[feature story] To Hell and Back (3/26/09)
[This article, originally published by the West Side Journal on March 26, 2009, won Aaron first place in Individual Feature Writing by the Louisiana Press Association]
“I had done so much cocaine - I had done almost an ounce of cocaine; one man in almost 2 days – I was so miserable; I hated who I’d become, I just wanted to die. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I didn’t want to live.”
Kevin Ray, 36, of Addis, says that on February 15, 2008, with paramedics on their way to his home at around 4 a.m., he laid his head in his wife’s arms and went into what he explained to be cardiac arrest and had a heart attack and died due to a cocaine overdose.
Ray said that what he experienced in that moment changed his life forever, and has changed countless others’ lives as well, and continues to do so.
What did Kevin Ray experience?
Kevin Ray folded his arms and leaned forward in his chair behind the desk in the office of his flooring business and thought.
He remembered a scene from the 1990’s movie “Ghost” starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. In the scene, a man was killed and shadows came out of nowhere and pulled him into the ground.
“It was exactly like that,” said Ray. “I saw the shadows, I saw the demons.”
As Ray remembered the moment, his speech began to quicken as adrenalin flowed through his veins.
“They pulled me into this... shaft, it was like a tunnel, the earth, but I could see the walls and the walls were like clay. The best way I can describe it is like a mining shaft with hewn out walls. And you could tell you were on a descent because I could feel gravity pulling me,” he said as the vivid memory came to the forefront of his mind.
Ray said he doesn’t believe he had a vision, dream, or out-of-body experience, he believes he died and went to Hell.
“I knew where I was, I knew where I was going, I knew I was in big, big trouble,” he said. “My heart gripped me in fear.”
Kevin Ray, who grew up in Plaquemine, said that at the age of 16, he first experimented with the drug that would eventually send his world on a downward spiral – cocaine.
He said that at first he only used socially, on the weekends, but soon became an addiction.
“From that point, for the next ten years, it was a progressive thing,” he said.
Ray said there was a point that he used cocaine every day for about six months straight, and also began using other drugs.
“I had done so much cocaine that the septum in my nose began to deteriorate,” he said. “It was eating me up so badly that I was in severe pain; that’s how I got hooked on pain pills. I started taking pain pills because of how bad the cocaine was hurting me.”
Ray said that along with cocaine, he began taking Lortab, Valium, Xanax and other drugs.
He said that he would easily spend over $150 every day on drugs.
“I was taking Lortabs like they were candies – 20 or 30 a day wasn’t out of the question,” he said.
In 1999, Ray met Butch LaBauve, a local pastor in Addis. LaBauve helped him by sending him to a faith-based halfway house in Vancleave, Miss., called “Home of Grace.”
Ray said that though he did come in contact with Christianity at that point and got clean for a short time, that the three months in Mississippi didn’t cure him.
“I wish I could say that at that point that was the end all, that I got ‘saved’ and things got right,” he said. But Ray was in and out of the home for six years.
He said that though “Home of Grace” taught him many principles of God that each time he’d get clean, he’d slip back into his addiction for a longer period of time – each time getting worse.
“I wanted to break free. I didn’t want to live like that,” he said.
Ray said that he hated the addiction, he hated using drugs, but the addiction became too much for him.
“I wanted to get off of drugs - I knew God, I had experienced and knew that there was a better way to live,” he said. “I was disgusted with myself, because I knew I had potential, but potential alone will get you nowhere.”
As he thought back to little more than a year ago, he said that the drug use became more than an addiction, calling it a “sickness.”
“I wanted to be free, I wanted to be clean,” he said. “I really began to believe that I was insane, that I could not quit doing this stuff. It had taken control over me.”
Drug use, addiction, illness – whatever Ray wanted to call it, it all boiled down to one moment in his life on February 15, 2008.
He was at the tail-end of a binge in which he snorted about an ounce of cocaine within less than two days.
“It was about 4 a.m., I was on the couch, in just a filthy state of mind. Utter darkness. There are no words that can describe the deep hurt and misery I felt at the time. It just had taken control of me. I was a slave to cocaine,” he said.
Then, as Ray tells it, he heard a voice that said, “Do one more (line of cocaine); this will be it; this will be the end of your misery.”
Ray did one more line.
“I blacked out immediately,” he said.
He said that he blacked out on the sofa in his living room and woke up in the hall bathroom, where his wife was taking a bath.
“I was standing up and I was looking at my wife,” he said. “And when I looked at her in her eyes, I had never seen, in 18 years, my wife look that scared, because she was looking into a dead man’s eyes.”
He said that she began trying to wake him up and called calling 9-1-1. His oldest son, who was 14 at the time, also began to try to resuscitate him, to no avail.
He said that after he had been pulled into the earth, he found himself chained to a wall and looked down at his skin, which was translucent.
“I could see into my soul,” he said as he pointed to his stomach. “It was like a black, dirty gray mass in my soul, which was sin; that was the evidence; that was the perversion. All the bad things I was doing was living right here in my belly.”
He picked up his head and, with such a passion in his eyes, said that words could not describe in that moment how it felt to have spent his whole life, “and there’s no going back – there’s no opportunity to make it right.”
He said the pain he felt was indescribable, saying the closest he could come was to imagine being dipped into a vat of boiling oil.
“There are no words – it’s just something that lives in me,” he said. “That’s why I have such a heart for people, because I don’t want anybody to go to this place. Hell is real – Jesus Christ is the answer.”
He said that the pain he felt was not only physical, but also spiritual and emotional.
“It felt like the essence of evil was alive and it had it’s being in Hell and it was breathing on me,” he said.
Ray said that through all the pain and suffering he went through, he eventually heard what he believed was the voice of God, which told him “This is your last chance.”
“That very moment I came back – by this time the paramedics and the police and everything are at my house and I came back screaming,” he said.
He said that though he doesn’t remember right when he woke up, his wife told him that he woke up screaming to “get the demons off of me” as his feet made a running motion while he lay on the ground.
Ray said that he doesn’t know why he had to experience what he did, but is glad that he did, because he will be forever changed.
“I don’t know if God was whipping me, trying to teach me a lesson. Showing me what Hell was going to be like. I don’t know for sure,” he said.
But one thing Ray does know is that through the experience his life dramatically changed.
“The evidence is that I’ve been clean ever since that day,” he said.
Now instead of living his life day-by-day, trying to get a fix every chance he gets, he spends his days in church, as the youth director of River Ministries International in Addis.
He tells his story any opportunity he gets and believes through his testimony, he can help people who are like he was.
“I’ve pick up people off the side of the road and they’ve lived with me. Incredible transformations have taken place, because I believe I’ve got something,” he said. “Something happened to me that changed my life, and now God is so good He’s imparting it into other people.”
Ray said that he now lives to help people, and tell them about his truth.
“The reward is to see another life changed, because my life is changed through the power if Christ. That’s what I live for, to see the power of God change lives.”
[feature story] Port Allen says goodbye to a hero (7/15/10)
[this article was originally printed in the West Side Journal on July 15, 2010]
Anyone that has attended Port Allen High School, or was a faculty member or administrator of the school within the past 41 years knows that a constant factor in the successes of so many was a man that was humble, but outspoken; strong in heart and actions; and above all, a true hero to West Baton Rouge Parish – Edward John Searcy.
Known by many simply as “Mister Searcy,” Searcy, 81, lived in WBR Parish from 1934 until July 7, the day he died from an undisclosed illness.
Searcy began his teaching career in 1954 at Cohn High School, and began teaching at Port Allen High School in 1969, when the federal courts ruled in favor of desegregation. He retired in May after 55 years of teaching in WBR.
“Being an African-American male, (Searcy) showed me the possibilities as an educator and as a man,” said Warren LeJeune, Port Allen High School Principal. LeJeune was also one of Searcy’s students while in high school and became a member of the U.S. military after seeing years of Searcy in uniform.
After word of his death began to spread throughout the community, many former students and others that knew Searcy took to the Internet, expressing their condolences to the Searcy family and sharing memories with one another.
“He treated everyone the same,” said LeJeune. “With total kindness and grace – a total respect.”
John Williams, the Athletic Director of Port Allen High School, said he, too, was under the tutelage of Searcy as a student, then later as a teacher, and said he also encountered him while an administrator.
“He was always the first to volunteer for everything,” Williams said. “As years went on I would tell him not to do certain things, but he would do them anyway.”
Williams said that Searcy will be sorely missed by everyone, especially him.
“Early in the morning, he would stop by my office just to see how I was doing,” he said. “I’m going to miss that.”
Facebook.com, a popular social networking site, is now host to a page entitled “We will always miss Mr. Searcy,” with over 700 individuals expressing their sentiments of the man who helped to shape so many futures. The Port Allen Alumni Association’s Facebook page has also been bombarded with photos and memories of Searcy.
Beginning on July 7, with a simple “I can’t believe Mr. Searcy is gone,” more than 50 messages have been posted.
“Mr. Searcy was indeed a great teacher, a true Legend at PAHS. He taught many students and our parents and will be greatly missed. When so many things changed at PAHS, he was the one constant,” wrote Kristen Mangham in a post. “Even those who disliked biology, respected him as a teacher and still learned important things from him. Mr. Searcy You will be missed.”
During a program that PAHS put on for people of the community to attend and express condolences to the family, Ava Royal, one of Searcy’s five children, said the people of the WBR community have said many great things about her father and will say many more, “but as a father, we can say that we had the best,” she said. “We loved him and respected him,” she said.
Searcy had five children: Ava Sheree Royal, Edward John Searcy Jr., Jennifer R. Honore, Angela M. Royal, and Jessica D. Searcy. He was married to Bernice Thompson Searcy.
Though he was a biology and social studies teacher throughout his teaching tenure, many of Searcy’s former students expressed that what they remembered learning from him had nothing to do with science.
“Taking pride in what you do, care about your work, care about those you work with, and it's ok to enjoy what you do no matter what the task is. All great things I learned from his teaching,” wrote Chris Brooks, a former student at Port Allen High School.
And though his lessons on science and social studies and on life will stick in the minds of so many, it’s what Searcy did outside of the classroom that made him legendary in the West Baton Rouge community.
Searcy was a pioneer of racial justice and civil rights in the parish.
In the West Baton Rouge Parish Library’s oral history of Edward John Searcy, the prelude states the Searcy “joined with friends to form the Greater West Baton Rouge Parish Improvement Association, an organization of African Americans dedicated to overcoming racial injustice in West Baton Rouge.”
It goes on to say that Searcy’s “remembrances not only trace his own life story, but also the history and the political activism of African Americans in West Baton Rouge in the 20th century.
Searcy played a large role in the improvement association, but the association, in his words became “impotent, or basically non-active back in the ‘70s.”
He said that the group had realized that “a different kind of emphasis was being placed on civil rights. Direct action was not being utilized as much as it had.”
With interviews conducted in 1995 and 1997 by librarian Judy Boyce, Searcy opens up about his life, talking about everything from his home life to integration to his family to athletics.
Searcy graduated from Southern University in 1952 and was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. His basic infantry training was at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he was chosen the outstanding trainee in his battalion.
From 1952-1988, Searcy served in different capacities with the Army Reserve, Green Beret National Guard and Air Force Reserve in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Searcy was also an athlete – as he played baseball while at Southern Univ., and enjoyed running marathons throughout his life.
He ran in 42 marathons, including four Boston Marathons, and kept in shape by running four miles most mornings before school, according to his obituary.
“It is wonderful to know the type of life that man lived. He leaves a wonderful legacy for all of us to follow,” said David Corona, Superintendent of West Baton Rouge Schools. “I have the greatest respect for what Mr. Searcy has done over his entire life, and I hope my life can be half of what his was.”
[feature story] Resonation of Gratitude (6/11/09)
[This article, originally published in the West Side Journal on June 11, 2009, won the Louisiana Press Association's Best Feature Story award.]
Tacked up on a small corkboard on the wall of the Erwinville Fire Department on Poydras Bayou Drive are enough cards, letters and notes to count on two hands.
“You see that board of thank you’s?” One volunteer asked as he pointed to the corner of the room. “That’s all of them.”
Volunteering at the Erwinville Fire Department is a thankless job, but Tuesday, June 2 the staff at the department gathered together with a sense of anticipation and excitement.
The group of volunteers, during their regular monthly business meeting, had a visit from a man that doctors said would never walk again, and should have died.
Tony Aguillard, 26, of Jarreau walked into the meeting room of the fire station on legs that doctors said would never be used for walking again, merely to say thank you to the men and women that saved his life.
On September 10, 2007, Aguillard was involved in a vehicular accident in Erwinville that doctors say should have ended his life.
“Not one person thought that he would be alive even the next day,” said Frank Neill, Erwinville Fire Department volunteer captain, as he looked around the room and then at the face of the man that he only remembered as a crumpled heap.
The first to respond to the accident were volunteers from the fire department, which Neill was part of.
In fact, 13 men and women from the volunteer fire department responded to the accident to help out in any way possible.
“I think about you all every day,” said Mark Aguillard, Tony’s father.
The crash caused the floorboard and dashboard of the truck Aguillard was riding in to jam up against his face, dismantling his face and severing his brain stem.
Deputy Fire Chief Robby Smith said the accident was one of the worst he had ever seen, and Aguillard is by far the worst, injury-wise and lived, that he has seen in his more than 20 years of service.
Mark Aguillard said that the accident caused “a lot of brain trauma” causing his son to undergo months of grueling physical therapy just to learn to stand on two feet again.
Tony was driven by ambulance from the scene of the accident on Poydras Bayou Dr. to a location with a large enough field to land a helicopter, and was airlifted to Our Lady of the Lake hospital in Baton Rouge where he was placed in intensive care.
Doctors, at that point, did not expect Tony to live through the night, according to his father.
Though not expected to live, doctors said that if Tony did live, that the right side of his body was paralyzed and that he would never walk again.
But Tony fought.
The young man that was in attendance at Louisiana College, and was a wide receiver on the football team, after one month at OLOL traveled to New Orleans to begin rehabilitation at Touro Infirmary, New Orleans' only community based, not-for-profit faith-based hospital.
Months later, Tony Aguillard stood up for the first time, and soon after that began to walk again.
“He had to learn every little thing all over again,” said Mark Aguillard, who was right alongside Tony every step of the way. “He had to re-learn eating and everything.”
The brain trauma Tony suffered in the accident caused Tony to suffer from short-term memory loss, as well as losing most of his memory from the passed few years, so much of the time he spent in Touro Infirmary and Our Lady of the Lake he does not recall.
While Tony was getting better, the men and women of the Erwinville Volunteer Fire Department still did not know that he was even alive. Due to rules and regulations, information about a patient’s health cannot be given to any person other than family, so the volunteers that helped to save his life believed Tony had not lived.
“We had assumed that he had not made it,” said Smith. “It wasn’t until a few months (after the accident) that we found out that he was alive and getting better.”
Smith said that once they found out that Tony was in rehabilitation, that they did their best to keep up with how he was doing by asking people that were close to the family.
Then in May 2009, Smith received a phone call from Tony’s father, Mark, saying that Tony wanted to come back to the fire station and meet the people that gave him a second chance at life.
“When he walked in it was very emotional for me, because I didn’t expect that kind of recovery,” Smith said.
Tony walked into the meeting room, stood off to the side with his father and his brother and headed to the kitchen to fix himself a plate of food.
“He is a miracle,” Mark Aguillard said to the room full of fire fighters as he placed his hand on the shoulder of his son, who sat down and began eating.
After a few questions from the volunteers as well as from Tony were answered and a discussion had begun about the day of the accident, Tony said, “You know how a cat has nine lives? Well, I guess I’ve got a bunch left.”
Smith said that for someone to come back to say “thank you” was beyond therapeutic for the entire team of firefighter.
“I can’t cone up with words to describe what it did for us,” he said.
He said it made everyone feel like they were volunteer firefighters for a reason and that they really do make a difference in people’s lives.
Tony Aguillard is still re-learning basic skills, such as reading, writing and self-control, but he’s alive.
Businesses in Pointe Coupee Parish banded together to build a one bedroom apartment add-on to Mark Aguillard’s home, to give Tony a place to call his own, as he is handicapped.
“We’ve had to change our whole lives – everything revolves around (Tony) now,” said Aguillard.
The Erwinville Volunteer Fire Department consists of 35 active volunteers, the most in the history of the department according to Smith.
He said that it is a “reward-less” job most of the time, but the few times a reward does come – like a thank you from a person whose life was saved – makes it all worth it.
[news report] Addis Employee Causes Stir (4/9/09)
[This article, originally published by the West Side Journal on April 9, 2009, won the Louisiana Press Association's Best News Story of 2009, and also won Aaron Williams the Best Investigative Report.]
A town of Addis employee, who was arrested and charged with a felony, has, for months, continued and still continues to work for the town at the discretion of the mayor.
Leonce Jordan of 8031 Clayton St. in Addis was arrested in February 2009 and charged with a felony count of principal for the intent to sale a schedule 1 narcotic.
An undercover narcotics officer identified Jordan as an accomplice to a drug deal on Main St. in Addis in May 2008, where the undercover officer bought a five dollar portion of marijuana. The offcer, in the police report, said that Jordan was seen behind Joseph Gilbert III, of 58419 Allen St. in Plaquemine as Gilbert made a drug deal with the undercover officer.
The officer noted that Jordan, who works as a member of the Addis maintenance crew, had a pistol in the waistband of his pants during the transaction.
“He was armed security for the drug deal,” said Ricky Anderson, Addis’ Chief of Police.
Anderson said he doesn’t understand why Jordan is being allowed to continue to work for the town after being arrested and charged with the crime.
“I’ve got (Town of Addis Mayor, Carroll Bourgeois) telling me to clean up the town, but when I arrest him, (Bourgeois) puts him right back to work,” he said.
Bourgeois said that he is not going to pre-judge anyone, and that he would leave the judgment to the courts.
“In America we are innocent until proven guilty,” Bourgeois said. “Hopefully he’s not (guilty), he’s a hard working guy, but like I said, I have no problem… firing someone that’s on drugs, I don’t tolerate drugs.”
The town of Addis policy 3.5.1 in the personnel manual says that “During the investigation, hearing, or trial of an employee on any criminal charge, or during the course of any civil action involving an employee, when suspension would be in the best interest of the municipality, the mayor may suspend the employee without pay for the duration of the proceedings as a nondisciplinary means.”
In Brusly, the mayor has the discretion to suspend a person during an investigation, trial or hearing as well.
Brusly’s mayor, Joey Normand, said that if an employee for the town of Brusly were arrested that depending on the reason for arrest, that he may suspend.
“I look at two things,” said Normand. “Innocent until proven guilty, but also you have to look at the image of the town.
“It has to be a judgment call depending on the severity of the crime,” he said.
But if the crime in which the employee was arrested is severe, “I don’t have to wait,” said Normand. “If it looks bad on the town, that would be grounds for suspension in my view.”
Port Allen does not have an ordinance in place for matters such as this, according to Mayor Derek Lewis, and said that if a city employee were to be arrested for a crime, that “until convicted or arrested there’s nothing I could do.”
He said, though, that drugs is “something I won’t tolerate,” saying that if he caught wind of an employee being arrested for drugs or any other serious offense that he would “warn the employee, and if caught I would go to the council and ask for permission to terminate immediately.”
Chief Anderson said that he has had to relieve or suspend officers of duty based on arrests in the past, one officer was arrested in 2003 for child pornography and one in 2007 for felony theft. Anderson said that before the men were convicted of their crimes, they were suspended, and said the mayor has the power to do the same with Jordan.
Bourgeois said that he knows the charges Jordan faces and has had at least one conversation with him.
“I’m aware what’s going on. And I told him ‘Leonce, you’re innocent until proven guilty. If you’re proven guilty, you’re fired.’ It’s just that simple and he understood that. Whatever the charges are,” Bourgeois said.
Anderson said that when his officers were fired, “I had sufficient evidence to have them fired.”
He said that he believes if there has been an arrest, it was for reason.
“If there’s sufficient enough evidence to arrest someone, then there’s sufficient enough evidence to dismiss them,” he said.
Bourgeois, however, does not see it the same way.
“I’m not going to fire a man simply because somebody pointed a finger at him,” he said.
Bourgeois said said, though, that if Jordan is convicted, it will be a different story – that action will, indeed, be taken.
Bourgeois said that he knows there is a drug problem in Addis, but feels he must wait for a conviction to occur before anything happens to Jordan, whose father, Mitchell, has worked for the town since 1985 according to town records.
“We have a drug problem in town, I’ll admit that. And we have an employee that’s going to come to court. But let’s let the courts do what it’s going to do. Let’s not be prejudging this young man – he may be guilty as the day, but I don’t know, we’ll find out. And after that, whatever consequences are incurred are incurred.
[editorial] Did you hear that color? (5/1/08)
[This editorial, originally published on May 1, 2008, was named the Louisiana Press Association's Best Editorial in 2008]
Does color make a sound?
If you could hear red, what would it sound like?
If you could hear blue, would it sound like a blowing breeze?
Questions like this are not even really worth consideration because we all know that a color cannot make a sound.
So why is it that when a black man or woman speak eloquently and in a sophisticated manner they “don’t sound black”?
I thought colors couldn’t speak?
I am a young black man.
I was raised to speak with correct English. Not broken English, not ebonics; I was raised by parents who did not want me to sound ignorant.
And because I knew how to avoid the resonance of ignorance, I avoided so many other things that kids and adult alike get into that is rather foolish.
I played sports and excelled. I played football at a Junior College in Mississippi. Everything I put my hand to was seemingly blessed. And I attribute it all to my parents, who taught me that vocabulary is important.
Learn new words, they would challenge me. My father challenged me to even study the dictionary.
Why? Not so that I could come around people and talk and get told I don’t sound a specific way I’m supposed to.
Black, white, red, blue or green – whatever color you are, vocabulary is important in the world.
Even rappers and hip-hop artists know how to correctly use words – that’s how they bring forth the lyrics they do.
So no matter what race you are, I challenge you to expand your vocabulary and your mind. Don’t think that because a person has a certain skin tone that he or she has to speak a certain way.
[editorial] I am somebody (10/8/09)
[This editorial was originally published in the West Side Journal on October 1, 2009]
I once heard it said that a journalist doesn’t have friends, only sources.
I believe that to be a complete fallacy.
It matters not whether you are a doctor, lawyer, child, adult, or even a journalist – friends make life worth living.
So many times I am shocked when people do not want to talk to me or are simply slow to speak when I enter into a conversation with them, even outside of work.
I could be in shorts and a t-shirt and see someone in Wal-Mart and speak to them, only to have them tell me they’ve got to watch what they say, because I am “the media.”
I do understand, I am in business to quote people and to inform readers, so I do understand why words are watched when I step into a conversation.
But my profession is not the only thing I continue to be judged for, as if that weren’t difficult enough.
Recently, I was speaking with a gentleman, at first just shooting the breeze, but the conversation turned into one about certain persons in West Baton Rouge Parish.
The man looked at me and refused to continue on with the conversation, claiming that I don’t have enough gray hairs on my head.
He told me that I was not mature enough to speak with him about these certain matters because of my age.
And I began to think – does age really determine maturity and wisdom?
I don’t think it does.
Of course, that’s my thinking – and I’m merely an injudicious, young man who undoubtedly knows naught.
My parents used tell a story about my older brother, Anthony.
When Anthony was a toddler, less than 2-years-old, my grandmother was taking care of him for a short period of time.
One afternoon as my grandmother carted him around in the grocery cart he began to boldly proclaim something he had earlier been taught.
“I may be small,” he would loudly say. “But I am somebody!”
As my parents tell it, Anthony incessantly professed “I may be small – but I am somebody!” all throughout the grocery store that day.
Well, I may be a mere 24 years of age, but that does not notate, in any fashion, that I lack wisdom; that I am immature.
In this world, there are many prejudices that many of us face – it could be race, nationality, region, religion, age, or a number of other things.
And what is prejudice other than simply judging someone or something before given the chance to know for certain what or who it/they are all about?
So I am going to make the effort to take away all prejudices in my own mind and give credit where credit is due.
So please, don’t blame my youth, my race, or the fact that I am from Mississippi for liking or disliking me, or my work.
Don’t ignore the idea simply because of the messenger.
We can truly grow as a people when we accept one another for who we are.
[editorial] Guilty as seen (9/30/10)
[This editorial was origianlly published in the West Side Journal on September 30, 2010]
I broke the law.
Friday night I was pulled over in Port Allen by the police because I did something terrible. No, I wasn’t speeding. Yes, I was wearing my safety belt. No, my license plate was not expired.
That’s right, folks – I, by my own admission, am telling you that I did, in fact, have a blown headlight.
“A blown headlight?” some of you may be asking; and to you I simply say, “yes, I was driving with one headlight.”
It was my fault – I had been procrastinating on putting a new one in, so I was not shocked when the officer told me why he had pulled me over.
But what did surprise me is the fact that four police vehicles were there to do their duty in making sure I was abiding the law.
Three of those four vehicles were pointed had their blue lights flashing and headlights pointed directly at me as if I were in an interrogation room with lights in my face.
I was told to come to the back of my vehicle as the police officer put my information through the system to find that I had no warrants, my vehicle was in my name, etc.
As I waited, leaning up against the trunk of my car with the bright lights pointed directly at me and the flashing lights attracting the attention of any passersby, I began to realize that people who look guilty from the outside are not always as guilty as they seem.
I’m sure to many onlookers I seemed like a criminal – I sure felt like one – but the truth is, I was let go with just a warning.
All that to say, don’t always judge something by its outward appearance. Whether it be our own Police Chief and Mayor’s indictments, or simply a person on the side of the road; whether it be a book or a person you thought you would never like – you cannot judge a situation or a person based on the few facts that your eyes tell you.
I did go get my headlight fixed, so everything is fine and dandy, but I know I will never look at a person who is on the side of the road, pulled over by the police, like they deserve any kind of treatment, even if they are being pulled over by four police vehicles.