The Victim of Crime

Posted: January 13, 2013 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , ,

Everyday about the same time, he ran past my house. Thin, perhaps in his late thirties, early forties, my hilly neighborhood did not seem to affect him. Whether he was going up the hill outside my house or down it, he wore the same determined face.

My curiosity forced me to stop him one day. I really didn’t stop him – he ran in place.

“I admire what you’re doing. How far do you run?’

“5 K in the morning, 5 K at night.”

“Wow!” was all I could think to say.

“My name’s Ed,” I said. “What’s yours?”

“John. I just live around the corner.”

“I think that’s great, John.”

“See. I’m a music teacher and this is how I handle the stress in my life – by running. And I better get going. Nice to meet you, Ed.”

That was last summer. I hadn’t seen him in six months until one day this month my wife and I were walking up our hilly street – slowly, of course. We saw John coming down the hill – walking. It was the first time I ever saw him walking.

As he drew near, I saw that he didn’t look well. “Hey, John, how’s it going? You remember me, Ed, and this is my wife, Kathy. You’re not running?”

Without preliminaries, he jumped into the story. “I put a couple of good musical instruments up for sale on Craig’s list and two guys came to look at them. One guy picked up both and started to leave. When I grabbed for him, the other guy hit me on the head with a heavy stick of some kind and I fell into the corner of my piano. When I woke up, they were gone, along with the musical instruments and my laptop. It took me days to come out of the fog. When I run now I get dizzy. I just can’t do it.”

Tears came to his eyes. “I want to run. I start, but I have to stop. The doc says give it time. But it’s been five months now.”

It seemed to Kathy and I that more than running had left his life, namely his stability and his way to handle stress.

“Have the cops found the guys?” I asked

John looked at me like I didn’t know anything. “Of course not.”

“Did your doctor suggest a counselor?” I ventured.

“Yes, but it’s not covered in my plan.”

John said goodbye and walked slowly away, head down.

The victim of crime. Oh, sure, we can stand on our righteous platform and say, “He should have done this or that,” but what real help has our society given John? Did the government pay for frequent counseling? Psychologists, physiotherapists, whatever was required and as often as needed. If his injury limited his ability to teach some students, was he compensated for that?

John didn’t seem to have that snarling attitude about “finding those dirty criminals and hanging them.” But if he did, would a counselor have been there to help him through those feelings?

And what about the community, in this case, our neighborhood. It’s upsetting to all of us that a couple of guys can steal from a neighbor and get away with it.

In my opinion, we haven’t even begun to help the victim of crime. What is your opinion?

  1. Tasha Turner says:

    We still have the attitude it’s the victims fault… We also see victims that need help as victims rather than survivors. Victims are whiney and want things. Survivors move on with their lives quietly or downplaying the crime. Not my opinions mind you but it’s what I see around me.

    It’s a sad situation we have where neither the victim or the perpetrator are handled well by the system we currently have.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Thanks, Tasha. The attitudes of those around you are not exclusive to the States — I hear them up here, too. Thank you for your comment.The system of restorative justice seems so logical to me, I’m impatient to see it put into practice. I’m just going to have to stick around for another lifetime.

  2. Joanne says:

    All too often the reverbrating effects of crime are not made public. I think it might help to have more stories such as this one out there for people to know about.

    Also, there is not a good enough effort to provide victims of crime with information about what is available to them. Vicitm Services does in fact provide funding for counselling for vicitms of crime, but obviously this man was not told about that.

  3. I agree, Ed, the lack of help is very sad, but, unfortunately, as with many things, it all comes down to money. Governments only have so much money to spend, and no doubt, there are lobby groups, and whoever yells the loudest tends to get the most. Neither prisoners, nor their victims, have much in the way of lobby groups going for them. The same thing used to happen in Australia, where the developmentally disabled lobby was much stronger than that of the lobby for the mentally ill. Consequently, they have, in the past at any rate, always received a bigger share of the pot.

  4. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article post.
    I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

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