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Apology

I get lots of pats on the back for my work with prisoners and returning citizens, but please let me disabuse the reader of this note of the notion that I’m anything but a jackass who keeps trying. Anyone who heard my voice tonight echoing through the streets of Wilmington will back me up here. It wasn't difficult to hear, as it was...shall we say...raised! Some of my guys actually gathered round thinking I was gonna get into a brawl. At first they thought the other guy would throw the first punch, but then they decided it might be me. (So freakin’ embarrassing.) Yep. I lost it big time. Found a Returning Citizen, a longtime friend, had lied to one of my volunteers in order to put a little extra cash in his pocket. He’d also -after a five month absence- blatantly disrespected two consecutive meetings. We go back a long way this guy and me. Twelve years in and out of prison. And at the end of tonight’s meeting, when I heard about his game, I went out into the street after him. Caught him down the block and just uncorked. Yeah, he was blatantly lying. Yeah he was being slick, disrespecting other guys and trying to get over on us. But he has remained- through all these years and all that’s been invested in him- firmly ensconced in, and a prisoner of, his trusty old “survivor brain”. Survivor brain is a form of incarceration worse than any prison cell. Because of it my brother has been unwittingly complicit in remaining one of the most vulnerable in our society. I know all this. I could have— and should have— addressed the situation calmly. But I didn’t. And I’m sorry. If you read this, brother, I apologize for raising my voice. I should never have shouted the words “I love you” in anger. Just know that I do.