He was involved in a minor traffic accident shortly after midnight last Thursday morning February 17th, and fled the scene on foot. A little later at a Pensacola apartment complex, he was arrested and charged with violation of right of way, leaving the scene of a crash, and violation of a driver’s license restriction; was placed in the Escambia County Jail; released on a $1,000 bond; and then rearrested the next day when it had been learned that he’d tested positive for opiates—a parole violation. He is now being held without bail in the county jail until his appearance at a March 25th hearing where the court will decide if he goes back to prison, spends time in jail, or is returned to probation.
All that I know about Alex’s situation is based on the little that Derek was able to tell me and other particulars gleaned from Florida media reports. I’m not a newspaper reporter, so I’m not going to run through all of the details of the accident except to say that Alex was with a friend and that no one in either car was seriously injured.
My main concern at this point is what the State of Florida is going to make of this and how it will impact Alex’s future. Alex is on five years’ probation through 2013 for a 2005 “escape attempt” at Okeechobee Juvenile Corrections Center, where he was serving a seven year sentence for the murder of his father. Following this incident in which he spent a night in a classroom in the facility after escaping from his cell, Alex served out his full term as a model prisoner. The five year probation sentence was wisely applied instead of additional prison time which would probably have resulted in his demoralization, ruination, and loss to the world.
Today I’ll be calling key people in his support network to make sure Alex receives the help he will need to make the best of this situation. I’ll be spending the day figuring out what additional things you and I will need to do to help him get through this in one piece.
Alex is a very smart kid, but in some ways very lacking in the kinds of experience that you and I take for granted. He spent his whole childhood in prison.
The first prison was created by his father, where he was isolated without friends and outside contacts except for Rick Chavis, a pedophile adult who preyed on the boy and manipulated Alex into convincing Derek to vent his rage by murdering their father who stood in the way of Chavis’ domination of Alex.
The second prison—two facilities, actually—was provided by the State of Florida where Alex was surrounded by dysfunctional people who were negative role models as bad in their own ways as was Chavis.
There is precious little in Alex’s early life to help him negotiate this difficult transition from prison to freedom and self-responsibility. His father was a man who was overwhelmed and continually defeated by small problems. It is only since Alex’s release in 2008—just three years ago—that Alex has been surrounded by good people who have been positive role models. After spending 85% of his life in dysfunction, it should be no surprise to anyone that these positive influences have been insufficient to prevent this relatively minor stumble and lapse of judgment. A parole violation and traffic accident are not violent or serious crimes.
I made the mistake of reading through public comments made to the stories of Alex’s re-arrest, and I am dismayed at the ignorance and intolerance and meanness of people. I don’t understand how people who have never lifted a finger to help Alex can be exhibiting such umbrage over this recent incident. They make it so abundantly clear that, no matter what he has and continues to suffer, Alex is still unforgiven and being held to a standard that few people can or do live up to in their own lives.
If anyone is “entitled” to be pissed off at Alex, it would be me if I were so inclined. Hell, I have invested huge amounts of time in him and raised large amounts of money to help with Alex’s legal defense for the escape charge. Yes, I am disappointed this has happened, but I am not disappointed in him.
Alex is doing the best that he knows how to do. Everyone and everything in his early life failed him, and it is utterly retarded for anyone to now feel that he has somehow let us down.
When the time comes that I ask you to help, I hope you will please join me in once again showing Alex that we still believe in him and will cover his back.
Groove of the Day
I’ve spent a couple hours on the phone talking with Alex’s mother, parole officer, etc., and it appears the “opiates” detected were a medication for which Alex had a prescription and had taken for the pain associated with cracked ribs sustained in the accident. So, contrary to the impression being stirred up in the media tempest, Alex had not been partying that night and panicked for more complex reasons based on his prior experiences with the law.
He has, in fact, been enrolled in school, getting good grades, and walking a straight-and-narrow path. The accident happened in foggy conditions while Alex and his friend were driving a short distance to a convenience store.
The hate-mongers in Pensacola will believe what they will, but the truth is that Alex is a good kid who is simply being dogged by his unfortunate past.