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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Broken a review

I knew Terry Austin for three years at Wayland Baptist College (now University). He used to wax me all over the board in chess regularly. In the past few years we've reconnected by facebook. There are some good things about social media.
I was intrigued when he posted his latest book, pictured left. He has a prologue and epilogue explaining the book. The rest is in the words of Erik Daniels.
Terry explained why he agreed to work with the man who was in essence making a death bed confession of truly horrible crimes. The man was a sociopath. His entire life was pure freudian "id." Terry said he wanted to portray him as a "sympathetic protagonist" similar to Walter White in Breaking Bad. I found sorrow in Erik's life, but not sympathy. In my perspective Erik is an object lesson.
Walter White is fictional. The crimes Erik committed had real life victims. Walter White had a purpose and reason for his actions--to leave money for his family after he was gone. Erik existed only to satisfy his basic needs and he would harm anyone who got in his way.
Erik has a compelling story. I don't want to spoil it by providing too many details. As an object lesson his confession is a window into the mind of a career criminal. Erik sums it up by saying his life was "drinking and using drugs and he financed it by stealing." As crime escalates across our country there are countless Eriks doing the same thing. Knowing why the criminals around you do what they do may provide understanding, but not sympathy.
What I took away from the man's story is understood by "The Pursuit of Happiness."
When one is at the end of his or her life and looking back over his/her time on this Earth, did he or she leave something meaningful behind. Children, grand children, a happy marriage, or did he/she live a life of quiet desperation? Are they content in knowing they've lived a good life or bitter at what they think they've lost or missed?
Erik reached out for someone to guide him in telling his story as he was terminally ill and Terry answered him.At the end of Erik's life he found misery. He only recounts one instance in his life where he felt good about something, and that was when he was a child. In recounting his crimes he felt no remorse, his only concern was not getting caught. It broke my heart to read the hard life he lived as a child. No child should be so abused, but I found no sympathy for him as he embarked on a life of crime.

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