I was surprised the suspects in Marc’s case were so young! I wondered what happened in their lives to make them end up homeless, and hangout in downtown Portland that October night?
I once ran away as a young child, as far as the front porch. I remember how sad and cold I felt in the tiny space. I remember my sense of not knowing what else to do, being ‘stuck’. But in my house there was a mom and dad, and even though my parents had some real problems, & reason to divorce, my folks stayed together for the ‘sake of the kids’. That was old fashioned sacrifice, and not too appealing nowadays, but still so important.
After Marc’s case was solved, I sought to connect with the teen defendants for a couple reasons. The main reason was to make sure they knew they were forgiven, so they could know I didn’t hate them. Having two sons I didn’t feel real intimidated by the boys, I guess I felt I might relate to them a little, especially as they didn’t seem like criminal types at all in court. They took responsibility for the crime and were extremely remorseful.
I was very careful in getting to know the defendants, I knew I have the tendency to be too naive or idealistic. In court proceedings I found I was never fearful of them like I might have been with a hardened criminal or gang type! I never felt spooked by any deranged, or evil vibes emanating from them towards me or anyone.
Of course it was a nervous, traumatic time but the court proceedings just seemed like normal people getting together for some important purpose. I identified with the prosecutor so much, the crime needed the best and most solid person to represent Marc. After I got to know the type of people the boys were, I understood the defense attorneys angles.
I’m not excusing the defendants actions, the horrible crime, it still gives me great pain to think of their culpability in it all, but …. after talking with them, I see the other side. I found out my son threw a punch first. I know things can be confusing, and escalate. My life is not full of hate towards them, hate for the courts, police or anyone. I live with extreme gratitude for how things were handled by the City of Portland, OR. The incident in Marc’s homicide had been a true misjudgement of behavior or personalities between strangers, just a random tragic encounter.
After the crime I also researched about homelessness, addiction, and stuff …. I had an insatiable desire to understand the crime world, and the personal, cultural reasons the boys got caught up in a mortal crime. As I got to know them they shared some common threads in their life, which are typical for mainstream culture as well.
Recently I’ve been blessed to find authors who really care about our modern problems, I shared a list of their books recently in this blog. Sen. Ben Sasse writes in his book “Them: … ” how our culture is growing away from being ‘rooted’ in traditional families & communities and instead is either becoming lost in society or wrapped up with ‘tribal’ identities.
The boys in Marc’s case are pretty typical, they were used to the values in a traditional family, but are similar & different from each other. One boy was from across the Willamette, one from New York. One knew family dysfunction & came West to find his destiny …. the other had been adopted but felt unloved at one point so started running away to live with friends. They both were genuinely hoping for good to come their way, and even shared their faith walks with me eventually.
I’ve watched some true Detective shows on Justice TV network cause they are ‘real life’, not pretend. Generally they share crimes committed by perverted, vile, monster types who prey on others, the whole gamut of criminal society is represented. What a hard life I’d have to live perhaps if the defendants were sinister, deranged older criminal types who were morally lost and not remorseful or willing to be forgiven! I don’t know that I could live with that?
The lives some victims must have is unimaginable. One of my good friends was raped, & she and her 2 kids almost murdered! The offender is still in prison and up for parole soon! It was such a huge trauma for all three, they can’t even look the offender in the eye! My friend has to return to the prison and testify again in 2 weeks. I always count my blessings and know how lucky I am to come away from Marc’s case unafraid for my sanity & safety.
What I went thru still seems unbearable …. if not for the justice Marc got, the support I constantly receive and my blog (Marc’s legacy). I would not be able to carry on with joy if God had not taken my focus away from Marc and I as the sole ones in pain. He needed me to look at the broader picture. I had to move past the point where the case was just about Marc, or my feelings. The case was about a whole bunch of people. Even the city of Portland and beyond.
This is the way I have to live with the painful tragedy. It’s the main way we all should see the world. Look for the good in life. Understand the world doesn’t revolve around you. God has a much bigger plan, no matter how hard your circumstances are right now!