instead of just staying out of her life, you lied to your family about her mother. There is no way that Lynn will not hear one or more of your “stories,” about how horrible and crazy your ex, her mother was. What do you think will happen when she hears how you lied to save face?

She doesn’t need a friend, she needs a father who shows her what it means to admit mistakes or bad choices, just like anybody. It is infinitely harder and thus infinitely more important to do so when your actions have caused pain. You have absolutely nothing to gain from not telling her the truth, and everything to lose. So Bad Dad, show her what it means to be human – to fail, make mistakes and bad choices, and to own them to become better than we were in the past, because those are the lessons she needs from her father.

[Comment by Peaceful: “I don’t see it that way. because some people they haven’t reached a play where they judge you where you are now.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear Bad Dad,

From one bad dad to another I think it’s best to cover it up for now. Tell all your family to not mention all the trash talk out of respect for the deceased. And for the sake of your daughter. Do everything within your power to be the best dad that you can be to this kid. You owe her mother and her at least that. If at some point in the future your daughter approaches you and wants to know, tell her the truth. You were young and you were and asshole and you’ve spent every moment since trying to make amends for your mistakes. From there it’s up to her. Good luck!

[Comment by Peaceful: “That was interesting. That means you’ve got to be careful. You don’t wanna mess up the relationship before your daughter has a chance to realize where you are right now.”]

Arline Lawless:

Dear Bad Dad,

Yes, you should clear your conscience. You don’t want any of your family thinking ill of someone that has passed on, especially when they did nothing. That guilt will eat you up, knowing that you were the one making up everything about your innocent ex-girlfriend. Just because you weren’t ready to accept the responsibilities of being a father doesn’t mean that you need to sully someone else’s name along with it. You needed to learn how to accept that you helped make that child and you weren’t ready to be a father. Also, your ex-girlfriend raised your child on her own and didn’t ask you for a dime until you graduated college and had a steady job. You shouldn’t have had resented either one – your ex or your daughter. You helped create the child. She didn’t ask to be created. Children don’t ask to be born.

You should tell your family the truth about you not being ready to be a father and that you panicked and didn’t want your family to think any less of you. Which in any case, blood is thicker than water. they would’ve understood and if they didn’t then they have issues of their own. If they really cared about you then they would’ve tried to help you with this crisis that was detrimental to you to begin with.

You also are making a good step towards making it up to your ex by trying to be there for “Lynn,” even though she is now 18. You should tell her the truth about the whole situation also. She is a part of you. The way I have always seen it is, “I would rather hurt your feelings with the truth, then lose you with a lie.” I am sure she will understand, and if she can’t forgive you than at least you will know that you have a clean conscience, and you will have repaired the damage that you had caused to your ex so she can rest easy now.

[Comment by Peaceful: “if you’re in too much of a hurry to clear your conscience, and your daughter can’t relate to you in the present, you’re screwed.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear Bad Dad,

Sorry for your loss. It is never easy to go through situations like the one you are in.

Your daughter deserves to know you and it will be so helpful for her to reconnect with her father in a time like this. She needs you to be a real caring dad and to be involved in her life.  I would explain to your daughter why you could not stay in the relationship with her mother. I would only tell her positive things about her and if something comes up that gives reference to the negative…Be honest and explain it to her. She is 18 and is hopefully able to understand. She does not need to know about all your past trash talk of her mother. That would not help her or your relationship with her. You are now a more mature man.

No guilt, move on and just be honest and love your daughter in the present. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear Bad Dad,

There are times in which we do not know what to do or say. Pray for guidance and follow it if we get an answer. It would help if you knew whether or not your daughter judged people as they are now or judged people from their past mistakes. – Peaceful

Problem 3. “Should I Tell My Friends I Think Their 5-Year-Old Son Is Going To Be A Rapist When He Grows Up?

My friends have a son, about 5 years old. They enforce little (if any) discipline on him, and he throws a hissy fit if they try to “make” him do anything. They tell him to pick up something he threw; he ignores them. Dad picks it up in a couple of minutes. They tell him to go to bed; he ignores them and keeps doing whatever he is into. My fear is that they are teaching him that he can get away with anything by ignoring the rules. Specifically, I am concerned that he will never learn that no means no, i.e., that they are raising a rapist. Should I say anything to them? If I do, it would only be once, and I wouldn’t harp on it. They are NOT people who would be okay with this outcome, and/but I don’t want to stomp on my relationship with them either.

Signed “Watching”


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear Watching,

I believe that you are painting the boy in the worst way possible. I do not believe that there is a sure-fire way to tell what a five-year-old child will grow up to be. Yes, they are definitely spoiling their child and it will most likely be to his detriment; being spoiled is not a condition that is easy to carry through life. Life is a great equalizer as well, though, and it looks like this little boy will have some hard lessons about listening to others and especially with those in authority. At face it seems likely that he does not have much experience in having to obey anyone but his parents. His attitude will not be conducive to his success, but to be honest, I think that you are beyond your place in this situation. You are talking about a little boy and worrying that he will be a rapist.

Do you have children? Do they listen to everything you say, and do they obey at the same time and follow your all your rules and guidelines? Are you seeing the worst in them? No, you should not tell your friends that you are worried their son will grow up to be a rapist. A am fairly confidant that would be the end of your relationship; it would certainly “stomp” your relationship with them. However you should mention that you have noticed that their son seems to not listen. Ask them if you can help in anyway, i.e. books, therapists, a shoulder to lean on.

Parenting is beyond hard and and having someone criticize or offer advice on your parenting is a very touchy subject. I would advise you to say nothing because it is not your child or your house. But, if you feel the need to interject yourself into another’s familiar matter, avoid any and all mention of what you think their son will be. Ask about his willfulness and how it effects them, and if you can help. They need it.

[Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I agree with that.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear Watching,

Stop watching! You’re reading way too far into this. The kid’s five for Christ’s sake. When I was eleven my mother had a friend and her daughter came to stay with us. I saw that child do shit that would make the Antichrist take notes. I thought for sure she would grow up to face charges of genocide or some other biblical atrocity. She’s married and she’s a doctor now. She’s doing great. Life is so unfair (Ha, Ha!) As for “Rapist?” that’s a stretch for a five year old. When’s the last time you say crying, screaming and tantrums used in rape? If he’s quiet, introverted, and torturing and killing small animals… then worry. I think that at worst they may be raising an asshole. But he’s their little asshole, not yours. It’s their prerogative. You probably have bigger things to worry about then your friends’ spoiled brat.

[Comment by Peaceful: I have experience with my grandson, who has a hard time dealing with adults, but I’m not concerned.]

Arline Lawless:

Dear Watching,

Your concerns are good ones. I can see why you might not want to stomp on your relationship with your friends. But, you also have to think about them and others first. Hard concept, isn’t it, putting others first? How would you feel if fifteen years down the road this exact fear you had about their five-year-old son becoming a rapist comes true? Would you want that guilt on your hands all because you didn’t want to stomp on your relationship with your friends? If they really are your friends and can see your point (that you are laying out to them in a logical and level headed way) then they shouldn’t have a reason to want to have to put a “stomp” in your friend-relationship. They should see that you are just a friend that is just concerned for their son’s future well-being.
[Comment by Peaceful: “That is really interesting.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear Watching,

It is frustrating to observe people we love doing things we do not understand or agree with. You have observed your friend’s son being disrespectful and non-compliant and you have seen your friends not responding to what you think to be a right response. Have you expressed to your friends how  the situation makes you feel ? I do not think that you should tell them that you worry about him being a rapist. Tell them that it makes you uncomfortable, worried or sad etc to see the disrespect. Parents ultimately have the responsibility for their child and unless they are abusive to the child, you really have no say.  If they ask for advise please give them suggestions that would be helpful.  Pray for them.  You could recommend books or articles on child rearing. Please do not tell them you worry the child will become a rapist. I have seen many a spoiled child in my life and they have turned out ok.

Abuse is more likely a cause of criminal behavior. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear Watching,

There are many books on appropriate child raising. Many are available at the library. You could check one out and let your friends borrow it for a few days.That might help. – Peaceful


We’re really interested in what everyone thinks – about the variety of solutions, disparity of the sentences, or anything else.  This is just our first installment of what we hope to be many, and we’re always looking for problems to pose to the convicts (as well as Kate and Peaceful.)  Send any questions you’d like to be considered to otis.porkmeyer@gmail.com.  Irregardless, we’ll get back to you.

Be well!

Otis

[Killer Advice logos by Alyssa Joy Bartlett, 2019]

For information on hot topics in incarcerations and recovery, please visit

Voices from the Other Side.

Voices from the Other Side

Thank you!

Isaac
host/ producer

 

flier3-1.jpg

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 213 other followers

Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

Only your vigilance on the outside can guarrentee that justice goes on on the inside.

If you'd like to contact one of our inmate bloggers, send us an email.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support.