Over the years the boy, now a man, goes back there. Three times all told, standing in the dark, or sitting in his car. The resolve to balance the books, exact some payback, gradually fades until there is just indifference. So he puts it away, and he moves on, because that's what you do, you move on, get over it. Life is just a series of hands, some good, some bad, you play what you get dealt. This story isn't uncommon, it's nothing new. While it's a tough thing to go through, there are countless people whose lives make this one seem like a picnic. Most of those people who have really bad shit happen to them, go on to lead productive lives. Others are slower to catch on and it takes 20 or 30 years, but they get there. And then there are the people who save it up, try to use it as a get out of jail free card, or an Rx to stay, drunk or high. The people who do really horrific shit, and claim they couldn't help it, it was beyond their ability to control. They want everyone to believe that their actions are a direct result of something that happened to them 10, 20, 30 years ago. Bullshit.
The latest example of this can be found in this case. In 1999 Keith Nelson snatched 10 year old Pamela Butler, he strangled the life out of her, because he wanted to, because he could, simple and horrible as that. Nelson got the death penalty, the federal death penalty. That means the process from sentencing to death wont stretch out over 2 or 3 decades, the feds don't play that shit. Nelson contends that his lawyers failed to introduce his mental health history, they didn't adequately investigate his life. In other words, someone may have done something bad to Nelson when he was a kid, and that's why he strangled a little girl, a complete innocent stranger. He couldn't help it, it was beyond his control, not his fault.
In most prisons today there are sexual offender treatment programs. They are kept separate from the general population. They wear different colored clothes from the other inmates, it helps the prison staff keep track of them during movements, keeps them safe. If they take these classes, they usually get a time cut, they are rewarded. The reason sex offenders are often attacked in prison is simple, it isn't because convicts have strong values or morals. It's payback, retribution by proxy, it's because many inmates suffered some form of child abuse, molestation, etc.
In this day and age we have our priorities and perspective all screwed up. We lock up twenty year old low level dope dealers for life. We put people away for life for 3 strikes, even if those 3 strikes are petty crimes, yet the average length of confinement for sex offenders is around 5 years. There is something wrong with a justice system that rewards those who pray on the most vulnerable, yet has no qualms about putting away teenagers who stand on a corner in the inner city, slinging dope to people who actively seek it out. That's why people often take shit in to their own hands, that's why that old man almost got put to sleep permanently.
If you were looking for some big conclusion to this story you are probably disappointed. How much effect that incident, 40 years ago, played in my life is open to debate. I didn't become a criminal because of it, it didn't make me run out and start blowing little boys, or strangling little girls. It happens to a lot of people, I'm not unique. I still drive past the old mans house, he is still alive, must be in his 80's by now. His shades are always drawn, the lawn is manicured, it's just another well kept home sitting on Brookside. I don't regret not following through, I could have gone away for the rest of my life, in the end I think thats all that saved him, it was as close as I've ever come to killing someone, and I came close. In the end, I did what most people do, I moved on, I let it alone. The past rears it's ugly head from time to time, but it doesn't define me and it doesn't rule my life. We all have our scars, nobody escapes this life unscathed.