Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trust, Depression And Crime – Huh?

Another simply gorgeous day, but I couldn't say that it started out in either good nor bad fashion. It just started.

The one thing you learn when you are homeless, or even in dire straits, is that there are more people trying to find a gain from your loss, than there are asking "what can I do to help you keep what you have managed to hang onto."

I used to call it the "buzzards on a fence" scenario. I should be used to it by now, but it always shocks me a little. In the four years I have had people wanting me to donate my property, wanting to beg - and wanting to steal. So few have asked, "Can I help you retain what are clearly your treasures, all you have left?"

As I sit and watch what I have desperately hung onto for four years being distributed amongst others, some opportunists, ignoring the reality that I have lost my mother, my career, my home and most of my possessions I can't deny being angry. I am furious.

Service Space sent a twitter this morning that read:
"Last week, outside my office, I noticed a man with a sign: "Waiting for a human act of kindness."

I spent all morning advertising whatever I could to sell. Jane phoned quite early and we discussed all potential to pull my ex-boss out of the financial hole. I have this awful feeling that I should be doing more, but aside from watching everything dissolve before my very eyes I don't know what it is.

Trust, Depression and Crime – huh?
In my “debut” post to this blog I left the reader with a number of “teaser” questions. Among them were, “What does depression have to do with crime? What does crime have to do with depression? And what does any of this have to do with Trust?”

Below you will find a summary of one of the lessons I taught in my current Restorative Justice class at one of the National Law Universities of India. The lesson attempted to stimulate thinking about the above questions. My class includes undergraduate and post-graduate law students. Most of them are surprisingly unsophisticated in their understanding of human emotions and human behavior – particularly the men (no surprise?) This lesson was quite a challenge for them – the men and the women. What do you think? Does it make sense to you?

Crime destroys trust, safety and security

Victims of crimes of all kinds, from the relatively minor to the most heinous, commonly feel their trust in their safety and security has been destroyed, sometimes their trust in humanity, sometimes their trust in their God, as well. Victims commonly have questions like:

Why did this happen to me or to my loved one? Did I do something to deserve this? Was I to blame? Was there anything I could have/should have done to prevent it? What kind of a monster would do such a thing? What kind of a God would allow such a thing to happen?

When our mainstream criminal justice systems (which focus mainly on punishing offenders) do nothing to answer victims’ questions or restore their trust, victims often feel betrayed, re-victimized and denied meaningful justice – regardless of what punishment is imposed on the offender.

Understandably, a large number of crime victims suffer from depression of some kind. Many victims with depression go undiagnosed and/or untreated for months or even years, until someone tells them that depression is a common – perhaps even normal – reaction to being victimized by a crime. Victims who are depressed and dissatisfied sometimes take justice into their own hands, creating one particular kind of crime cycle.

The vast majority of offenders have been victimized at some time in their lives – as children, as adults or both. Simply put, hurt people hurt other people. Because they are so often people with unhealed emotional trauma, a large percentage of offenders suffer from clinical depression – often undiagnosed. Often the hopelessness of depression leads them to act out with self-destructive behavior, of which criminal behavior is one form.

Our criminal justice systems treat offenders in ways that are counter to the universal human need for dignity. Offenders commonly feel like they are victims of the criminal justice systems. In those cases their feelings of victimization commonly obscure their ability to recognize their responsibility for their offense. Offenders may expect that they will be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. If they are not, they may feel betrayed – their trust destroyed. If they were not depressed before they committed a crime (or if they were) depression is a likely outcome at this stage. Inside the walls of many correctional institutions (where depression among prisoners is the norm) their depression may be undiagnosed and/or untreated. The violent behavior that is endemic to prison life is predictable. Hurt people hurt other people. Another kind of crime cycle is played out.

Crime is a violation of communities – a breach of the community’s peace, resulting in members of the community losing their trust in their safety and security. Criminal justice systems and law enforcement agencies are unable to restore this trust. In times past, communities understood that crime problems originate in communities and that only communities can effectively prevent or resolve them. In more modern times, we have delegated the responsibility for dealing with criminal behavior to systems of laws, law enforcement and “justice” that cannot be truly effective, in part because they disempower communities. In few communities around the world do people trust and feel satisfied with the governmental systems that are supposed to deal effectively with their crime problem. In most places the problem is not with the criminal justice professionals, most of whom are hard-working and dedicated public servants who risk their lives for the safety of the public.

The public has delegated an impossible task to its criminal justice professionals. Crime is a community problem requiring a community solution. With this understanding, criminal justice systems and professionals are still needed to work hand-in-hand with communities. Relatively few communities understand that they have abdicated an essential role of communities. Relatively few communities understand what is wrong and advocate for systemic change. Bereft of trust in their criminal justice systems and fearing for their safety, communities become – in a sense – depressed.

There has to be someone related to Robert & Sylve Huckins must have some means to reach them, if it be Michael Huckins, Dr.Kenneth Ogilvie ( Diana Huckins? Dominic Huckins? Malcolm Huckins? ) or Patricia Ogilvie-Huckins and get them to return ALL of the money they stole from us so that I can buy a home and get our lives back. I am begging anyone in this family for help.

I don't believe I have EVER witnessed any none vio
lent crime that can be as devastating as stealing someone's home. I am walking in Dorothy McKeevers footsteps, day by day, month by month, year by year.

Liam Griffin, I sat in your law office with two witnesses as you gave me your promise, your guarantee, that our money would be returned before harm came to us.

Patricia Ogilvie-Huckins you were present the day I signed contract with your son. You walked out of the kitchen with Sylve Huckins and your son introduced me to you. He told you that I was the British horse trainer he had told you about, the one he was going to build the home and barn for. Why didn't you say something? There may be a rational and reasonable explanation but I have spent over 3 years, homeless, not understanding it. I understand it even less knowing that though I was a total stranger, both Dorothy McKeever and Sally Canning you KNEW, and you knew what your son had done to them and others.

Dr. Kenneth Ogilvie, I contacted you and simply a
sked for a reference, not knowing that Robert Huckins was your cousin. Robert Huckins had just stolen over $30,000 from the domestic violence shelter, HEAL, yet everyone was trying to hide it. There was a history of stealing large amounts of money. $65,000 PLUS from Nancy Canning. $89,000 PLUS from Dorothy McKeever, $45,000 from Francis McKinney. The list just goes on and on and on.
Because of Robert Huckins I ended up paying
$140,000 to be homeless.. sat in the cold, emotionally, physically and financially broke. In the middle of a recession, with no way to recover the stolen funds.

Today Robert Huckins has his own home...
He also has OUR home.....
He also has a lot of people's money...
And his freedom.

Women are not banks or loan institutions. Women should not be the source of a retirement fund for people who don't want to do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Holding women hostage while playing with the judicial system, a horrendous game of cat and mouse extending YEARS, with the victims whose very homes, families and stability are in jeopardy is cruelty, as cruel as a physical beating. It is financial and emotional RAPE. Homelessness is not justice. It is a slow, painful death.
Please, I beg with everything I have within me, pl
ease convince Robert Huckins to stop this torture and return the building fund he stole from us so we too, can have a home.

Relevant pages:

hite-nothing-but-white.htmlThe success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. ~ Mother Teresa